Dec 24, 2014


Its christmas eve proper and we are looking like a green christmas !!

Dec 23, 2014


Last night the Xflare rolled in and over us to bounce off and carry on going. It was a bit gutting but as it was fairly unexpected after all the experts had dismissed the chance of a hit. Never mind tho. The proton levels have remained high and this afternoon another CME hit. This time the Bz has been more southerly and there has been a good show thats been seen all over, less here tho as we have cloud issues. Personaly I am just glad to have made another tick before christmas. !!

Dec 21, 2014

47 rolled in tonight on the crest of a plasma wave. A minor CME impact brought about enhanced conditions and we have a large static arc. Theres a bit to go with it yet if we can get through the increasing showers.

Dec 15, 2014


Sunday came and went with us giving little show. Other places managed an ark and spikey rays. The green i caught changed to airglow in the harsh light of the big screen so so much for that. Sky called at the back of nine tonight but it took us a while to get a gap.

Dec 12, 2014


We have a nice glow tonight. There is a coronal hole just become geo effective and we are looking forwards to some aurora over the coming few nights, The best news has been on Solen. To quote them...A filament eruption mainly in the southwest quadrant may have caused a potentially Earthbound CME. If that is the case the CME would reach Earth on December 13. This would be on sunday night...I am looking forwards to looking !!

Dec 9, 2014


As below some rays after the first squall had passed.


There was a great clear sky before moon rise tonight. A crisp looking grey glow soon showed up green in my first tester of the night. Exciting as it was I rushed in to post the sighting to the Orkney group. Once again I lost a display behind fast moving cloud and as i type noe the rain is rattling off the windows. Theres a big blow coming from the west but hopefully there will be gaps between the cloud.
Last nights marginal conditions. Its a tilt the screen to see the green sort of thing !!

Dec 8, 2014


In a night of great stats it looked like there should have been a half decent show. Its unfortunate but it just did not happen. The horizon was doggedly full of cloud with little breaks to be seen. Above was a different story with stars showing between clouds in the moon light. I managed this most marginal of marginal shots with colour just showing. Wintery showers have arived now and its upped the game of standing outside taking testers thats for sure !!

Dec 7, 2014

42 came un noticed untill I reviewed the nights photos.. I only managed a couple of gaps in the cloud tonight. Its been a poor night for weather but other places have really done the biz. Shetland in particular had some fantastic structure tonight as Kareen Aurora Hunters photos on ARS show. This is a fuzzy one of mine for the record.

Dec 3, 2014

Dec 2, 2014


41 was a strange beast. A test shot produced a few very faint rays. Seeing them on screen I could just see them in the sky. The following photos showed rays moving about well above the horizon. Above and below was showing no real hint of colour be it green or pink. Cloud swept back in and the view was lost.

Dec 1, 2014


The first of december has brought the 40th arurora on camera. Just a light between clouds just now hopefully the cloud will clear in the over the next couple of hours and we might see something. Its been quiet for a while now but the wind is picking up and moon permitting we might be seeing a bit more in the coming nights.

Nov 27, 2014

Thirty nine gets swallowed by dugged cloud. Last go from the garden gate for the night.


Thirty nine comes in from a shout from Skye. I had about given up with the sky, stars were all that was to be seen then it slowly clouded over. Its a letterbox yiew tonight but they are bright. and have been showing structure...above our cloud base tho !!

Nov 26, 2014

Night winds a coming !

This is a view of the sun right now. If you squint you may see the sunspot groups. Directly facing us is 2219 which has the capacity for C flares, below right is 2216 a group thats quiet and likely to remain that way. The lower group to the left is 2217. This group has been emitting low level C flares and might do something for us yet . Above this and further back towards the eastern rim is 2218. This group seem quiet as well. Two new groups are rotating in to view and are yet to be numbered. The one thing thats its not possible to see in my snap shot is a coronal hole in the northern hemisphere thats about to have an influence on the solar wind speed. I have seen 500kps+ predicted so hopefully with some southerly Bz we might have a little bit of colour in the sky over the coming nights.


Last night was looking severely quiet across the space weather pages. All was not to be lost with a couple of sightings on AUK. For us tho all we could do was read reports as we were socked in with cloud. Every so often whilst checking the sky you could see stars here and there. I usually count stars appearing as a good sign and sure enough eventually the skys cleared enough to see some of the northern horizon. It was pretty hopeless for activity. Earlier in the evening I had been advised that longer exposures with an intervalometer (silly name I know) would be a way to go. With this I could increase my exposure times so it would be worth as much as a couple of stops on the exposure. I gave this a go with my first attempt at shooting bulb. I was pleased as punch to pull this colour out of the sky, especially as there was little discernible colour in the 30 sec exposures I had been doing. This exposure went to two and a half mins and on looking what I had got when it was over left me well chuffed. Its not going to win any prizes in the pretty picture category but I think we have a new weapon in the armoury for those dire nights and marginal conditions....38 in the bag !

Nov 24, 2014


I thought last nights was faint, tonights beats even that. But the clouds are clearing a bit now so fingers crossed that the view may clear.

Nov 23, 2014


A long wait for the cloud to clear produced a faint looking top about 22.30. I dont think it will go to much. Over the last few days the air has properly changed. There are cold winds coming off the atlantic.


Another night of low slung activity with a good spike the back of ten/eleven. I managed to totaly miss it as well....never mind.

Nov 20, 2014

All to brief tonight.

I posted a bit early last night and things developed a god bit more with an active display. The ark produced rays bright enough to be seen by the naked eye. It was short lived but very enjoyable after all the nights of cloud. Tonight a sighting from Groats had me out early and catching a good top. The top is the highest part of the aurora below this is the green. The weather was to go against us tho. Within an hour or so clouds swept in and aren’t looking like going anywhere . Frustrated yet again the clouds thicken as the magnetometers quicken.


Nov 19, 2014

Yet another frustrating night !!

After nights and nights of frustrating cloud with aurora above it I managed a glimpse of lights last night. Tonight its the clearest its been for ages. This along with the bonus of no moon set the stage for a show however its a show that was destined not to go on. We did for a moment have the top of an aurora on camera but all to soon the stack plots showing activity flat lined. It looks like thats that for tonight even the sky id hazy now and the crisp display of stars is gone....33...just.

Nov 11, 2014


Well I managed to blag 3 aurora over the last five nights. There has been a good wait for a glancing CME blow. It arrived early and bounced off to little effect. Most of the activity is the results of an enhanced solar wind from coronal hole high speed streams and sector boundary crossings. Tonight’s has been seen away down the south of Scotland and a lot of folks have managed to catch it. Shame it wasnt seller death dust falling through the skys dramaticly lighting up all before and below it but that just wasnt to be, there is still time for 2205 to produce the goods tho. Fingers crossed.

Nov 5, 2014


Tonight we have a big arc with a big moon and big big clouds. There are good looking areas coming in to sight now and given a few days we will see what happens....

Nov 2, 2014

A low slung light changing slowly low in the north marks No 27. Surely its time for something much more substantial !!!

Oct 29, 2014

25 came and went with a glimmer. With the demise of the large sunspot cluster at the end of a disapointing transit I kindo hoped for a bit of a show from any residuals brought on by the series of impotent X flares of the past days. The night started with an early arc but we lost that fairly fast. Rain was the order of things untill it drove me to my bed. Rising at the back of three i managed to catch a few more images, again it was an all to brief display. That is 26 tho so i am happy.

Oct 24, 2014

Poor weather last night and i missed a chance of a sighting. The large group of spots continues to move across the face of the sun with out kicking off despite being well primed to go.As Mags said the other day A watched pot that just wont boil over......

Oct 23, 2014

After a day of endless rain a brief gap saw the clouds part enough to confirm there was an aurora behind it all. In the time it takes to type it was away and the rain sporadicaly returned. Disapointing day with an X flare not producing any CME, Sill the art of survival is in the way we wait.

Oct 21, 2014


Twenty four comes in with a flat glow behind clouds. Its been blowing fresh for most of the day . An hour before sundown the cloud began to break up. It remained fresh but the clouds looked drmatic in the failing light. An eatherial sort of green glow was on the camera but not on the large screen had me going but as soon as those photos were processed i was out again this time to get a solid colour. I dont know if much will happen but the stackplots are jumping at notheren lattitudes and the solar wind speed is 600 it looks good for a bit any way.

Scraping a couple in.

The night of the 20th was a bit of a wash out with few if any gaps in the cloud. Once again I stuck my head out the door at 4.30 to see stars so a quick couple of shots that looked ok on the camera and back to bed. 20 hours later and I check the images and they have a faint aurora on them. Im well chuffed. Tonight’s weather has been cloud and pishing rain. There was a gap showing on sat24 that rolled in right on time. Unfortunately as happens with the satellite photography it wasnt the whole story. The rain stopped about on time and the cloud lifted well but didnt really go away. In the north the sky lightened superbly but the remaining cloud would just not split. The photos I have are still on the camera but I have green showing through a couple of thinner clouds. Its a bit of a pisser that there is a KP6 thats G1 now and its all kicking off out of sight of the ground....hope everywhere else is having more luck than we are having here !!

Oct 19, 2014

Nice night

Continual rolling cloud ment that the view last night was coming and going a bit. With some paticence tho I managed to see repeated spells of dynamic movment. More words later maybe.

Oct 18, 2014

Sat night

Its half seven on sat night, the stackplots at our lattitude in Norway and Lerwick are showing good movment. There is a KP3 called and the Bz is south. Cloud may be a problem but here we go again.....fingers crossed.

Oct 16, 2014

21 today

First off i called Sky Glendale Auroras,
Glenern last night and thats the name of a house down the road from me...oops...anyway we have strong green but with a hazy cloudy sky. this shot is cleaned up a bit of the orange haze. I dont know if it will get stronger or show better but heres hoping.


Back to the smaller stuff tonight. After seeing a post from Glenern on Skye a quick test shot revealed a broad low aurora here....20 !!

Oct 15, 2014


Been a brill night, aurora seen wide spread across Brittan. Took a while for wurs to come alive but come alive it night of the  far !!

Oct 14, 2014

Heads up

We are looking good for a display tonight. There is activity building all ready and a southerly Bz and a KP4 call. We have clearish skys. suns down about 18.30 and the moons up at about 22.30 so hopefully we will have some proper darkness in the early evening.......Im now crossing my fingers and toes !!

Oct 13, 2014


18 Comes in tonight with a purple glow peaking out from behind tall standing horizon clouds. Moon rise is lighting up the sky now.....Im going to give it a go in a while and see if theres a better view.

Oct 12, 2014


Aftre a bit of speculation and a bit of a false start last week tonight right now 17 is in view. A very faint glow across the horizon that struggles against the rising waining moon. Im charging the battery now and going to try again in an hour.

Oct 5, 2014


Number 16 fell to the camera last night although it took some waiting for. There was a super clear sky but with the BZ against us it was not looking to hopefull. I was going to give it up but a photo from Graeame Whipps taken from Durness had me back out for a look. Eventualy I had green on the camera screen. Pleased as i was it looked more elusive on the computer screen although two shots did hold a little green. I think i was at the total edge of what my 450d could handle. So this is the tip of the day. If you are looking for a camera body to take night sky photos dont get a cheap Cannon 450d....

Oct 2, 2014

15...01 10 14

Low slung faint aurora with dynamic overhead etheral lights, Best overhead etherals of the season so far...gubbed by rain !!

Sep 30, 2014


Low slung aurora in progress right now.


The Harray kirk to the right, the lights of Dounby to the left. Another flat and static display tonight but at least we saw some good colour in the last stages. Been a good couple of days, just started a local aurora group on facebook.

Sep 27, 2014

Looking across the gardens.

Strugling tonight again. It was as if last night repeated its self, a good looking gap with horizon cloud exposed the dancers in the distance. It wasnt to last long and soon was once again lost to the clouds. So thats me, indoors watching Blues Brothers going back and forth to see if the skys clearing. Think im going to give it up on both counts.


Sep 26, 2014


The sun is barely down. the clouds are barely away, the aurora is barely up, things have barely begun, my battery is barely charged !

Frustration,After missing monday night this was about the best point of Tus night.

A hint of promise for tonight.

and this is the sky now.....again!!

Within three mins of returning outside the cloud rolled over the now clear sky and that was that again...mmmmm

Sep 25, 2014

Quick cures for frustration

Frustration reigns just now. I think madness lies just below the surface. There have been four nights of aurora in a row. Tonights show if its up there is somewhere above the sea of rainy cloud the stretches from horizon to horizon, even the horizons are close together. This seemingly constant aurora is coming not from snapping filaments or flares but rather an increased flow of solar wind from an earth facing coronal hole. Its passing now but today I was reading there’s another facing us for three days. Which a bit of luck there will be more fun for the start of the week. The good night for us was Tuesday. But since then its been all cloud and rain.. Last night had lights being photographed way down over the border at Hadrians wall and over on the east coast. Lots of folks got to see some lights even with almost universal scabby skies. Photos and reports from the far north have been full of exciting talk and stunning photos, its heady stuff !!Here the clouds parted at five this morning to reveal some lights but I must say it wasnt me that saw them this morning. I was out fifteen minutes ago for a look and got rained on for my troubles, A quick jump out again as a break from typing right now.......the frustration continues.. I am lucky tho the season just starts although the equinox is prime time in it. There are months of darkness to go and many more nights to come. So maybe this is the blog kicking back in to life........bloody hell I just went out to take a photo of the rainy cloud and light pollution and there is a green swathe of lights beneath a horizon gap. The gap does not get very far north but its green way down to the east....once again the game is afoot, and the wifes about to groan im sure......

Sep 24, 2014

Night of the 23rd

It took a while for the sky to clear and the display was very static but at least it was bright. Above is the arc and below the aurora and the milkyway.

Sep 23, 2014

Heads up

I know its been raining for hours but there is good activity out there. Glendale on Skye has aurora. The skys have just cleared over Harris and theres a show going on. Looking at Sat24 ther is a noticable looking gap coming towards us. Extrapalating the arival time it looks as if it will be here half twelve one. Theres a lot of ifs hare but if the sky breaks there may well be a lot to see !!!

The aurora season has started well. This year I have my first DSLR and along with it I have jumped in and bought a Samyang 14mm wide angle lens. So this has replaced my FZ28 which bit the dust getting blown off the garden wall last winter. Going out armed with a nikon compact for the big feb display kindo made up my mind that I needed to be tooled up better. Although we still haven’t had a good big display I have been getting colours I could only dream of with the bridge tho so im pretty chuffed so far. Tonight there was a good strong southerly BZ and the chance of KP4 so it might have gotton good and bright. Almost as soon as the twilight disappeared there was a noticeable glow in the distance. It grew in proportion to the band of cloud across the horizon but never managed to crest it. Cloud cover looked dodgy. Sat24 had shown a good gap in the coming cloud cover but lots more cloud behind and from sundown for an hour and a half or so we had the view to the north. Once gone it wasnt to come back. I just had to be satisfied with reports from lapland of huge bright dancing displays. Ach well thats just the way of it. There is a chance of more over the next couple of days but I think thats No10 by for us tonight,

Aug 19, 2014

Unusual harrier behaviour

I saw something I have never seen before tonight. As I was coming away from Russadale quarry I had the dog running on a right good bit in front and was messing about in the heather just off the track. A hen harrier came over Chris's house down the field and over the heather. It made for the dog and circled around it five or six times. It really looked as if it was looking to nail anything the dog would have put in to the air. I might be assuming a lot here but it really looked like it was taking advantage of the dog buldering about.

Aug 11, 2014

Time moves on with nobody charged

Apr 29, 2014

Through the square window

Standing in the kitchen looking out of the windows putting off doing this and that, thinking of making a cup of coffee when bugger me a pied flycatcher lands on the compost heap then drops down and picks off a couple of flys. With this it rises to perch on the fork handle and look about. It probably sees me raising binoculars and moves off to the rugosa and out of view. After a reasonable time of about sixty seconds waiting I slip out of the back door for a spy and sure enough the wee fella is sitting low in the garden corner elder. Unfortunately for me a mop of grey hair and a grey hoodie dont make for very good camouflage and its off again. Returning to the kitchen I put the kettle on and before its boiled the bird is low down in the other corner of the garden. There is a cold wind blowing down there and the bird is flighty, just picking insects but it looks like slim pickings. A few moments later it was up and gone hopefully to better feeding. It was a delight to see for that brief time and a garden tick. I made and drank a cup of coffee waiting but it was gone carried away on the migrants wind.........then it was back to the task of putting off what ever it was off again. Who says procrastination gets you nowhere !

Apr 18, 2014

First wheatear of the year.

Briefly out and about

Out for my first run about for a while. The west side was devoid of auks with just a few razorbills and fulmars. There were quite a few kittywake about with one or two settled on ledges. I took a few shots of fulmars loafing. A female wheatear shot along the rocky shore at Mar Wick which was a nice site being the first one I have seen this year. Shooting over to the Butquoy carpark at Birsay for a bacon roll I met a holidaying birder that I had met before a couple of years ago, poor fella has had a rough time of it with the weather.!! From there to Northside and the geo to have a look at the puffin ledge. It to was bare apart from a few razorbills. There were plenty of fulmars paired up tho so at least that was encouraging. Just at the parking I spied another wheatear which I manage to snap a few photos of. It moved off to the garden wall across the road where it was joined by a second. I totally failed to get another shot and the pair took to the air disappearing in to the fields. Not much but it was fine and bright with a promise of better days to come !!

Apr 14, 2014

Facebook bloody Facebook

I may be preaching to the converted but I think that through out birding in general there is one rule that at the top of the list and it is this.... Your actions in the field should NEVER be detrimental to the interests of the birds, the birds come first. With the proliferation of DSLR photography this maxim has been pushed aside as more and more photographers push on for more and more intimate images. Now seasonal shots of unfledged chicks in nests, birds on nests are cropping up on the big facebook sites. Some of these groups are happy to host such images. Its a disturbing thing to see some shots of the worlds rarest freshly hatched ducks scattering before a snappers lens. Another shot one day had rare chicks in a nest with the photographer giving a description of how hard it was climbing the tree and getting mobbed whilst he struggled to get the shot. This instance did cause a fair amount of condemnation but such comment was soon stopped by the admin and the group continues to host such images. The problem is that such big sites attract superb photos and big audiences and turn over a large amount of photos in a day, the toxic shite is soon buried in the scroll. I saw a shot of a LEO around a occupied nest taken with 50-250 lens. The only reason the owl didnt fly and he got the shot was because the female was on the nest nearby. If the bird had spooked the female could have gone as well and left the nest open to predation and for what, a crappy photograph. You would probably need a licence to take that shot in the UK, to get that licence you would need a better reason than some ego massaging on facebook. The past few weeks things have looked worse in this respect than previous years. I hope its a trend that will get stopped and facebook groups will get a grip on this irresponsible crap but in reality I cant see it.,

Apr 7, 2014

Great Grey Shrike

The Great grey shrike at the Shunan today, theres a bit more on the blog facebook page.