Sunday, 16 December 2012

Top Ten Wildlife Experiances of 2012

2012 has been a fantastic year for wildlife for me, seeing my first great-crested newt, waxwings and otter and travelling from the Channel Islands to Scotland and everywhere in between!

There's no particular order as I enjoyed all the experiences equally!

1. Jersey, Channel Islands - Lizards and Red Squirrels

Another first: the squirrels proved a challenge but luckily came to a feeder. The Jersey red squirrels are darker than their Scottish cousins.

Jersey has two lizards not native to England but a few colonies in Dorset and scattered groups exist from releases. The aptly named green lizard is a large reptile reaching 40cm!

again the imaginativly named wall lizard is present around rocks and walls and with caution can be approached slowly.

Jersey was also the location for my last nature trail although never say never!

2. Isles of Scilly - Grey Seals

I won this trip in a competition and have always wanted to go to the Scillies. The climate means it never has frost and plays host to lots of species that are uncommon on the mainland.
The grey seals are quite common and this one had netting around it.

 Seabirds were common with a colony of puffins in the summer though I'd missed that. The shags were present in good numbers instead.

3. Cornwall - Sand Lizards

This vibrant sand lizard is something of a secret in Cornwall. The population was reintroduced about 20 years ago and has become very healthy with a good number of them present in this location. I'd spent a week in Dorset and didn't find any - I went to a location only 40 minutes from where I live and found over 20 of the lizards!

4. Dumfires & Galloway - Starling Murmuration

It's a phenomenon I'd seen on TV but never in person and it was breathtaking to see thousands of birds working as one. The local buzzards and sparrowhawks also seemed to like it!

Murmaration video on vimeo

5. Nottinghamshire - Waxwings

These are some of the most colourful birds you're likely to see in the UK. Having a massive influx of them into Nottinghamshire I knew I wanted to try and find one so went off with local birder Rob Hoare who found a flock of around 100! It's worthwhile finding local experts as they are going to know where your intended target is!

6. Peak District, Derbyshire - Grayling

Grayling have always been one of my goals for underwater photography and I finally got the chance to photograph and film them in the Peak District. With the water being so clear it made ideal conditions.
Thanks to Rob cuss for helping me out.

7. Norfolk - Dipper

While staying with fellow wildlife photographer Josh Jaggard we heard reports of a black-bellied dipper, a rare subspecies of the white-throated dipper.

It showed very well and was not bothered by all the birders who came to see it!

8. Dungeness, Kent - Marsh Frogs

I've heard of marsh frogs but never had a confirmed sighting until I went to Kent which is crawling with them! Every lake, ditch, canal and marsh has them and they have become a important food source for a lot of local birds.

9. Bristol - Insects

While having an exhibition in Bristol I took the time to get some shots in its local parks and found more wildlife than I'd expected! Newts, tadpoles, beetles, jackdaws are all living quite happily in the middle of Bristol.

10. Mini Fish

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Thursday, 13 December 2012

Attenborough Nature Reserve In Winter

 Went to visit one of my favourite local nature reserves today, Attenborough Nature Reserve

The light was brilliant for a change and started off near the visitor's centre, where the birds are more tame, and getting low for a better perspective.

With the ice being all over the ground and water, lots of birds have been pushed closer to the edge of the lakes so by waiting at the side patiently I got shots of the tufted ducks.

It's a shame I don't shoot more environment shots but the frost on the vegatation was standing out to me.

Though quite far, this Goosander was on the top of my hitlist to photograph. I think a hide would be better for these as it proved very skittish.

Hint -

- Visiting a reserve in a differnet season will reveal differnet highlights with winter comes frost, snow and colder weather which makes nice images and brings migrating birds.

- i got down low which is a standard practice now getting more on there level and a more engaging image.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

UK Mini Fish Project

So i haven'nt really done a blog on my project yet but i though i'd put in detail what i'm planning to do and how people can get involved and help.

This project aims to look at Britains smaller freshwater fish and look into the the decline of them and to find out why this is happening. Rasing awareness for the species is key using a mixture of science and underwater photography to create a unique and special project. This project is funded by National Geographic and realies heavily from the public filling in surveys, voulnteering and general support which is needed.

Species like 10 spined stickleback are increasingly rare (or miss identified as 3 spined stickleback) and Spined loach are only found in five British rivers, becasue of there tiny size they often get over looked but without these smaller fish starting the food chain off the kingfishers and otters everyone likes to see simply would'nt be present!

The main way people can help is to fill in my survey or pass it on to other people weither there a angler or have some kind of background that would put them into contact with smaller fish.

Mini Fish Survey

Heres a interview i had with BBC Radio Nottingham about the project

The project runs from April - September 2013 and with the scientific help from Dr. Nicholas Ray of Nottingham Trent University the project aims to be a mix of science and media.

Part 2 of my interview with BBC Radio Nottingham

Rough timeline of project (subject to change)

April - VOULNTEERS NEEDED! - Surveys around a number of rivers in the East Midlands including the Trent, Leen, Derwent, Erewash, Soar and Witham if you think you can help get in contact via the Facebook Page - Facebook Page or email

20th April - Species Fishing Match - a charity event to raise money and awareness for the project on Nottingham/Beeston canal aiming to catch as many species as possible. cash prizes to be won!

Species Match Group

May - Electro Fishing with the EA - I'll be going on a number of electro fishing surveys with the Environment agency to see what species turn up.

- Night Fish Survey - Bullheads and Stone loach are mostly active at night so i'll be conducting a survey at night to see how many we can come across

June - Trent Underwater - Doing some underwater photography in the River Trent the 3rd largest river in the country.

August - Collect data and send of to National Geographic

October - release findings and images in London at the National Geographic Store (possibely a smaller event in East Midlands also)


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Sunday, 2 December 2012

Birding week

I've had a week of birds going for a range of species.

i started in Carlise for the Starling murmuration a truly breath taking experience with thousands flying above my head and sparrowhawks and buzzards darting in picking of the weaker ones.

Starling Video

Later in the week i herd of reports of Waxwings in Nottingham a species i have never seen. going along with fellow Nottingham bird photographer Rob Hoare we came across a flock of over 100!

filming and seeing these birds was a great experience especially so close to my home.

Robs blog is worth a look - Rob's Blog

My Website - My Website

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