I’m really excited to finally have the opportunity to start my own blog. Some of you will already know that I write on a monthly basis for the Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (@HMWTBadger), as well as contributing regular articles and content for the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust (@wildlifebcn). I am so pleased to be able, at last, to share my musings on a blog of my own. It is something that I have wanted to do for a while and here it is!
For those of you that are less familiar with my work, let me introduce myself: I’m Alice, I’m 29 and I’m a freelance Ecologist and Photographer, specialising in wildlife and landscape work. I am also starting a new venture with a fantastic company called Experience Nature (@PhotoNatureTour) to co-lead tours to the Pyrenees, but more about that later.
In case you’re wondering what I look like, this is a photo taken in California in April 2015 where I found what must surely be one of the largest pine cones in the world belonging to the Sugar Pine!
I have always been interested in the countryside and its wildlife. Growing up in rural Herefordshire my parents encouraged me to learn about nature. Living on a farm meant that I spent the majority of my time outdoors and childhood holidays were usually to fairly remote, wild places like Scotland’s west coast.
When I left school I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to university and, having decided that I did, it wasn’t obvious what I should study. I eventually came out with a History of Art degree but it wasn’t apparent to me until a year or so after graduating that it was somewhat useless. Instead, I really wanted to be involved in something to do with Ecology or Wildlife Conservation.
Photography has been a hobby since I was given my first camera aged around 10 and more of an obsession since I bought my first DSLR aged 21. I rarely go anywhere without my camera and am lucky that I can now call my hobby my profession.
I am passionate about the natural world and, when I’m not busy with surveys or commissions, I try to enthuse the next generation by volunteering at the Great Fen Project (@greatfen) where I engage visiting school children with pond-dipping and minibeast hunts.
The main aim of my blog is to share some of my experiences with the wider world and pass on my enthusiasm for, and knowledge of the flora and fauna that make it up. I will also try to keep you up to date with events that I am attending and illustrated talks that I am giving. In the future I hope to have a few guest blog posts from some of my contacts in the industry.
I will try to share some of my fieldcraft skills with you as well as photography techniques where it is appropriate, but mainly I would like to share my wild-inspired life with you. I wish that everybody shared my love of nature and wildlife. Sadly today there are increasing reports of how children are disengaged from the outdoor world and instead surrounded by technology and shut-off from the possibilities available to them. I feel that if I can encourage even one person to get out there and do something different then I will have achieved something.
I have many strings to my bow but they all centre around my love for the natural world. I hope that you will enjoy my posts, please feel free to comment on them as I relish the opportunity to get feedback on my work.
So, now that you know a little more about me and I’ve proclaimed my love for all things wild, let’s kick this blog off with a proper photo or two as a taster of what is to come:
Firstly another from California – a peaceful sleeping Elephant Seal. These huge beasts are better known for their noisy fights between rival males, but in spring they are much quieter and tend to laze around on the beach while they moult. I caught this one napping in the middle of the rookery.
Next, one of my favourites from my first tour to the Pyrenees for Experience Nature. The main focus there is Vultures with the location being one of very few to have all four European species visiting regularly. The scenery is stunning too, leading to some lovely landscape shots, not to mention fantastic wildflowers and butterflies as well. This Monk (Black) Vulture was one of many highlights, the opportunity for me to get a wonderfully close view of such a magnificent and huge bird was one I won’t forget in a hurry.
Finally an image from my recent time in the Alps, a Cistus Forester Moth. I hadn’t come across this beautiful day-flying moth before but was thrilled to capture it resting on a Rockrose. The vivid green of its wings originally drew my eye to it as it glinted in the sun. It was tricky to capture that metallic iridescence in bright light but I’m pleased with the final image.
I will be writing in more detail about my trips to California, the Pyrenees and France in future posts – watch this space!