I’ve been working on a show to be held at the Found Gallery in Brecon which is coming up in a couple of weeks – 24th May to 24th June. It’s my first show for a long while and looks at my bird photography as inspired by five quotes.
Birds Eloquent looks at the visual poetry of birds within the environment and the context within which they are found. It explores the relationship between place and species and also looks at how birds interact with each other within a fragile ecosystem.
The project simply grew from a love of being with birds all my life, watching and recording from an early age and accompanying my brothers on bird outings. All the work is carried out in the British Isles, a country offering so much diversity but under so much pressure.
Never chasing, never collecting species, never year lists or life lists, just a love of watching, anticipating and being in the company of birds. Photographically, I came late to birds, and would rather, at the end of a days shooting, have an eloquent image of a more common species than a record shot of a rarer one. My main focus is exploring how the medium can help convey a sense of place and the extraordinary habits of birds, giving a sense of my own experiences in the field.
As the work continues to develop I find myself pulling back from the bird and working more with how it is experienced in the field. Time waiting for the right moment is time not only invested in the image but in my well being and this aspect of slowing down is becoming central to the work.
I shall be showing a selection of work from this collection at the Found Gallery in Brecon in May 2023
It’s been a little quiet on the site lately, I’ve been posting images on Instagram lately as it seems a decent platform to display images. I have to say as well it’s been good to follow some exceptionally talented photographers who throw you into new ways of thinking and imaging, so all good so far!
Winter in Norfolk brings vast skies and some great birds. I’ve visited the north Norfolk coast on a few occasions in the last year or so sometimes as part of bird race with friends (good company and good birding and if you’re up for a year list, gets you off to a flying start with well over a hundred species possible in a few days) and sometimes on my own.
After reading Adam Nicholson’s love letter to the Shiants, Sea Room, these islands had drawn me to them in a way that islands have a habit of doing. I’d caught sight of them from the Kylebrahn a couple of years ago as we sailed across the Minch from Skye to Lochmaddy. We were now in striking distance having spent some time exploring the area and peninsulas around Gairloch.
A very different experience to most of the islands I’ve been to was the trip to Coquet Island off the Northumberland Coast. It’s managed by the RSPB and landing is not permitted. Its lure is the Roseate Terns and of course Puffins.
The Farne Islands; a group of between 20 and 30 islands, how many depends on the state of the tide; one and a half to nearly five miles off the mainland; resistant igneous Dolerite; home to over 100,000 seabirds. I’d not visited them since childhood and had very mixed emotions after standing on them for the first time in over 50 years.
The wind had been up, it had rained for the last few days and we were not hopeful that our longed booked trip over to Bass Rock would go ahead.
An Island one mile off shore in the Firth of Forth and three miles from our departure point at North Berwick, Bass Rock is a place like no other Iâ€™ve ever been to.
Last week I spent four full days atÂ WWT Slimbridge. I hit a decent spell of weather too, days of hard frosts and unbroken blue skies, a rarity this last few weeks when the shortening days have appeared to close in earlier due to successions of low pressure systems bringing heavy rain.Continue reading
The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is not an easy bird to see or photograph. I’ve been to quite a few locations over the years where they are known to breedÂ (and it’s never easy to be 100% sure of that!) but never even caught sight of them. ‘A shy bird of the high canopy’ is often how bird books will describe them.
When Tom Kistruck, the RSPB warden at Ynys-hir, told me that the most recent count of the Greenland White-fronted Geese on the Dyfi estuary, not far from the town of Machynlleth, had grown from the eleven that had been reported before Christmas to thirteen, I had a feeling that the number might prove to be as unlucky as Iâ€™d been the previous couple of days. Iâ€™m not generally a superstitious person but at times like this you sort of begin to wonder.
Handa is an island that simply tugs you back. It has it all; a wonderful evocative sense of loneliness (no Skomer hoards here – although it is still possible to get a quiet spot if you walk in the opposite direction to the Wick); a chance to get close to the ‘pirates’ of the bird world; archaeology and ancient history and a landscape of low coastal reefs to seriously imposing 100 metre Torridonian sandstone cliffs.Continue reading
You sometimes get days when everything seems to be just right, I remember one at Firemore SandsÂ some years ago when the dramatic weather played back drop to ten Black-throated Divers, Gannets diving in the bay, terns all around and surfing Red-breasted Mergansers. I had another one recently on our journeys around Scotland.
One of the star species on any trip up to the north of Scotland must be the Divers. The small lochans around Lochinver can be productive for the Black-throated, whist the Red-throated can be virtually relied upon to be in Scourie Bay. It’s not uncommon to encounter up to four at the same time here.Continue reading
For all the spectacular and heady wildlife Mull has to offer, the photographs I’m perhaps most pleased with from my last trip are those of a bird I always enjoy working with, and one that continues to challenge; the swallow.
My brother Phil had just come back from Mull and had told of a golden eagle eyrie very close to the single road that runs through Glen More. He’d also been lucky enough to see it takeÂ a liveÂ lamb off the hillside in front of the eyrie and return it to the then small eaglet sitting tight and out of sight in what had become known as the â€˜smiling rockâ€™, due to the shape of the crag under which the eyrie lay.
Itâ€™s been a good while since I last posted a blog but a recent trip to Mull, and devouring â€˜The Eagles Wayâ€™ by a favourite nature writer of mine, Jim Crumley, has made me think about getting â€˜something out thereâ€™(funnily enough another title of one of Crumleyâ€™s twenty five or so books!)