Sunday, October 26, 2014


Capercaillie are primarily pinewood grouse that inhabit native pine forest and occasionally, conifer plantations. They spend a lot of time feeding on blaeberries on the ground, but may also be found in trees, feeding on pine needles. The males are black, huge and unmistakable, especially when they gather to perform their mating ritual at favoured “lek” sites. But the UK capercaillie population and range has declined rapidly, and it is now at risk of extinction. This is due to its very specialised requirements: these birds need not only suitable habitat, but wide expanses of it. Conservation and restoration of this habitat is essential for their survival.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Grey Seal

This Grey Seal was photographed on a small island amongst the Treshnish Isles, Scotland. Population studies estimate that just under half of the world’s grey seals live in the waters around the UK, and the breeding colonies in the Hebrides are the largest in the UK. Of particular importance are sites on the Treshnish Isles and on the Monach Islands.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Common Seal

A Common (or Harbour) Seal on the Cairns of Coll, Inner Hebrides. These are the most common species of seal in Britain, and can be found virtually all around our coastline. Britain is home to 50-60,000 individuals, representing about 10% of the world population.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Silver-washed Fritillary

A close-up view of a Silver-washed Fritillary in the Forest of Dean.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Great Spotted Cuckoo

A Great Spotted Cuckoo seen in Pembrokeshire earlier this year. Like our Common Cuckoo the Great Spotted Cuckoo is parasitical, choosing corvids or starlings as its host, but it doesn't eject the chicks or eggs from the nest. Instead they just tend to fail to compete with the cuckoo chick.

Monday, October 06, 2014

White-letter Hairstreak

The White-letter Hairstreak is a difficult to see butterfly, usually found at the top of elm trees, but they do occasionally visit ground level to feed, as did this one in Dorset. Their colonies are usually restricted to a small handful of trees, or even one individual tree.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Common Crossbill

A Common Crossbill in the Forest of Dean. This is the most common species of crossbill to be found in the UK. Of all the others, the only one I'm yet to photograph is the Scottish Crossbill, having already captured Common, Parrot and Two-barred Crossbills. The Scottish Crossbill will have to wait until the next trip to the Cairngorms.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Common Dolphin

Common Dolphins filmed in waters between the islands of Coll and Mull (Inner Hebrides) last month. Common dolphins are thought to be one of the most abundant cetacean species, with population estimates suggesting that there are several hundred thousand animals globally, yet overall numbers have declined due to a combination of factors. There is evidence that significant numbers of common dolphins are accidentally caught in open sea trawl and drift nets; they seem particularly vulnerable to this threat because they are attracted by the fish inside the nets but do not jump over them to escape. Common dolphins are also subject to the same threats as other cetacean species including the pollution and degradation of the marine environment, injury and disturbance from vessels, and decreasing food resources due to overfishing.