I have always been passionate about wildlife and conservation and when not photographing people I can often be found out in the countryside and on nature reserves. Though we have of course lost species, we are lucky to still have such a diversity of birds, butterflies and insects in the British countryside. Many species are still under threat, but it is heartening to have met so many like minded people when out and about photographing the natural world.

You can contact me on 07866 316577 or via e-mail at info@mauricephotos.co.uk


Some wildlife links:
Michael Flowers birdwatching classes and walks
Yorkshire Butterfly Conservation
Yorkshire Dragonflies
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Yorkshire Nature Triangle
Yorkshire Mammal Group
East Yorkshire Birding Forum
Tophill Low Nature Reserve
Yorkshire Red Kites
North Cave Wetlands Nature Reserve
The Wild Bird Cafe - North Cave Wetlands
Paull Holme Strays sightings
Potteric Carr Nature Reserve
Hull Valley Wildlife Group
Spurn Bird Observatory
Mike Robinson Bird Photos
Vince Cowell Photography
Steve Mulligan Bird Photography
David Ware - Wolds Birding
Paul Ashton East Yorkshire Wildlife
Wold Ranger
Beetle Boy's Bio Blog
Rory Selvey (age 13) Wildlife Photography
Kill the Badger Cull
The Brown Hairstreak Blog
Africa Gomez Bugblog
Zilch - eliminating litter
Keep Britain Tidy

Next Photo Event dates to be announced...

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Waxwing Supermarket Invasion

I thought I may be able to resist the temptation to chase after the Waxies this year, but the lure proved to be too great.  With hundreds of birds in Hull at the moment I caught up with a couple of tree fulls in Asda car park. An impressive sight but I didn't have a camera with me at the time.  Returning a couple of days later with photographic apparatus in tow, there were slightly fewer birds still returning to their favourite tree. I was hoping to park directly under the tree to get closeups from the car window but a local resident seems to use that particular parking space every day. You would have thought the multitudinous Waxwing droppings on the bonnet would have put them off? Another setback photographing birds in a supermarket car park is that people continuously walk up to you to ask you what you are doing and why you are photographing Starlings and then..... "Oh, what are they then, I thought they were just Starlings!" Nothing wrong with Starlings of course! These constant interruptions mean you miss shots while you politely fill people in with the Waxwing back story and the birds also get spooked as you are trying to keep still and steady whilst other spectators wander up but there you go.


above and below pictures showing the red "sealing wax" feathers which give them their name



gorging on berries, I think they fill themselves to the brim





Monday, 24 September 2012

Eyes of the Dragon


Migrant Hawker - male above and below, showing larger ommatidia at the top of the eye

The eyes of dragonflies are some of the largest in the insect world. The huge compound eyes are made up of the smaller facets known as ommatidia.  Each ommatidium has a lens on the surface and a conical lens underneath.  There tend to be more ommatidia at the top of the eye looking forward and so dragonflies can usually best detect movement and detail from above them which is why they attack prey from below.  However, the eye surrounds the head providing visual input from the front, side and behind all at the same time.  The colour change in the eye from top to bottom - as can be seen with the Common Darters below - coincides with the change in the distribution of the ommatidia.  The black "pseudopupils" are the most powerfully light sensitive parts of the eye as no light is reflected from them.  There are also three simple eyes in a triangle on the top of the head made of one single lens each.  The dragonfly builds a mosaic image from all these different inputs.  Dragonflies have good colour vision which makes sense of the bright colours on show, but they can also see into the ultraviolet which is helpful in identifying light reflected from water.  All clever stuff!

Common Darter - female

Common Darter - male

Friday, 7 September 2012

Adult Education Photography Classes Wolfreton School - an update

I posted earlier in the year about adult education photography classes which I would be running at Wolfreton School.  After very positive feedback on the well attended taster day all seemed set to go ahead.  Affairs then went very quiet which I have since found out was due to a staff restructuring at the school putting all adult education projects on hold.  I am told a new staff member has been put in charge of adult education so watch this space!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)


All of a sudden there seem to be lots of Small Torts everywhere I look, which is good news as they are thought to be threatened by the larvae of the Sturmia bella fly which literally eat the caterpillars from the inside out!  I have seen good numbers of Small Torts in Hull today, mainly on Buddleia, along with Peacocks and Red Admirals.  Some pictures here taken at the weekend showing the butterflies enjoying the Verbena in my back garden.




Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Beautiful Yellow Underwing (Anarta myrtilli)


Our moths tend to be a bit underrated compared to their (sometimes) brighter butterfly cousins.  We have a lot of very colourful moth species and the Beautiful Yellow Underwing is a cracking little day flying moth and a heathland specialist.  Once they land on the heather their camouflage is so good they just blend into their surroundings and are difficult to spot until they move.



And nearby some Four-spotted Chasers hawking over boggy pools.


engage X-wing battle formation...

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa)


I had a meander around some local boggy heathland yesterday and was pleased to find Emerald Damselflies in good numbers.  They have an interesting life cycle metamorphosing from egg to larva to adult in one season after a year diapause as an egg.  They prefer shallow brackish water lacking in fish as this cuts down the risk of predation and the larvae then grow more quickly than many other species as they are able to feed at twice the rate.  In flight I thought the males were superficially similar to Blue-tailed Damselflies until they come to rest when you can get a good look at them.  Further down south we also get the Scarce Emerald (Lestes dryas) and the Southern Emerald (Lestes barbarus), but I won't bore you with the differences!




for comparison male on the left and female on the right

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Little Owls


Little Owls are generally hard to see, unless they move, as they blend in so well with a tree trunk.  On this occasion I heard the adult bird pictured above calling to the juvenile bird below which alerted me to their presence.  There is a chap who has found over 100 Little Owl sites in Leicestershire so I wonder how many sites there actually are in the East Riding?


Saturday, 30 June 2012

Harlequin Ladybirds


These ladybirds seem to be very variable in their appearance and I "spotted" these on some heathland in Norfolk.  I thought at first that the black version may be a kidney-spot but both are Harlequin.  Makes a change from the seven spots which seem to be everywhere.


Sunday, 27 May 2012

A trio of North Yorkshire's finest Butterflies...

Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Yesterday I set off for North Yorkshire in wonderful weather hoping to see three species at three sites - the Dingy Skipper, Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Duke of Burgundy.  For once everything went to plan.  A great deal of hiking was required to reach the Dukes in particular but it was great to find a healthy little colony.  All three species require a degree of habitat management to meet their specific needs and maintain numbers.  Habitat loss has been a problem and some of our rarer species like these three still need our help.

Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Pearl-bordered Fritillary (top view)

Dingy Skipper (quite attractive really?)

Duke of Burgundy

Duke of Burgundy - our only "metalmark" butterfly, nearest relations in Asia and the Americas

Duke of Burgundy

Duke of Burgundy

Duke of Burgundy

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Introduction to Wildlife Photography walk at Noddle Hill

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Link

It is hard to believe that conditions last weekend were the polar opposite of this weekend's heatwave. Nevertheless 15 hardy souls turned up at Noddle Hill Reserve for the photo session in gloomy, windy overcast conditions.  Despite the reserve hosting lots of interesting migrant birds such as Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and even Cuckoo, the weather was so poor that hardly any birds were to be seen - apart from the resident Greylag Geese who quite rightly gave anyone who came too near to their goslings an evil hiss!  Accompanied by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Officer Helen Holford we made our way around the reserve and concentrated mainly on macro and closeup photography and discussed using depth of field and points of focus to artistic effect.








Friday, 20 April 2012

Black-necked Grebes


Three brightly summer plumaged birds have been showing well on the main lake at North Cave Wetlands for a few days - one amorous couple and one other male who seems to be something of a gooseberry! Never having seen a Black-necked Grebe before it was a treat for me to see them on my local reserve.  Hope we get a breeding pair.



Willow Warblers also arriving at North Cave after their long migration