Alicia Hayden Wildlife: Blog https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog en-us Alicia Hayden (Alicia Hayden Wildlife) Sun, 17 Oct 2021 09:55:00 GMT Sun, 17 Oct 2021 09:55:00 GMT https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-12/u500903897-o707601317-50.jpg Alicia Hayden Wildlife: Blog https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog 120 80 Updates https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/10/updates Hello!

My short ecological fairytale 'Moorland Fairground' and accompanying illustration have been published as part of The Wildlife Blogger Crowd's 'Connections With Nature: 50 moments of meeting the wild' anthology, which has now been released! You can order a copy through Kate Stephenson's website. The anthology also includes writing from Tiffany Francis-Baker, Bella Lack, Joe Harkness, and Bill Travers of the Born Free Foundation.

I am also really excited to reveal that two of my fish illustrations have been shortlisted in SHOAL's The Lost Fishes Art Challenge Competition 2021; the winners will be announced on October the 27th, and you can view all the shortlisted entries here.

One of my poems 'Swallows in the Moon' has been published as part of Consilience Journal, Issue 6 - it is an online science journal, and this issue's theme was 'Diversity'. All the poems in the collection are beautiful, and I'd really recommend having a read - you can do so here.

I recently co-wrote and produced an animation for Will Pearce's most recent song 'This Meadow'! He's put together the song beautifully, and you can listen to it through both mine and his YouTube channels.

As part of my micro-internship with Conservation Optimism in June 2021, I produced 6 draw-along videos featuring the species each of the 2021 Whitley Award Winners worked on, as well as a poster about one of the Whitley Award Winners Lucy Kemp, and her conservation work on the southern ground hornbill. All of the kids' posters are now live on Conservation Optimism's website, as well as my draw-along videos - I really hope you enjoy reading the posters and creating some artwork of endangered species! You can also watch my draw-along videos on my YouTube channel - and if you are financially able to do so, please consider buying me a coffee if you enjoyed them! 

Finally, I have updated my online shop! I am selling 6 original A6 illustrations from my 'Whimsical Wildlife' series - if you'd like to purchase one, please click here. I have also updated my commissions page, and I am open for Christmas commissions! If you are interested in commissioning an art piece, please get in touch

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/10/updates Sun, 17 Oct 2021 09:53:47 GMT
Osmosis Press Feature https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/9/osmosis-press-feature Hello!

My poem "The Whale's Song", and its accompanying illustration "When the Whale Sang" have been featured as a guest blog post for Osmosis Press! You can see the blog post here.

Also, pre-orders for my calendar close in 10 days, so if you'd like one, please order through my shop!

Alicia

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/9/osmosis-press-feature Mon, 20 Sep 2021 12:13:02 GMT
Jackson Wild Collective Article https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/9/jackson-wild-collective-article Hello!

Recently, I wrote an article about the process of creating Rain before Rainbows for the Jackson Wild Collective. As this article is only available for members of the collective, I thought I'd share the article here too. I hope you enjoy it!

Alicia

 


The process of creating "Rain before Rainbows" by Alicia Hayden

14 days ago

 

Alicia Hayden is an award-winning wildlife artist, writer, photographer, and filmmaker from North Yorkshire, UK. Her piece When the Whale Sang won the “Human Impact” category in David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021, and was awarded the inaugural Ingrid Beazley Award. 

 

Rain before Rainbows is available to buy from Alicia’s online shop. It contains 26 illustrated poems, including Leopard, which won the Under 18s category in WWF’s My True Nature international poetry competition in 2011.

You can find out more about Alicia via her websiteInstagramFacebook, or YouTube.

 


Rain before Rainbows is my first illustrated wildlife poetry book, and is compiled of poems written over the last ten years. The collection is split into two halves: “Rain”, which contains powerful poems reflecting on environmental breakdown and human negligence of the natural world; and “Rainbows”, which is full of more hopeful, optimistic, and celebratory poems. Each poem is accompanied by an original illustration. 

 

I decided to create Rain before Rainbows after watching Attenborough’s 2020 documentary “Extinction: The Facts”. The raw imagery on the screen moved me to do something to protect the natural world; during the documentary I wrote one of the poems in the collection Paper Flower – which acts as a turning point between the two sections of the book. As I was putting the poetry book together, I decided to donate 50% of the profits to a wildlife charity, and I chose the UK wildlife hospital “Tiggywinkles”, as I love the fact they care for and release injured wildlife, many species of which are declining in the UK – such as hedgehogs. 

I hope that when people read Rain before Rainbows, they feel moved and inspired to do something to protect the natural world; even if it’s a very simple change, like switching off a light when leaving a room. When I showed Rain before Rainbows to a friend, after reading it she said: 

I feel quite empowered about nature through reading your work. It’s one thing to encourage people to love the environment by reminding them how destructive they are, but it’s so much more moving when it’s through reminding them of the beauty of nature and the awesome opportunity we have to be part of it. The beauty of it really moved me… way more than any adverts about the importance of recycling.”. 

 

If this is how people feel when they read Rain before Rainbows, then I feel like it has served its purpose. Artivism and other forms of activism are powerful ways of communicating messages and the urgency of changing our ways, but perhaps people need to be reminded why it’s worth protecting in the first place.

 

I find creating poetry and art is such an effective way of expressing myself and my emotions, and I believe it is a really powerful means to communicate the threats facing wildlife. As an artist and a poet, I find my inspiration comes from a whole variety of sources – but always from the natural world. I find a walk in nature so refreshing and motivating, and I have created some of my favourite art pieces and poems after walks – such as You and I, which was written in a glade during the first lockdown in 2020.

My work – be it art or writing – is evolving all the time! I think it’s very difficult for work not to change over time. It used to really bother me that I didn’t have a “style”, as working primarily in realism can mean I feel as though I don’t add my individuality. However, the more I’ve created, the more I’ve realised this isn’t the case; my art and writing both change according to my mood, the feelings and messages I’m trying to convey with the piece, and the character and behaviour of the subject I’m drawing. I think one of the unusual aspects of this collection is that you can see the evolution of my writing, from very early poems like Leopard (written aged 10) to recent poems like Rain before Rainbows (written aged 21) – I find it quite satisfying being able to trace my literary routes through my own writing.

 

As my work is constantly changing, it’s difficult for me to pick my favourite piece. I love all the poems in Rain before Rainbows for different reasons. With regards to my art, I think my favourite piece is When the Whale Sang, which accompanies the poem The Whale’s Song. I spent so long planning the drawing, and then creating it – it’s the piece I am most proud of. One of my favourite parts about creating was definitely putting together all the illustrations and poems, and seeing it become a book! 

My art and illustration process is a little different, as it depends what the illustration is for. If it’s a commission, then I will do an initial sketch, and send it for approval, before adding more detail, and continuing. When I’m creating artivism pieces (such as When the Whale Sang), I normally think about what scientific research and literature about the environment I’m interested in portraying, before brainstorming ways of visualising this. Selecting the media, size, and feel of the piece also comes in this brainstorming stage – using muted coffee colours for more natural pieces, or using inks and watercolours to bring colour and emotion to other illustrations. 

I am sometimes asked by people interested in creating wildlife art and poetry, how to get started – and my advice is, just have a go! All art forms are so subjective, that even if one person doesn’t like a piece of your work, lots of other people will. My main pieces of advice for you, if you’d like to create nature poetry and artwork, are:

  1. Create your piece for you. If nobody else reads or sees it, that’s fine! As long as you like it, and it’s helping you express how you feel about the environment, that’s the main thing. If you do want to share it with others, it’s okay if not everyone likes it, as long as you do.
  2. Take a step back. And by that I mean, don’t get too wrapped up in the negatives and eco-anxiety which naturally come with working in the environmental sector, and creating artworks which evaluate human destruction of the environment. Creating art is a great way to do something positive and encourage change, but not at the expense of your health.
  3. Be imaginative. Art is subjective and personal, and there is nothing off limits! Research your subject, and showcase it in an eye-catching and powerful way.

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/9/jackson-wild-collective-article Tue, 14 Sep 2021 10:30:39 GMT
The Hidden Circus and Animalltea https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/9/the-hidden-circus-and-animalltea Hello!

My new short ecological fairytale "The Hidden Circus" is now available to read on Bloom in Doom's website, accompanied by an original illustration.

Also, I am excited to be collaborating with the Oxford-based tea company Animalltea on their wildlife art postcards! Animalltea uses 100% of profits to fund wildlife conservation, working with a variety of different charities to conservation animals such as pangolins, chimpanzees, and lions. For the next 100 orders, my postcard design of a humpback whale "Into the Blue" will be included with every tea order! Also, if you use the discount code "BLUE" on checkout, you can get a 10% discount on your order! You can find out more about my collaboration with Animalltea here, or visit their website to find out more about their work.

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/9/the-hidden-circus-and-animalltea Tue, 14 Sep 2021 10:20:37 GMT
Whimsical Wildlife Calendar 2022 https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/8/whimsical-wildlife-calendar-2022 Hello!

I am excited to reveal my illustrated 2022 calendar is on the theme of "Whimsical Wildlife", and is now available to pre-order.

The calendar depicts wildlife interacting with objects from everyday life: a wood mouse perched on a jam jar, a ruby-tailed wasp building a sand castle, and a hare holding a tea party - I hope it brings a bit of nature's magic to your wall next year!

The calendar is A3 sized, printed on 200gsm silk paper with a 250gsm cover. Each illustration will be on the top A4 page, and a square-day calendar on the bottom A4 page. There is also an additional double-page spread for "notes, doodles, and thoughts" at the back of the calendar.

Pre-orders will close on September 30th at midnight, so I can order the correct number of calendars - and all orders will be dispatched in October and November. There will be a limited number of calendars available to order after the pre-order has finished, but if you'd like to ensure you get a calendar, please pre-order via my shop.

Six of the illustrations in the calendar can be previewed in the slideshow below, as well as the cover, and an example of the bottom of the calendar. I hope you like them.

Alicia

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/8/whimsical-wildlife-calendar-2022 Mon, 30 Aug 2021 09:22:52 GMT
Mini-collection: "Tales from the Forgotten Wood" https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/8/mini-collection-tales-from-the-forgotten-wood Hello! 

I am so excited to release a free mini-collection of new illustrated poems called “Tales from the Forgotten Wood”!

This is the first in a series of mini-collections, exploring the natural spaces you can find on your doorstop, and the beauty and mystery they hold. You can read the collection as a free PDF here, I really hope you enjoy it.

If you do enjoy this little collection, and would like to support my work, please consider buying me a coffee through my Ko-Fi page.

Alicia 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/8/mini-collection-tales-from-the-forgotten-wood Thu, 19 Aug 2021 20:01:09 GMT
Projects and updates! https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/8/projects-and-updates Hello!

I've been working on a few projects recently, including organising Creature Conserve's "Marine Pollution" theme week, which is currently being shown across Creature Conserve's social media platforms, and their website. It features brand new art pieces and poems, as well as some of my old favourites. If you would like to learn more about marine pollution, and what you can do to help combat it, feel free to look at the resource page I created for Creature Conserve's website, which you can view here.

As part of Creature Conserve's marine week, you can also listen to a reading of my short ecological fairytale "The Last Dolphin" on YouTube.

 

I've recently been writing poems inspired by the illustrations in Jackie Morris's gorgeous illustrated notebook "The Silent Unwinding". Jackie Morris has shared my hand-written poems on her blog, which you can read here, and you can also listen to me reading three of the poems on my YouTube channel, or via the videos below:

 

Finally, I've decided I won't be restocking my "When the Whale Sang" prints once they've sold out; although I may do another print run in the future, or revisit the piece in a different form! You can buy prints, as well as commission artwork, through my shop.

 

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/8/projects-and-updates Fri, 13 Aug 2021 15:31:19 GMT
Hen Harrier Day Young Filmmaker Challenge, Wader Quest newsletter, and The Blueprint https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/8/hen-harrier-day-young-filmmaker-challenge-2021 Hello!

I am so honoured to have been awarded second place for my film "Looking for Lapwings" in Hen Harrier Day's Young Filmmaker Challenge 2021! You can watch Hen Harrier Day 2021 in the YouTube video below (my segment starts at 1:31:20), or watch my film here.

I was also asked to create some illustrations for Wader Quest's July Newsletter, which was so much fun! You can see my illustrations, and my thoughts behind the creation process here.

I also really enjoyed talking to Sevim from the Be Curious Beings podcast last week, about my wildlife art, photography, film, and my grant proposal project exploring caterpillar camouflage and avian predation. The episode will air later this year.

Finally, my piece "When the Whale Sang" has been included in The Blueprint's Issue 8 "Silence" - you can see it here.

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/8/hen-harrier-day-young-filmmaker-challenge-2021 Mon, 02 Aug 2021 11:06:19 GMT
Tiny Seed Journal Featured Poet for Autumn 2021 and new online portfolio https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/tiny-seed-journal-featured-poet-for-autumn-2021-and-new-online-portfolio Hello!

I'm so honoured to be Tiny Seed Journal's Featured Poet for Summer/Autumn 2021! Over the next couple of months, they will be releasing six of my favourite poems and accompanying illustrations, which you are able to view on their website and social media channels.

I am also excited to announce that I have a new online portfolio, which contains my favourite wildlife art, photography, film, poems, and ecological fairytales*! 

My online portfolio will act as a sister-site to my main website (this one): some of the work showcased is from as early as 2010, and other pieces are very recent, which I hope gives an overview of the type of work I like to produce! I have split it into two sections: a visual portfolio, which features art, photography, and film; and a written portfolio, which features poetry, general writing, and short stories. 

I am also working on an "awards and testimonials" section of my online portfolio, which I hope to launch soon.

I hope you enjoy my new online portfolio, and my Featured Poet section in Tiny Seed Journal.

Alicia


*Ecological fairytale: Stories that tread the line between fantasy and reality, swooping in and out of imagination and realism, but always with the natural world at heart.

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/tiny-seed-journal-featured-poet-for-autumn-2021-and-new-online-portfolio Thu, 29 Jul 2021 17:08:35 GMT
Silver-studded blue poetry reading https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/silver-studded-blue-poetry-reading

 

This is a reading of my new poem "Silver-studded blue" - I hope you enjoy it!

The photo of the silver-studded blue in the video's thumbnail is my own, and a plain text version of the poem can be read below:

 

Silver studded blue

I speak in riddles and rhymes, when

The ‘s’s and ‘c’s get stuck in my throat.

I try to make sense of my swirling thoughts;

But memories are living, they flutter away,

Like an untamed butterfly, floating

On an unseen breeze. The soft calm of my hopes,

My dreams, my wishes, sails my words away

Like a glowing blue beacon.

The happiest thoughts glint silver and perfect,

Like the wings of a freshly emerged silver studded blue.


 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/silver-studded-blue-poetry-reading Wed, 28 Jul 2021 20:53:13 GMT
Roots to Seeds Exhibition - Green Cities https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/roots-to-seeds-exhibition---green-cities Hello!

As part of the Oxford Botanic Garden's 400 Year Anniversary celebrations, I was part of a team of students from the Oxford University Plant sciences department who worked on the videos in the Roots to Seeds exhibition, currently showing in the Weston Library.

I created my video with Flynn Bizzell, and we explored green cities - focusing on the 1000 Trees Project in Moganshan and how they could play an important role in a healthier, greener future. 

You can watch it in-person at the Weston Library Roots to Seeds exhibition, or on YouTube below. I really hope you enjoy it.

Alicia

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/roots-to-seeds-exhibition---green-cities Wed, 28 Jul 2021 11:38:02 GMT
The tale of the six-spot burnet moth - a short film https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/the-tale-of-the-six-spot-burnet-moth---a-short-film  

Six-spot burnet moths are normally found in meadows, grassland, and along the coast - but this population has taken up residence in the meadows next to a motorway.

This short film looks at the six-spot burnet's brief adult lifecycle, with tales about toxic gifts during sex, and ghostly skins left behind when they reach adulthood.


 

Script

The side of a busy motorway services near Glasgow is not where you’d expect to find a wildlife haven; but in this urban meadow, you can find a healthy population of six-spot burnet moths.

The adult six-spot burnet’s lifecycle may be brief at only a month or so, but it is quite an extraordinary tale – with toxic gifts during sex, and ghostly skins left behind when they reach adulthood.

 

Six-spot burnet moths are striking in their colouration and patterning, which makes them easily recognisable: their shiny black – almost metallic – long, thin wings, and characteristic six red spots help them stand out from the soft browns and yellows of the meadow.

This kind of patterning is often referred to as “warning colouration”, as six-spot burnet moths produce the toxic chemical hydrogen cyanide. This gives the moths a bad taste, and – in large quantities – will kill predators; helping to protect the moths throughout their lives.

Hydrogen cyanide also plays an important role in the moths’ sexual reproduction: females will release plumes of the chemical, combined with sexual pheromones, to attract males. During reproduction, male moths will present females with a nuptial gift – a type of nutritional gift sometimes given by the male, to induce the female to mate with him. In this case, he presents her with hydrogen cyanide. The female can then use this toxic gift to provide her offspring with more hydrogen cyanide, so they will be better protected against predators when they emerge.

 

These ghostly white tents with alien-like creatures emerging from them are actually the cocoons and abandoned exuviae of young six-spot burnet moths. The moths emerge from this exoskeleton after pupating, and fly away to feed and find a mate – leaving this shiny black case behind.

The adult moths are day-flying, and feed on the nectar of knapweed, thistle, and other grassland and meadow flowers. This moth is looking a bit bedraggled, and may have already mated – the female moths will lay their eggs on the caterpillars’ foodplants, bird’s-foot trefoil, before dying around June or July.

 

It is quite amazing to be able to find these moths in such an urban landscape – so keep an eye out for these astonishing, flamboyant little moths around your local patch.

 

REFERENCES AND WIDER READING

Butterfly Conservation (2021) Six-spot burnet moth, Available: https://butterfly-conservation.org/moths/six-spot-burnet [Accessed: 18/07/2021]

Gomez A. (2011) Six-spot burnets: chemical weapons as nuptial gifts, Available: http://abugblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/six-spot-burnets-chemical-weapons-as.html [Accessed: 18/07/2021]

Morris T. (2009) Six Spot Burnet Moth, Available: https://www.islay.blog/article.php/six-spot-burnet-moth [Accessed: 18/07/2021]

Pavid K. (2016) Toxic talents of Britain’s cyanide moths, Available: https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/toxic-talents-cyanide-moths.html [Accessed: 18/07/2021]

The Wildlife Trusts (2021) Six-spot burnet moth, Available: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/invertebrates/moths/six-spot-burnet-moth [Accessed: 18/07/2021]

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/the-tale-of-the-six-spot-burnet-moth---a-short-film Sun, 18 Jul 2021 17:54:30 GMT
When the Whale Sang Prints https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/when-the-whale-sang-prints When the Whale Sang is my favourite piece, and I am so glad it has resonated with so many people!

I have created 4 different size limited edition prints, and 50% of the profits from all my prints goes to David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) to support wildlife conservation! You can order the prints via my shop, the sizes are all shown in the slideshow below, and are as follows:

  • Photo 1 - A4 print
  • Photo 2 - A3 print
  • Photo 3 - 600mm (length) print
  • Photo 4 - A6 postcard print (with envelope!)
  • Photo 5 - Bundle of 4 A6 postcard prints (with envelopes!)
  • Photo 6 - My business card! (Not available to buy, but it comes with every order!)

All prints, except A6 postcards, were printed by All Colours Only, and all come signed with certificates of authenticity (except A6 postcards).

Thank you so much for choosing When the Whale Sang the as the DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year Human Impact winner & winner of the inaugural Ingrid Beazley Award; it means the world to me. 

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/when-the-whale-sang-prints Fri, 16 Jul 2021 15:07:32 GMT
Bristol Science Film Festival 2021 https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/bristol-science-film-festival-2021 Hello!

My short film Wood Mouse has been shortlisted in the "Science Fact - Amateur" category of the Bristol Science Film Festival 2021! There is a virtual screening of all shortlisted films this Friday (16th) and Saturday (17th), which is free to attend - you can register here.

My mouse film will be shown tomorrow in the "Earth Explained" screening, and winners will be announced at the end of the second screening on Saturday.

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/bristol-science-film-festival-2021 Thu, 15 Jul 2021 10:54:31 GMT
Snails and champagne https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/snails-and-champagne I wonder if you see me the way I see you:

A colourful spiral of bubbling energy.

The sepia coil of a snail shell, mixed with

Electric bubbles of soft champagne –

A whirlwind of beautiful chaos.

A melody of a thousand starlings.

A new poem and illustration! This is also a little clue for one of the two new projects I’m working on at the moment, which I will release more information about soon...

A reminder that commissions are currently open, and if you would like to commission an illustration or art piece, please get in touch. I also still have prints available in my shop - 50% of the profits from "When the Whale Sang" prints goes to David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, to support wildlife conservation.

Also, my debut illustrated poetry book "Rain before Rainbows" is available to order through my shop, with 50% of the profits going to the wildlife hospital Tiggywinkles.

If you like my work, and are financially able to do so, please consider buying me a coffee (hot chocolate) through my Ko-Fi page

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/snails-and-champagne Wed, 07 Jul 2021 20:20:32 GMT
The Spirit of Summer https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/the-spirit-of-summer We walk through sandy ditches, padding through crawling vegetation;

Ruby red feather-heart leaves wobble and bob gently in the breeze,

And, amongst the curling stems, hiding underneath umbrella leaves,

Pink hearts with pin-prick seeds lie in wait, ready to be eaten.

 

A wood mouse, wet nose twitching in the warm sweet breeze,

Tip-toes towards the bountiful branches –

Delicately prising off the berries, peeling the flesh away to reveal

Sweet crunch seeds, which glisten like stars.

 

A merl of blackbirds descends onto the pink picnic,

Gulping berries back whole by the dozen –

Singing between mouthfuls; black feathers glistening

And eyes sparkling in the evening glow.

 

We walk together through sandy ditches, stooping low towards the fruit;

Hands reaching out and gently twisting the berries,

Which pop! In the mouth – a starburst of sweetness –

The spirit of summer.

 


This poem is my entry into Elliott & Thompson and Steve Rutt's "The Spirit of Summer" writing competition - it is inspired by a wild strawberry-filled walk that I went on yesterday, and the joy of picking wild fruit!

An infographic of my poem can be viewed below:
 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/the-spirit-of-summer Tue, 06 Jul 2021 18:18:49 GMT
Bells https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/bells Your name is a golden bell hung in my heart.

I would break my body to pieces to call you once by your name. – Peter S. Beagle

 

When they fly past me, I hear bells.

 

A gentle ringing – like they’re attached to the tail feathers,

Sailing out behind them, as curved wings cut through the cold air.

 

Yet no matter how fast I run, how desperately I search,

They always outfly me. The ringing always fades.

 

 

When I see you, I hear bells.

 

 A warm dong – like autumn soup reverberating through my chest,

Heating me up like a cup of cocoa, sipped under an amber blanket.

 

And when I loop my arm through yours, fingers intertwined,

The dinging settles down. A satisfying chime.

 

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/bells Mon, 05 Jul 2021 20:00:17 GMT
How to draw a Bee Orchid https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/how-to-draw-a-bee-orchid Hello!

The BES's big Ecology draw-along, hosted by the wonderful Sophie Pavelle, and featuring Ecologists Leif Bersweden, Isla Hodgson, and Aileen Baird; as well as art from myself, Lauren Cook, and Hana Ayoob, aired today. It was wonderful drawing and learning about the bee orchid, basking shark, and octopus stinkhorn; you can watch the draw-along on YouTube if you missed it.

I've also made my bee orchid draw-along video available on YouTube, which you can watch below.

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/how-to-draw-a-bee-orchid Sun, 04 Jul 2021 17:10:46 GMT
BES Big Ecology draw-along, a new short story, and a Conservation Optimism micro-internship https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/bes-big-ecology-draw-along-a-new-short-story-a-conservation-optimism-micro-internship Hello!

I am one of the artists for the British Ecological Society (BES)'s Big Ecology draw-along, alongside Lauren Cook and Hana Ayoob, as part of the Edinburgh Science Festival 2021. We have pre-recorded draw-along videos, which will be presented by the wonderful Sophie Pavelle, who, alongside ecologists, will draw our species live, and chat about their ecology. Tickets are free, and the draw-along is taking place this Sunday on Zoom - you can get your tickets here.

A recording of the draw-along will also be available on YouTube after the event; and I will upload my draw-along video to my YouTube channel, which you can subscribe to here!

My most recent short ecological fairytale, a nature creative writing piece, has been published on Bloom in Doom's website and is now available to read here. Originally, I created three small illustrations for this piece, but only one has been used on the website - so you can view all three pieces below. I really loved writing and illustrating Rooftops and Stargazers, and I hope you enjoy reading it! 

A couple of weeks ago, I completed a micro-internship with Conservation Optimism, which involved creating a kids' poster for one of the Whitley Fund for Nature Award Winners 2021. This year, there were 7 Whitley Award Winners, and there will be 7 kids' posters in total, helping educate children about positive wildlife conservation! To accompany the posters, I have created 7 draw-along videos for each species that the Award Winners have focused on conserving, and these will be uploaded to my YouTube channel in a few weeks time.

Finally, if you like my work, and are financially able to do so, please consider buying me a coffee (hot chocolate!) through Ko-Fi - I really appreciate it, and you can receive some exclusive writing and art by subscribing to my newsletter!

Thank you!

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/7/bes-big-ecology-draw-along-a-new-short-story-a-conservation-optimism-micro-internship Sat, 03 Jul 2021 15:15:53 GMT
I have a newsletter! https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/6/i-have-a-newsletter Hello!

I'm excited to announce that I've set up a newsletter! It will either come out once a month, or once every couple of months, and will contain information about projects I'm working on, updates in my shop, previews of new work, and exclusive artwork and writing which I won't be releasing elsewhere.

If you'd like to subscribe, you can do so here.

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/6/i-have-a-newsletter Sun, 13 Jun 2021 14:56:38 GMT
The Last Dolphin https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/6/the-last-dolphin There is something intoxicatingly beautiful about the ocean.

Beautiful because of the satisfying swish-and-sigh of the waves as they tumble backwards and forwards, moving between continents as sure as time passes.

Intoxicating because of the slick oil that slips through my fingers as I play with the blackened seaweed growing at the side of the jetty.

It has been this way as long as I can remember, although I am told the ocean was once a gleaming glass sphere of turquoise and aqua; a whirl of cream cresting the top of every blue-green wave.

Now the oil fills the ocean like ink spilling from the broken nib of a pen, and when I trace my fingers along the mirror surface it swirls and ripples outwards, reflecting all the colours of the rainbow.

I have come here because I want to find signs of life.

If I’m honest, it’s because I want to see a dolphin. I used to trace photos and drawings of them in picture books when I was young, and my mother called them ‘the horses of the sea’. They look so graceful leaping through crystal blue waves, and apparently they used to squeak like children’s toys when they spoke to each other. I have been desperate to find one ever since then; and this jetty – this is the best place to see them.

Some say the last place to see them.

Others say they’ve already gone. That the mirror-black ripples have wrapped their slick tendrils around the dolphins and pulled them deep-deep down, into the depths, where only horrendous beasts and monsters which are as dark as the sea itself can survive.

I remove my hand from the water and settle back onto my heels.

I have to admit, the situation is worse than I was expecting. I hoped that there would have been some progress with a clean-up, but if anything it looks worse. All of humanity, it seems, infected with a cripplingly apathy that means they are unable to do anything – the ocean paying the price.

The snorkel and flippers have been tucked in my rucksack for the past few days, untouched. Now I pull them out. It took some finding to get them – but they’re what I need to explore the depths.

It feels like I’m drowning. The thick oily-water pinching at my body like a deadly hug, coating my skin in obsidian gloss that makes me look like a statue of myself. I get a hold of myself, take a deep breath, and dive.

I’m pleased I bought my waterproof pocket-torch, as without it, the cloaked seaweed hands and charcoaled corals make seeing in-front of me near impossible. I run a hand along the coral, and watch as some of the sticky blackness removes itself, puffing off into the water like a puff ball releasing spores in the autumn. Perhaps it will not be impossible to clear all of this up?

A breath of air, and I’m descending again, lips pressed tight against the liquid which laps around my snorkel – I can almost feel it whispering let me in with every swish, every sigh. I use a cloth to wipe away some of the oil from the corals, stowing the blackened cloth into my waterproof rucksack, revealing the corals’ colours underneath. They are not as colourful as I hoped they were, and they look almost dead in their skeletal forms, but we could bring them back. Not all hope is lost.

Breathe. Dive. Clean. Think. Breathe. Dive. Clean. Think. Breathe.

I continue through the treacle ocean in this cycle for an hour or so. Every cleaning wipe bringing a splash of colour, a burst of texture, into a blackened ghost town, burnt of life.

Apart from the plants and corals, I have seen nothing obviously alive. Nothing moving through this monstrous world except for my feet kicking kelp and seaweed which rocks with a gentle current.

Breathe. Dive. Clean. Think.

Breathe.

 I’m quite far out from the jetty now – it’s just a speck of dull brown, surrounded by a world of blacks and greys.

It could be peaceful.

I think it was – once.

Dive.

I have made a tiny dent against the dark underwater palace, and it makes a glimmer of something swirling and hopeful light in my heart like a flame.

And then I see the bubbles.

It’s hard to see them, but my torch makes them shine rainbow colours against the inky ocean.

They look like life.

I follow the trail.

The darkness hugs my body, trying to push me back with strong oily currents.

But I keep going.

I sweep back darkened seaweed, slick between my fingers, and sweep my torch around the area. It’s deeper than before, and the corals have retreated to leave a vast expanse of ocean. It’s exhilarating, hovering on the edge of a chasm of possibility.

And just as I go up to take a breath, I think that this is where we, humanity, stand now. On the edge – at a crossroad between doing what we always have, or taking a leap into the unknown and making things better.

My dolphin will wait for me, so long as I make the ocean a place worth waiting in.

Bloom in Doom Online ArticleBloom in Doom Online Article This piece is also available to read on Bloom in Doom - you can read it here, and you can purchase a digital copy of Volume 3 "Forests" - which contains some of my illustrations - here.

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/6/the-last-dolphin Thu, 10 Jun 2021 18:26:26 GMT
"When the Whale Sang" prints are now available! https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/6/-when-the-whale-sang-prints-are-now-available I’m really excited to reveal that two sizes of my winning David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) Wildlife Artist of the Year piece “When the Whale Sang” are now available to purchase in my shop!

Photos of the limited edition prints are shown below in a slideshow. The first photo shows the biggest print, 600mm length, which is a giclée print, produced by All Colours Only. Photos 2-4 show the smallest print, an A6 postcard print, which comes with a textured, fine laid grain envelope, so you can either use it as a small print for your wall, or send it as a postcard! These prints are 300gsm card with a matte finish, printed by Canva; and they can either be purchased individually, or as a bundle of 4 (where there is a discount!)

For all of my whale prints, I will be donating 50% of the profits to DSWF for wildlife conservation.

There will be two more print sizes (A3 and A4 length ways) coming over the next week or so, but I will let you know when these become available. You are welcome to pre-order these sizes on my shop, but please be aware there might be a slight delay in dispatching them because of this.

I really hope you like these prints! Do get in touch if you have any questions about them, and I will try and answer them as best as I can!

Alicia

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/6/-when-the-whale-sang-prints-are-now-available Wed, 09 Jun 2021 08:05:54 GMT
DSWF Artist Talk https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/6/dswf-artist-talk Hello!

I recently spoke alongside Martin Aveling, Sofiya Shukhova, Sophie Green, Tom Shepherd, and Tichaona Ncube in David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation's Artist Talk. It was such a fun panel to be part of; we spoke about wildlife artivism, eco-anxiety, and the threshold between science and art.

You can watch a recording of the talk on DSWF's YouTube channel, or through the video below - I hope you enjoy it!

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/6/dswf-artist-talk Fri, 04 Jun 2021 19:14:25 GMT
Prickles and Paws Poetry competition, and Bristol Science Film Festival https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/6/prickles-and-paws-poetry-competition-and-bristol-science-film-festival I'm so excited to have won the "Vulnerable to Extinction" category in Prickles & Paws' Hedgehog Awareness Week Poetry competition, with my poem, "Vulnerable to Extinction". The competition was judged by one of my favourite nature writers and illustrators, Tiffany Francis-Baker, and I am so happy she liked my poem!

Vulnerable to extinction

 

The buttery moon spills a creamy pool of light

On the blades of grass in the garden at night;

Illuminating the shadows, carapaces of beetles,

Slick, silver trails of slugs and snails.

 

It comes alive at night-fall – invertebrates

Crawling from underneath logs and stones,

Feasting on the unsuspecting gardener’s prize

Cabbage, lettuce, pansy, rose.

 

Inside, she watches from the porch,

Red cellophane covering her torch

Grasped tightly in small chubby hands:

“Where’s the hedgehog mummy?”

 

Stroking mousey brown hair, her mother

Gazes out into the garden –

the one she has known since she was young, and

lived here with her mother, father, brother.

 

She remembers when she was small:

The hedgehogs visiting the garden every day,

Keeping the hungry molluscs at bay

With snuffling, crunching, eating.

 

And now, she twiddles her thumbs,

Absent-mindedly – fearfully.

Shaking her head sadly – an admission,

We must save our hedgehogs: they are vulnerable to extinction.

 

I'm also happy to announce that my short film about a juvenile wood mouse has been shortlisted in the Bristol Science Film Festival's Science Fact Amateur Prize! The Film Festival will be virtual this year, and the shortlist will be livestreamed over two nights on the 16th and 17th July, with the winners announced on the evening of the 17th of July. 

 

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/6/prickles-and-paws-poetry-competition-and-bristol-science-film-festival Thu, 03 Jun 2021 09:10:26 GMT
Bottlefish https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/5/bottlefish

Plastic pollution in our oceans is a major threat to many marine species, through ingestion, entanglement, and chemical toxins, as well as other threats.

Chemical toxins can affect the diversity of macrobenthic communities - microscopic organisms living at the bottom of the water column; ingestion of plastic has been recorded to affect reproductive rates of organisms such as the Laysan albatross; and entanglement and ensnarement has been recorded to affect at least 135 marine species - including cetaceans, sea snakes, and seabirds.

Plastic bottles may look harmless, but when they find their way into our oceans, not only do they risk ensnaring an organism, but the chemicals in the plastic disperse into the water, and the bottle itself will eventually form smaller and smaller fragments, known as microplastics.

If you’re interested in this, I’d recommend looking at Vegter A. C. at al. 2014 “Global research priorities to mitigate plastic pollution impacts on marine wildlife”, Endangered Species Research; Volume 25, pp. 225-247
 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/5/bottlefish Sun, 30 May 2021 20:58:35 GMT
Etsy Shop! https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/5/etsy-shop Hello!

I'm excited to announce that I have opened an Etsy shop, which will be selling my poetry book - Rain before Rainbows - as well as art prints. I am hoping to add prints of my winning piece "When the Whale Sang" in the next few weeks.

There is also an option to order bespoke postcard-sized brown hare art pieces, based on your own photos, or off an existing pose I have drawn a hare in. If there is interest, I will look into making a more general postcard-sized art commission option.

All my photos are available for ordering as prints, but I sell these on an individual basis, so if you are interested in purchasing a photo print, please get in touch via the "contact" form on my website.

If you would rather order my poetry book through my other shop, this will remain active, and can be accessed here.

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/5/etsy-shop Sat, 29 May 2021 12:21:35 GMT
DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year - Human Impact Winner https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/5/dswf-wildlife-artist-of-the-year---human-impact-winner Hello!

I am so, so excited that my piece “When the Whale Sang” has won the Human Impact category, and been awarded the Ingrid Beazley Award, in David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021!

Winner of DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year Human Impact category, Ingrid Beazley Award, 2021Winner of DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year Human Impact category, Ingrid Beazley Award, 2021 Thank you so much to all the DSWF judges: Martin Aveling, Georgina Lamb, Emily Lamb, Amanda Couch, and Stephen Rew - I am over the moon, and I can’t thank you enough for liking my piece! You can read Martin Aveling's comments about my piece, and view all the winning pieces on BBC Wildlife and DSWF

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners - I’m not sure how the judges decided, because all the pieces were stunning. You can view them in DSWF's virtual exhibition here, and you can vote for your favourite to win the People's Choice category here.

All of the art pieces in this year’s Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibition are available to buy, including my whale piece, with at least 50% of the price going to wildlife conservation charities. All DSWF Finalists are invited to create Sketch For Wildlife postcards, which sell for £60 each, with all the money going to conservation charities - these are available to buy here. My postcard, a coffee hare, has already been sold, but you can see a photo of it below:

Thank you so much DSWF!

Alicia 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/5/dswf-wildlife-artist-of-the-year---human-impact-winner Wed, 26 May 2021 14:12:40 GMT
Nature's Gold Magazine, In2Deep Podcast, DSWF Virtual Exhibition, and DSWF Artists Panel https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/5/natures-gold-magazine-in2deep-podcast-DSWF-Virtual-Exhibition-and-DSWF-Artists-Panel Hello!

Issue 6 of Nature's Gold Magazine came out last weekend on the theme of "home", and it features two of my new poems, and several of my art pieces and illustrations! It was so much fun working on this issue, and it is available to read for free here.

I was also invited to speak on Amalia James' writing podcast In2Deep, alongside 5 other talented writers, sharing my main tip for publishing your first book. You can listen to the In2Deep podcast on Spotify, Google Podcast, RadioPublic, and Pocket Casts - I'm featured on Season 2 Episode 5 "How to Publish your First Book: 7 Tips by 7 Authors", at 16.33. 

As part of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF)'s virtual events celebrating Wildlife Artist of the Year (WAY), they are running an Artist Panel, and I am really excited to announce that I am part of it! The Artist Panel will be hosted by DSWF WAY Human Impact category judge and Wildlife Artist of the Year Martin Aveling and DSWF Chief Executive Georgina Lamb, on June 1st, 5-6.30pm. I will be talking alongside award-winning artists Sofiya Shukhova, Sophie Green, Tom Shepherd, and Tichaona Ncube - it's free to attend, although donations are welcome, as they support the DSWF's valuable wildlife conservation work. You can book your tickets to attend the Artist Panel here, and you can read Martin Aveling's blog post about the panel here.

The DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021 virtual exhibition opened today, and you can view all of the stunning pieces either in the online catalogue, or through a VR exhibition. There is also a "People's Choice" category for the DSWF WAY, and you can register to for your favourite piece here.

The DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year virtual awards ceremony is tonight at 7pm, and if you would like to attend, you can book free tickets through Eventbrite - donations to support DSWF's wildlife conservation work are welcome. 

Alicia

Nature's Gold Magazine Issue 6Nature's Gold Magazine Issue 6

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/5/natures-gold-magazine-in2deep-podcast-DSWF-Virtual-Exhibition-and-DSWF-Artists-Panel Tue, 25 May 2021 14:58:05 GMT
Step-by-step art video for Mammal Society https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/5/step-by-step-art-video-for-mammal-society Hello!

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year's focus is on nature and the natural world.
The Mammal Society asked me to produce a short step-by-step art guide and video for this year's Mental Health Awareness week, so I've created a short video and infographic about "how to draw a brown hare"!

You can watch the video below, on The Mammal Society's social media channels, or on my YouTube channel. I hope you enjoy creating some coffee brown hares!

Alicia


The step-by-step infographic:

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/5/step-by-step-art-video-for-mammal-society Thu, 13 May 2021 10:21:32 GMT
Wader Quest, DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year, and a new poem https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/5/wader-quest-dswf-wildlife-artist-of-the-year-and-a-new-poem Hello!

One of my poems, "Lapwing", and its accompanying illustration were included in Wader Quest's most recent newsletter, which you can read on their website, or see a segment of below.

If you like this poem, please consider ordering my illustrated wildlife poetry book "Rain before Rainbows", of which 50% of the profits go to the wildlife hospital Tiggywinkles. You can find out more in my shop.
 

I’m also really excited to share my David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) Wildlife Artist of the Year (WAY) Finalist badge!


In just under two weeks' time, the DSWF WAY 2021 virtual awards ceremony is being streamed, showcasing all of this year’s artwork, and revealing the winning artists. It’s free to attend, but donations are welcome - you can secure your tickets through Eventbrite.

The virtual exhibition will open to the public on the 25th of May, and all pieces will be available to buy, with half the price going directly to wildlife conservation. There will also be an opportunity to buy one of the shortlisted artist's original postcard-sized "sketch for wildlife" art pieces, with all the money going to support wildlife conservation.


I've also been writing a few new poems recently, one of which I would like to share here - I hope you like it!

Alicia

 

Bird’s eye view
 

Perched on top of sandy bricks and towers,

The world below unfolds like a map –

Predictable and familiar; the patterns of everyday life

That feel like breathing – feel like safety.
 

When skies darken and rain pours

There is nothing to shelter me; just stone statues carved into

A turreted cliff edge.

With my nest mates gone, I am alone.
 

Ringing bells wake me,

The sun warms me,

And I stretch my wings

Wide and wider – like the wings of an angel.
 

Every storm passes eventually.

And the rhythm of life below me settles back into

A constant pitter-patter of shoes on cobbles.

Everything back to how it was before.
 

Almost.

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/5/wader-quest-dswf-wildlife-artist-of-the-year-and-a-new-poem Wed, 12 May 2021 09:07:29 GMT
Adventure Uncovered Film Festival https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/4/adventure-uncovered-film-festival Hello!

I'm excited to reveal that my short film, "Looking for Lapwings", has been given an "Honourable Mention" in Adventure Uncovered's Film Festival 2021.

You can watch "Looking for Lapwings" below:

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/4/adventure-uncovered-film-festival Sun, 25 Apr 2021 07:20:37 GMT
Snake's-head fritillaries - a nature mindfulness film https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/4/snakes-head-fritillaries---a-nature-mindfulness-film In a quiet patch beside the river Cherwell, lies a small glade of very special flowers: the snake's-head fritillary.

This short mindfulness film hopes to highlight the quiet beauty of their nodding chequered heads.


 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/4/snakes-head-fritillaries---a-nature-mindfulness-film Fri, 23 Apr 2021 08:48:59 GMT
Leopard, revisited https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/4/leopard-revisited First, I took amber and fire

And I had his eyes.

Then I took sunset and dawn

And I had his coat.

I added charcoal and ink

And I had his spots…

 

But then the charcoal started darkening,

Forming shapes that swirled into the sky

As trees crumbled.

Crumbled down, down,

Down to ash.

 

Ash from fire – reflected in his eyes,

Dancing flames within pupils, dilated with fear,

As he runs through burning, twisting forms

That once formed his home –

Now alight. As bright as the sun.

 

When sunset falls, matching his coat,

The cool night does not greet him.

It rages on – angry and furious.

And he flees because

He is afraid.

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/4/leopard-revisited Mon, 19 Apr 2021 20:40:15 GMT
Creature Conserve Artist Talks https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/4/creature-conserve-artist-talks Hello!

I recently gave two Artist Talks to Creature Conserve about my art piece "When the Whale Sang", and my poem "The Whale's Song" - both of which feature in my illustrated wildlife poetry book.

You can watch the Artist Talks on YouTube below, I hope you enjoy them!

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/4/creature-conserve-artist-talks Fri, 16 Apr 2021 20:29:36 GMT
David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021 https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/4/david-shepherd-wildlife-artist-of-the-year-2021 Hello!

I'm absolutely delighted that my wildlife art "When the Whale Sang" has been shortlisted in this year's David Shepherd (DSWF) Wildlife Artist of the Year competition, in association with BBC Wildlife Magazine!

The winners will be announced at the virtual awards ceremony on Tuesday May 25th, after which my art, along with all the other beautiful shortlisted pieces, will be on display in a virtual exhibition.

All the pieces in this exhibition are able to purchase, with 50% of the profits going straight to DSWF to fund wildlife conservation efforts.

You can find out more about DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year on their website.

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/4/david-shepherd-wildlife-artist-of-the-year-2021 Wed, 14 Apr 2021 11:10:17 GMT
Escapril 2021 https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/4/escapril-2021 Hello!

This year I decided to take part in Escapril, a challenge founded by poet Savannah Brown, where poets around the world are invited to write a poem every day in April, in response to thirty prompts.

It was a lot of fun taking part in this year's Escapril, and I tried to include wildlife and nature in some form in all of my poems! You can read all thirty of my Escapril poems below.

Alicia

 


Day 1 - Ego
 

No bird is more in love with itself than the Peacock.

My God, he struts around, fluttering his many eyes

Like a lady-in-waiting with a silk fan;

Adoring the fact every eye is on him,

That he can make every peahen swoon

With one bat of his bejewelled eyes.

 


Day 2 - The exact middle
 

A coin toss is an elegant way of deciding arguments.

One smooth wrist flick and it’s twirling, flipping;

The sides blinking in the dull light of the lamp above the oak table,

Not unlike two eyes winking – unreadable.

 

It clinks onto the table top, rolling along edges smoothed from

Being thumbed in pockets. It comes to rest:

Not heads or tails – no decisive final topple –

But the exact middle.

 


Day 3 - Empty, except for...
 

Never one for a big show,

My final act was the same as always –

Pulling the rabbit out of the hat.

 

The crowd always groaned in a

“seen-this-before, hasn’t-he-got-something-better”

Sort of way.

 

But there was always one child who was entranced:

A little girl with bouncing pigtails and a wide smile

Who would come running up at the end, asking,

“How did you do it? Can you teach me?”

 

And I would bow deeply and hand her the hat, whispering,

“see what you can pull out.”

 


Day 4 - Ghost
 

When all is said and done,

When all the oceans are depthless basins –

A lifeless sea of oil and plastic –

There will still be the whispers of the wind,

The breath of a gentle current,

The curling fingers of the river.

 

Ghosts of a life lost.

 

Ghosts of a nearly forgotten world.

 


Day 5 - Here's what I remember...
 

Creaking floorboards,

Nails not quite driven into the cracking wood properly,

And a smell of grapefruit – mixed with sea salt –

That swirls through the air

Like a honeybee homing to a flower.

 


Day 6 - (L)onl(e)y
 

I wonder how the last unicorn felt

When they realised they were all that was left.

 

Did they cry? Crumple to the ground,

Curse the heavens and give in?

 

Did they stare plaintively into the distance

And wonder what would become of them?

 

Did they run? Did they hide? Did they scream?

 

Perhaps they tried to rectify some of the damage,

Rebuild some of their lost cities, retrieve artefacts.

 

Or perhaps they were content in their solitude,

Talking to their shadow for company.

 


Day 7 - Naked
 

The wallpaper coats the walls

Like a jungle; peeling into grasses,

Falling off in parts like giant leaves.

 

Together we scrape off the shreds,

Sand the walls down so they’re smooth

And shining bright, with unexplored potential.

 


Day 8 - Tessellation
 

We fit together like

Two puzzle pieces,

Growing old together

But always at the same rate.

A constant equilibrium.

Neither of us

Outrunning the other.

It’s like that bit in

Alice in Wonderland,

Running to stand still,

Where we evolve together

But it means we’re not really

Evolving at all.

Just tessellating over and over:

Endless déjà-vu.

 


Day 9 - Paradox
a haiku 
 

How can we pledge to

protect our planet, if we

won’t change our own lives?

 


Day 10 - I'm worried about her
 

Her bark fingers and green lungs

Have become more withered and worn

As the years trickle on.

Her breath slows – hitches into storms

And cyclones as she competes with fire and

Flames for air.

Her blue blood doesn’t glisten like it used to,

It has become poisoned – slowly eating her up

From the inside out.

 


Day 11 - eureka!
 

when it came to you,

it was always puzzles.

 

a competitive edge,

that spurred us both on;

 

like two lapwings,

we swirled around each other;

 

our teasing voices

creating an eco-chamber

 

of flashing colours and

sing-song rhythms

 

as we tried to find

each other’s secret

 

first.

 


Day 12 - Comfortable
 

Curling up in the early sunrise,

the colour of a perfectly-baked croissant,

Your hazel eyes blink slowly;

dozy and happy in your bed of grass and heather,

Just as the warmth of the new day

reaches out its hands and

begins to weave its fingers under your fur,

Ready for a new day.

 


Day 13 - After the afterlife
 

there’s an endless grey sea.

the rocks are grey, the foam is grey, the water is grey.

grey, grey, grey.

it bores into your eyes – into your soul –

until you can almost taste the metallic colour,

until everything you touch feels smooth yet rough like a boulder,

and when you try to swim through the ocean

you find yourself climbing unending steps

as grey as the 9-til-5 commute

and you find yourself wondering ‘will it ever end,

or is life just an endless series of steps and progressions,

each as non-essential and grey as the past?’

 


Day 14 - wishbone
 

Most people wish on stars.

 

Stars that cut through the night sky

Against a cosmic background,

Flying so fast that they form

Sharp white blurs in the sky.

 

But some people wish on wishbones.

 

The pearly v-shaped bone,

So fragile and delicate in your hands,

You handle it so carefully –

Only to break it in two.

 

Your wish has been made.

 


Day 15 - Planes/trains/automobiles


There is a distinct rhythm to certain words,

It makes them likeable to us

(they just slip off the tongue),

So we can wield favourable cadences

And iambic pentameter like well-worn weapons;

Winning every battle.

 


Day 16 - Bird of Paradise
 

Not unlike a wind-up toy

Stuttering to a sudden start after months of being untouched.

Feathers begin to whir round his head –

All different colours, like looking through a kaleidoscope.

His song twists nothing into something;

Golden notes spun from thin air – reflecting the afternoon sun.

 


Day 17 - Power
 

Dark eyes glint in the streetlamp before me

As he raids the bins for scraps,

 

Rust hair with orange-peel highlights

Weaving in and out of the shadows as he moves.

 

Paws delicately balance and weave along the perimeter

As he keeps his eye on the prize,

 

They say one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure

And when the fox pulls out a chicken carcass

You can almost feel his delight, tinged with hunger,

As he rips the tender meat and swallows it whole.

 

 


Day 18 - Nightmare
 

They call her the nightmare thief.

 

When the cries from the unwoken

Shake the sheets during the depths of night,

She dives from her tower and

Throws her silver spool of thread,

Which twirls and cascades to the restless dreamer

And catches the nightmare from their reach.

 

She reels it in to safety:

A wriggling black droplet of bad dreams,

Before returning to her tower,

Where she sits with the night-time owls and moths for company,

Waiting for the next nightmare.

 


Day 19 - Mirror

a haiku
 

A tranquil surface,

So still, you can almost see

The silver full moon.

 


Day 20 - Stranger than Fiction
 

I first met the beast when I was six years old.

She was curled up inside a fresh sunflower,

her breath even in her sleep,

large golden paws with sharp black claws covering her face.

I thought perhaps she was a bee of some kind,

so I poked her with a chubby finger,

and gasped in surprise as the beast opened her mouth

in a giant yawn filled with sharp white teeth.

She regarded me with quiet curiousity for some time,

blinking her startling blue eyes,

before stretching and flying away with leathery purple wings

disappearing into the afternoon sun.

 

I met the beast again when I was sixteen.

Climbing trees and running through meadows chasing butterflies,

I suddenly became aware of a rustling in the hedgerow beside me.

Crawling on my hands and knees, I spied familiar black claws,

golden paws, blue eyes.

I couldn’t help but gasp.

And she roared in surprise.

So much larger than when I had last seen her,

I whispered, I thought I dreamt you up,

and she regarded me with a withering stare, before shaking her head like a horse

and prancing back into the depths of the blackthorn bushes,

too quickly for me to follow.

 

I saw the beast yesterday – another ten years after our last encounter.

I’d convinced myself she was just a dream, an imaginary friend of sorts,

A cross between a bee, and a dragon, a lion, and a horse.

But on an evening walk, I saw her,

Prowling across the fields like the majestic beast she is –

Causing blackbirds to alarm call in dismay,

And a flock of crows to spiral up into the sky, cawing loudly.

I ran towards her, stopping every now and then so as not to spook her.

She watched me run, familiar blue eyes glinting almost kindly.

What are you?

I gasped when I reached her, admiring her flowing mane,

Are you real?

 

In answer, she bent down for me to climb onto her back between her worn leathery wings,

And I held on to her soft fur, as we flew far away into the sunset.

 


Day 21 - glitch
 

sometimes I wonder if shooting stars

are like tears in the universe.

a temporary glitch in the fabric of the cosmos.

 


Day 22 - In the distance, a small shape
 

the dream dances like a tiny whisper,

wavering, silver, in the sliver of moonlight

which flows through the window like a silk scarf

or a gentle evening breeze.

Just above lips – unspoken words,

unthought-of thoughts,

a whisper of possibility,

of potential.

Hanging just out of reach,

like a lullaby chime blowing gently in the breeze.

 


Day 23 - Clock
 

Every morning the blackbird wakes up,

Tips his head back,

And lets the melody pour out of his golden bill

As water flows over rocks.

A trickle turning into a rushing torrent of quavers and minims –

Humming on the notes-which-aren’t-quite-notes

And whistling up and down the octaves

As loudly as the morning alarm, beeping, through your sleep,

Because he must tell the world that he is

Awake.

 


Day 24 - Crossroads
 

Between the garden and the house:

The outside world, a blend of real and make-believe,

Where she rules her kingdom

Of ants, slugs, and butterflies.

She dances barefoot amongst pansies and buttercups,

Humming a song only she knows –

Too young to know of life’s troubles,

But with knowledge beyond her years.

 


Day 25 - Pareidolia

or the tale of the Moon Hare
 

If you stare at the charcoal craters of the moon,

And if you look up at just the right moment,

You might be lucky enough to see the moon hare.

 

He sleeps in his favourite crater,

Covered in a quilt knitted for him by his grandma,

And wearing bright blue bed socks.

 

His long ears curl around the crater almost twice over,

And his legs always poke out the end of the quilt –

But up there, on the moon, he is happy.

 

My hare in the moon.

 


Day 26 - Nothing more beautiful
 

His fingers find the keys like an artist finds their brush,

And the music swells around him like a ripe peach,

Filling the air with a sweetness

that smells of the sea and cherry blossom.

The noise conjures images of goldfinch and greenfinch

As the notes take form in the air –

become their own.

 

There is something quite astonishing about the

Worlds he can create using just the sounds he sings and plays:

From beaches to ballrooms

Woodlands to mountain tops.

The scent of warm autumn and fresh grass gives the piano

A new lease of life.

There is nothing more beautiful.

 


Day 27 - Ink
 

The night draws in like curtains,

Swishing over after the closing act of a performance,

And preparing the world for a new day.

 


Day 28 - Extreme dissonance 
 

When birds sing, sometimes they are arguing.

It seems ironic that such outraged disagreement

Sounds so beautiful and perfectly harmonised to us.

 


Day 29 - Goodbye
 

When the swifts screech in September,

It is with some sadness,

For they are calling

Goodbye / farewell / we will see you next year

Their return to Africa is bittersweet,

Signalling the return of Winter –

Cold days and warm blankets

Hugging you tight like scarves.

But it also is a promise –

Not so much as a goodbye,

As an assurance that

we will come back next year.

 


Day 30 - Even now, after everything?
 

Running through the park together,

Feet tangling in the grass stems

And kicking up dirt as we dance

To the trickle of the brook,

The song of the evening thrush.

 

When we collapse in fits of giggles

Weaving chains out of daisies for each other,

I ask you –

And you answer –

Our hands woven together just like the daises around our necks.

 


 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/4/escapril-2021 Sat, 10 Apr 2021 09:00:53 GMT
Bloom in Doom - Miniature Kingdom https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/4/bloom-in-doom---miniature-kingdom Hello!

I've written and illustrated a new short story called the "Miniature Kingdom" for Bloom in Doom! 

You can read it here, I hope you enjoy it!

Alicia

Bloom in Doom Online ArticleBloom in Doom Online Article

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/4/bloom-in-doom---miniature-kingdom Mon, 05 Apr 2021 08:42:52 GMT
The Niche Article and Our Planet Week https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/4/the-niche-article-and-our-planet-week Hello!

I wrote an article about "Rain before Rainbows" for the British Ecological Society (BES)'s Spring 2021 issue of The Niche! It was so much fun writing this short piece for the BES, and you can read my article below:

Reference: The Niche, British Ecological Society, Spring Issue 2021 52:1

 

I recently took part in this year's Our Planet Week illustration challenge. The challenge encourages illustrators around the world to create art pieces from the 21st-30th March in response to five prompts; the aim is to raise awareness about the environment and protecting our planet, and this year Our Planet Week partnered with One Tree Planted, to plant a tree for every illustration submitted during the challenge.

This years prompts were protect, energy, biodiversity, reduce & reuse, and voice - you can view my illustrations below:

I have also uploaded some new art pieces and photos to my galleries. I hope you enjoy all of my new work!

 

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/4/the-niche-article-and-our-planet-week Sun, 04 Apr 2021 18:14:42 GMT
Bloom in Doom Short Story https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/3/bloom-in-doom-short-story Hello!

My short story "The Midnight Stage" has been published on Bloom in Doom's website, accompanied by some of my illustrations! You can read it here.

I've also been updating my website recently with some new artwork, and I'm hoping to upload some new wildlife photos soon too.

Alicia 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/3/bloom-in-doom-short-story Mon, 08 Mar 2021 14:32:05 GMT
BBC Radio York Interview https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/2/bbc-radio-york-interview Hello!

I spoke to Georgey Spanswick on BBC Radio York at Breakfast about Rain before Rainbows, including reading one of my poems - The Whale's Song - from the collection.

You can listen to the interview on BBC Sounds or on BBC Radio York's page, my section is introduced at 7.55am.

You can order Rain before Rainbows through my shop - 50% of the sales go to the wildlife hospital Tiggywinkles.

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/2/bbc-radio-york-interview Mon, 15 Feb 2021 08:34:22 GMT
Features of Rain before Rainbows https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/2/features-of-rain-before-rainbows Hello!

There is an article about my illustrated wildlife poetry book, Rain before Rainbows, on Ripon Grammar School's website, which you can view here.

There is also a feature about Rain before Rainbows, including one of the poems from the collection, in Issue 5 (winter 2021) of Nature's Gold Magazine. The magazine also has some other incredible environmental stories, and you can read it here.

If you'd like to buy a copy of Rain before Rainbows, you can order one in my shop, or buy one from the Little Ripon Bookshop!

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/2/features-of-rain-before-rainbows Sat, 06 Feb 2021 11:22:17 GMT
New short film: In Plain Sight https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/1/new-short-film-in-plain-sight There is a surprising diversity of wildlife even in our urban spaces. Just a quarter of a mile from the centre of Exeter, on the Flood Relief Scheme, you can find Kingfishers, Little Egrets, Teal, and Grey Heron, hidden in plain sight. This is a short film exploring some urban wetland birds and their behaviour.

Script

We often think of our urban spaces as being devoid of wildlife. A concrete desert of towers and houses that wildlife is unable to penetrate.

But this often isn’t the case. Just a quarter of a mile from the centre of Exeter, the flood release scheme is brimming with wildlife, hidden in plain sight from the absent-minded ambler.

These Teal congregate in south westerly, low-lying wetland areas during winter. The males are more brightly coloured than the females, an example of sexual dimorphism, with a chestnut head and green patch around their eye. These teal are preening themselves, which helps waterproof their feathers. The teal make beautiful high pitched “peeping” noises, and you can often hear them communicating while hidden in the dense vegetation of the flood relief scheme.

Slightly deeper in the flood release scheme, a Grey Heron has just caught a large fish – which looks a bit like a Rudd with its bright red fins and tail – and seems rather puzzled about what to do with it!

Meanwhile, a pair of Mute Swans are feeding in the river. Mute Swans generally mate for life, and despite the urban legend that they only sing when they are dying, Mute Swans are noisy, and their courtship dance is accompanied by a multitude of hisses and grunts.

This male Kingfisher is undisturbed by the walkers and cyclists enjoying the fresh air. Male Kingfishers have a jet black beak, unlike females who have an orange-red lower section to their beak, making them appear to be wearing lipstick! Kingfishers hunt by perching from branches overlooking rivers, and they eat small fish and aquatic insects. Unfortunately, pollution, habitat degradation, and poor river management mean Kingfishers are declining in the UK, and are now amber listed in the UK.

Further on, a Little Egret is fishing. Little Egrets are a recent arrival to the UK, and Devon and Cornwall have some of the highest densities in the UK.

Mallards are our commonest duck species, and are widespread across the UK. The Mallards have been busy battling for mates recently, as the females will lay their eggs in mid-March, upon which the males will leave her to incubate and look after her precocial chicks by herself.

Back in the reeds, our Heron still hasn’t decided what to do with its large fish! Herons nest in communal colonies called “heronries” at the top of trees in large, unstable-looking nests, which are home to 3-4 chicks. The young often sport punk-like hairstyles before the fledge the next after a month and a half. Although, our Grey Heron won’t breed until February. When a group of Grey Herons do come together, they are known as a siege.

Slightly further up the river, another Little Egret is fishing. Little Egrets fish by vibrating their feet in the water, causing prey to dart out from the disturbance, so the Egret can stab its prey with its beak.

Startled by a crow flying past, our Grey Heron gulps down its catch whole. Content, our heron rinses their beak in the river, before noticing the people watching it for the first time, so the heron flies off downstream to a more private fishing location.

As the heron flies, it is easy to see how these pterodactyl-like birds are modern descendants of the dinosaurs.

The male Kingfisher waits patiently on its fishing perch for a small fish to swim his way – as oblivious to the people walking past, as they are to him.

So, when you’re next in your local wild patch, pause for a moment, and see what nature you can find hidden in plain sight.

 

References

BBC Earth: Crane L. (2014) The truth about swans, Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/earth/story/20141204-the-truth-about-swans [Accessed: 18/01/2021]

Kate St. John “Birds Outside my Window” Blog (2010) Anatomy: Preen Gland, Available: https://www.birdsoutsidemywindow.org/2010/06/18/anatomy-preen-gland/#:~:text=It%20has%20nipple%2Dlike%20pores,is%20vital%20for%20birds'%20survival [Accessed: 18/01/2021]

RSPB (2021) https://www.rspb.org.uk/ [Accessed: 19/01/2021]

Scottish Wildlife Trust (2021) https://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/ [Accessed: 18/01/2021]

Upton N. “Dartford Waffler” Blog (2020) Little Egret Foot Stirring Feeding Technique | Bird Behaviour, Available: https://dartfordwaffler.co.uk/little-egret-foot-stirring-feeding-behaviour/#:~:text=For%20those%20not%20familiar%20with,that%20darts%20from%20the%20disturbance.%E2%80%9D [Accessed: 19/01/2021]

Wildlife Trusts (2021) https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/ [Accessed: 18/01/2021]

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/1/new-short-film-in-plain-sight Wed, 20 Jan 2021 10:36:49 GMT
Feature on the Self Isolating Bird Club Broadcast https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/1/feature-on-the-self-isolating-bird-club-broadcast Hello! My short film about a wood mouse, that I filmed last October, was featured on yesterday's episode of the Self Isolating Bird Club (SIBC), hosted by Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin. It was so exciting to see Chris and Megan talk about my video, and I'm really grateful for the opportunity for it to go on the broadcast! 

You can watch episode 73 of SIBC below, or on their YouTube channel. My segment starts at 35.48.

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/1/feature-on-the-self-isolating-bird-club-broadcast Mon, 18 Jan 2021 14:02:17 GMT
Wingsearch Article https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/1/wingsearch-article Recently I spoke to Barry Madden, who runs his blog "Wingsearch", about my work. It was really fun answering his questions about the inspiration for my work, and my thoughts on conservation issues - you can read the article on his website.

I have also been adding quite a lot of artwork to my website recently, as well as adding some new photos, I hope you like them! 

There are no new films on my website currently, however my short film on a Wood Mouse is being broadcast on Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin's Self Isolating Bird Club on YouTube tonight at 7pm, which I'm really excited about!

Alicia 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/1/wingsearch-article Sun, 17 Jan 2021 10:57:45 GMT
Daemons https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/1/daemons Hello! I'm working on a new series of illustrations based on the daemons from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, the second series of which came out last year. I'm particularly enjoying combining my normal black-and-white style with colourful acrylic backgrounds! These drawings are just for fun, but I would definitely love to revisit this style again in the future.

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/1/daemons Sun, 10 Jan 2021 18:38:25 GMT
Interview with Jenny Barruol about Rain before Rainbows and science communication https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/1/interview-with-jenny-barruol-about-rain-before-rainbows-and-science-communication I recently talked to Jenny Barruol, a Spanish and Russian student from the University of Bristol, about my illustrated wildlife poetry book "Rain before Rainbows", as well as other forms of science communication like wildlife photography and film. You can read her article about my work on Bristol University's The Epigram here, or on her blog here.

You can order Rain before Rainbows from my shop - 50% of the profits of which go to the wildlife hospital and charity Tiggywinkles, to support conservation.

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/1/interview-with-jenny-barruol-about-rain-before-rainbows-and-science-communication Fri, 08 Jan 2021 12:55:02 GMT
A Focus on Nature's 12 Days Wild Campaign: Why I'm Grateful For Nature https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/1/A-Focus-on-Nature-12-Days-Wild-Campaign-Why-I-am-Grateful-For-Nature As youth nature network A Focus on Nature's (AFON) Yorkshire regional representative, I was asked to take part in the Wildlife Trust's #12DaysWild campaign, running from December 25th to January 5th 2021, but with an AFON twist - explaining why I had been grateful for nature this year.

I decided to illustrate 12 British animals which have impacted me this year, and made me very grateful to have nature on my doorstep, whether that's at university or at home.

You can view the 12 drawings for this campaign below, along with the brief explanations about why I chose each subject.

Day 1: Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) One of the highlights of this year has been seeing Goldcrests, both at home and at university. They always cheer me up, and are one of the reasons I am grateful for nature.

Day 2: Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) At university last term, a Grey Squirrel frequently visited my window and fed on the Rosehips outside. It always made my morning to see it there, especially throughout the second lockdown.

Day 3: White-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lucorum) It’s been brilliant seeing so many bees around this year, including in the roses just outside my window! They also provide a valuable pollination service, and are one of the reasons I’m grateful for nature.

Day 4: Juvenile Wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) Specifically the one we found on the outskirts of Oxford, that I made a short film about, which you can watch here. Needless to say, seeing such a beautiful creature, which has inspired my work, made me very grateful for nature!

Day 5: Coal Tit (Periparus ater) One of our commonest garden birds, both at home and at university - it always brings a smile to my face seeing these sweet birds.

Day 6: Ring-necked Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) There are parakeets in the university parks, and it always brightens my day to see them.

Day 7: Robin (Erithacus rubecula) There are lots of garden birds on our feeders at the moment, inspiring this sketch of a snowy Robin. 

Day 8: Goosander (Mergus merganser) At the start of the first lockdown this year, I saw a family of Goosanders most days, and it was lovely to watch the chicks grow up. It really took my mind off the stress from the outside world.

Day 9: Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) This year I was lucky enough to follow a family of Roe Deer, the mother had two fawns in the summer, and it was magical watching them grow up! I’ve even seen the three of them recently this winter.

Day 10: Goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis) I’ve seen lots of charms of goldfinches this year, and their “twinkling” calls always makes me smile!

Day 11: Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) Earlier this year I was following a family of Kingfishers, and it was magical to see them so close!

Day 12: Fieldfares (Turdus pilaris) I’ve been watching a large flock of Fieldfares feasting on hawthorn berries over the last week, which has been really wonderful!

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2021/1/A-Focus-on-Nature-12-Days-Wild-Campaign-Why-I-am-Grateful-For-Nature Mon, 04 Jan 2021 17:09:40 GMT
A Conversation with Julia Merican from the Oxford Blue about Rain before Rainbows https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/12/a-conversation-with-julia-merican-from-the-oxford-blue-about-rain-before-rainbows A few weeks ago, Julia Merican from the Oxford Blue interviewed me about my first illustrated wildlife poetry book, Rain before Rainbows. She's written about our conversation and her thoughts on the book here, and it's well worth a read!

If you'd like to buy a copy of Rain before Rainbows, you can order one through my shop.

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/12/a-conversation-with-julia-merican-from-the-oxford-blue-about-rain-before-rainbows Tue, 08 Dec 2020 15:19:58 GMT
Rain before Rainbows is out! https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/12/rain-before-rainbows-is-out I am so excited to say that Rain before Rainbows is officially published! I have loved every moment of producing this book, and I really hope you love it too, you can order Rain before Rainbows through my shop. You can also buy it at the Little Ripon Bookshop. 

50% of profits from Rain before Rainbows go to Tiggywinkles wildlife hospital, to support conservation efforts.

Rain before Rainbows elsewhere...

Blog post on Conservation Optimism 

Interview and review on the Oxford Blue

Article in Issue 5 (Winter 2021) of Nature's Gold Magazine 

Article in Spring 2021 Issue of the British Ecological Society's The Niche

Interview with Jenny Barruol on her blog

Interview on the Epigram

Interview with Barry Madden on his blog, Wingsearch

Interview on BBC Radio York with Georgey Spanswick, 15/02/2021 at 7.55am - available here

Feature on Kate on Conservation's Instagram and Facebook

Article on Ripon Grammar School's website and feature on their Twitter page

Screenshot

Articles in the Yorkshire Times, the Harrogate Informer, York Press, the Northern Echo, the Stray Ferret, the Darlington and Stockton, and the Yorkshire Post.

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/12/rain-before-rainbows-is-out Tue, 01 Dec 2020 21:18:46 GMT
A Focus on Nature Blog Post https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/11/a-focus-on-nature-blog-post Hello! I've written a blog post about a week in my life this Autumn for the youth nature network, A Focus on Nature (AFON). It includes some of my wildlife photography, as well as links to some of my more recent short wildlife films. You can read it on AFON's website here.

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/11/a-focus-on-nature-blog-post Mon, 30 Nov 2020 16:07:23 GMT
Conservation Optimism Blog Post https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/11/conservation-optimism-blog-post Hello! I've written a blog post about my first poetry book Rain before Rainbows, which launches on Tuesday 1st December. You can read this blog here

If you'd like to order a copy of Rain before Rainbows, please visit my shop.

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/11/conservation-optimism-blog-post Sat, 28 Nov 2020 15:29:26 GMT
Poetry Reading of Rain before Rainbows https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/11/poetry-reading-of-rain-before-rainbows I have done a reading of my poem, "Rain before Rainbows", which is from my new poetry book of the same name. I hope you like this reading of it! 

If you'd like to order a copy of my illustrated wildlife poetry book, you can do so here. 50% of the profits from Rain before Rainbows go to the wildlife hospital Tiggywinkles.


 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/11/poetry-reading-of-rain-before-rainbows Thu, 26 Nov 2020 14:58:26 GMT
A5 prints and Rain before Rainbows https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/11/a5-prints-and-rain-before-rainbows Hello! It's a week until my first poetry book Rain before Rainbows launches, so there's not long left to pre-order a copy. All pre-orders come with exclusive A5 prints of my artwork, the designs will be assigned randomly. You can order your copy of Rain before Rainbows in my shop.

50% of all profits from Rain before Rainbows go to the wildlife hospital Tiggywinkles.

Both the paperback book, and the A5 prints, were printed by Holywell Press.

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/11/a5-prints-and-rain-before-rainbows Tue, 24 Nov 2020 17:49:51 GMT
Rain before Rainbows is here! https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/11/rain-before-rainbows-is-here Rain before Rainbows is here!

27 poems, and drawings on every page - I was inspired to produce this illustrated wildlife poetry book to make a difference to the conservation of our natural world, so 50% of the profits go to the wildlife hospital Tiggywinkles.

You can pre-order your copy now through my shop. Pre-orders come signed, and with an exclusive A5 art print of one of my illustrations!

Rain before Rainbows will be launched on December 1st, so books will be posted with the aim of arriving on this date.

This beautiful book was printed by Holywell Press in Oxford - thank you so much for all your help!

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/11/rain-before-rainbows-is-here Fri, 13 Nov 2020 19:24:01 GMT
I sometimes feel like I'm going mad https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/11/i-sometimes-feel-like-im-going-mad - the only one reacting rationally to situations.

Why does nobody else shout and scream and cry?

Are we all emotionless robots,

Waiting for the beep of phones and screens to tell us

how to feel,

              how to think,

                             how to walk,

                                           how to talk?

 

Why is nobody angry anymore?

When trees go up in smoke, and birds fall out the sky

There’s only a wall of blinking phones

Filming,

              Vlogging,

                             Recording.

But nobody is remembering,

No one is experiencing.

 

I sometimes feel like I’m going mad

in a world full of technology, I’ve never felt so disconnected.

And when I see people walking oblivious

to birds, to beetles, to bees

I just want to shout “LOOK!”

 But I won’t.

              can’t.

                             shouldn’t.

 

Should I?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


If you like this poem, consider ordering my debut illustrated wildlife poetry book Rain before Rainbows, 50% of the profits from which go to the wildlife hospital Tiggywinkles. You can find out more, or pre-order the book here.

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/11/i-sometimes-feel-like-im-going-mad Sat, 07 Nov 2020 23:09:08 GMT
Jericho Arts Review https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/11/jericho-arts-review During lockdown I spent a lot of time around my local patch, observing spring turn into summer with my camera. Some of my photos are featured in the Jericho Arts Review, an art and culture magazine produced by students at Oxford University.

You can view my photos on pages 26-7, and the entire magazine here on issuu.

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/11/jericho-arts-review Sat, 07 Nov 2020 12:45:22 GMT
Waterfowl (Nature's Orchestra) - a short film https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/waterfowl-natures-orchestra---a-short-film Waterfowl use Port Meadow as a roosting place overnight. This short film looks at the waterfowl coming in during the evening, and how you can find peace in nature despite the hustle and bustle of the city. It is accompanied by a descriptive, poetic narrative, which tries to encompass the wonder I feel when watching them fly in every evening.

Words

The mud slips under my feet, and my breath fogs in the air – crisp and cold

My nose is pink, pinched by the cold fingers of the early evening.

The last rays of sunlight are bleeding into the dark trees and rippling, glassy,

silver surface of the water.

 

And they come.

 

Their wings whistle if they are mallards –

a high-pitched whine cutting through the darkening sky like a knife through butter.

The Geese make their presence known through the honks and squawks –

like an orchestra tuning-up, but never quite reaching the final perfect-pitch.

 

As they come in to land towards the shimmering water, their honks intensify, keeping the flock together.

Occasionally one Goose tumbles away from the wedge

(the term for a group of flying geese)

and pirouettes gracefully towards the water’s surface alone.

 

Their calls compete with the city lights for which is louder.

But I know that nature’s orchestra will always dominate the night for me.

The calls of waterfowl filling the night,

Just like the moon’s glow fills the sky.

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/waterfowl-natures-orchestra---a-short-film Thu, 29 Oct 2020 11:34:45 GMT
Spiders - a short film https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/spiders---a-short-film Last weekend, I found about half-a-mile of delicate spiderwebs coating the tops of the vegetation at Port Meadow. Below is a short film I made about this incredible phenomenon:

Script

 While walking in the suburban countryside this time of year, you might stumble across a rather extraordinary sight. It may look like someone has spread elaborate Halloween decorations around the countryside, but these incredible structures have been made by spiders.

Spiders make many people’s skin crawl, as around 3-6% of the global population has arachnophobia, but these tiny invertebrates are one of nature’s most impressive engineers.

Spiders are not insects – a common misconception – they are arachnids. They characteristically have eight legs, and their bodies are split into two sections: the cephalothorax – which comprises the head, and where all eight legs attach – and the abdomen which has the spider’s spinnerets.

There are seven broad types of spider web: orb, sheet, tangle, funnel, lace, radial, and purse; and all of the webs have a different function for the spider species spinning them. These webs are sheet webs, so-called because they look like silk bed sheets thrown over low-lying vegetation. Sheet webs are normally spun by a family of spiders known as the Linyphiidae, which is the largest family of spiders in the UK with over 280 species.

These are Nursery web spiders, identifiable by the characteristic tent shape of the maternal web. These spiders don’t spin webs for predation, but for their young. Normally the females lay their eggs in summer, so it is likely this is a second brood.

These young spiders are quite well-developed, likely dispersing using sheet webs and ballooning. This is where the spiders climb to a high part of the landscape, and point their abdomen upwards, pulling out several threads, which the air or electrostatic currents catch, carrying the threads skywards, allowing the spider to travel thousands of metres. It is a very efficient method of dispersal, and a bit like paragliding!

A gathering of spiders in this number is known as a venom, which can be a bit misleading, as very few spiders in the UK are venomous, the most notable being the False widow. Nursey web spiders are harmless though, and watching them emerge like this is truly one of nature’s greatest spectacles.

 

Thanks to Ivo Andrews for his spider knowledge and helping with the script!

 

Further Reading

British Arachnological Society (2020) Spider and Harvestman Recording Scheme website, Available: http://srs.britishspiders.org.uk/portal.php/p/Nursery+web+spider [Accessed: 23/10/20]

Gomez A. (2015) Pisauridae: Nursery web spiders, Available: http://abugblog.blogspot.com/2015/10/pisauridae-nursery-web-spiders.html [Accessed: 23/10/20]

Hendry L. (2020) Natural History Museum British Wildlife: Spiders webs: not just for Halloween, Available: https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/spider-webs.html [Accessed: 22/10/20]

Hendry L. (2020) Natural History Museum British Wildlife: What are spider webs made of? And how do they spin them?, Available: https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/what-are-spider-webs-made-of.html [Accessed: 22/10/20]

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/spiders---a-short-film Thu, 29 Oct 2020 11:32:52 GMT
Rain before Rainbows charity reveal https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/rain-before-rainbows-charity-reveal Hello! I am so unbelievably excited to reveal that the charity receiving 50% of the profits from my illustrated wildlife poetry book, Rain before Rainbows, is Tiggywinkles, the world's leading wildlife hospital!

Tiggywinkles has treated over 300,000 animals since first opening their doors, and their veterinary team has pioneered much of the treatment used for wildlife across the world.

Their important work is helping save iconic British wildlife species, including Hedgehogs, which are now listed as "vulnerable to extinction" on the IUCN red list. So by buying my book, you are helping Tiggywinkles save our wildlife, and helping us work towards a bright future, full of much-loved wildlife species.

To pre-order Rain before Rainbows, please visit my shop.

To find out more about Tiggywinkles, please visit their website.

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/rain-before-rainbows-charity-reveal Tue, 27 Oct 2020 20:35:08 GMT
A PDF Preview of Rain before Rainbows is now available https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/a-pdf-preview-of-rain-before-rainbows-is-now-available Hello! If you are interested in purchasing my illustrated wildlife poetry book Rain before Rainbows, but want to have a sneak peek before committing to buying, you can now get a PDF preview, featuring a selection of illustrated poems from my book!

Rain before Rainbows contains some never-seen-before artwork and poetry, all about the natural world, its beauty, and the threats it faces. 50% of the profits from the poetry book will go to a wildlife charity, which will be revealed next week.

The PDF costs £2, and if you then choose to buy a physical copy, you'll get £2 off. You can buy it in my shop.

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/a-pdf-preview-of-rain-before-rainbows-is-now-available Sat, 24 Oct 2020 20:17:38 GMT
Spider Webs (a poem) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/spider-webs---a-poem Hello! While on a walk a few days ago, I discovered about half-a-mile of spider webs strewn across the grass. I decided to write a poem about it, accompanied with some of the footage of the spider hatching. You can watch my poetry film below:

If you like this, you can pre-order my debut illustrated wildlife poetry book "Rain before Rainbows" here.

A text version of the poem can be read below:

 

Spider webs

 

Shimmering.

Like pale elastic, stretched thinner

than the finest threads you can imagine.

And out of the ghostly tents,

Long legs and small bodies tentatively

tip-

              -toe.

 

They have one chance to spin their webs

and weave a new home

amongst dewy stems and munching cows.

They dance free out of wispy tee-pees,

Their stage lit by an autumn sun,

their audience a field of geese. They are

 

So quiet,

You would never know they were there.

So quick,

You’d miss them –

Were it not for the billowing silk flags

gifted to them from their mothers.

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/spider-webs---a-poem Tue, 20 Oct 2020 07:48:03 GMT
Wood Mouse - A short film https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/wood-mouse---a-short-film

Script

In the midst of autumn, on the side of a busy bicycle and pedestrian path, you can still find some animals brave enough to survive in these pockets of urbanised wilderness.

Wood mice are some of our commonest mammals in the UK, and with their large ears and eyes, and long tail, they are easily recognisable. They are our commonest mouse species, and form an essential part of many predators' diets – in fact, Tawny Owls won’t breed if wood mice numbers are too low.

Typically nocturnal, wood mice will venture out in the day when searching for food, and this juvenile mouse is busy feasting on fallen blackberries, providing an important mechanism of seed dispersal for the blackberry bush, as well as sustaining itself. Often wood mice will cache food in underground burrows, where they come back to it later in winter months or when food is short.

Interestingly, wood mice tend to leave the flesh of fruit and eat only the pips. This juvenile mouse is carefully manipulating the blackberry, opening out the flesh and pulling out the small seeds, which the mouse loves.

This mouse’s small fingers grasp the blackberry tightly – but when the mouse is fully grown and sexually mature, the length of the phalange bones in her fingers will vary depending on whether she is male or female, an example of sexual dimorphism. This sexual dimorphism in digits has been recorded in many mammals, including humans, but was only relatively recently discovered to exist in wood mice.

Our juvenile mouse is not yet fully grown, as adults are typically between 8 to 10cm, with a tail of between 7 and 9cm! This mouse will continue to grow throughout the rest of autumn, before nesting communally with other mice underground. A group of mice is known as a mischief!  

Although young, this wood mouse may actually breed before the end of the year if there is enough food around to supply her and her offspring with during winter, although litters in autumn and winter are normally a lot smaller than those born in spring and summer.

After her feast of blackberries, our wood mouse cleans herself, before returning to the undergrowth by the side of the pavement, hidden from the urban world once more.

 

References and Further Reading

Leoni B, Canova L, Saino N. (2005) “Sexual dimorphism in metapodial and phalanges length ratios in the wood mouse”, The Anatomical Record: Volume 286A, Issue 2, pp. 995-961

Sunyer P, Munoz A, Bonal R, Espelta J. M. (2013) “The ecology of seed dispersal by small rodents: a role for predator and conspecific scents”, Functional Ecology: Volume 27, Issue 6

The Mammal Society (2020) Species – Wood Mouse, Available: https://www.mammal.org.uk/species-hub/full-species-hub/discover-mammals/species-wood-mouse/ [Accessed: 17/10/20]

The Wildlife Trusts (2020)1 Wood Mouse, Available: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/mammals/wood-mouse [Accessed: 17/10/20]

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/wood-mouse---a-short-film Sat, 17 Oct 2020 21:47:20 GMT
My Volery https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/my-volery Hello! I've written a new poem, inspired by the families of Long-Tailed Tits I've seen recently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you like this, please consider pre-ordering my debut poetry book Rain before Rainbows!

Alicia 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/my-volery Mon, 12 Oct 2020 18:48:48 GMT
A Window - an animated poem https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/a-window---an-animated-poem

A Window

 

it is wild here –

snails and spiders coat the glass

in silver paint and iron threads,

and rose hips climb

on to the sill, with leaves

orange, green, yellow –

the colours of traffic lights

going the wrong way.

 

it is wild here –

the wind’s cold breath slides through

the smallest gaps,

hungry,

while condensation droplets

cling desperately to the shaking panes –

determined to find their way in,

to bring the wild in.

 

it is wild here –

even when you close the heavy curtains

with a satisfying swish,

and even when you light the room

with the artificial glow of a tiny desk lamp,

the stars outside still shine brighter –

the night is still louder,

better, bolder.

 

it is wild here –

but it is wilder out there.

so outside you go,

thorns and branches tugging at you,

trying to pull you back

trying to stop you –

it is wild here,

and you are wild too.

 

You can read other poems like this one in my debut poetry book, "Rain before Rainbows", which is available to pre-order in my shop.

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/a-window---an-animated-poem Sat, 10 Oct 2020 21:28:08 GMT
Rain before Rainbows Cover Artwork https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/rain-before-rainbows-cover-artwork Hello!

I am excited to reveal the cover art for my debut poetry book, Rain before Rainbows, which is available to pre-order here.

Pre-orders are signed, and come with an A5 print of my art, including illustrations from the collection. They cost £10.99, plus £2.56 for Royal Mail Shipping to the UK. If you would like to order a copy from another country, please get in touch. Pre-orders must be made before the launch date on the 1st of December.

If you have any queries, please get in touch!

Alicia

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/rain-before-rainbows-cover-artwork Thu, 08 Oct 2020 09:35:29 GMT
Poetry Collection: Rain before Rainbows https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/poetry-collection-rain-before-rainbows Hello!

I am excited to announce the launch of my first poetry collection Rain before Rainbows, which is a collection of poems written over 10 years, from childhood to early adulthood. These poems are about wildlife and the natural world: its beauty and its fragility - and why it's essential we protect it.

50% of profits from Rain before Rainbows will go directly to a conservation charity, soon to be announced, to support their valuable work.

Currently you can pre-order Rain before Rainbows through my new shop. Only UK shipping rates have been calculated, so if you want to purchase it from another country, please get in touch.

Pre-orders will close on the launch date (01/12/2020), and will be dispatched as soon as possible after.

I hope you enjoy Rain before Rainbows as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Alicia

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/10/poetry-collection-rain-before-rainbows Fri, 02 Oct 2020 18:54:51 GMT
The Midnight Stage https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/9/the-midnight-stage Night falls on the hilltop like curtains closing on a stage. In a few moments the golden light is replaced with dark shadows, which fall on the soft moss.

At the window, she watches the hilltop-stage as it closes down for the night – her nose pressed against the window, fogging the glass slightly, and her hands gripping the sill.

“Bedtime!”– her mother’s voice calls upstairs.

She pulls herself away from the window and slips into bed, pulling the covers tight around her to warm up, even though she’s wearing long, fuzzy pyjamas. Her mum comes in and kisses her goodnight, the light goes off, and then –

Tiptoeing back to the window, she peeps at the shadowed hill, only a few hundred metres from her bedroom. She’s been reading constantly about the stories of the wilderness – an enticing blend of fantasy and reality – and now…

Gently, she pushes the window up carefully, only enough to let the fresh, night air in, and she leans out into the gentle breeze, letting it blow through her half-tied pigtails.

Closing her eyes, she feels the land and its soundscape fill her like the ocean: on her left, the newly-fledged Tawny Owls are waking up, calling in their adolescent screeches to their devoted parents. Below her, near the bins, there’s a Red Fox searching for scraps – she smiles at the idea of it finding the dog food she put out for it, in the second-hand pet bowl she brought two days ago. Above her head, she can hear the bats coming out of the eaves – their wing beats and scuffling so close to her ears it’s almost like she can touch them. And then –

She opens her eyes, and stares at the hilltop. The moon is just emerging from the clouds, and her heart pounds with excitement.

He emerges.

Tentatively at first: ears pricked and whiskers twitching. He sits on his back legs and smells the air – and the moonlight falls on him like a spotlight.

A midnight stage.

She watches, fixated on his every movement, as he lumbers around, sniffing the grass and moss. Suddenly, he stops. Alert. She glances around the darkness, curiousity burning through her.

And then –

A partner emerges: a softer brown, with pale, almost white, ears. She is beautiful – a perfect match.

They move towards each other under the pale spotlight, circling each other – sniffing.

The girl holds her breath – it feels like the whole landscape is silent in anticipation.

And then, they’re off – hind legs pushing them into a boxing match, like dance partners on the stage, they box in their arena. A smile lights her face as she watches her midnight Hares chase each other around the hill, until they disappear over the other side, and dissolve into blackness.

The night-time hustle and bustle returns to her ears, as she shuts the window on her midnight stage. Another night of hidden activity just for her.

Satisfied, she hops into bed and pulls her toy hare close to her chest – closing her eyes as she drifts off to a land of discovery and dreams.

And in the distance, under the soft glow of the moon, the Hares bound on – chasing, running, boxing – dancing into the night.

 

Alicia Hayden, June 2020

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/9/the-midnight-stage Sat, 19 Sep 2020 10:43:18 GMT
Ash (a poem) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/9/ash-a-poem

I'm working on a few projects at the moment, including my poetry!

Here is an original poem, read by me, accompanied by footage of an Ash tree I filmed.

 

The poem can be read below:

Ash

 

Amongst the twirling green leaves

and ash keys,

Hide spiders, beetles, and flies.

 

They shelter there in dark winter days,

When the wind is so strong it feels like

they’re being pushed out of their homes.

 

And they live there, basking under the

baking sun.

Eyes on their next meal.

 

This is the Ash –

With winding branches spreading up to

the bright, blue sky

 

like an embrace with an old friend.

An open canopy.

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/9/ash-a-poem Mon, 14 Sep 2020 18:32:27 GMT
Wasps: Film and Script https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/9/wasps-film-and-script I have been working on creating a short educational film on wasps, based on resources from the National Geographic and the London Natural History Museum. Wasps are deeply misunderstood insects, and I hope my film highlights some of their important impacts on our ecosystems. The film is available to watch on my film page, and the script is available to read below.

Script

Towards the end of Summer, tucked away under the fruit trees amongst the litter, we find an animal gorging itself.

Wasps.

The bane of many people’s lives. But these Hymenoptera have fascinating life histories, and important impacts on our ecosystems.

When you google “wasps”, the first word that comes up is “pest” – but this is far from the truth.

There are over 7000 species of wasp in the UK, a mix of solitary, social, and parasitoid wasps; and they are an essential apex predator in our ecosystems. It is estimated that social wasps capture 14 million kilogrammes of insect prey every summer – without wasps, we would be overrun with flies and spiders.

This large amount of insect prey is actually fed to wasp larvae, not the adults themselves, who feed on sucrose and fructose from flowers, honeydew from Aphids, and fruits. When feeding from flowers, wasps become important pollinators – Figs are actually only pollinated by the Fig Wasp.

These wasps in Devon were feeding off decaying apples. Some of the wasps were becoming increasingly drunk off the fermenting fruit.

Some of the wasps become so intoxicated, they don’t make it.

A little further on, a colony of wasps have made their nest underneath a small tree.

These wasps are peeling bark off the tree with their jaws, which they use to make nests.

Interestingly, Paper Wasps have been discovered to be able to remember each other, using their unique facial patternings. This enables them to recognise kin, and avoid aggression and fighting with individuals who they’ve fought before. In particular, it helps maintain the reproductive hierarchy, as individuals behave less aggressively towards those they recognise.

Wasps have smooth stings, meaning they can sting us multiple times, as opposed to honeybees where the stinger is weakly attached to their abdomen, and ripped out upon stinging. But, despite having a reputation for being aggressive, wasps only sting when they feel threatened.

Wasps provide us with valuable ecosystem services, as well as holding together diverse habitats. So, when you’re next out exploring nature, spare a thought for these important insects.

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/9/wasps-film-and-script Fri, 11 Sep 2020 21:37:46 GMT
The story of the Hare and the Bee https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/9/the-story-of-the-hare-and-the-bee Have you heard the story of the Hare and the Bee? 

There once was a hare who everyone called Cowardice. She was afraid of everything: the rustling of the leaves,  the trickle of the stream, the hoot of the owl… Cowardice would run and hide from the tiniest sound, and all the other Hares mocked her. 

One day, while Cowardice was tentatively nibbling at grass in a Poppy meadow,
she heard a gentle buzzing by one of her long ears. Nervously, with her heart pounding, she turned and was greeted by a small Honeybee. 

“Hello!” buzzed the honeybee, “My name is Bravery, what’s yours?” 

“C- Cow- Cowardice”, stumbled the hare, blushing through her dark coat. 

The bee appeared to frown. “Cowardice? Why, that’s not a very good name! Why do they call you that?” 

Cowardice, who was beginning to feel a bit braver, replied, “Well, they say I’m frightened of everything – they call me names.” 

Bravery puffed up her chest. “Let me show you something, Cowardice.” 

The bee and the hare travelled through many lands together. Through dark, creaking forests; across swirling streams; underneath the sun and the moon and the stars, and sometimes nothing at all. They fought against beasts that you and I would recognise, and beasts that blurred the lines of myth and legend. 

A few years later, they returned to the hare’s home. The other hares peered out of their homes, surprised to see a bee and a hare travelling together. 

“Who are you?” they asked, appearing wary. 

“This is Bravery the bee,” replied the hare, “and I am Courage.” 

 

Alicia Hayden 

September 2020 


This short story was written to accompany my newest art piece, inspired by my love of hares and bees.

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/9/the-story-of-the-hare-and-the-bee Sat, 05 Sep 2020 18:49:27 GMT
Portfolio and a new Society https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/9/portfolio-and-a-new-society I am excited to announce that I have updated my website to include a Portfolio page. This page consists of my favourite wildlife photography, artwork, poetry, and film.

I have also been working on launching the Oxford Wildlife Photography and Film-making (OWPF) Society's website and inaugural charity calendar competition. I started this society with a few friends at my college as we realised that there wasn't a society there to encourage people to explore nature through photography and film, which is something I feel very passionate about. I think that media and the arts, such as film and photography, are essential to helping educate and connect people with nature. 

Currently, OWPF's website contains a gallery of our members' photos - featuring a huge range of subjects. The photos are beautiful, and show how students have been engaging with nature throughout lockdown. The gallery will be kept regularly updated with new photos each term, and I'm really looking forward to seeing more of our members' work in the future. 

Alicia

 


The welcome page for the new portfolio section of my website:

 

 

 

 

 

The welcome page for Oxford Wildlife Photography and Film-making Society's new website: a photo taken by one of OWPF's members, Skai Campbell, in response to our "Green" competition:

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/9/portfolio-and-a-new-society Sat, 05 Sep 2020 10:09:58 GMT
Cetaceans and Noise Pollution https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/9/cetaceans-and-noise-pollution Cetaceans, which include whales, dolphins, and porpoises, communicate using underwater echolocation, which can take the form of high-frequency clicks and whistles, to low-frequency hums. These beautiful, peaceful creatures have faced a vast number of challenges over the centuries, from whale hunting, to oil spills, and climate change – and now one of the most prominent anthropogenic impacts on the ocean is the altered soundscapes.

It is well known that human noise pollution from boats and military sonar disrupts cetacean communication, and is responsible for mass stranding events, such as in 2018 when 150 Short-finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) became stranded and tragically died on Australia’s Western coast. Cetaceans are known to be very intelligent, and have been observed exhibiting signs of emotions such as grief. Therefore, mass stranding events caused by noise pollution are likely to be distressing, and if individuals from the pod are lost, then others are likely to show signs of grief.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the coronavirus lockdown, David Barclay and his group seized the opportunity to look at how the lack of boats and machines operating in the seas around the world was impacting whales, and although their paper is still undergoing review, it supports findings from 2001 when marine noise pollution decreased as a result of 9/11.

Rolland’s paper in 2012 showed that increased background noise from anthropogenic processes includes habitat displacement, behavioural changes, and alterations in vocalisation. Following 9/11, a reduction in ship traffic in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, led to a significant decrease in low-frequency background noises. By analysing levels of the faecal glucocorticoid (fGC) stress hormone over four years from 2001, Rolland showed that the reduction in anthropogenic noise in the sea corresponded with a significant reduction in fGC. Glucocorticoids are naturally secreted in response to natural stressors such as predators, social aggression, starvation, and drought, as well as in response to anthropogenic disturbances. They are released from the adrenal cortex within minutes or hours of the animal expressing the stressor, and in the short-term it would allow the animal to respond to the threat appropriately, as well as mobilising energy reserves for a flight-or-fight response. However, anthropogenic noise pollution means that glucocorticoids are released over the long-term, meaning cetaceans suffer from chronic levels of the stress hormone, which can suppress growth, depress the immune system, and decrease reproductive success, as well as increasing stress-induced mortality. Rolland’s study was based on the opportunities provided by a tragic event, and therefore its results have been unrepeatable until this year. Although the 2020 coronavirus pandemic has been a global tragedy, it has provided an opportunity for wildlife to thrive with reduced anthropogenic stresses, and for the impact of humans on wildlife to be studied.

As life begins to return to normal, noise pollution is returning to our oceans – but it doesn’t have to be this way. In 2014, the WWF produced a report which looked at how to reduce anthropogenic noise, and its impact on cetaceans. It considers solutions such as using quieter electric engines in boats and ships rather than diesel engines, and reducing our reliance on oil, which would not only decrease the noise produced from oil drilling, but also the noise and traffic of ships transporting oil, as well as reducing the likelihood of oil spills occurring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rolland and Barclay’s research on anthropogenic noise pollution and cetaceans is important as it not only helps give us an insight into the delicate and complex world of cetacean communication, but it also shows us how fragile marine ecosystems are, and how humans are leaving no ecosystem or sensory system unaffected. Without us, these gentle giants of the ocean would continue their lives peacefully – and therefore it is our responsibility to help reduce marine noise pollution, and protect cetaceans from this invisible killer.

During the coronavirus pandemic, people around the world have been engaging more with nature and wildlife, and although studies of the so-called “anthropause” are only just beginning, I hope that our appreciation of nature will continue even after lockdown has ended. Furthermore, I hope that the coronavirus pandemic acts as a wake-up call, showing us the urgent need to protect nature on land, in the air, and in our oceans - to protect our cetaceans from the damaging and stressful effects of anthropogenic noise pollution.

 

NOTE TO READER

This blog post was written as part of the British Ecological Society Undergraduate Summer School 2020. All the content in this blog post was correct at the time of writing (July 2020).

 


REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Chinea A. (2017) "Is Cetacean intelligence special? New perspectives on the debate", Entropy; Volume 19, Issue 10; Available: https://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/19/10/543/htm

Cockburn H. (2020) Coronavirus: Scientists to study great "human pause" of pandemic and impact on wildlife, Available: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/coronavirus-lockdown-animals-anthropause-study-wildlife-natural-world-a9580691.html

McVeigh K. (2020) Silence is golden for whales as lockdown reduces ocean noise, Available: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/27/silence-is-golden-for-whales-as-lockdown-reduces-ocean-noise-coronavirus

Rolland R.M. et al. (2012) "Evidence that ship noise increases stress in right whales", Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences; Volume 279, Issue 1737; Available: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2011.2429#d3e740

Thomson J. (2020) "An important time to listen": ocean scientists race to hear the effects of coronavirus underwater, Available: https://thenarwhal.ca/an-important-time-to-listen-ocean-scientists-race-to-hear-coronavirus-under-water/

Whales UK (2020) Scientific Evidence for Whale and Dolphin rights, Available: https://uk.whales.org/whale-culture/scientific-evidence-for-whale-and-dolphin-rights/#:~:text=The%20evidence%20suggests%20that%20whales,experiencing%20a%20range%20of%20emotions.

Wright A. J. (2014) "Reducing Impacts of Noise from Human Activities on Cetaceans", WWF: Switzerland; Available: https://www.wwf.de/fileadmin/fm-wwf/Publikationen-PDF/Report-Reducing-Impacts-of-Noise-from-Human-Activities-on-Cetaceans.pdf

Yong E. (2018) Once again, a massive group of Whales strands itself, Available: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/03/whales-mass-stranding-australia/556400/

 

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/9/cetaceans-and-noise-pollution Sat, 05 Sep 2020 09:11:17 GMT
Stop-motion animation (and a new film!) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/8/stop-motion-animation-and-a-new-film I have recently created my first stop-motion animation of a Frigatebird dancing, which you can view below.

I have also been working on a new film about river dipping in urban areas, where Will and I explore how you can find a surprising diversity of river-life in an urban area, using just a beach net and bucket. It is available to view on my film page.

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/8/stop-motion-animation-and-a-new-film Sat, 29 Aug 2020 17:46:19 GMT
Zine: What's in your ice cream? https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/8/zine-whats-in-your-ice-cream Recently I have been working on a new zine looking at palm oil and the steps we can take to reduce the impact palm oil has on the environment. You can view this zine below:

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/8/zine-whats-in-your-ice-cream Mon, 24 Aug 2020 20:09:52 GMT
Zine: The Dark side of the Seaside https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/8/zine-the-dark-side-of-the-seaside As part of the BES Undergraduate Summer School 2020, I produced a short zine on the impact of anthropogenic plastic pollution on marine life, and the steps we can take to tackle this problem. You can view this zine below:

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/8/zine-the-dark-side-of-the-seaside Tue, 18 Aug 2020 10:33:51 GMT
Photojournalism: Urban Foxes https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/8/photojournalism-urban-foxes I saw my first fox in 2018 when I started University in Oxford, and since then I have been looking for the opportunity to photograph them.

Urban Red Foxes are much bolder than their rural counterparts, and this young Fox was extremely confident when walking around our college. It was used to seeing people around, and carried out its business searching bins for food, despite being watched by the students. This was the first time I’d photographed a Fox, and I was really pleased that I managed to capture the movement in this photo.

More recently, I have been following a family of Red Foxes in Devon. Although I have only been watching them since the cubs have been quite big, they are still very playful, and a joy to watch. Interestingly, urban foxes have a different social mating system and hierarchy to rural foxes due to the high road-kill mortality rates. Rural foxes typically have one reproductive vixen and several younger female helpers aid with raising the cubs, whereas urban vixens all reproduce and have their own offspring, with no helpers from previous generations.

The family in Devon initially had three cubs, but one disappeared shortly after the litter emerged, so the female has been rearing two ever since. After a few outings where I sat quietly and watched them, I started taking photos and getting the cubs used to the lens clicking – they very quickly grew quite comfortable with the sound, and continued their activities as if I wasn’t there. In this photo, one of the cubs was watching me whilst the other had a scratch.

Compared to their mother, the cubs look pristine – with much glossier coats and larger eyes. The vixen is reliant on her male partner for food when the cubs are first born, as they are born deaf and blind, and don’t leave the den until they are about four weeks old. Red Foxes are also monogamous, and there are reports of some foxes exhibiting signs of grief when their partner dies, including staying with the body for long periods of time, and even burying the body. However, whether or not this behaviour represents grief remains unconfirmed.

Watching the Fox cubs has been such a privilege, especially being able to get so close to them. At one point, one of the cubs appeared in the hedge behind where I was lying, looking straight into my eyes before bounding away.

Red Foxes are truly magical, and I hope to continue documenting their behaviour in the future.

References and Further Reading

Baker P. J, Robertson C. P. J, Funk S. M, Harris S. (1998) Potential fitness benefits of group living in the red fox, Vulpes Vulpes; Animal Behaviour, Issue 56, pp. 1411-1424.

Greene A. (2017) Fun Facts about the Red Fox, Available: https://www.jacksonwild.org/blog/fun-facts-about-the-red-fox

Harris S. & Baker P. (2001) Urban foxes: Whittet Books, Suffolk

The Mammal Group, University of Bristol (2014) The Fox Website: Ecology and behaviour: Growing up, Available: http://www.thefoxwebsite.net/ecology/ecologygrowingup

Wildlife Online (2020) Do foxes & badgers bury their dead?, Available: https://www.wildlifeonline.me.uk/questions/answer/do-foxes-badgers-bury-their-dead 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/8/photojournalism-urban-foxes Sun, 16 Aug 2020 20:00:32 GMT
Animations https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/8/animations Hello!

Recently I have been creating short animations, to experiment with blending film, art, and story-telling together.

This is my first short animated story about Bluebell the Hare.

Here are some other short animations I've created recently of a Red Fox, a Hare stargazing, and a seagull landing on a post.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New pieces of artwork are available to view in my gallery, and a new film about pootering as part of the BES Undergraduate Summer School 2020 is available on my film page.

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/8/animations Fri, 14 Aug 2020 14:52:03 GMT
New Artwork and Poetry https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/7/new-artwork-and-poetry Hello! Recently, I have added several new pieces of artwork to my gallery, including some recent pieces of a stoat and a swift, and some older pieces. 

I have added a new poem to my poetry section, inspired by recent events, and I have created a few more short wildlife films, which can be accessed through my film page.

Alicia 

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/7/new-artwork-and-poetry Wed, 01 Jul 2020 18:28:35 GMT
New Artwork and Film https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/6/new-artwork-and-film Hello! This week I have added 5 new pieces of artwork to my gallery, including a singing Wren and a Long-tailed Tit.

I have also been creating short wildlife and nature films around my home during lockdown, and I have uploaded my first short nature film on YouTube. You can access the link on my film page.

Alicia 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/6/new-artwork-and-film Fri, 12 Jun 2020 21:30:47 GMT
Natural Soundscapes https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/6/natural-soundscapes Soundscapes in Nature

Soundscapes are all around us. In a busy day going to work or school, the sounds of everyday life become like white noise; a background we barely notice. The thud of a car door, the click of the kettle, the sound of footprints on a pavement – these are the sounds of human life. But they’re not the only sounds of life, and during the quietness lockdown has brought us, I have enjoyed immersing myself in the natural soundscape of North Yorkshire.

My footsteps are quiet on the earth, which is cracked and dry due to the prolonged period of dry weather we’ve been experiencing, but around me, the woods are full of noises. The stream sounds different depending where I stop to listen; a lower, fuller splashing sound in deeper sections where the water tumbles over smooth rocks, weathered by the river, or a gentle, higher splash on shallower sections. Above me, the whistling song of the Blackbird (Turdus merula) fills the air.

Juvenile Blackbird Silhouette

This family has just fledged, and the young are enjoying exploring the woodland and the bountiful food it has to offer – be it insects, arachnids, or even small newts!

Further along, a Song Thrush’s (Turdus philomelos) familiar song is blasted from the top of a Blackthorn hedge: the repetitive nature of the song, mixed with each bird’s unique improvisation, is what makes it so distinctive. Every Song Thrush is a composer and rearranger, as well as a performer of their own songs – they are constantly improvising and altering, to create a new masterpiece every time. There are many musicians in the world who would love to be as good at improvisation as a Song Thrush!

Song Thrush

A sudden burst of noise spirals out of a bush on my left, alerting me to a Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) and her fledglings. Wrens may be tiny birds (although not our smallest), but for small birds they make a lot of noise – and their loud call is iconic.  

Singing Wren

The pond is one of the richest soundscapes in my local patch; the whistle and sharp, short “crark” of the Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) echoes across the pond. As I crouch amongst the undergrowth, the buzz of bees and hoverflies fills my head: the “buzzing” sound is actually a by-product of the wing vibrations the bees make while flying, and the vibrations also help shake the pollen off the flower’s anthers and onto the bee’s body, enabling pollination.

Honeybee

By far one of my favourite recent encounters is with a newly-fledged family of Long-tailed Tits (Aegithalos caudatus). Compared to the brighter adults, the youngsters are less colourful, with brown heads and pale-pink chests. As they mature, their chests become a deeper pink, and their heads become black. The whole family hops in the branches around me, chirruping and constantly communicating with each other. The Long-tailed Tits huddle close to one another at times, before flying through the Willow branches and alighting to feed on small insects and spiders. Their soft “tsurp” is perhaps one of the easily recognised bird sounds, often heard before seeing a whole family group enter a garden to feed.

Juvenile Long-tailed Tit

Returning home to sounds of human life: cars, voices, and dogs barking – the volume of our noise is strikingly different to the natural soundscape. There is no doubt that human noise pollution, especially in our oceans and in urban areas, has had a detrimental effect on many animal species around the world – including humans. But lockdown has shown us just how rich the natural soundscape can be. I hope that in the future, instead of simply returning to our noisy, busy, bustling lives, we will take time to go outside and lose ourselves in the sound of nature.

 


REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

Barnes S. (2009) Songs of the Thrush, Available: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/songs-of-the-thrush-0ztfs7h98kp

Lewis A. (2019) Bird song identification: songs and calls for beginners, Available: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2019/04/identify-bird-song/

Mena L. M. & Garcia C. M. (2018) “Songbird community structure changes with noise in an urban reserve”, Journal of Urban Ecology; Volume 4, Issue 1: https://doi.org/10.1093/jue/juy022

Merchant N. (2020) Swimming in Silent Seas, Springwatch Blog 2020; Available: https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/natureuk/entries/6b8489b0-21b9-4c36-bb14-99c434ebfcce

Otis G. (2005) Why do Bees buzz?, Scientific American, Available: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-do-bees-buzz/#:~:text=Bees%20buzz%20for%20two%20reasons,that%20people%20hear%20as%20buzzes.&text=These%20vibrations%20shake%20the%20pollen,bee%20visits%2C%20resulting%20in%20pollination.

 

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/6/natural-soundscapes Tue, 09 Jun 2020 16:57:47 GMT
Conservation Optimism Virtual Exhibition https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/6/conservation-optimism-virtual-exhibition Conservation Optimism is an organisation devoted to sharing positive conservation success stories, in the hope of encouraging more people to get involved in enjoying and protecting nature. I was lucky enough to take part in their Good Natured Film Festival and virtual exhibition on Friday 29th May 2020.

I produced a series of illustrations of the Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus), Pine Marten (Martes martes), and Honeybees (Apis spp.) and Bumblebees (Bombus spp.) as part of a portfolio of animals which are conservation success stories. I also used some of my photos, a Puffin (Fratercula arctica), Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea), Curlew (Numenius arquata), and Skylark (Alauda arvensis), as an alternative medium for showcasing animal species which are threatened, but part of successful conservation initiatives.

I had a lot of fun working on the pieces for Conservation Optimism, and I feel very fortunate to have my work showcased virtually alongside other talented illustrators, artists, and photographers.

You can view the online exhibition here: https://conservationoptimism.org/virtual-exhibition/

 

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(Alicia Hayden Wildlife) https://aliciahaydenwildlifephotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2020/6/conservation-optimism-virtual-exhibition Wed, 03 Jun 2020 13:32:16 GMT