Welcome to the temporary site for timhearnwildlife.com.

I'll be posting a few shots here while working on the main site, which is currently under construction...

Timhearnwildlife has been a long term passion and project of mine which is now reaching fruition. It is (or strictly speaking, will be) a commercial resource for wildlife and natural history photography and writing.

Over the last 10 years, I've been fortunate enough to travel extensively to all 7 continents, taking photographs and notes, and the site will showcase the results.

Please feel free to browse....

Thursday, 26 August 2010


Giraffes crossing the vast open plains of the Mara, where the sky seems bigger than anywhere else on earth.

Thomson's gazelles on the Mara.


Every year in the Maasai Mara in Kenya, one of nature's most famous migrations takes place. Thousands of tourists make the arduous journey to the Mara river to watch a lot wildebeest crossing, in the hope that they might see one being eaten by the Nile crocodiles that gather in anticipation.
The crocs (and the tourists) hang around looking for stragglers and animals isolated by the strength of the fast flowing river. The zebra shown below escaped his attacker, turned in the water and reached the safety of the bank, but suffered a large chunk chewed from its rump.

It is unlikely to have survived the night, though. Even if the wound and attendant flies did not prove fatal (and zebra are remarkably quick to heal) it would probably be too weak to cross the river, and the scent of blood would attract all manner of predators.

Friday, 13 August 2010


The Northern Lights are one of my favourite subjects, but their appearing from night to night is unpredictable. These were taken in Iceland at the Hotel Ranga, an excellent spot for viewing them thanks to a microclimate that tends to keep some of the notorious Icelandic cloud at bay. But not all. If you're going to give it a try, the best time is October to March (when it's dark most of the time). They can appear at any time, but between 10pm and 3am seems to be favourite. The night needs to be cold and clear. I've found that you get a sighting about 1 night out of every 4, so you're best to stay for longer than a weekend to stand a good chance of seeing them. However, that's not exactly a proven statistic. You might find that they appear for 3 nights in a row, and then do nothing for a fortnight. It's a bit of a lottery. But worth it. They are profoundly jaw dropping. The Aurora peaks and troughs in a roughly 11 year cycle. So it should become more impressive over the next year, and reach its peak in 2012.

The Hotel Ranga is a homely sort of place managed by Bjorn, an Iceland Aurora expert, who goes by the alter ego of Borealis Bob. I love staying there. You can sit in an outdoor hot tub with snow all round you and watch the lights. And it's only a few kilometres from the volcano. When it's erupting, the hotel runs helicopter flights over the crater. Nice.


I love taking night shots. You're never really sure what you're going to get, which makes it all the more fun. This amazing sky revealed itself after a 30 second exposure. I was shooting for hours, fiddling with various exposures and ISO levels. I'd run out of mossie rep, so the little tykes were having a lovely time on me. In fact, the skin on my back looked not unlike this shot the following day.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


Arenal volcano in Costa Rica is the most user friendly in the world. For starters it erupts every 15 minutes or so, and has done for years. So you know it's going to perform for you. It erupts rather well- not particularly threatening, but satisfyingly pyrotechnic. Like a Kiss concert. 

But the best thing about Arenal is that it looks like a proper volcano. The kind that a child would draw. Big triangular mountain with the top sliced off? Check. Fiery bright orange glow emanating from within? Absolutely. Belching long plume of smoke? Yes indeed. River of bright red superheated lava trickling improbably down the side? No problemo.. 

It's absolutely, utterly, exactly what you expected. Which is just what you want from a devastating force of nature.


I could consider myself a lucky man for many reasons- but one of them would undoubtedly be that down the M40, only 45 minutes from base camp Balham, between the Oxfordshire villages of Oakley and the intriguingly named Horton cum Studley (and trust me, you don't want to be googling that one with the kids around...) lies amazing Bernwood Forest.

Bernwood must surely be one of the premier sites for butterflies in England, and it's a darned fine place to spend a sunny summer's afternoon. It's one of Britain's oldest forests, and thanks to the efforts of the people at BBONT (the Bucks, Berks, Oxon Nature Trust) is beautifully maintained in a butterfly friendly way.

Wandering along the peaceful sun-dappled rides, you get a feeling for how England might have been centuries ago, and an appreciation of just what we may have lost through the ravages of progress. I can get quite misty eyed about it all. Really, I can. I start whistling the theme from Robin Hood (The Richard Greene version, obviously. Not the new fangled one with the bloke from Spooks).

And then, there are the butterflies. There are lots and lots of them. Clouds, even. To see butterflies in this quantity, you would otherwise have to travel to, say, rural mainland europe or the South American rainforest.

But these are British butterflies, which, while not always as big and colourful, are to my mind better- perhaps because of their scarcity, perhaps because of their understated subtlty, or perhaps because I'm whistling the theme from Robin Hood.

So, inspired by the great national butterfly count (courtesy of my M&S, so the ads tell me) I have spent a few hours over the last 2 weeks indulging my inner lepidopterist. I've been into butterflies since childhood, which makes me a true butterfly and bug fan. (I've tried to find a cooler term for this, but all I could come up with was 'Bugger' or 'Butt-head' so, on reflection, i'm sticking with lepidopterist).

In 4 hours over two days at Bernwood, the long suffering Dilly and I counted 21 species. Given that there are only about 58 resident species in Britain, that's a pretty good haul for such a short time. And of course, not all the species are on the wing at the same time, so that total is by no means all of the butterflies found there.

Dilly, armed with a pair of binoculars and a battered copy of the observers book of butterflies, was getting quite enthusiastic at each new species, and I sense that she may too be discovering her inner lepidopterist. Mind you, she was being spoiled. There can't be many people whose third official recorded species is the sublime but seldom seen Purple Emperor. (And yes, it looks as good as it sounds...)

Even I, as an old hand, managed a new 'lifer'- the rather fetching and scarce brown hairstreak, which I'd wanted to see for many years. It's pictured here below, 2nd row down, feeding on Bramble. There are also some of the more common, but no less stunning species pictured; White admiral, comma, ringlet, common blue, large skipper, silver-washed fritillary, small copper, speckled wood and marbled white.

So we have a few weeks of summer left. The common blues are on the wing. Get yourself out into ye olde English countrysyde and count some butterflies. All together now- Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen.....