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WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS AND ADVENTURES

Wildlife and nature surrounds us and can make any travel a memorable experience. From our own back gardens to the most remote areas, wildlife is there to be found if you know where to look.

With time and patience it is possible to photograph any landscape or animal that you find, but fieldcraft and an understanding of their behaviour is essential.

Continue reading to discover some of the wildlife that you can see as you travel from home, how to interact without disturbing the habitat and how to take photographs to make your memories last.


Planning A wildlife Encounter

While every wildlife encounter is unique, it helps if you get yourself into the right place at the right time. Planning is essential from being on the bird cliffs at the right time of the year, to knowing the location where deer will feed during the winter months in Scotland. All of the wildlife encounters I suggest are not hidden or secrets. They can be found easily and with planning are possible for most people. Just remember that you are not going to find Atlantic puffins in Iceland or Scotland during the winter months and cherry blossom and bluebell woods are somewhere to visit in the spring.


BIRD LIFE

Birds are beautiful and many are easy to see from the comfort of your own home or local park. While planning is needed to see some of the rarer species it is possible to find, enjoy and photograph bird encounters almost anywhere in the world.

  • Owls in the UK – A massive guide to the owls that can be found around the UK with descriptions and photography tips.
  • Gannets at Stóri Karl – This second largest gannet colony in Iceland is located in the north east of the country. It is easily seen from the cliff top without any ferry crossings or complicated logistics (other than the road trip to get there)
  • Puffins at Hafnarhólmi – An island home to puffins in the East Fjords region of Iceland

MAMMALS

Mammals are some of the hardest wildlife encounters to plan. They are much more sensitive to the presence of humans and fieldcraft becomes essential if any meaningful photographs or experiences are to be gained.

  • Muntjac Deer – This small and timid deer is found across the UK and is often heard long before it is seen
  • Red Squirrels – These quiet but playful mammals can be found across Scotland and in small areas across the rest of the UK

Marine LIFE

The underwater world has a little bit of everything including beautiful corals to massive whales . It is a diverse world and one of the most undiscovered and explore environments on the planet. Small glimpses can be seen while rock pooling on the shore line or taking a dive but there is so much beyond our reach that this is just a tiny snippet.

  • Manta Rays in the Maldives – These graceful creatures are surreal and any encounter is a moving experience that you will never forget
  • Sea Urchins – The life of these weird creatures that you didn’t know. It’s more than the dired shell you find on the beach
  • Ocean Debris – A few thoughts on the Dive Against Debris campaign
  • Plastic Tide – Photography project looking at the items washed up on the high tide lline

Plants, Trees and Fungi

Without plants, trees and fungi much of the planet would not survive. Woodlands provide an ecosystem that supports so much of our world that it is essential for our survival. Flowers support insects, without which we would have no crops. All are intertwined with the well being of the planet and the organisms that are found here.

  • Prickly Pears in Morocco – These weird plants are seen all over Morocco as are their colourful dried flowers. It is often easy to overlook the market finds and not think about where they have come from.

Street Animals and domesticated Animals

While wildlife encounters are amazing many animals lead a semi wild life. This is seen in wild cats and dogs that roam the streets of many cities. This semi-feral existence can be hard for them, but is the only life they know. For thousands of years man has used animals for working the land, helping with chores as well as a companion. these domesticated animals have personalities that are often seen through brief encounters and interactions.

  • Street Dogs of Chernobyl – these dogs are the descendents of the animals left when the city of Chernobyl was evacuated in 1986. Many were culled immediately after the disaster but many survived and now roam the empty streets
  • Street Cats of Marrakech – Every corner in Marrakech has a cat and each restaurant has a hopeful feline patrolling the visitors as the relax in the ancient city

The Night Sky

The night sky is a magical place. It is absorbing and if you let your mind wander to the sheer scale of what is out there it can be quite scary. Everything from the aurora borealis to alpenglow is down to the interaction of the sun and the moon with our planet.


Wildlife Photography

Wildlife and travel often go together, but sometimes it is possible to capture wildlife close to home. Wherever you are these simple techniques will help you capture beautiful wildlife on camera.


A little collection of my favourite wildlife photographs from time spent meandering wild around the planet.