WiLDiMAGES - Andy Young Photography
I am an evolutionary biologist seeking to capture something of the world.
My research frequently takes me to Africa's wild places, but much of my photography involves hunting for peculiar mammals on other continents. I have a particular interest in camera trapping and noctural photography. My two primary subjects are Humans and The Wild.
Follow me @animalsocieties
Had an awesome wild and windy morning up at Gwithian with Chris Beirne, Faye Thompson & Phil Doherty taking in the Red Bull Storm Chase as this monster storm rolled in...
We moved down to Amboseli for the last few days of the course, with Kilimanjaro looming high through the clearing clouds as we approached.
Our camera traps revealed one of the higlights of the trip - striped hyena visiting the camp rubbish pit. Other visitors included African civet and white-tailed mongooses.
Laikipia, Northern Kenya
I returned to Northern Kenya in January with our Masters in Evolutionary Biology field course. After a great day in Samburu, with good views of aardwolves and northern specials such as gerenuk, golden pipit and fan-tailed raven, we headed down to Twala in Laikipia to walk with an olive baboon troop used in Shirley Strum's long-term research on these fascinating primates. Thanks to the team at Twala manyatta for their kind hosting in this beautiful part of the world.
I've been working in the Kalahari desert for fourteen years, so it was with great excitement that I finally encountered my first Pangolin; without a doubt one of the coolest mammals on the planet...
Had a great fortnight in London over the summer. The highlight was an evening in front of Kurosawa's Throne of Blood at Somerset House - if you get a chance to hit the Film 4 Summer Screen festival, do it. You'll love it.
We took a long weekend in Italy to look for brown bears in the Abruzzo mountains. We managed good scope views of three bears foraging in a valley in the north, and also wild boar, red fox, European hare, roe deer, plenty of red deer, good numbers of chamois, one golden eagle and some great orchids, including a wonderful lady slipper. Unseasonal snows gave the scenery an extra edge and made the trek up the Valle de Rose more of an adventure than it might otherwise have been. A beautiful and quiet part of the world, with some great characters and some awesome food. We might have to come back to find those wolves...
We returned to the Mara for the last few days of the fieldcourse, to take in the open savannah and big rivers. As ever it yielded a classic open grasslands experience with a few nice moments, including close views of serval, mating lions, a lioness and young cubs, hyena and lion activity around a de-tusked dead elephant, and nice views of genets on the trailcams that we set up in camp.
Rift valley lakes
As usual we ran our research projects in and around the Naivasha area and broke our stay with an overnight trip up to Nakuru. Both lakes were full to the brim after the strong rains this year, with large parts of Nakuru inaccessible due to the extremely high water. We had great views of a spotted hyena den, dozing lionesses and a confrontation between black rhino, as well as the more usual diversity of ungulates and bird life. No sign of the bushpigs that we picked up on last year, and still no sign of a striped hyena; everyone needs their nemesis beast.
We spent our first few days of the MSc Behavioural Ecology field course up in the beautiful Meru National Park in Northern Kenya looking for some of the more unusual beasts of arid North. We managed to find reticulated giraffe, lesser kudu, Grevy's zebra and a wonderful gerenuk; all new mammals for me. A few small volcanos also betrayed the underground activities of naked mole-rats, but sadly the sabre-toothed sausages themselves were nowhere to be seen. I'd love to come back here - its peaceful and wild.
We headed to central India for Christmas to spend a week in the teak forests looking for tigers, dhole and sloth bear. Had a wonderful time and managed two of the three. Sloth bear will have to wait.
Headed up to Truro for the evening to take in the annual lantern festival for the first time. It was amazing! Towering lit paper kings and queens wound through the streets to the banging of samba drums. Go and see it next year!
We rounded off the trip with a couple of days of diving around Isla de Cano, from palm-strewn Drake bay. On the second day conditions were right to head out to bajo del diablo - a set of pinnacles set away from the island that can attract big pelagics in the passing currents.
We dropped in to stunning vis and the rocks were thick with life as cool water mingled with warm in a jumble of thermoclines. After about ten minutes the hoped for beasts loomed hulkingly out of the blue like alien craft scanning for life.
Of staggering size and with striking markings they were by far the biggest I’ve seen. The frame above, taken from video, gives a feel for their scale - at least five metres across the wings. Feeding in the currents and intrigued by our presence, three or four intermittently circled us throughout our two dives. A jaw dropping spectacle and fitting climax to a wonderful trip.
Glass frogs & other wonders...
A fantastic night walk spotlighting with Esteban in Bahia de Drake yielded some amazing frogs - reticulated and amarillo glass frogs the most striking among them.
Tapir in Corcovado
Famed for its potential for tapir sightings, it was Corcovado on the Osa peninsula that drew us to Costa Rica in the first place. After three days searching every wallow and trail around the Sirena ranger station, deep in the park, it was with real elation that we finally encountered one. He was out on the trail and very relaxed, nosing and nibbling fallen fruit. We followed him quietly along a track for about a hundred metres between patches attracting no reaction at all. For such a massive animal he moved silently in the forest and let us approach very closely. A wonderful sighting.
Olingo in Monteverde
One of our targets in the Monteverde cloud forest (apart from mountains of baked goods) was an elusive relative of the racoons - the bushy-tailed olingo. We had heard there was a good chance late at night at the hummingbird feeders outside the park entrance. After three hours in broken rain on the first night we abandoned our vigil - some stunning hummers and great bats had sustained the motivation! Then just as we were packing up after another three hours the next night we heard a rustle in the bushes, and sure enough there it was - in the space of about 10 seconds it zipped down from a tree, drained what was left of the feeders and was off in to the darkness. We wandered home down the muddy track, grinning from ear to ear. We also managed to pin down some lovely birds in the area, including quetzals, three-wattled bell birds and long-tailed manakins. Lovely spot - and with a great bakery - what more could you want?
Honduran white bats!
These stunning little puff-ball bats, that roost communally under palm leaves, were one of the most hoped for mammals of the trip. So we were stoked to see them up close, while joining local researchers mist netting in the forest. The evening turned out to be one of our best, also yielding kinkajou, mexican porcupine, Northern racoon and our first Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth.
Its weird coming downstairs to find a jackdaw tapping on the window of the wood burner, from the inside. They’re busy nesting again this year and clearly haven’t got used to the footing on the chimney pot yet. Though its great to see them up close, its clearly time to get a chimney cover - come the autumn.
Spring has sprung...
A rare clear day in a month of Cornish rain spurred a sluggish emergence of insects. The hive of bees that has mined into a gap under the render of our cottage was showing its first signs of life for a while. Returning loaded with pollen and lethargic in the cool air, the workers provided a nice opportunity for some macro work.
The frogs laid quite a bit of spawn earlier in the year but the weed has taken over and I couldn’t see any sign of it this evening. This little lady was hunkered down in the corner though, so hopefully something is still going on.
We rounded off the field course with a few days in Amboseli. The haze slowly cleared in our last few hours in the park to reveal the snow capped peak of Kilimanjaro.
Rift valley lakes, Kenya
We started the new year with the MSc behavioural ecology field course in Kenya. The water levels in the rift valley lakes are very high this year, leaving the flamingos struggling as the salinity drops. In the shrinking land between the rising waters on Nakuru and the park fence, we found these lions dozing in the trees - that's one way to stay away from the buffalo.
We escaped for a magical four days in Jerusalem’s Old City in the lead up to Christmas. A melting pot of humanity, perfused with faith, friction and warm stone. I hope I’ll be back before long. More shots from the trip can be found here.
We walked down the candle-lined siq with just a dark sliver of star-spattered sky visible high above. Towards the end of the canyon the sounds of a bedouin flute floated in from the darkness, drawing us into a clearing where hundreds of candles bathed Al Khazneh in a rich warm light. Unforgettable. More from Petra and Jordan can be found here.
Mmmmmmmm.... Now where did we put that parma ham...