We've just finished a book on tigers. It has lots of our tiger photos in, along with
several other mammals and birds. The text gives some insights into tiger habitat
and habits. You'll find it in the Blurb bookstore. There's a hardback printed version
and also an e-book version for iphone / ipad.
Although we do travel a fair bit to find wildlife, we are very lucky to live with
Snowdonia literally on our doorstep - the national park boundary is at the bottom
of the drive. One of our favourite walks from home is up the mountain to a very old
church. Here wildlife thrives in the old stone walls.
Walls surrounding the old churchyard
small tortoishell butterfly
Blood-drop Emlets / Monkeyflower hybrid
Elephant hawk moth caterpillar
I was very pleased to find the elephant hawk moth caterpillar as it's one of my favourites.
The moth is said to get its name from the little grey protrusion at the front of
the caterpillar's head - this can extend outwards if it is alarmed and looks like
the trunk of an elephant !
The next morning I was eating breakfast and gazing out of the window when an unusual
shape in the tree just outside caught my eye - it looked like another elephant hawk
moth caterpillar. I got out the ladder and climbed up to get a better look. Thank
goodness John was away and didn't see these antics - the caterpillar turned out to
be a brown curled up piece of leaf. Should have gone to specsavers !
Earlier this year we made a mad dash up to Scotland in an attempt to photograph a
sparrowhawk that was regularly frequenting an area of woodland. Unfortunately we
missed the sparrowhawk as he had left the area during the breeding season. This month
we got a call from the hide's owner, Alan McFadyen, that the hawk was back in the
area. Another mad dash up to Scotland ensued. Thankfully we had more success this
time and also delighted in the array of other birds visiting the site. We spent several
12-hour days in Alan's hide and enjoyed many visits from the male sparrowhawk, some
fleeting but one or two lasting for several minutes - a pleasure to watch. A big
thank you to Alan for all his hard work.
On a short walk on the Derbyshire moors we saw a handful of red grouse, so we decided
to make an early start the next day.
Up at 5.30am - dark, rainy, windy & cold but we persevered. Once up on the moors
the sun soon started to warm us up and we encountered lots of grouse.
We've been a bit quiet photographically of late, due to a number of reasons (attending
lots of shows, the terribly wet weather, and decorating our house). However, when
the sun shone we grabbed our gear and headed out for a morning on the lookout for
We spent 3 weeks in Scotland. During our first week on the Isle of Skye we did plenty
of walking and enjoyed the wide open spaces. We also took some boat rides to see
seabirds and the Small Isles.
White-tailed sea eagles
Neist Point lighthouse
The Isle of Canna
The black cuillin mountain range from Elgol
For the next 2 weeks we moved south to the Sunart / Ardnamurchan area. We found some
butterflies in the local oak woodlands.
Small pearl-bordered fritillary
Buff tip moth - looks just like a broken birch twig !
Common sandpiper calling from boulder in a stream
The main quarry of this fortnight was pine martens so we spent most of our time waiting
and watching out for them. The midges were formidable. We went well prepared with
our mosquito headnets but the tiny devils managed to get inside, making working from
our hides tricky. Luckily the local store had finer midge netting that worked well.
Pine martens are mainly nocturnal, so many of our sightings were in very low light.
However with perseverance (and over 180 hours of look-out duty) we were fortunate
to have some early evening encounters with several of these charismatic creatures.
In-between exhibitions we had a few days off in Worcestershire. On a village green,
green-winged orchids were flowering. Thoughtfully, the parish council had roped the
area off to avoid the flowers being mowed down when the grass was cut. Many passers
by stopped to enjoy the colourful spectacle.
We were on the look-out for more spring butterflies, but the weather was against
us. We visited a wood where we had previously found butterflies at this time of year
only to be drenched by heavy showers and see no butterflies at all. Undeterred we
returned a couple of times over the next few days and managed to locate our quarry
- the pearl-bordered fritillary.
Spring wouldn't be complete without a visit to a bluebell wood, so we immersed ourselves
in a wonderfully tranquil blue haven for a whole day.
From Conwy to the south east is a long way to travel only to be thwarted by the weather.
Therefore when our plans to photograph reptiles in Surrey were scuppered by heavy
rain, winds and cold we had to come up with a plan B. We headed for the slight shelter
offered by woodland and managed to find a few early orange tip butterlifes. Although
with the weather conditions we doubted that even the early spider orchids would be
flowering, we ventured into Kent to search for them. There were in fact several
hundred spikes flowering but the cold conditions appeared to have stunted their growth
somewhat and most were much smaller than usual - still a lovely sight to see.
For some time we have wanted to visit the south of France to photograph the iconic
white horses of the Camargue. The variety of settings and weather conditions we
experienced whilst photographing these beautiful horses provided a challenging but
A couple of years ago we travelled to the West coast of Scotland to photograph boxing
hares. This year we returned to the same place at the same time. Whilst we saw plenty
of hares, none were in boxing mood. We're unsure if we were too early or too late
but given the fact that everything appears to be early so far this spring, we guess
the bouts were over.
Red deer were grazing on the hills.
There was plenty of bird life
After a few days we craved a greater challenge. Given our poor success rate in the
past with otters we decided to dedicate a chunk of time to trying to track down this
The old maxim rang true for us this time - hard work reaps its own rewards - and
we enjoyed some great encounters with a couple of otters. We were privileged to spend
a few hours in their company, watching these master fishermen at work.
One of the nice things about being professional wildlife photographers is that our
images are purchased for a variety of uses which often broadens our experiences.
Recently a Swedish band used one of our great grey owl photographs on their cover
- we liked the effect and the song is good too - click on the single cover for a
link to the song in iTunes.
Stop press June 2012 : the band have now released their EP - click on the EP cover
for a link to the album in Amazon.
the single the
Three days by the seaside in the company of sanderlings, lying down on the cold blustery
beach has left us with a great admiration for these feisty little birds as they feed
on the seashore and take fleeting naps at high tide.
We spent a day with fellow photographer Mike Lane in his woodland bird hide His
regular feeding has certainly attracted large numbers of birds.
Blue tits & great tits were most numerous
A long-tailed tit paid several visits
Marsh tit is a bird we don't get to see too often. This tiny bird is very active,
so it's hard to photograph
The coal tit is equally active, rarely staying still
Redpolls frequently visited the area
With so many birds flying everywhere it was difficult to concentrate on one particular
but nuthatch is one of our favourites so we spent quite a while trying to capture
the spirit of this cheeky bird.
Whilst we were exhibiting at the Bird Festival at Slimbridge Wildfowl & Wetlands
Trust the weather took a turn for the worst.
Very cold icy conditions with snow made for some interesting photo opportunities.
We were thankful that the festival was in a heated visitor centre, not in outdoor
Our favourites were the Bewick swans :-
Even closer to home a local stream is laden with icicles.
Now is a good time to see Hazel flowering. The yellow 'lambs-tails' are the male
parts on the tiny red flowers are the female parts
In Snowdonia, a light dusting of snow covers some of the higher tops
We've been spending a lot of afternoons watching at least two short-eared owls hunting
over waste ground, and occasionally arguing over territories. They're usually a long
way off, but now and then they grace us with a fly-by. The weather has been difficult,
very wet & windy and the owls notoriously don't like flying in the wet or the wind
! An occasional fly-past of other birds helps the waiting.