Green woodpecker in flight, Malham

A Mindful Moment with a Green Woodpecker (Picus Viridis)

Some highlights from a wonderful encounter with a Green Woodpecker (Picus Viridis) while leading the Walking Photography wildlife photography workshop in Malham.

Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) with nesting material

500km for a Wren, Seil Part 2: Wildlife Encounters

Firstly, apologies to anyone offended by my use of kilometres over miles, but 500km just sounds better than 310.686 miles! Read more

Hare running on Ilkley Moor

River & Moor, A Perfect Day

Grebes weed dancing on the water, hares boxing on the fields, and peregrines performing death-defying ariel displays. For me, spring is often like going to a music festival where all your favourite bands are on different stages at the same time! Read more

Barn Owl chick ringing, Sun Lane, Burley in Wharfedale

The Last Generation...

It was a couple of years before the stars aligned and I was able to join a licensed ringer and observe the ringing and recording of our local barn owl brood. It’s taken over a year before I could look over the pictures again; as these would be the last generation of a barn owl nest site that’s produced young for at least a decade.

I’ve been watching the barn owls in this territory for as long as I’ve been living here. A London suburb born and raised “towny”, I had to pinch myself when weeks after moving to the area I caught that haunting and unmistakable shape silently drift over the lane in front of me. In fact, as the days passed I began to doubt myself, maybe I imagined it? But the more I looked, the more I absorbed, the more I saw.

Ten years later and after thousands of images taken of the Sun Lane barn owls, I’m about to come eye to eye with the last generation this habitat will produce.

Less than six months on from this encounter and rumours of a bag blocking up this nest box would hit me like a stitch on a cross-country school run (probably the last time I got a real stitch). Fences up, foundations dug and show home close to completion within 12 months.

Progress is important, but so is remembering what went before and what’s been lost. A record of a magical, unique Summer’s morning…

Gold finch in the garden

Spring in the Land of Spec Savers

Springtime at the In-Law’s

As Summer slowly dissipates into autumn and a new generation of feathered friends prepare to either chase the summer south or fatten up ahead of the leaner months, I’ve been reflecting on the opposite side of our British calendar, when Winter relented to Spring.  

Anyone familiar with the typical turnaround times of my personal photos will no doubt be dumbstruck at me sharing photos of anything occurring within 24-month window, but there you are!

Spring in the Land of Spec Savers

It’s the Easter holidays and we’re at my father-in-law’s where the North Yorkshire borders ambiguously blur into County Durham (not too far from Mr Cumming’s ‘lockdown’ opticians). Spring is back with a vengeance.

It’s the first family gathering since the festive season and while we have experienced an alarmingly warm winter, the green shoots and testosterone-fuelled birds are a most welcome development. 

A cottage moved into by my in-laws after their own young had fledged, I’ve been visiting and watching the garden’s wild visitors and inhabitants for over ten years. Starlings looking for gaps in the roof tiles, solitary bees emerging from the lawn, courting collared doves flirting and flitting across telegraph lines. During our week’s stay this year, I made some time to turn my lens and celebrate the garden’s inspirational visitors…

Released curlew with rings and GPS tag. Curlew GPS tagging in the Yorkshire Dales.

GPS Tagging Curlews in the Yorkshire Dales

Back in April, I was privileged to join British Trust of Ornithology (BTO) researchers in the Yorkshire Dales as they fitted a select number of curlews with GPS tags.Read more

Treecreeper, Certhiidae feeding young fledglings in an old tree

Tree Creepers, the line between determination and flexibility

One of my biggest weaknesses as a photographer and as a human being, is that I’m easily distracted. Read more

Otter breaking the surface while hunting on the river wharfe

Getting Otter on the River Wharfe, In January

A crisp morning by the river in late January results in one of the best mornings for spotting and identifying five individual otters all heading up stream towards Ilkley.Read more

Urban fox in suburban garden with christmas lights

Christmas Eve in Chessington

It’s Christmas Eve 2022, and I’m at my parents house in Chessington, where London suburbs unfurl into the Surrey borders. As the festive evening draws in, a childish excitement flushes through me. 

Familiar naive questions drift to the forefront of my brain. Will he visit me tonight? Can I stay awake long enough to witness his arrival? And have I been good enough to be rewarded with what I want?

As Christmas Eve turns into Christmas Day, the anticipation of checking my camera is reminiscent of getting the photos back from a roll of film sent off to the lab. 

Did it work? Were the settings right? Yes! The magical creature, so embedded into my childhood did visit, and left me with a festive encounter, I’ll long remember.

Urban fox in suburban garden with christmas lights

Red Squirrel, Hawes, Yorkshire Dales

Red Squirrels of The Yorkshire Dales, A Tonic to the Ears

I've been blessed and cursed with an over active imagination from the moment my eyes began interpreting their immediate and wider surroundings.Read more