Tag Archives: book

The Secret Lives of Puffins

It seems like a long time since I added any content to this blog – and quite simply that’s because I’ve been away for the last 7 weeks.  With images from False Bay in South Africa, across a wide array of locations in Namibia and then the Salmon Run and Grizzly Bears in Alaska all awaiting processing then I can promise a bit more on the update front in the next few weeks though.

During the time I was away though my latest book was formally published.

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The Secret Lives of Puffins is a collaborative work with well-known wildlife writer Dominic Couzens.  Dominic and I actually went to school together (a long time ago now mind) and spent a fair amount of time in our teenage years learning the art and craft of birdwatching together: coach trips to the likes of Dungeness and Pagham Harbour with local RSPB groups still reside in the memory banks.

Puffin-Rear-Cover

He has gone on to make a successful career writing about the natural world and I now do the same but using a camera, so when we caught up a few years back it seemed apt to see if we could work together on a project of some sort – the result is this book.

For me it has been been a labour of love for the last few summers – spending time with an iconic and highly engaging bird in an array of locations, in all weathers and all hours of the day at times – and put simply I’ve loved almost every minute of it.

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What we wanted to achieve was a blend between a pure coffee table book of images and a heavy, fact-laden read about just one species: using images and extended captions to illustrate subtleties of behaviour, fact and science and accessible copy to both inform and enlighten and lots of images to encourage frequent browsing.  Hopefully it delivers on these fronts and you should be able to find it in “all good bookshops” as they say or the usual online retailers too, including the publishers own website:

http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-secret-lives-of-puffins-9781408186671/

The content covers a whole host of locations (many familiar, some less so), captures an array of behaviours (and explains just what’s going on) and some less familiar looking Puffins in their non-breeding phases too – hopefully there will be something for anyone who, like me, loves this ever popular bird.

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I’m now in the final stages of pulling together a new talk and slideshow on the book and project which will be getting a number of airings in the forthcoming talk season, so if you are around any of these locations and want more details just drop me an e-mail:

27 September Derbyshire Ornithological Society

1 October Peterborough Camera Club

8 October Shropshire Wildlife Trust: Newport branch

11 December North Staffs RSPB Group

6 January Guildford Camera Club

10 April Gwynfa Camera Club

There should be a feature or two in various magazines to look out for too in the next month or so.

Thanks to all involved who have helped this particular body of work reach this final stage – sharing the same publisher as the Harry Potter books certainly has a nice feel to it!

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Wild Shropshire

Well it’s finally here.  Many of you will know that for the last couple of years I’ve been working on a fairly substantial collaborative project with Shropshire Wildlife Trust in preparation for and ultimately celebration of thier 50th anniversary in 2012.  The cornerstone of the project is my very first book – self-published too – called Wild Shropshire and this week it arrived from the printers and it’s now out there selling – with a very positive initial uptake too my wholesaler advises me!

There’s much much more to the whole Wild Shropshire proposition than the book though and you can read all about the various talk, exhibitions and a brand new photographic competition we’re running for next year too on it’s own bespoke website www.wildshropshire.co.uk .  There’s a separate blog too which I’ll be updating with different stuff to here and I’m even being persuaded to wander into the realms of Facebook on there ….. shortly for that though!  Perhaps more importantly (or so my accountant reminds me) you can also order a copy of the book there – it won’t be available on Amazon and we’re only looking to distribute it locally too so that all the earnings (including contributions to Shropshire Wildlife Trust) look to stay locally within the county too.

At the heart of the whole project is a desire to highlight that in a county such as Shropshire, probably not the first on the wildlife hotspot radar, there is still an incredible array of diversity in terms of wildlife and habitat to be found: if you’re prepared to put the time in trying to find it.  My recent BWPA video award is a typical such example – the lake in question is in the middle of a Telford housing estate and for many not worth a second glance but for almost 2 months I was drawn every morning to record and observe the dramas of one family of Great Crested Grebes and their neighbouring Coots.  How many more such dramatic opportunities play themselves out every day near to your home?

We also want to encourage and inspire residents and visitors to the county to take some time to find their own bit of Wild Shropshire and record it on camera themselves – hence the photography competition which is open to all.

It’s been a great deal of work, has caused several sleepless nights (particularly filling in some of the more difficult gaps in terms of iconic and important species or habitats that I wanted to include) and there has been much help and support along the way from Ellie, Mike, and John and Sarah from SWT – many many thanks to you all, and without getting too far ahead of myself (and also proving that I’m a real glutton for punishment) the next book project is already well underway too!

Hope you find and enjoy this one.