Best of 2015

I hope everyone has had a wonderful time over the Christmas period.  Personally, I think I’m still full from the Christmas dinner!

Well, it’s that time of year (again!) where we all start thinking about New Years’ resolutions and how we would like to move forward into 2016…
Before I do that I would like to show you 9 images that I have photographed over 2015 that have special memories for me.
May I taken this opportunity to wish everybody a very healthy and fun filled 2016 with lots of great photographic opportunities and wildlife encounters…


Images from left to right, top to bottom:

Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) in display flight
Lesser Celendine (Ranunculus ficaria) flower
Drake Garganey (Anas querquedula) against sunrise
Pair of Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) courtship display
Full Moon
Mountain Ringlet butterfly (Erebia epiphron)
Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
Close up image of Green-barred Swallowtail (Papilio palinurus) butterfly wing
A very cheeky European Pine Marten (Martes martes)



Article: How to photograph Black Redstart

I have just finished an article on how I photographed a pair of Black Redstarts in a Hungarian garden in June.  Lots of information and details included for those who are interesting in setting something like this up from start to finish.

The pdf can be downloaded by following this link to my website:

How to photograph Black Redstart

Black Redstart

177/365 Siskin

I’m editing images from the last session in the Brambling garden.  No matter what you do some photographs just don’t go to plan. Regardless of where I placed perches next to feeders I just couldn’t get these Siskins to land on them.  I had to get what I could so photographed them from a low level viewpoint as they fed on spilt seed from the feeders on the ground.  Still a nice perspective and a few new images added to the database of this attractive little species.

Siskin, Carduelis spinus.
Canon 5D3 with Canon 500mm f/4L lens and Canon 1.4x III converter

176/365 Siskin

031/365 Common Frog

Well, for the last image of January, image 031 is of a Common Frog. This was taken in my neighbours pond, where I have never seen so many frogs in such a small space! I used a variety of lenses, including the 100mm f/2.8 macro and the 17-40mm f/4.0 lens to get different perspectives of these amphibians. This one in particular was taken with the macro lens, as I wanted to get a lot fuller portrait of this individual. Frogs do not have external ears, but a circular depression (just smaller than the eye) behind the eye known as the tympanic membrane. The frog can hear when soundwaves strike this area. Male frogs have bigger tympanic membranes than the females.

Common Frog, Rana temporaria, West-Midlands, March, 2009.

Canon 40D with Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.

Plight of UK birds! They need our help!!

Can I urge people to keep all their feeders and bird tables topped up regularly with food please.  After nearly two weeks of heavy snow cover on the ground it is not surprising that many birds are struggling to survive.   Most garden birds are doing ok, even though numbers are slowly diminising due to the weather.  ‘Non garden’ birds are starting to come into gardens such as Snipe, Woodock and Meadow Pipits to name a few as feeding becomes desparate in their usual haunts. 
After the snow last night, I have cleared all the paths and edges of my garden in order for birds to feed on uncovered areas and put supplementary food down.  Redwings, Blackbirds and Song thrushes are already making the most of this.  On the local common this morning,  I have uncovered areas under trees to give the wildlife that extra lifeline to be able to find something under the leaf litter that is present under the snow.  This is a desperate time for birds and other wildlife so please be mindful when feeding them or going for walks and just keep the feeders topped up, the water running, and if possible, just clear some small areas if you go for a walk.  Even the smallest area can be helpful.
Heres a link to what the RSPB is doing to combat the decline of UK birds this harsh winter:

If you are new to feeding birds and want to start then read this article from the RSPB:

Other things you can do:
Clear the snow from around the edges of gardens so birds can continue foraging.
Clear a section of the garden from snow where you can provide apples and other fruit and food so birds can feed (this can be done in your local park/ wood/ common area aswell).
Keep dense trees free from snow as birds will roost overnight in these but will not be able to if they are covered in snow.
Keep bird baths free from ice and snow.  Birds still need to wash and keep clean every day to keep their feathers in pristine condition.  It is important that regularly used water supplies are kept free from ice.
Even if you dont have any seeds to put out, kitchen scraps are useful aswell such as cheese, porridge oats, left overs from cakes and biscuits, pastries etc.   All of these have a high calorie content and are all edible by birds.

Not only will you be helping birds to survive this weather, providing extra food or shelter will give you the advantage and satisfaction of seeing the birds up close as they feed in your garden.  Do you know why a Redwing is so called, or a Blackcap for that matter?!  These are some birds that will venture into your garden following in other birds in for food.

Please feel free to contact me if you need any more information.

Thank you in advance