Wednesday, 20 March 2013

A Focus on Nature

Today's post isn't going to be about my recent picture takings, but instead about an organisation called A Focus on Nature (visit their new website here).

It was founded in 2011 when a group of people involved in conservation decided to do something to help younger generations. There are now several supporters and sponsors of the project, including Opticron, birder and broadcaster Dr Rob Lambert of the University of Nottingham, Lucy McRobert, a recent graduate from the University of Nottingham, and Northshots Photography Tours.

"To encourage and engage with a young generation of committed, hardworking and passionate individuals, by opening their eyes, their minds and their imaginations to the exciting and continually changing world of nature conservation, through the provision of equipment, networks, advice and opportunities.

A Focus On Nature recognises…
  • …the need to encourage young people aged 16 to 30 to get involved in, enthused about and passionate about the natural world. This encouragement needs to come in many forms – financial support, career advice, networking and experience.
  • …that nature conservation is about far more than management – it is about writers, historians, policy makers, artists, film makers, photographers, agricultural students, scientists, teachers, politicians and tour guides. These all need to come from a younger generation and they need support to build their careers.
  • …that using a variety of social media, online and live events and other promotional activities, the supporters & co-ordinators of the programme hope to recruit a team of committed young wildlife enthusiasts, supporting them with donations of optics, books and other useful equipment or services to use in their wildlife conservation activities.
  • …that by focusing the eyes of young adults, we can focus their careers and their lives, for the benefit of not only the individual, but the bigger picture of nature conservation and the environment."
I have been lucky enough to be accepted onto their programme, and would strongly urge anyone else between the ages of 16-30 who are interested in any part of nature to apply. It's a fantastic opportunity to network and meet like-minded people, as well as furthering a career in conservation. Their judges meet twice a year to assess the applications, and successful entrants can win equipment such as a pair of binoculars, literature such as field guides, and mentoring by an expert in their field.

If do do decide to apply, you will need to submit an application form and an entry piece, which most show an appreciation of the natural world. On the form you need to give details about your education, and plans for future careers.

Their website is:

I couldn't do a blog post without a single picture, so here's one of a lovely male sparrowhawk, shame it's not better, but it's the best shot I've got of one of these. While waiting for Bitterns, both the male and female sparrowhawks would zip across the front of the hide whilst out hunting.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Some more Bitterns

Most of my photography this winter has been spent with me sitting in pretty much the same chair in a hide waiting for Bitterns. On one occasion, I was watching one across a stretch of water when it suddenly erupted out of the reedbed and flew towards the hide into the reeds to the side of the hide.
It was great to see it ruffling out its feathers just before it took off.

I was back in the hide a couple of days after that, and in 7 and a half hours of waiting, I had 1 minute of photography, glad I didn't miss it! I had been watching one from the hide for a while, but it didn't come out until mid-afternoon, when it climbed up the reeds before taking off and flying away from me.

They won't be around much longer, and with this recent warm weather which is forecast to continue, I doubt it will be more than 2 weeks. Hopefully I'll get another chance to photograph them before they go!

Thanks for reading,