Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Top Ten Wildlife Experiences of 2014

Well 2014 is coming to a end and what a amazing year its been for me traveling all over the UK to document various species.

From these 10 trips alone I've traveled 3840 miles ! (from Nottingham and back)

Heres a rough recap of some of my best wildlife moments of 2014

10. Water Voles

In spring I visited the water voles in Derbyshire to try and build up a portfolio of images of them and is still something I'm working on now. 70% of voles dies during the winter and few live longer then a year so its a tough life for a vole not counting merciless mink or horrendous habitat destruction. One of my goals for 2015 is to film and photograph the voles underwater and have a couple of sites lined up for this.

9. Cornish Jelly

A trip I was looking forward to all year was returning to Cornwall to photograph Blue Sharks in Penzance however the weather was not on my side and due to high winds the boat trip was called off. Not wanting to waste a opportunity I snorkelled around the coastline at Falmouth and found this stunning Compass Jellyfish which had been washed in from the storms, it wasn't til after I discovered they are mildly venomous!  

8. Richmond Park Deer Rut

Richmond is a national hotspot of the red deer rut and can often lead to legions of wildlife photographers visiting the park to photograph the clashing stags, while I was in the area talking to a local scuba club about underwater photography I decided to visit the park early to get some shots of the deer. They weren't quite rutting but very close to it with lots of chasing and parallel walking.

7. Leaping Salmon

When you think of Salmon you typically think of Scotland but I was pleasantly surprised to find a site less then a hour from my home! This population of salmon is the most inland group traveling up the Humber to reach the Dove in Derbyshire.


6. Peak District 

With the peaks being about a hour away I knew I wanted to do more work in the park this year, not just in rivers but more landscapes and wildlife also. The heather this august was breath taking and coupled with a sunrise it meant I even managed to get a half decent landscape shot.

5. White Clawed Crayfish

One of the great things with wildlife is it can always find a way to surprise you, while working for the Lincolnshire Rivers Trust they told me about a good population of white clawed crayfish in the River Witham a river I'd visited since a child but had no idea the crayfish were living in it. Within a few minutes of searching with a licensed surveyor we found 5 of them! With the crayfish plague wiping out a lot of them it was great to see a healthy population so close to were I live.

4. Powan of Loch Lomond

I suspect a lot of you reading this would of never of heard of a Powan or European Whitefish, its a rare glacial fish similar to arctic charr that are a left over from the last ice age. Due to climate change, invasive species and siltation the Powan have had a bit of a ruffe time. Normally they live deep down in the Lochs but visited some captive reared Powan at SCENE which are being studied and released back into the loch.

3. French Adventure 

While filming for angling series 'Mr Crabtree goes fishing' I was tasked with underwater, time lapse, stills, some interviews and wildlife and I have to say France was a herpetologists dream! Reptiles are a big love of mine and saw whip snakes, viperine water snake, wall lizards and this stunning green lizard having a yawn.

2. Sea Lamprey

These really are a weird looking 'fish' I knew I wanted to photograph one of these fish for a while but they only enter rivers in early summer and even then only hang around for a few days so was a spur of the moment sort of thing when I heard they were around. I had a farmer in Sussex, wildlife trust member in Wales and river keeper in Hampshire looking for them and ultimately the river keeper got in touch first!

1. Puffins Underwater

I'm not overly a birder but have a great interest in all natural history particularly some of the iconic species like kingfisher, bittern and in this case the puffin. I did some research into areas to get underwater footage of puffins and the farnes was top of my list. I can tell you it was incredibly hard and didn't manage any high quality stills just footage on the GoPro (see below) but was amazing to see a species like this flying underwater and something I'll be working on next year for sure along with other water birds.  

BBC Wildlife Local Patch Reporter
Jack Perks

Facebook: Jack Perks Photography


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