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Wildlife Photography in July

Puffin See Larger Image

Past the longest day, and approaching the hottest part of the year, as we enter July many birds are are still feeding their young and some on to their second or third brood of the year. There are still Puffins to photograph with beaks full of sand eels landing and scurrying in to feed their chicks underground. Good places to visit to get good photographs of puffins are  Skomer Island, South Wales,   the Farne Islands, Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel and in a number of places in Scotland, including Bass Rock.

See How To Photograph Puffins and Where to Photograph Puffins as well as the main Puffins page. Between mid and late July the parents will be off and when the young get hungry enough they will leave their burrows in search for food.

Although it does not seem long since they arrived, later this month the first birds start their migration, with the cuckoos flying south.


Crickets and grasshoppers are most noticeable and easy to find in July and August, having reached adulthood they want to now be heard. We have 20 varieties in the UK, so there are plenty to find. Crickets have long antenna, the hair like sensors that sweep usually back from their heads and these antenna are as long as their bodies or longer, while grasshoppers have short antennae, usually about half the length of their bodies. If you watch them you will also see that most grasshoppers make their distinctive sound by running pegs on their hind femurs against veins in their forewings, while the cricket sound is different and usually created by rubbing their forewings over each other. Some varieties come in a number of colour combinations so identifying them can be fun. The frequency of some of their songs can be difficult to hear, and being higher often younger people can hear them better so if you are in your silver years take a grandchild as a detector. You may come across more than the 20 UK varieties as we get some over from the continent. Most stay still for some time so are not that difficult to photograph. If you want to find out more about them, then visit www.orthoptera.org.uk   They also cover Cockroaches and Stick Insects, Earwigs and Praying Mantis. They also have a cricket care sheet if you fancy making one a pet.


July is also a good month to see both damselflies and Dragonflies, as well. The common Blue Damselfly is the most widely distributed damselfly found in a wide variety of habitats, but with a preference to large areas of water. You can see it now until October.

Wicken Fen Nature Reserve in Cambridgeshire is said to be one of the best places in the country to see dragonflies with 22 species recorded there. Along its waterways and ditches you will see them performing their aerobatic flying displays. There is also a Dragonfly centre there, run jointly by the National Trust and the British Dragonfly Society, which has displays and boards with details of dragonflies, their habitats and how you go about seeing and identifying them.

The website of the British Dragonfly Society is the place to start to find out about all the species and where you are likely to see them.



  Dolphins are active around our coast, and July is a time when you are likely to see them up the west coast, around Scotland and some way down the east coast. They are often in small groups or pods and are often as curious about you as you are about them. There are various boat trips organised to get close to them and you may then also see the dolphins riding the bow waves. More dolphins have been seen over recent years, and some pods are resident now. Whales are far larger, and although not as common can be seen.  To find out more visit the sea watch foundations website.


See Larger Image Dolphin from Flickr 

Land mammals are also busy feeding young and starting to take them around, as the young are usually more curious and not as cautious as adults they will often not take flight as fast. More cover can make it harder to spot wildlife but also is more cover for you when you stay still and watch. Often sitting quietly down wind of a path that you can see near a river or stream will prove worthwhile.

As days are longer, this time of year, and few people are out and about early there is also the opportunity to get out and about early. A couple of years back I wanted to get photos of villages and country towns in the Cotswolds with no traffic so got up early many days to get them early, and frequently came across dear, buzzards and other scavengers flying low along the road looking for road kill, and quite a variety of other wildlife that would be difficult to see later in the day. Having spotted some locations I went back again another morning early, parking a little way away and carefully made my way to where I had seen deer and other animals and was in some cases able to see them again. Most animals get used to cars so in some cases you could just slow down and coast into position and as long as you stayed in the car they are not that concerned about your presence. If while driving early you see deer you will usually find woodland nearby and so may be able to work out where a good vantage point would be.

If you would like to get a photo of a Sika Deer with its calf, then July is the time, the calf born in late May or June is starting to venture out with the mother (hind), and although like all deer and with good cause, nervous of people, they were introduced to Britain in ornamental parks because they were less timid and easier to make friends with. By July the hind will have moulted and got he new spotty summer coat. Sika are middle sized deer, a smaller version of our native red deer, and able to interbreed with them, so you may see interbred as well as pure Sika. The Sika populations are still growing by around 10% a year and their range extending. Places where they are frequently seen includes,  the New Forest, Brownsea Island,  RSPB Arne reserve Dorset, Lundy Island, Forest of Bowland  Lancashire, Eskdalemuir Forest Dumfries and Galloway, Finburn Valley and Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands, and Gortin Glen Forest, Co. Omagh Northern Ireland, so from this you can see they have now got to most parts of the UK. Also see our list Where to Photograph Deer in the UK for more places.

Sika Deer (hind) in summer coat

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More Information

See also the Nature and Wildlife calendar - July for both more animal and plant species to look out for this month.

Other species can be found listed in the Wildlife and Animals section of the Topic Index and plants within the Nature, Flora and Countryside section. More lists may be found from the Wildlife & Nature index page within the reference section. These lists also give you links to other websites allowing you access to more information on what we have and haven't yet covered.


By: Keith Park Section: Key:
Page Ref: wildlife_photo_July Topic: Wildlife Last Updated: 06/2011

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