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Wildlife Photo of the Week: Spring 2018

Welcome to this Spring’s ‘Photo of the Week’ where I share the best of my photographic research this season. These are the studies that inspire my paintings. If you too feel inspired by a subject feel free to get in touch – I paint private commissions and am happy to discuss possible compositions. My number is 01759 368355.

To see my summer selections follow this link to head to Wildlife Photo of the Week: Summer 2018

And click on this link to look back at Winter 2018


May 26th 2018

Puffin

Wildlife Photo of the Week

puffins photographed by artist robert e fuller

Tomorrow is the start of the Yorkshire Puffin Festival at Flamborough. Don’t miss the chance to see these comical-looking birds as they gather on the cliffs to breed. Having been at sea for seven months, they mass together in noisy, sociable groups. Competition for nest sites are fierce and sometimes fights break out as they dig out burrows from the chalk face to nest in. It won’t be long before the eggs hatch and tiny pufflings emerge. Click here to read about my experiences watching a colony in the wild and find out where to go to see them. 

The best time to watch puffins and where to go to see them


May 18th 2018

Badger Cub

Wildlife photo of the week

 

Badgers photographed by Robert E Fuller

Now is a good time to spot badgers as the evenings grow longer and they begin to emerge in daylight. The cubs are now between three to four months old. The recent warm weather will have encouraged these youngsters to emerge from their underground setts for the first time since they were born in the cold of winter.  It is possible now to watch them as they explore the ground above their setts and play with other badger cubs. Click here to read my blog post on how to spot these adorable cubs in the wild and why shouldn’t miss them.

How to spot badger cubs and why you shouldn’t miss them


May 11th 2018

Hedgehog

Wildlife photo of the week 

 

Hedgehog photograph by artist Robert E Fuller

They once roamed Britain alongside sabre tooth tigers and woolly mammoths, but now hedgehogs face extinction. Hedgehog populations have dropped by 30pc in urban areas and the situation is even worse in the countryside, where populations have declined by at least half. For Hedgehog Awareness Week this week gardeners are being asked to help out in a number of ways, from avoiding the use of slug pellets to creating ‘hedgehog highways’ . Follow this link to find out how you can become a ‘hedgehog hero’ and help save the humble hedgehog from extinction.

The hedgehog photographed above is a hog that I rescued from my garden. Read about how it became a model for a new painting and see the finished picture here

How I persuaded a hedgehog to pose for his portrait


May 3rd 2018

A Robin on Le Tour

Wildlife photo of the week
Photograph by wildlife artist Robert E Fuller
Le Tour Robin

This week the Tour de Yorkshire sweeps through the county and as everyone catches the cycling fever I thought I’d share this photograph of a robin inspecting the handlebars of a resting bike for nesting possibilities. Robins like to build their nests close to human activity in the hope that their young will be safe from predators and often nest in garden sheds or walking boots. Click here to Read about the time I had robins nesting in the front grill of my Landcruiser. 

Why robins choose to nest in odd places


April 27th 2018

Black Grouse

Wildlife photo of the week

Photograph by wildlife artist Robert E Fuller

Now is the time to see black grouse courting on the Yorkshire Dales’ moors. Their curious courting display, known as a lek, is spellbinding – if at times a little comical. The males charge around with their curiously-curved tails fanned and erect, wings spread and drooped, whilst making a loud continuous bubbling sound. Every now and then, they jump in the air and call out. It makes them look a bit like remote-controlled toys on the blink. Meanwhile females strut nonchalantly through the commotion, occasionally fanning their tail feathers and flirting with the males. Read about my trip to see a lek on the Yorkshire Moors and see the paintings the sighting inspired here.

Why you should see a black grouse lek and where to go to watch one


April 20th 2018

Curlew

Wildlife Photo of the Week

Curlew, photographed by artist Robert E Fuller

The sound of a curlew ringing out across the Yorkshire Wolds and Moors is unmistakable. For some it signifies the onset of spring in Yorkshire. These waders come in from the coastal mud flats each spring and remain to raise their young over the summer months. The males circle the valleys, surveying their new territory and calling with a crescendo of notes as they rise steeply into the air with rapid wing beats before gracefully gliding back down with quivering wings. The sound of this haunting call inspired two of my paintings. Click here to see them and read the story behind the inspiration.

How the sound of a curlew calling led to two new paintings


 

April 13th 2018

Leveret

Wildlife Photo of the Week

 

Look out for young hares, known as leverets, hidden in long grass or shrubbery now. But if you find a lone leveret, leave it where it is. Its mother will have hidden it there deliberately to keep it safe from predators. She will be along to feed it after dark. Leverets are born in a ‘forme’ or scrape dug into long grass. They are just eight centimetres long at birth and have a coat of long, silky fur. The adult female only suckles her young once a day and her visits are so brief that it is very rare to see the two together. It is said that in medieval times people were so unaccustomed to seeing a hare with its young they thought the lone leverets that they found out in the fields had appeared there by magic. Read about the time I was lucky enough to watch this secret relationship between a hare and her leveret and see the paintings inspired by the experience here: 

Are Leverets the Real Easter Bunnies?


April 6th 2018

Kingfisher

Wildlife photo of the week

As heavy showers flooded the countryside this week, birds struggled to keep dry. This bedraggled kingfisher is preening to restore its plumage after being caught in a deluge. 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 they can keep their feathers dry when diving in to water to fish. These jewel-like birds have begun courting now. Look out for pairs near riverbanks and streams. If you see a pair it is worth watching what happens. Kingfishers have to overcome a natural dislike of one another’s company in order to come together to mate.  Read more about this curious courtship here. 

How I made an artificial kingfisher bank to watch kingfisher’s inside their underground nest


March 30th

Amphibian Choirs

Wildlife photo of the week

 

Listen out for frogs and toads as they begin to spawn now. Large ‘choirs’ of males congregate in ponds croaking loudly to attract a female. Female frogs are attracted by the loudest and longest croaking and the noise can fill a night sky. Once a female, attracted by the sound, enters the water she is surrounded by males trying to grasp her. This tangle of frogs amassed in the water can look alarming. A successful male will latch onto a female’s back and try to kick away his competitors. He will stay like this until she releases her eggs. Once the eggs are fertilised the frogs disperse to resume their solitary lives. I photographed the above frog in my garden pond. Curiously it is being pursued by a toad, not a frog!

 


March 23rd 2018

Short Eared Owls Head Home

Wildlife photo of the week

 

Short Eared Owl

On the move: Migrant short eared owls are now gathering up in groups along the east coast ready to leave our shores. These beautiful owls fly to Britain from Scandinavia each winter to escape the cold. We also have a resident population of these owls, but just now you are more likely to see more of them as the migrant birds group together waiting for the temperatures to warm up and a good tail wind to make it back. Short eared owls crepuscular, which means that they hunt at dawn and dusk. Read my blog post about the time I watched a dramatic battle between a short eared owl and a kestrel.

How a midair mobbing inspired a new painting of a kestrel attacking an owl


March 16th 2018

Heron arriving at a Heronry

Wildlife photo of the week

 

Look out for herons balancing atop their communal nest sites, or heronries, at this time of year. Herons are one of the earliest birds to nest and the sight of these normally elegant one-metre tall birds swaying precariously in the upper branches of trees is quite something. The trees look as though they can barely support them! Herons get together in groups of up to 100 at the same heronry each year. Some heronries can date back 40 or 50 years and can vary in size from just four or five nests to 200. The herons make a great spectacle seen together in these large groups, squabbling over nests and courting, all sporting their very best breeding plumage with the males showing red bills. But it’s not easy to photograph a heronry since they are usually so high up and in inaccessible places. Read about the time I tried, and failed, to watch a herony in Scotland here:

My quest to paint herons in a heronry washes up in a London park


March 9th 2018

Yellow Hammer

Wildlife photo of the week

 

Look out for yellow hammers on fields and hedgerows now. These brightly coloured birds stand out against the brown and umber grasses of a winter landscape. But they are far from abundant. They feature on the RSPB red list of endangered species and just now survival is even more of a challenge. Their winter food stocks of seeds are severely depleted and the insects that they depend on during the summer have not yet emerged. I photographed this bird just as the cold snap that hit the UK last week was abating. It was trying to find seeds on a strip of conservation planted by the farmer whose land abutts my garden.  Sadly this crop has now been stripped bare. I have been leaving seeds on the ground nearby to help this flock survive. Read my blog post on how this particular conservation strip drew in a bounty of rare birds to my garden last year.

I’ve got huge flocks of rare birds outside my window thanks to the farmer next door.


 

March 2nd 2018

Snow Hares

Wildlife photo of the week

 

This week the UK has been hit by a bitterly cold weather front from Siberian Russia known as the ‘Beast from the East’. It has been so severe the roads to my gallery have been blocked by six foot high snow drifts. The last time we had snow like this was in 2010. Although there was more snow then, the winds this time are far harsher. I have been out in the blizzards filming wildlife with a camera crew from Tigress Productions, who make films for BBC The One Show, following the story of how creatures cope in these conditions. We followed a group of hares across a snow field, but this photograph was taken in a blizzard back in 2010, when conditions were also arctic. Read the story about it here

Photographing hares boxing in snow


I hope you have enjoyed this season’s selections. To look back at my winter photographs click here Winter 2018

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