2017 marks my 20th anniversary as a wildlife photographer. Through two decades I’ve taken a photographic journey from Ugandan gorillas and ten years with the wild tigers of central India, to Wild London, Wildlife Wonder and water voles or sleeping kingfishers on my doorstep. To celebrate, I have plenty of exciting projects planned including a major schools initiative and #52Wild 2017 in photos – a year long weekly photography study of both my home patch and further away. One #52Wild sequence follows my local river and its wildlife, the other showing  diverse seasonal wildlife at varied locations in the UK. Enjoy the journey.

Week 26 (25th – 30th June) of #52Wild Local Patch  Roosting marbled white butterflies in local meadow – pure wonder.

Week26 Marbled

Week 26 of #52Wild Away  Wildlife wonder with families and the Canal & River Trust at the Bath Festival of Nature.

FON

And wild creativity with Stanborough art students in Welwyn Garden City.

Background

 

Week 25 (18th – 24th June) of #52Wild Local Patch  Its all about marbled white butterflies and meadows this week.

Wk25 Marbled

Week 25 of #52Wild Away   Hot sun, scorched grasslands and a mass of butterflies in the meadows at Greystones Nature Reserve. Wonderful day with community group – we’ve never see so many butterflies.

Wk 25 Greystone2 Wk25 greystones

 

Week 24 (11 – 17 June) of #52Wild Local  Is this not the most sunning insect? First encountered a few weeks ago, in London, I hoped I would see one again. So I was stunned to see this  Ruby-Tailed Wasp on my  garden fence. Incredible colours.

Ruby Tailed Wasp

Week 24 of #52Wild Away   Its not often that Great White Egrets come this close – wonderful views with my group on RSPB Ham Wall in Somerset.

Wk24 Egret

Week 23 (4th – 10 June) of #52Wild Local Patch Just brief moments along the river as busy week away.

Week23 river

Week 23 of #52Wild Away Working with students of Bourton-On-the-Water Primary & Secondary schools photographing the wildlife just a short walk from their classrooms at Greystones Nature Reserve (Glos Wildlife Trust). Wonderful observation by the pupils, which will feature in an exhibition next year

Greystones1

Bourton1

 

Week 22 (28th May – 3rd June) of #52Wild Local Patch  Special moments during our Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust family photo safari – my first local sighting of a roe deer and her fawn.

Wk22 Rosw

And lovely views of dipper too.

Wk 22

Week 22 of #52Wild Away  A wonderfully busy community day exploring Greenwich Ecology Park with people of all ages. Butterflies, damselfly, heron and nesting tern enthralling visitors.

Week22 Skipper

 

Week 21 (21st – 27th May) of #52Wild LocalPatch Not only sparrows enjoying the mayfly emergence. I’ve been mesmerised by their flights on the warm evenings this week.

Week21 Mayfly path

Week 21 Mayfly2

Week21 River lights

Week 21  of #52Wild Awa Celebrating the amazing Wildlife Skills programme with Devon, Dorset, Somerset  & Wiltshire Wildlife Trusts – a wonderful start to the week. So special to catch-up with the trainees I’ve worked with over the past three years and see what career paths they have taken.

Wildlife Skills 1

In Somerset exploring the Levels and enjoying the bird & 4-spot dragonfly extravaganza. How often do you see, barn owl, cuckoo, marsh harrier & bittern in just one hour in the middle of the day.

Week21 4Spot

And discovering a huge crayfish with group during BBOWT photography day at the Nature Discovery Centre!

Week22 Cray

 

Week 20 (14th – 20th May)  of #52Wild Local Patch  Sunshine after the rains

Week 20

Week 20 (14th – 20th May)  of #52Wild Away

Exploring the Thames with a group from the Chiswick Pier Trust. So much wildlife and plenty of wild surprises.

Week20 b

The scream!Week20 c

And nesting herons!

Week 20 a

 

Week 19 (7th – 13th May)  of #52Wild Local Patch  Love Swifts! 15 in the skies above

Week19 Swift

And a fledgling dipper

Week 19 dipper

Week 19  of #52Wild Away A wonderful glimpse of a moorhen family WWT Slimbridge

Week 19 Moorhens

Taking a different point of view – the low down on lizards at the London Wetland Centre

Week 19 Lizard

And  skywards damselfly silhouettes

Week 19 Damsel

 

Week 18 (30th April – 6th May)  of #52Wild Local Patch Fabulous views of water voles

Week 18 vole

And special moments watching my local Grey Wagtail and Dipper pairs feeding their newly fledge young.

Week18 GreyWag

Week 18  of #52Wild Away  The first of many – an orange tip! Through spring summer and autumn I’m leading a variety of community photography days at the wonderful Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Greystones Farm reserve. An exhibition of the photography and filming by local people, students and school children will take place in Spring 2018

Week 18 Orange Tip

 

Week 17 (23rd – 29th April)  of #52Wild Local Patch   Plenty of water vole activity as riverbank vegetation becomes more dense.

Week17 Vole

Ducklings!

Week17 Ducklings

Week 17 of #52Wild Away – birthday celebrations in the Wye Valley

Week17 Wye

and superb starlings at the London Wetland Centre

Week17 starling

 

Week 16 (16-22 April) of #52Wild Local Patch   Celebrations as the first swallows and house martins arrive.

Week16 Swallow

Week 16 of #52 Wild Away   Enjoying the wildflower extravaganza at Wiltshire Wildlife Trusts Lower Moor Farm – swathes of snakehead fritillaries…

Week16 Frit

together with cowslips and blackthorn blossom.

Week16 Frit2

 

Week 15 (9-15 April) of #52Wild Local Patch A fantastic week watching my local water voles with friends from Oxfordshire & Hertfordshire. Each day we’ve seen something different – new vole holes and territorial behaviour, arrival of a pair of kingfishers and my first damselfly of the year. week15d

Week15c

Sniffing scent message from another vole’s dropping

Week15 b

Love watching them swim – like furry paddle-steamers

week15a

Water edge feeding.

Week 15 #52Wild Away – I love leading family wildlife photography events, seeing the differing way we each view the world, cross-generation enthusiasm for nature and of the course the creative photography. This week I led a family event at WWT Slimbridge, and were treated with wonderful spring sightings – everyone saw and photographed kingfishers.

KIng Brim

But perhaps my favourite discovery, spotted by one of the children on the event, was this Brimstone moth resting on a model kingfisher!

Week15 iWeek15gWeek15 f

Wonderful woodland colours in Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s Lower Woods

 

Week 14 (2-8 April) of #52Wild Local Patch   Increasing visibility of water voles this week, as they feed on the new riverbank vegetation. I believe that there are four breeding females in just one 400m stretch of the river. More water voles next week!

week14 a

Week14 b

Week 14 of #52Wild Away A wonderful with Yr1 & Reception children at Wallscourt Farm Academy exploring the wildlife in their school grounds. Photos by pupils (age 5 & 6)

Week14 c

Up above, the children watch a buzzard being mobbed by a raven

Week14f

And enjoy discovering the sudden emergence of ladybirds.

 

Week 13 of #52Wild Local Patch I’ve been enjoying plenty of water vole activity this week – this one feeding on garlic mustard and celandine

Week13 a

Week 13 of #52Wild Away. On Monday and Tuesday I worked with GCSE Art students at Bristol Met Academy observing and photographing the natural world in their school grounds. The surprise discovery of the sessions was finding a number of dotted bee-flys (a national scarce species) resting near the school entrance.

Week13a

Bee Fly larva are a parasitic on other bees – the Arkive website indicates that the host bee  is thought to be one of the mining bees but the exact species not known. From the students observation and photography it was clear that these Bee Flys were gathering around a colony of Ashy Mining Bee (pic below)  – almost certainly their host species. I love it when student studies can contribute to our understanding and realise how  much potential there is for developing valuable science study within schools.

Week13 c

 

Week 12 of #52Wild Local Patch   Signs of spring – celandine cloaked banks and well-used water vole holes.

Week12

Week 12 of #52Wild Away Good morning fellow daffodils. We are gathered here today to…

Morning Daffs

 

Week 11 of #52Wild Local Patch Just brief moments along the river among a busy week away.

Week11 a

Week 11 of #52Wild Away Three days exploring the grounds of Blenheim Palace with local Woodstock school children. So much Wildlife Wonder & natural science discovered! From fabulous feathers to mating brimstone butterflies.

Weekl11b

Week 11 d

Woodstock pupils showing off their wild school grounds to local MP Robert Courts

Weekllc

A wonderful end to the week enjoying the London Wetland Centre with photography group and my first lizard of the year.

Week 11 e

 

Week 10 of #52Wild LocalPatch Love the celandine starry skies in my local churchyard and slowly appearing along the river

Wk10 a

 

Week9 of #52Wild Away Enjoying my first butterfly of spring and my last murmuration of the winter, the starlings will soon disperse, most heading beyond the UK to breed.

Peackock Wk9

Straling Wk9a

Starling PTEs

And enjoying stunning views over Bristol with students

WP_002634

 

Week 8 of #52Wild Local Patch – celebrating the wonderful discovery of frogspawn in local ponds.

Frogspawn Wk8

Week8 of #52Wild Away – A busy week away. Creativity beyond the classroom with teachers in Coventry, exploring beautiful Swanage with the Purbeck Literary Festival winning school and a photography day with adults in Berkshire. Plus a brief visit to the glorious RSPB Arne- all visitors personally welcomed by Robin!

Arne Robin

Spring arrives in Swanage – photo by pupil at St Marks

Daff

 

Week 7 of #52Wild Local Patch – wonderful moments as the warmer weather brings my first water vole sighting of 2017. My family and I watched it for 5 minutes feeding on riverside vegetation.

Vole17Feb1

Vole17Feb2

Along the river there are plenty of signs of vole activity

Vole Food

Week7 of #52Wild Away – first glimpse of spring in London

Crocus Wk7

And watching an extraordinary starling murmurations in Somerset with my group from PTES.

Starling Wk3

More than a million-strong the starlings settled, crammed on the branches of a few old trees  – so began of one of the most intense, unusual and longest murmurations I’ve enjoyed.

Starling Wk7

A pre-roost gathering, together they erupted from the tree’s laden boughs and poured into a rough green field just in front of us. Unusual behaviour, the starlings were clearly unsettled.

Straling Wk7 2

A few moments later the starlings lifted off – their river flowing over our heads and into distant reedbeds.  In the best ‘seats’, dotted with droppings and so captivated by stunning natural performance, it was only afterwards that we realised we had been watching the starling show for well over an hour.

Starling Wk7 4

Week 6 of #52Wild Local Patch – 8am, enjoying the lightest fall of snow.

River Wk6

Snow Wk6

Week 6 of #52Wild Away – In Bristol with school children exploring the wildlife on our doorstep – photos by children (age 6 -10)

Boat Pigeon Wk6

FrostyHip Wk6

 

Week 5 of #52Wild Local Patch – swollen after heavy rains the river is flowing fast

River Wk5

Week 5 of #52Wild Away.  Glimpse of a goshawk (my first ever) – hunting above the Slimbridge  WWT wetlands

Goshawk Wk5

Nearby a bittern – showings its fantastic camouflage!

Bittern Wk5

In contrast – the wonderful colours of a mallard at the London Wetland Centre.

Mallard wk5

 

Week 4 of #52Wild Local Patch – a vibrant stream of grey, brown and yellow. (Grey Wagtail & Dipper)

Grey Wagtail

Dipper BRown Wk4

Week4  of #52Wild Away –  Exploring frosty Bristol with St Barnabas Primary school pupils on our MShed Wildlife Photographer of the Year urban nature safari. Photo by pupil (age8). Brilliant blog & photos by children here

Mshed4 Wk4

On the Somerset Levels with adult group we were treated to ten minutes watching an elusive water rail, plus hunting marsh harriers, egrets and glimpses of a fishing king.

Water Rail

Ending our day watching a mesmerising murmuration in the skies above, but confusion as the starlings descended into a very unsettled roost.

Amid the murmur

 

Week 3 of #52Wild Local Patch – A dull but mild start to the week.

River2 Wk3

Delighted yo see the first celandine flowers appearing along the river – vital early food for water voles.

Celandine2017

Week 3 of #52Wild – Away. A busy week working with groups & schools in Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset & London and Wildlife Skills trainees at the gorgeous Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Langford Lakes.

Langford Lakes

Stunning views of the  starling murmuration and roost at sunset with a group from PTES

Starling watchers

Somersunset

Ended an amazing week at WWT London – my photography group treated to wonderful views of the secretive and well camouflaged bittern.

Bittern

 

 

Week 2 of #52Wild Local Patch – Sadly no snow here this week, but I did find this gorgeous ice-dog along the riverside path!

Ice Dog

And the dipper singing from a temporarily raised flotsam island

Dipper Wk2

No Week 2 #52Wild Away photos this week – but will be plenty in Week 3 as I’m in Wiltshire, Somerset & London

Week 1 of #52Wild Local Patch – Frosty along the river this morning (3rd Jan), fieldfare and blackbird feasting on fallen apples, plus a brief glimpse of a dipper.

river-wk1701

Through the week I’ve enjoyed wonderful views of the dippers, including a territorial dispute. Managed to film a few seconds, do take a look at my short film  – dipper-dispute

dipper-display

Week 1 of #52Wild Away – Starlings roosting last night (2nd Jan) from trees protruding above reeds at RSPB Ham Wall in Somerset

17starlinga

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