I've always thought of the Tibetan Plateau as a remote wilderness and never expected to be able to go there myself, but in October I spent an amazing week photographing some of the unique wildilfe to be found there. Read the full trip report here ...
Pack of wolves (Canis lupus) crossing the plateau
Herd of Kiang (Equus kiang)
Wildlife of the Northern Pantanal, Brazil
15th - 24th July 2016
The northern Pantanal is probably the best place in the world to see jaguars, but I still felt really privileged when this youngster calmly sat on the riverbank and allowed me to photograph her.
Young female Jaguar (Panthera onca)
It's also a superb place to watch giant river otters feeding.
Giant River Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) eating a fish.
Thanks to Terry Townsend and John MacKinnon for an excellent trip to Lingshan yesterday. Lots of great birds including eagles, vultures, mandarin duck and chukar... shows what great wildlife can be found in Beijing province if you know where to look. My favourites were the two buntings below, which are both new species for me...
Godlewskis Bunting (Emberiza godlewskii) and Meadow Bunting (Emberiza cioides)
Japanese Snow Monkeys
27th - 28th January 2017
Just back from a ten day trip to Northern Japan starting with Joshinetsu Kogen National Park in the mountains of Honshu Island... home to Japanese Macaques, the most northerly monkeys in the world. They're also known as 'Snow Monkeys' and are famous for their habit of bathing in the natural hot springs.
Japanese Macaque (Macaca fuscata) bathing in a hot spring.
Wildlife of the Amazon Rainforest
25th - 29th July 2016
The amazon rainforest is one of the most famous wildlife locations in the world and it didn't disappoint. I stayed at a community-run eco-lodge in the flooded forest which is home to two highly endangered (and rather strange-looking) species, the Bald-headed Uacari and the Amazon River Dolphin. Of course I saw many other facinating animals as well, click here for more photos...
From Sichuan I travelled south to a completely different habitat... the tropical rainforest of Hainan Island. I didn't see any large mammals, but it was teeming with insects and spiders including the Golden Orb-weaver shown below. The giant female is obvious enough, but can you spot the tiny male next to her? Click here for more photos and the strange story of the Giant Orb-weavers....
Female and male Northern Golden Orb-weaver (Nephila pilipes)
Scary Monkeys on Mount Emei, China
31st March - 2nd April
My second stop in Sichan Province was Mount Emei, a sacred site for buddhists but also home to endangered tibetan macaques. These are one of the largest species of monkey in asia and can be very aggressive. The one below is threatening a rival who came too close, but one of the males also attacked me. Click here for the full story...
Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) fighting in the Emeishan mist.
Tangjiahe National Park, Sichuan Province, China
26th - 30th March 2016
Took a trip to Sichuan Province in search of some of the endangered mammals and birds that are reported to survive in China's central mountains. The first stop was Tangjiahe National Park, home of the impressive golden takin and many other facinating mammals and birds.
Spent the day in Nara Park, Honshu Island, Japan. The park has a population of over 1000 Sika Deer which have been considered sacred since ancient times so they are not afraid of people. They are easy to approach and sometimes even wander into the town itself.
Young Sika buck in Nara Park
Sika Buck in Nara town
Endangered Snub-nosed Monkeys
Wednesday 23rd September
As part of a school trip to Yunan Province in south-western China, we spent a couple of days in the Hengduan Mountains supporting conservation of the critically endangered Black Snub-nosed Monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti).
Spent three days trekking in the tropical forest of the Wuyishan Mountains, southern China. No mammals and the birds were very timid, but some superb invertebrates and lots of very cool Flying Frogs, using their webbed feet as parachutes to glide from tree to tree.
I'm very honoured that the talented artist Lesley Ann has made a painting from one of my Indian Hare photos taken in Yala West National Park, Sri Lanka. Below is a scan of Lesley Ann's painting together with the original photo:
Spent the night surveying Median Farm Nature Reserve in Carmarthenshire following the conservation work we've been carrying out over the winter. Between us, Chris Manley, George Tordorff and myself recorded well over 100 species of moth as well as various other invertebrates many of which depend on this kind of work for their survival. (Click here for more photos from the survey)
Beautiful Golden Y (Autographa pulchrina)
31st May 2015
Good to see lots of rare Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterflies in the Alun Valley this morning following the winter conservation work we carried out to improve their habitat.
Just completed two excellent Duke of Edinburgh expeditions. Firstly 26 Bronze Award students who coped admirably with strong winds and driving rain to complete their challenge. (click here for photos)
... followed by 23 very capable Gold Award students who made light of their two days of trekking around Gower. (Click here for photos )
Welsh Amphibians and Reptiles
13th -14th September 2014
Attended an excellent course on the Ecology of Amphibians and Reptiles this weekend, where I not only learnt about how these facinating animals live their lives but I also got the chance study them in the their natural habitat. Click here for more photos...
Young Common Lizard (Zootoca vivipara) basking in the autumn sunshine
Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda
30th July - 1st August 2014
The final National Park on my trip to Uganda was Lake Mburo... another savannah reserve but this time with lots of thorn scrub providing cover for species such as eland, impala and topi.
Two male Topi fighting... the victor will win the exclusive right to mate with all the females in the herd!
Finally reached the main objective of the trip... Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in the far south-west of Uganda close to the borders of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. It took a rough four-hour drive followed by another four hours trekking through lush tropical forest on steep mountain slopes, and then suddenly I was standing 5 meters from a majestic silverback mountain gorilla! There followed a magical hour photographing him and his family as they foraged, played and groomed each other. More photos of Bwindi primates here...
Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
25th -27th July 2014
Queen Elizabeth National Park, my latest stop is another savannah reserve. It doesn’t have as much wildlife as Murchison but I still managed to get some nice shots of elephants, buffalo and crocodiles as well as an interesting catch on the camera trap I left outside my tent! More from the camera trap here…
Kibale National Park, Uganda
23rd - 25th July 2014
The latest stage in my Uganda trip was a tough twelve-hour drive south from Murchison Falls on rough, unmade roads to Kibale National Park deep in the rain forest. It was worth it though, as the change in habitat brought a whole new array of species including the enigmatic chimpanzees. Photos from a night trek in the rain forest here…
Murchison Falls, Uganda
21st - 23rd July 2014
My first stop in Uganda was Murchison Falls National Park in the north-west of the country. A very impressive area of lush green savannah surrounding the River Nile and teeming with wildlife including elephants, giraffes, lions, hippos and many species of bird. More photos here…
Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) browsing
Red-throated Bee-eater (Merops bullocki)
Belgrade Forest, Turkey
20th July 2014
Spent the morning in Belgrade Forest on the outskirts of Istabul. It’s a beautiful deciduous woodland site with lots of interesting wildlife including birds, butterflies, dragonflies and lizards.
Balkan Wall Lizard (Podarcis tauricus)
Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus)
4th - 7th July 2014
Congratulations to all the students who successfully completed their four day expedition in the Brecon Beacons this weekend despite thunderstorms, driving rain, hailstones and the local terrorist threat!
Thanks to everyone who turned up for the walk Mike Bright and I led around Old Castle Down yesterday evening. Despite the poor weather forcast and late start time we had a great turnout and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Mike managed to find an impressive total of five glowworms all shining brightly...
Female Glowworm (Lampyris noctiluca) shining to attract a mate
The trouble with moths is that they're all boring brown things that just buzz around at night... or are they? This lovely creature is a Green Silver Lines I caught in the moth trap last night, more moth photos here...
6th - 8th June 2014
Just returned from an exhausting Duke of Edinburgh Award Leaders assessment expedition in the Preseli Hills, Pembrokeshire. Thanks to everyone for your support, especially Joe, Sara & Gemma. More photos here...
Rare Snakes and Spiders
29th May 2014
Just got back from a very wet but fascinating trip to Surrey where I met up with Matt Dowse from the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, who showed me some of the work they're doing to conserve rare reptiles like this gorgeous smooth snake: Click here to learn more about the trust...
You don't have to travel to exotic locations to find strange wildlife. Click here for photos of a female Daddy-long-legs Spider clutching her egg-sack in her teeth while suspended from my bathroom ceiling this morning.
Daddy-long-legs Spider (Pholcus phalangioides) with eggs
Generations of Moths
26th May 2014
Last summer I had hundreds of Buff-tip caterpillars devouring the hazel and oak in my garden. By the look of it at least some of them made it safely through the winter because this morning I found a pair making a start on the next generation. See photos of the Buff-tips in my garden here...
17th May 2014
Butterflies and moths can be great subjects to photograph... but it's not easy when moths are mainly nocturnal and butterflies never seem to keep still. One answer is to photograph them while they're asleep. Read about my latest attempts here...
4th May 2014
I took a trip down to Noar Hill Nature Reserve in Hampshire this weekend in search of one of the most endangered british butterflies. The lovely Duke of Burgundy is in danger of becoming extinct in the UK with it's numbers having halved in the last ten years due to habitat loss. More about my visit to Noar Hill...
Took a walk around the Alun Valley to check out the affect of the winter habitat management. It's looking great with a lot of violets in the area we cleared last year and one very small Dark Green Fritillary caterpillar doing it's best to destroy them!.
Dark Green Fritillary caterpillar (Argynnis aglaja)
15th March 2014
Spent 8 hours on Saturday practicing navigtion for my Duke of Edinburgh Award qualification in the Brecon Beacons. Finished up at 10:00pm reading the map by a headtorch!. Hopefully it will come in handy when carrying out night searches for the rare Silurian Moth later in the year.
Good News for Marsh Fritillaries
27th February 2014
Spent a few hours working at Caeau Ffos Fach Nature Reserve, home of the rare Marsh Fritillary butterfly this morning. Butterfly conservation arrange a series of working parties every year to clear invading scrub which threatens to shade out the caterpillar food plants. The good news is that there's been a big increase in the number of caterpillars recorded this year, so hopefully our work is paying off. Anyone interested in helping out, please get in touch with me via the contacts page.
Adders enjoying the Spring Sunshine
25th February 2014
Went for a walk with my parents around the Gower cliffs and saw two beautiful adders basking in the early spring sunshine. One was a large female beautifully camouflaged amongst the dead leaves and the other a tiny bright orange baby curled up in a ball about the size of a 2 pence piece! Unfortunately I didn't have my camera equipment with me so I had to rely on the phone for photos.