Thursday, 21 July 2011

Yesterday morning....

....I came across two roe fawns in the edge of a wood and I sat with them for a magical hour, about 8 metres away, until their mum came from the oil-seed rape field to collect them.
The smallest fawn (they are about 8 weeks old) had trouble getting through the fence and it came to within an arms length of me alongside the fence and I worried I should grab it and lift it over to prevent it possibly injuring itself but it managed ok in the end.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Hiding in the Bush: On assignment for the BBC 'Africa' wildlife series

Filming in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, for a new BBC wildlife series about Africa - I have just spent two amazing mornings in my portable canvas hide positioned beside a waterhole teeming with birds - pelicans, yellow-billed storks, spoonbills, and more, all gorging themselves on fish trapped by the receding waters of the dry season.

In most places I film it's all about getting close to animals but in the African bush it's a bit different - much of the time I am trying to keep away from the dangerous ones. The riverbed where I have the hide is bordered on both sides by trees, thick bush and tall grass which poses a serious threat of lions - they like hiding in such places for animals to come to the water. Having reached the relative safety of the hide (escorted by an armed guard) I soon discover there is a crocodile in the waterhole. At the time, I thought it was a small one because all I saw was it's eye slowly appearing above the surface a few metres away and then vanishing without even a hint of a ripple on the water. Later that day I saw a huge crocodile sunning itself on a sand bank and could see exactly how small a large crocs eyes really are ! Apparently as long as it can't see me behind the thin canvas it won't think I am edible.

A week later a very rarely seen bit of crocodile behaviour unfolds by chance in front of the camera while we are watching a section of river. Thanks to the wonders of modern zoom lenses I was able to record the event at a safe distance of about 50 metres. You'll have to watch the series - due to be broadcast in late 2012 - to find out exactly what happened.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Roe Deer Rut

Dawn view on 6th July over my garden gate.
Usually I use a graduated neutral density filter to control the contrast in a scene like this but this morning was unusual because the gentle mist was catching light and creating some detail on the ground which would otherwise have come out entirely black.
It's a relief to know that the sun is rising later every day now as I'm trying to photograph the roe deer rut at the moment.