2020 VISION is the most ambitious nature photography initiative ever staged in Britain. It aims to establish in the public mind the crucial link between people’s wellbeing and a wilder UK – to show that healthy ecosystems are not optional, but are something fundamental to us all. As such 20 of Britain’s top nature and wildlife photographers have come together to document some of our country’s ecosystems.
An RSPB staff member holds a white tailed sea eagle chick (Haliaeetus albicilla), part of the East Scotland Sea Eagle reintroduction project, Fife, Scotland. Did you know? Sea eagles were wiped out in Britain in 1916 but following a series of reintroductions, around 80 pairs now breed in Scotland.
Visitors on Chanonry Point watch bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) playing and breaching, Moray Firth, Inverness-shire, Scotland. Photographer John MacPherson comments: “The tension is palpable. There are around 100 people stood on the beach and an occasional fin shows above the surface. And then like magic two dolphins explode from the water to a collective gasp from gathered onlookers”. Did you know? The 130-strong pod of bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth are the most northerly in the world. They are reportedly worth more than £4m to the local tourist economy.
Field of wheat with Halnaker Windmill in the background, Chichester, South Downs National Park, Sussex, England. Did you know? The South Downs National Park is England’s newest National Park and only became fully operational on 1 April 2011.
View of a gannet colony (Sula bassana) with flight trails of birds in flight, Hermaness NNR, Unst, Shetland, Scotland. Photographer Peter Cairns comments: “Looking over a 300ft precipice onto a swirling cacophonous gannet colony is an assault on the senses. The sight, sound and smell is something that stays with you forever”. Did you know? Gannets can dive for fish at over 60mph. Their faces have special air sacs fitted to cushion the impact – a bit like bubble-wrap.
Rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) pair in winter plumage camouflaged on snow, Cairngorms NP, Highlands. Photographer Peter Cairns comments: “These ‘mountain grouse’ are damned tough. Living all year round in the Scottish mountains they have to be. After hours of trudging through deep snow looking for these superbly camouflaged birds, this male appeared just metres away, sitting nonchalantly as the light faded in preparation for another frigid night”. Did you know? Wind speeds on top of Scotland’s highest mountains often exceed 100mph.
Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) male flying through pine forest, Cairngorms NP, Highlands, Scotland. Photographer Peter Cairns: “These are normally very shy birds but this male was so sexually charged he was protecting his territory against anything from foxes to cars to photographers. These are big birds and when one flies at you at full speed, it’s time to retreat!” Did you know? The capercaillie is the world’s largest grouse and is Britain’s fastest declining bird.
Hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) hibernating in a nest box, Kent. Did you know? A dormouse sleeps so soundly during hibernation that it can be handled without being woken.
Over a 20-month period, the 2020VISION team will carry out 20 iWitness assignments at these locations, producing a set of stunning pictures, along with supporting video footage and sound. The thousands of images and hours of film generated from these assignments will then be woven into compelling narratives and presented in innovative ways, such as the 2020VISION Roadshow, a multi-city event that will reach far beyond ‘the converted’.
Urban Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) cub scavenging from litter bin, West London. Did you know? Apart from humans foxes are the most widely distributed land mammal on earth.
Urban Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) cub amongst graves, West London cemetery.
Rainbow over Loch Beinn a Mheadhoin, Glen Affric, Highland, Scotland. Did you know? Glen Affric has been described as ‘the most beautiful glen in Scotland’.
Flock of Common Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) roosting on power pylon, Rainham Marsh RSPB Reserve, Essex. Did you know? A collection of starlings is known as a murmuration
Splashing down a weir as though it was his own personal water slide, this otter appears to be having a whale of a time. The cheeky creature was spotted cavorting in a river in Wales by wildlife photographer Andy Rouse, who has had to go to great lengths to track the shy and elusive creatures down. He comments: “Otters are very secretive and elusive, river otters are another notch above that. But a few locals have been helping me out with the otters that they see on their local patch and I have started to get some results”.
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