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Wildlife Photo of the Week | Spring 2020

Wildlife Photo of the Week | Spring Art Studies

I paint directly from my own wildlife photographs and so much of my time is spent out in the field watching animals. In this blog, I’ve selected the best images of the season to share with you each week. From badgers emerging from underground to the first swallows of summer, these are the art studies that inspire my artwork.

Click here to see these photographs translates into paintings on my Wildlife Painting of the Week’ blog.


May 30th, 2020

Puffin (Fratercula Arctica)

Wildlife Photo of the Week

Puffins are now busy providing for their young in nests. They feed the chicks, known as pufflings, a diet that consists mainly of sand eels which they deliver by the beakload. Serrated bills mean they can hold several at once. With their bright orange beaks and feet, and comical waddle, these birds have been described as sea clowns, or parrots, and are among the most lovable of Britain’s sea birds. Curiously, their Latin name means ‘little friar of the north’ a reference to their black and white plumage which resembles monastic robes.

Click here to read more about watching puffins in the wild & to see paintings inspired by these ‘models’

wildlife photo of the week puffin

 

May 23rd, 2020

Pheasant (Phasianus Colchicus)

Wildlife Photo of the Week

Pheasants usually nest in shallow scrapes under hedgerows or in long grass and can lay up to 15 eggs. The chicks, which emerge from their eggs with their eyes open and the ability to run around and feed for themselves, leave the nest as soon as they hatch. The name for this is precocial. Their feathers provide excellent camouflage and even the tiniest chicks will instinctively freeze to blend in with their surroundings when they sense danger. At 12 days old they can fly short distances.

photo of the week

 

May 16th, 2020

Tree Sparrows (Passer Montanus)

Wildlife Photo of the Week 

Tree sparrows are sociable, noisy birds known for their cheerful chatter as they busy themselves in trees and hedgerows at this time of year. Here in Yorkshire, we are fortunate to have a number of tree sparrow strongholds, but elsewhere in Britain, these birds have fallen silent as populations have declined drastically.

Click here to read about how I created a tree sparrow stronghold in my garden & see the painting it inspired

wildlife photo of the week


May 9th, 2020

Hedgehog (Erinaceinae Europaues)

Wildlife Photo of the Week

Hedgehogs get their name from the fact that they are often found in hedgerows and have pig-like snouts. Baby hedgehogs are called hoglets and did you know that they are collectively known as a prickle? Sadly these fun-looking creatures are now endangered and desperately need our support. A simple way to help is for gardeners to cut a hole in their fence to provide a ‘hedgehog highway’ for them to roam to feed.

Hedgehogs have an estimated 5,000 spiked spines on their backs, are known as quills, and each one typically lasts around one year.

Click here to read my story of painting a hoglet I raised by hand – think of all those quills I had to paint!


May 2nd, 2020

Fox (Vulpes Vulpes)

Wildlife Photo of the Week

If you live in the countryside, you may be lucky enough to spot fox cubs at dawn or dusk now. These youngsters come out from their underground dens to explore and play. They are also learning to hunt and will pounce on almost anything that moves. They have quite a varied diet and even catch and eat craneflies, otherwise known as daddy-long-legs. 

Click here to read about the day I watched this cute cub hunting craneflies

Click here to see the my collection of fox paintings

 


April 24th, 2020

Yellowhammer (Emberiza Citrinella)

Wildlife Photo of the Week

Yellowhammers have the most endearing song. The rhyme is so distinctive it has inspired children’s authors, poets and even classical musicians. Among the most popular was Enid Blyton, who set the words ‘A little bit of butter and noooo cheeese’ to the rhythm, but Beethoven is also understood to have used the song in his piano concertos. If you live in or close to the countryside, this is the time to listen out for male yellowhammers as they sing to attract a mate. 

Did you know that yellowhammers are also called “scribble larks” or “writing larks” due to the pattern of fine dark lines covering their eggs?

wildlife photo of the week

 
 

April 17th, 2020

Stoat (Mustela Erminea)

Wildlife Photo of the Week

Stoats are so secretive, most people only ever catch short glimpses of them as they dash across a road or path. But in April, whilst the vegetation is still low, you have a greater chance – especially if you live in the countryside. Look out for long, low slung animal with a black tip to its tail. They are excellent swimmers and will sometimes venture into gardens for a drink and a dip. 

Click here to read more on my studies of stoats living in my garden.

wildlife photo of the week

 


April 11th, 2020

Mallard Duck (Anas Platyrhynchos)

Wildlife Photo of the Week

Mallard ducklings are able to swim from the first day they hatch and the mother duck will get them onto the water as soon as she can to keep them safe from predators. They are able to feed themselves, but she still has to teach them what is edible and she will protect them from other mallards at this young age.

wildlife photography mallard ducklings


 
April 4th, 2020

Black Grouse (Lyrurus Tetrix)

Wildlife Photo of the Week

Black grouse are among Britain’s most exotic-looking birds. In springtime, they gather in large groups for an extraordinary mating ritual known as a ‘lek’. The word is taken from old Norse, meaning play, but the ritual is deeply serious. Females form a circle to watch as the males fan out their lyre-shaped tails and then leap into their air to fight. 

Click here to read my post on watching a black grouse lek

wildlife photo of the week


 
March 28th, 2020

Kingfisher (Alcedo Atthis)

Wildlife Photo of the Week

Now is the time to see kingfishers courting. These birds are normally solitary so if you see more than one it’s worth stopping to watch. The male will fish for his intended, offering her his catch in outstretched beak. To tell the difference between male and female, look for a line of orange on the lower beak of the female, like a streak of lipstick.

Click here to see my collection of kingfisher paintings  | Click here to read how I watched kingfishers inside their nest 


 
March 20th, 2020

Woodpecker (Dendrocopos Major)

Wildlife Photo of the Week

Hearing a woodpecker drumming is one of the first signs of spring.  The thudding is the woodpecker equivalent to song , used to mark out territory and impress mates. The males peck so hard and so fast that they ought to get headaches, but their skulls are cushioned by a matrix of minute pockets of air, supported by strengthened ‘shock absorber’ bone tissue.

Click here to read the story behind a painting of woodpeckers in the nest

wildlife photo of the week woodpecker

 


March 14th, 2020

Frog (Anura)

Wildlife Photo of the Week 

Frogs and toads amass in garden ponds and lakes in early spring to spawn. If you live anywhere near water you can hear the noisy croaking of the males as they try to attract a mate. These amphibians can look quite alarming as the males latch onto the backs of females, kicking away competitors until the female releases her eggs. Once the eggs are fertilised the frogs disperse to resume their solitary lives.

wildlife photo of the week

 


March 7th, 2020

Hare (Lepus)

Wildlife Photo of the Week

Mad March Hare: The sight of hares racing across fields and leaping up to box one another is said to be one of the first signs of spring, but in fact hares box all year round. If you see more than one of these normally solitary animals, stop to watch: they are sure to begin boxing and racing.

Click here to read how hares box in snow

wildlife photo of the week 2020

 


Read More

 

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

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

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3 comments on Wildlife Photo of the Week | Spring 2020

  1. Wonderful photos! How good is it that you have come to the notice of wildlife lovers worldwide!! Congratulations! Fantastic news! I’m really glad I was able to make it to see your incredible gallery last year, I will treasure that memory for decades, such a wonderful experience and to see the little baby stoat, well that was pure magic!

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