Author Archives: Cover Images

Spotted Hyena

Spotted Hyena

Spotted Hyena

Spotted Hyena Feeding

The spotted hyena is a common dog–like carnivore found on the dry open plains of the Masai Mara and much of sub–Saharan Africa.

Dark spots cover yellow–brown fur and their long muscular necks and powerful shoulders make them instantly recognisable.

Hyenas are built for endurance — their large hearts help them pursue prey over great distances.

These Hyena were photographed on the Serengeti in Tanzania.

This image was a photograph of the day on Earth Shots in 2007 although it is an old image

it still brings back memories of the noises these animals make. My driver risked a fine of $60.00 dollars to take me  of

the marked roads to see the Hyena close up and personal. We had seen the Vultures circling above them (indicating a kill) and drove towards them.

I managed to isolate the Hyena from all the Vultures and Storks to take this image, it is obvious from the Hyena’s snarling that they weren’t best pleased

by our presence.

The image I think shows a small part of the wildness of Africa.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Red-Squirrel

Red-Squirrel

Latin Name (Sciurus vulgaris)

Red squirrel numbers have declined dramatically since the introduction of the American grey squirrel

They have also declined in numbers owing to a pox which is carried by the grey squirrel

Red squirrel’s fur can range from a warm reddish-brown in summer, to a deep brown with grey in winter.

The colour may be very variable, ranging from almost black to buff, yet their underside is always cream. They have a bushy tail and ear tufts.

Red squirrels live in both conifer and broadleaved woodland. They can be found at altitudes up to 2000m in the Alps and PyreneeRed squirrels eat spruce and pine seeds, acorns, berries, fungi, bark and sap tissue.  In the autumn they store surplus food either just below the ground or in the gaps in tree trunks

Red squirrels live in a spherical nest (drey) of approximately 30cm in diameter, which has a frame of twigs and is lined with moss and grass.

The drey is usually at least 6m off the ground and may be in a hole in a tree or set against the trunk and branches.
Each squirrel may use several dreys and they have a typical home range of three to seven hectares.

They do not hibernate, but are less active when weather conditions are bad and can remain in their dreys for several days at a time.

More information from the Forestry Commission


Golden Eagle

Portrait of a Golden Eagle

Portrait of a Golden Eagle

 Golden Eagle

Todays image post is a portrait of  a Golden Eagle. This was taken in North Yorkshire and is an image  of a captive bird.

It had to be taken through glass as the Eagle was very restless on the day I went to photograph him.

The chances of getting close enough in the wild, to get an image like this is as rare as the bird itself.

More info on this raptor here.

Habitat

In The wild the golden eagle prefers open, treeless areas to lowland woods.

Because of the climate in western Scotland, these upland conditions are present down to sea level and golden eagles are found there at lower altitudes than in central Scotland.

Golden eagles are sensitive to human disturbance and build their nests in remote, inaccessible places. Their territories range in size from 5 – 150 km2. In some areas of Scotland, the breeding density is among the highest in the world and territories are very small.

Golden eagles in Scotland do not migrate and will remain in their breeding territories throughout the year.

Young and non-breeding birds avoid occupied territories in their search for suitable breeding areas.

Shy African Girl

Nominee Image Shy African Girl

Shy African Girl

Shy African Girl

This photograph was taken in Tanzania whilst out on an outreach program with a Local Orphanage

called Light In Africa. she was really a very  Shy African Girl

I entered the image into the black and white spider awards and gained a Nominee certificate for the image.

This was the  6Th Annual competition.

I have not entered any of these competitions since then as my opinion on competitions

of this nature have changed and I do not believe they offer any real exposure for the photographers

who gain any titles through such entries.

My thoughts about these Photography comps are that they make good money for the organisers but gain no real

credibility for the authors of the winning images, they are more for self esteem I suppose rather than the expected gains offered. I also gained Nominee certificates in

previous competitions such as the Masters Cup  (International Color Awards) this one is run by the same people as the Black and White Spider Awards.

Sika Stag

Sika Stag In Rutting Season

Sika Stag In Rutting Season

Sika deer are quite a small species of deer, with males (stags) up to about 80cm at the shoulder.

Females (hinds) are slightly smaller.

The summer coat is reddish with white spots, turning very dark grey-brown in winter.

There is a white rump patch surrounded by black, which is displayed as a warning signal. The antlers form a V-shape when looking head-on.

Research by University scientists shows that Japanese sika deer, brought to the country in the 19th century, have bred extensively with native deer.

“The majority of Sika deer in the Uk are found in Scotland and Ireland, however, there are also small numbers in the south of England, such as the New Forest, as well the Lake District and parts of Lancashire.

Sika were first introduced from the Far East into Britain in 1860. Several subspecies, including Chinese, Japanese, Formosan and Manchurian were introduced into parks but the only free living form in Britain is the Japanese Sika.

It is possible that almost if not all English and Scottish and some Irish living Sika are descendants from only one stag and three hinds introduced to

Viscount Powers court’s deer park at Enniskerry, Eire in 1860.”

I have seen many Sika in The Forest Of Bowland and surrounding areas.

More information about Sika can be found on the BBC website

European Wolf

European-Wolf

European-Wolf

I have had this image of a European wolf in my portfolio for sometime now, but still love it and thought it may be

a good addition to my wildlife posts here at wildshots. I travelled to Romania to see the wolf project there.

Here is a good resource page about living with Wolves

“Romania is the only place in Europe where carnivores and livestock
share the same environment in high densities.”

There is some information here about Romanian wildlife.

There are a good concentration of  Wolves in Latvia also where wolf hunting seasons still continue apparently with a bag limit of 150 wolves.

A good amount of information concerning the reintroduction of the wolf in Scotland can be found at the wolvesandhumans.org.

If your ever in Scotland a good place to see wolves for yourself is the Highlands wildlife park at Kingcraig

It seems wolves are a much maligned species with most people scared of them, probably because of the Horror films and

the reported attacks on humans, me I love to hear the howl of a wolf and have always thought reintroducing the Wolf back into the wild

is a great idea, even though the farming community would disagree I suspect.

Tree Climbing Lioness

Tree-Climbing-Lioness

Tree-Climbing-Lioness

Tree Climbing Lioness

A photograph taken in Tanzania at the Lake Manyara national park. I visited Lake Manyara on our way back from the Serengeti and after visiting the

Ngorongoro Conservation Area which was originally part of the Serengeti.

We were told that the tree climbing lionesses and the male lions were a feature of  Manyara but this is not true as we did see the same behavoiur elsewhere on our travels through the national parks.

Our guide and driver was an excellent guy who knew all the best places to see the photographic delights of  the Tanzanian national parks.

Strangely enough the hotel where we based ourselves was in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro the strange part is

the owner was actually from less than 10 miles away from where I live.

He now unfortunately does not own said hotel and I can’t find any reference to it when searching the internet but I digress.

The trip was cheap compared to the prices I had seen advertised elsewhere and turned out to be more than worth it.

The guide we had was in fact the driver for the hotel and somehow we had managed to get him as our

personal driver for the duration of our trip. Pretty cool!!.

Africa is a fantastic place to visit if you ever get chance, I had a great time and the locals were great fun to get to know.

The  road to the hotel was a twisting affair with massive potholes and very muddy at times, also it was a long way up from any made road

so the driver and the 4 wheel drive vehicle was really a must have, just to get from and back  to the hotel.

Whilst in Africa I made some contacts and revisited twice although not for another Safari.

Whilst staying in Moshi I met the hotel owner again in a bar we shared a meal and he asked me to do some promo shots

of the hotel and rooms in return for free lodgings and a bar tab, who could refuse such an offer. I also did some promo shots for a charity based around the same

area which turned out to be a real eye opener on how hard life can be in Africa. It seems as if the poorest people live in the most beautiful countries in the world.

Goshawk

Goshawk Portrait

Goshawk

Goshawk Portrait

 Goshawk

The Goshawk is a well-built hawk that is widespread but scarce and elusive bird that is usually found in woodlands.

They look like a large Sparrow-hawk, but in fact the female Goshawk is about the size of a Buzzard and the male Goshawk is slightly bigger than a female Sparrowhawk.

Both sexes have close horizontally barred underparts and a broadly barred grey tail. The broad whitish eyebrows (supercilia) and piercing orange eyes make the Goshawk evil-looking. The cere (flesh at the base of the bill) is greenish-yellow and the legs are yellow.

The male (or tercel) is smaller than the female and has a dark patch behind the eye that makes it appear even more fearsome. The female (or falcon) is browner than the male and is the heaviest bird of the genus Accipiter.

The birds eyes were intriguing the bright orange colour begged for attention. the slight catch-light in the eye is from natural light.

The blurred background is actually partially a wall and some ivy growing up it.

A 70-200mm 2.8 lens was used at 2.8 to reduce Depth of Field.

Juveniles are paler and browner, with teardrop marks on its underparts and greenish eyes.

The image was a commission for the raptor’s owner and the finished article was 20 x 30 inch canvas print for the clients wall.

Various images were presented to the client such as the bird in flight and full length portraits, this was the client’s pick.

More Info from the RSPB

Pheasant

Pheasant In Autumn

Pheasant In Autumn

An image that appeared on Earth shots A few years ago, This Pheasant’s colours

blended and matched the trees Autumn colours perfectly.

I have seen quite a few sales from this image in magazines and also have had quite a few requests for web use.

The image itself was taken very close to home and I have to admit was a bit of a grab shot. One frame and he was gone.

had he been sat anywhere else on the log I could not have got the colours of the autumnal leaves

appearing in the right places ,which both enhance and match the plumage colours.

The morning light was perfect any harsher and it would have burnt out the bright parts of his feathers.

I have cropped the image to lessen the effect of the log on the photograph but it has more appeal as it is

and most people seem to prefer this way also, fortunately for me.

Maybe others that see this image here would like to leave some feedback if so use

the comment form below. Always good to hear from a wider audience.

Funky Gannet

Gannet

Gannet

Funky Gannet

This Image of a Gannet was taken at Bempton Cliffs Last year. I had been

photographing Gannets in flight like most of the big lenses there

when I spotted this guy having an argument with another Gannet that had

decided to spend sometime bombing him and pecking his head. this image was taken mid attack and I thought

it looked pretty funky..

Would love to know what he was thinking at this moment in time. maybe he was thinking about re-taliating or how best

to avoid the attacks of his peer.

Bempton cliffs is a wonderful place to see a vast array of wildlife and birds, well worth a visit anytime

of the year.

There is an abundance of butterflies, wild flowers and a fantastic view from the cliff tops. I tend to visit early

morning before most people are out of bed.

This time of year is especially good for visiting and rarely seen birds.

The sunrises can be very dramatic at certain times of the year and the feeling of space is fantastic

and Oh did I mention the wildlife?

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