Andy Hawthorne

Thoughts, stories and ideas

Local Nature Through a Lens

Dunnock Spotting wildlife at a local level is tricky and catching it in pixels is trickier still.

Photography projects are good fun to plan and set in motion. The idea to try a nature project came because I’d noticed there were more birds around during the pandemic lockdown.

I’m a member of the RSPB so keeping an eye on the local population of our feathered friends is something I do.

For this project, I figured my own back garden would do for a start.

The photo of the Dunnock above got me started. Dunnocks are nervous little birds. But this fellow appeared right outside my home office window.

I’ve had plenty of experience trying to capture birdlife in pixels. I tend to shoot in shutter priority mode with as low an ISO setting as possible. That’s to keep the grain to a minimum.


This fox turned up in my neighbours garden one afternoon. I didn’t know we had a neighbourhood fox. He turned up and laid down for a long sleep.

I had to wait for him to stir, give me a look and then grab the photo. Unlike with birdlife, the Fox was easier to capture.


This picture was a nightmare to get. Butterflies are worse than birds for flittering around and never settling. The other issue with capturing something this small is focal length. I took this with my 75-300mm zoom at f/9.0 and 1400 sec ISO 800.

The photo works, but it’s a close run thing. And I had loads of misfires before I got this one. Safe to say, Butterflies are a challenge to capture in pixels.


I took this one with my iPhone. This bug (I don’t know what it is) landed on my window one afternoon. I didn’t have time to grab my DSLR so I used my iPhone.

I’m pleased with the way it turned out. I’m not sure if photographing bugs and other critters is something I’ll do much more of, but capturing this one was fun.

While you’re thinking about a new photography project (now that we are coming out of lockdown) why not try wildlife? It’s a good challenge of your photographic skills.