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Wildlife Photography | Autumn 2020

From deer emerging from woodland to owls flitting over evening skies, meet the wildlife art models that inspired my paintings this season.

Click here to see a weekly update of paintings these photos have inspired.

November 21st, 2020

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

Meet the Models

Sparrowhawks are formidable predators. They attack with such lightning-quick speed that most gardeners are only ever aware of their presence by the unhappy pile of songbird feathers left on the lawn. Despite this destructive behaviour, I am captivated by this bird’s awe-inspiring speed and accuracy as a hunter. In an effort to be able to watch one up close for a painting I managed get one to feed in my garden – without taking my songbirds.

Click here to read the story



November 14th, 2020

Red Stag (Cervus Elaphus)

Wildlife Photo of the Week

Red stag’s have voice boxes that lie very low in their throats. This ‘box’, or larynx, drops even lower when they roar to create a deep, bellowing sound. It is understood that over generations, stags with deeper roars had more reproductive success. You could call it the Barry White effect.


November 7th 2020

Red Squirrel (Sciurus Vulgaris)

Wildlife Art Model of the Week

Red squirrels spend their autumn days stashing nuts away for winter. They have an exceptional sense of smell and can tell if a nut is rotten without opening it, only selecting the best to feed them through the colder months. Their noses can also help them to find their buried food under a foot of snow. I watched this red squirrel in the Yorkshire Dales.

Click here to read the story.



October 26th 2020

Tawny Owl (Strix Aluco)

Wildlife Art Model of the Week

Tawny owls become extremely territorial in autumn and at times the battles can be quite alarming. This owl almost lost an eye in a particularly vicious spat between tawnys here in my garden and for a while I thought I had lost one of my favourite art models. Thankfully it recovered fully and I went on to paint its portrait. 

Click here to see the painting. 

tawny owl wildlife art model


October 22nd 2020

Roe Deer (Capreolus Capreolus)

Wildlife Art Model of the Week

As winter approaches, roe deer change their golden brown summer coats for more drab, grey-coloured winter coverings. I photographed this doe in autumn, shortly before she turned colour. I love the way she has lifted her head to look straight at me in this photograph.

Click here to see the painting she inspired

roe deer

October 12th 2020

Pine Marten (Martes Martes)

Wildlife Art Model of the Week 

Pine martens are members of the mustelid family. Roughly the size of a domestic cat, they are deeply secretive, preferring only to break cover at night. I stayed up for most of the night to watch this one make a fleeting visit through the garden of a cottage I hired on a wildlife-watching trip to Scotland’s Ardnamurchan peninsular. 

Click here to see read the story and see the paintings this sighting inspired

pine marten wildlife art model

October 6th, 2020

Red Stag (Cervus Elaphus)

Wildlife Art Model of the Week

Red stags often fling dead grass and mosses over their antlers to appear more impressive during their annual mating season, or rut, which takes place from now until November. The wildlife spectacle also involves loud roaring and dramatic fights between stags as they try to impress hinds, or females. Scotland is the best place to see this spectacle, but you can also watch it in Yorkshire at Studley Royal Park.

Click here to read how a handsome red stag I watched in Scotland inspired a new painting

September 30th, 2020

Badger (Meles Meles)

Wildlife Art Model of the Week

It is National Badger Day on Tuesday, so I thought I’d share this snapshot taken by cameras hidden inside a badger sett here at Fotherdale. Did you know that badgers do actually hibernate in winter? They aren’t as active as usual during winter and of course, remain nocturnal, but their bodies don’t go into hibernation.

Click here to see the painting this study inspired

wildlife art model badgers

September 24th, 2020

Red Squirrel (Sciurus Vulgaris)

Wildlife Art Model of the Week

This week is Red Squirrel Appreciation Week. Red squirrel populations in England are still worryingly low, but in Yorkshire they can be seen in reserves at Widdale, Garsdale and Mallerstang in the Dales. They feed on pine cones and are fun to watch as they scamper over walls and scurry up tree trunks. I watched this one at Widdale and later painted its portrait. 

Click here for the story

September 14th, 2020

Buzzard (Buteo Buteo)

Wildlife Art Model of the Week

Buzzards are now common birds of prey and can often be seen soaring over rugged countryside. Identifiable by their size, and their short, rounded tails, these impressive birds of prey feed on small mammals, in particular rabbits. I photographed this one in Snowdonia, Wales, where I set up a feeding station to encourage it close enough to study it.

Click here to read the story and to see the painting I produced

wildlife art model buzzard


September 7th, 2020

Kestrel (Falco Tinnunculus)

Wildlife Art Model of the Week
Kestrels hunt during the day, but have such keen eyesight they can spot prey in extremely poor light which allows them to hunt almost until dark. This male, distinguishable by it’s slate blue colouring, was out searching for food in the early morning light. 

Click here to read about the kestrels in my garden and see the paintings they inspire

wildlife art model kestrel


September 1st, 2020

Kingfisher (Alcedo Atthis)

Wildlife Art Model of the Week

This kingfisher is preening its feathers to keep them in perfect condition for fishing. Kingfishers produce a waterproofing substance from a gland just above their tail feathers. They rub their beaks against the gland and then spread the waterproof coating all over so that their feathers stay dry when they dive for fish.

Click here to see my collection of kingfisher paintings

wildlife art model kingfisher

Read More:

Enjoy my wildlife photographs? Click here for more snapshots taken throughout the seasons. 

Want to see the paintings these wildlife models inspire? Click here to follow my ‘Wildlife Painting of the Week’ blog


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