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, 7 April 2011


Come spring, nature explodes joyously into a celebration of new life and the end of harsh winter months.

Except coots. They explode into life and attempt to peck the crap out of each other. These feisty little birds are some of the most aggressively territorial on the waters of Britain. They're supremely intolerant. Ducks, geese, swans and especially other coots- they don't care. They'll get stuck in with beak and claw and take no prisoners, bless 'em. It's really quite sweet to watch.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011


This is, to the best of my knowledge, the first photograph taken of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull when it erupted last year. It was taken about 10 minutes after the volcano first erupted, and the power of the released energy reflected in the clouds above the crater is clear.

I had been photographing the Aurora at the hotel Ranga for most of the evening, and the cold had finally forced me to retreat to the warmth of my room. As I turned to go indoors, I became aware of a red glow on the horizon. The eruption had been in the offing for some time- I had been watching the seismographs for the area with interest- but I hadn't expected it to blow on my last evening in Iceland. 'In the offing' geologically speaking can mean many, many years.

I went to the hotel reception, and told them what I was seeing, and they got very excited and phoned the news through to the authorities. Within minutes, we heard police sirens (I'm guessing that they knew about the situation already, probably warned by the villagers) and the road towards the volcano was swiftly closed down. Soon afterwards, we heard the reports coming through on the national radio.

Though it's not technically a great photograph, it does capture the feeling of the moment, and it's certainly the earliest shot that I've seen published of the eruption.

I can't help looking at it with a sense of relief, as long suffering Dilly and I had been walking on the adjacent glacier that very afternoon, joking about what would happen if the volcano blew while we were practically stomping around on top of it!

As we all know, the volcano went on to create havoc with air traffic in the northern hemisphere for weeks afterwards. But having finished our all too brief stay in Iceland, long suffering Dilly and I escaped the following morning on the last plane before the airport was shut down.

Just lucky, I suppose. But spookily, our walk up the glacier had been to drop a rose for Dilly's late and much missed mother, Wendy, and Dilly had asked her for a sign that all was well. That night, the volcano erupted for the first time in 2 centuries.

I'll let you make up your own mind about that one. But if that was Wendy being reassuring, I'd hate to see her pissed off.

Monday, 4 April 2011


Spring has almost sprung, and the sap is rising in Fortress Balham. Long suffering Dilly has slipped into spring-cleaning mode, frantically painting the turrets and wallpapering the ramparts, whilst making sporadic raids on e-bay to order brightly coloured hawaiian shirts.

And I have seen several bumblebees. But no butterflies, yet.

This started me thinking about what actually does signify the start of spring for me. I'd always assumed it was the vivid yellow flash of the brimstone butterfly (For the trivia geeks out there, this species is arguably where the butter-fly gets its name. Geddit?) But the brimstone butterfly can be seen as early as February, crawling out of hibernation during the first sunny spell of the year. And February is most definitely winter. So it isn't that, on reflection.

The Crocus could be a contender, but then again, I tend to think of that as a cultivated plant. So I don't think it can really count.

No, when I really think about it, the real signifier that spring is in the air is the explosion onto the scene of the great British bluebell (as opposed to the Spanish one that is hybridising its way into taking over, sadly).

In the next few weeks some lucky woods will turn blue and purple as these charismatic flowers open up and carpet the ground.

And I shall make it my business to get out there and admire them. Because when the bluebells open, the natural history types put down their reference books and their wildlife holiday brochures, pull on their wellies and come out of hibernation. And that, I now realise, is the true sign of spring.