I discovered the natural world later in life. And like most love affairs, it’s become an all-consuming passion that has turned me from someone who spent his every spare hour in front of a screen, to someone who spends it out of doors, getting up close and personal to some of Britain’s best-loved wildlife. I don’t generally like captive wildlife and almost everything I write about and photograph is living out in the wild. I’ve been six inches from a wild badger, and sat down in the middle of a herd of roe deer. I’ve watched a wild boar sow suckle her young and a had a kingfisher perch on my shoulder. I’ve had puffins walk over my feet, had a bird fly seven thousand miles just to smack me in the head in the middle of the night (it can be an odd life, being a naturalist).
Sadly, the UK ranks as one of the world’s worst countries for biodiversity loss. A staggering amount of the wildlife that our grandparents knew and loved is either gone, or going. But there is still wildlife out there, and if you have a dose of patience, a bit of fieldcraft, and an enormous amount of luck you can still find it. I’ve been privileged to share time with many wonderful creatures. I’ve been inches from a foraging badger and sat down with a herd of wild roe deer. I’ve watched barn owls doze and adders mate. I’ve had a hare sniff my boots and a bird fly 5,000 miles just to smack me in the head in the middle of the night. (It’s an interesting life at times, being a naturalist).
But in all the places I’ve been, and with all the creatures I’ve seen, I have one rule, which I urge you to follow: leave only footprints. I leave both the wildlife and their habitat as I found them, completely undisturbed. Nature has enough to cope with, without me adding to its problems.
So now I photograph and write about the natural world. But above all, I share my life with many of the spectacular species who live right alongside us. They can be hard to find, often with good reason, but with patience, endurance, knowledge and fieldcraft, they are still there to be seen. But above all, I enjoy having brief glimpse into the fascinating and complex lives. Every day I learn something new about the natural world, and every day my awe and respect for the species we share our planet with increases. Remember – this is our planet. These are our fellow creatures. They are our responsibility