Recent photographic trips have been UK based and a welcome change to long-haul flights and with a smaller carbon footprint!

The UK has many wildlife spectacles to enjoy and make the most of photographically. These are a couple of places visited in the last couple of months.

A mid-summer trip to the Farne Isles was most enjoyable as Lindisfane and Bamburgh are steeped in history and spectacular scenic backdrops. Between military and ecclesiastical history combined with tidal mudflats and sand dunes this windswept stretch of the Northumberland coast changes character with each passing cloud come rain or shine. Even a northerly gale which prevented the boat trip to the Farne Isles meant the 'discovery' of the Tern breeding colony in the sand-dunes at Beadnell, the only mainland breeding colony of Arctic Terns. This was a superb opportunity to photograph the adults returning to the fledglings hidden in the dunes grass with catches of sand-eels. This more than made up for the disappointment of not being able to visit the Farne Isles.

Late autumn was the time to visit the remoteness of Spurn Point where the Humber River debouches into the North Sea. Always a special place for birding it is particularly good during spring and autumn migrations. The vast mudflats at low tide are covered in a plethora of wading and sea birds whilst the varied vegetation of the shingle and sand dunes of the spit of land has many passerines and always a place to attract predators such a Peregrine and Merlin Falcons. The sight of thousands of waders flocking together as the rising tide forces them up the seashore is a spectacle to behold.

Late autumn is the time the Grey Seals arrive on our shores to give birth and mate. The colony at Donna Nook in Lincolnshire is one of the largest mainland rookeries and with about 1500 seals in the vicinity. The majority of females give birth in the sand dunes and it is one of the UK's prime wildlife viewing experiences. The young feed on an incredibly fatty-rich milk for about three weeks growing at an alarming rate! They are then left by their mothers to fend for themselves as they shed their baby coat of white laguno and grow their sea-faring coat for a life in the ocean. Now it's the time for the dominant males, who have been fighting and establishing their prowess to mate with the receptive females. Unlike other seals they do not establish harems so the beach front is a confusing and frantic scene. A brilliant photographic opportunity for any wildlife enthusiast. The sanctuary is only open on a weekend as the rest of the week the beach front is a live-fire practice range for the RAF. Not advisable to try a visit then, but the seals are content!