Notes from the Field

Filed in Articles, Events, Workshops on Nov.04, 2018

A female Grey Seal sleeping with her plastic necklace around her neck that she never asked for, it was so ingrained that her neck region had completely grown around and over it. Wildlife is paying a high price for our throw away lifestyle.

The vet along with members of his team did manage to cover the seal with a towel as the plastic was cut free and the area treated to help the healing process and stop any infection. The noises the seal made while they were removing the plastic weren’t nice but animals don’t no if we are going to do them harm or not. She made it back to the sea without her neckless afterwards but sadly there were many more.

I’ve been shadowing a small group of scientific researchers documenting their work and between now and Christmas I’ll be visiting others places around the UK’s coastland to get more images and evidence of the effect our throw away lifestyle is having on both Grey and Common seals that come to the UK to breed and give birth at this time of year. I can’t share many images at the moment as they are part of the research and policy documents that are going to be released in the new year at a government level. But when they are released I will publish these, in the meantime I hope you like the few I’ve shared above.

Working to document the not so nice things in nature and our effects on this is something I find very rewarding. Its my way of using what I have; my camera to help wildlife. The images I’ve got recently will help and that’s extremely satisfying. Making small changes to our own lives, thinking of our own impact on that environment around us is a way that we can all help though.

Take a walk into the countryside or walk along the coast and you will see what humans are doing to our country, its full of evidence of that cheap, throw away lifestyle that is killing us and the natural world. Making a difference doesn’t always have to be hard work, there are some really simple things that you can do today that would make a huge difference to help our wildlife and the seas. Click here too see and get involved with Sky’s Ocean rescue campaign.

My conservation side of my photography is something I’ve done since turning professional back in 2009 and during that time I’ve helped in anyway I can to bring the plight of the natural world and many of its creatures to the public’s attention. From habitats and species abroad to the UK’s wildlife and the issues it faces in our own countryside that are often overlooked,  everything matters to me and I try to do what I can to help.

Along with my recent conservation work I’ve also enjoyed time running many workshops and one to ones with my clients most of which booked for the Deer Rut which has now really finished. Thank you too all those that I met and I really hope I’ve helped you with your own wildlife photography. The following images were a few of my favorites taken alongside my clients as I worked with them too achieve the same look and make best use of the amazing light we had on most days.

There a still a few tickets available for my upcoming workshops at the North West Birdwatching Festival at WWT Martin Mere I will be presenting on both days, each session I will present my “Dawn till Dusk” talk. Taking you through what skills I use within my own wildlife photography, all broken down into four very easy to understand steps, followed by a beautiful slideshow talking you from dawn until dusk. We then head out to the nearby grounds to put this into practice. So if you’d like to join me then click here for all the information and too book.

On the 29th November in London I’m also doing a talk for Wex Photo Video as part of their events There are tickets still available if you’d like to join me as I go through my conservation work that I do using my camera twinned with my own passion and skills. I look forward too seeing some of you there as I’ve received some nice emails already from those that have booked.

Finally, over the last twelve to sixteen months I’ve been helping the Hunt Investigation Team with my knowledge, skills and images from the Peak District. As I speak Foxes on 6 sites across the UK; Peak District, Lake District, North Wales, Northern Ireland and two sites in Scotland are being shot, and their dependent young will be left to starve on RSPB nature reserves. This cull started on the 30th October and runs through until June 2019. Click here too see the video highlighting this tragic waste of life. 

The fox cull is a trial to conserve the endangered curlew. The RSPB has admitted it does not know how many foxes it needs to kill to protect a single curlew. Many could suffer and die completely unnecessarily. The root cause of curlew decline is intensive farming which is decimating so many species and habitats. Yet foxes are paying the ultimate price for human land mismanagement. To see the full story please click here.

I met Julian Hughes, head of public affairs for RSPB Cymru a few weeks ago in North Wales. I listened to him and then showed him my own evidence of their flawed conservation in ⁦‪Peak District National Park Now that same model of predator control is being rolled out in Wales. You can’t kill animals when the whole food chain is broken.

The go to solution is to kill and the arrogance of conservation charities just gets worse, their reasoning that decisions are science lead maybe so, but common sense is never applied.  Organisations that by their charters proclaim they are responsible for the protection of our wildlife yet pick and choose who can survive and who can’t. Yet seem reluctant to take on those that own and run moorland estates for corporate gain rather than as healthy broad habitat.

The issue is intense farming and these trails for killing predators isn’t the answer. A recent newspaper report came out this week also covering this story that I spoke to him about, to read this and become more aware of these issues then click here.

I’ve supported the RSPB from when I joined the YOC as a 12 year old. I cannot support them no longer. I care greatly for our beautiful wildlife here in the UK and will never be silenced when it comes to cruelty issues. You cannot kill animals in our food chain and the circle of life while turning a blind eye to the bigger issues. 

The Peak District is my patch it’s helped shape who I am over the last 3 decades, it’s brought comfort, hope and great joy to my life through difficult times growing up. Over the last several months seeing how in some areas wildlife is treated, killed and looked upon as pests has shocked me. Seeing crows I came across earlier this year in the Peak District without food or water trapped in larsen cages calling to their families in so much panic is something I will never forget. 

Those that did this did it on behalf of the RSPB’s predator trail, you can’t play god with our wildlife when the bigger issues aren’t being resolved or even tackled and this is why I’ve withdrawn my support for the RSPB.


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