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September 2016

Catching the Sun

Highly Commended in the Botanical Britain category of British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016

 

BWPA, hedgehogs, voles and bats - another mixed bag!

And another incredibly busy month that started with a wonderful event at the Mall Galleries celebrating the 2016 winning images from the British Widlife Photography Awards.  

I was really delighted to hear that I'd had 4 images shortlisted in the 2016 British Wildlife Photography Awards.  I kept my fingers crossed for the announcement of the results and was delighted to hear that Catching the Sun had been Highly Commended.

I went to the BWPA celebration on 5th September and had a wonderful time meeting old and new friends and admiring the stunning images on the wall of Mall Gallery.  It seemed to me that the standard had really gone up this year.  I was proud to be amongst the successful and celebrated photographers once again!

The image was taken at Westhay Moor Nature Reserve, Somerset, England.  It was a magical morning that started with the sound of a cuckoo and a beautiful dawn.  I'd gone to photograph dragonflies but, they weren't to be seen!  So there I was, lying in a bog with water seeping through my clothes, hand holding my camera, my ear in the water and lens on the sphagnum moss. Trying to focus on the tiny sundew plant, I was getting really fed up but then the first rays of the rising sun caught the sticky traps. I was mesmerised. A spider started to spin a thread from the flower spike. Magic!

To say that I was fed up was a bit of an understatement.  I was getting really, really uncomfortable and grumpy... until the sun came up.  It was as if all the Christmas lights had turned on at once!  Moments like that really give me a huge buzz!

My other shortlisted images are on my Awards page.

Hedgehogs

One of September's highlights for me was another opportunity to work alongside a team of researchers, ecologists and volunteers on a hedgehog project in London.  For two nights I joined the teams looking for hedgehogs between 8pm and 4:30am.  Yes it's absolutely exhausting but, it's incredibly rewarding too!  For the first of the September evenings, I took still photographs and on the second, I mostly took video footage.  I'm learning video.  I have an awful lot to learn! But, the opportunity was far too good to pass up and I have some footage that I'm proud of.  I'll work on ways to show you the stills and the video in due course.  

I also found a hedgehog at Walthamstow Wetlands and my photographs were used by London Wildlife Trust to publicise this rather unexpected and absolutely lovely surprise! 

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Bats

I've been involved with London Bat Group in the north London Nathusius Project. There's a national project to try to discover more about the Nathusius Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus nathusii) and the north London Nathusius Project Group have been contributing to the data set.  We've been monitoring a number of sites across north London, mainly in the Colne Valley in north west London and also in the Lee Valley in north east London.  I've enjoyed learning more about these fabulous creatures and tried to take some photographs so that I can share their astonishing beauty with others.  I'll get better at it, but it will take some time.

We have been capturing the bats in harp nets.  The success with the target species has been astonishing and suggests that the Nathusius is a city bat... but we've also captured (and released) Daubenton's, Common and Soprano Pipistrelles (including an albino soprano), Noctules and a Natterer's bat.   I aspire to take photographs of bats in flight but, one step at a time!

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