This is the Victoria Crowned Pigeon, another work in progress for my new book on birds.
The Victoria Crowned Pigeon is considered the largest of the living pigeon species, and can be found on mainland New Guinea. The only larger member of the pigeon family would have been the Dodo.
Did you know yesterday was Save the Frog day?
Bulging eyes with vertical slit pupils mark the lemur leaf frog of Central America as a creature of the night. It lies low by day, practically invisible amid the foliage. As night falls, the bright green skin darkens to a reddish-brown, again for camouflage. As a group, neotropical amphibians exhibit extraordinarily diverse reproduction modes, from breeding in open ponds (much like common frogs) to laying eggs
on land and carrying larvae to water; in some frogs, the tadpoles hide in the beds of swift streams. The lemur leaf frog sits somewhere in the middle of this range: the female lays her moist egg masses on vegetation overhanging a pond or puddle, and a week or so later the hatchlings drop into the water to develop as tadpoles. Numbers have crashed in recent years, due mainly to chytridiomycosis and
deforestation, and the Costa Rican population has all but
vanished, clinging on in just two or three upland locations.
Today is World Penguin Day!
The Rockhopper Penguin is renowned the world over for its funky hair style, and lives in a region just above the Antarctic.
The Rockhoppers numbers were decimated in 2011 when the MS Oliva ran aground and spilled oil in around 20,000 birds, and this threat isn't going away. It is a harsh reminder of the damage were continually doing to a largely uninhabited area of the world. I was only reading an article today about the vast quantities of micro plastics in the Antarctic, nearly 5 times the volume anticipated. Traces of micro plastics are even being found in rainwater!
Mandrills form the largest social groups of any non-human primate, with a troop of 1,300 once recorded in the forests of Gabon. With their striking faces and eyes, they have evolved some of the most spectacular coloration of any
mammalian species, the intensity of which signifies their social and sexual status. Sadly, it is not just their appearance that is appealing; mandrill meat is considered a delicacy in West Africa, and it is part of a growing trade, with tons of bushmeat being smuggled into western Europe every week.
Logging and farming are limiting their places of refuge, and these remarkable animals are in urgent need of stronger protections.
This highly constructed image, is of an Arabian Halter horse, or show horse, truly a supermodel of the horse world. It has been carefully structured to allude to George Stubbs’ famous painting Whistlejacket, utilising both similar tones and pose. Taken at the pristine Ajman Stud, it was lit by flash indoors, looking out of the window to the bright Emirati sunshine. The camera captures the darker indoors and the lighter outdoors in a way that the human eye normally cannot see. The overall effect is slightly unreal, or perhaps hyperreal, part painting, part photograph.
On the theme of pigeons, here is an image I call Spirit, from my book More Than Human.
The dove is essentially a breed of pigeon with just its coloration making the difference.
As a whole, the pigeon species is the most decorated animal in military history, in the UK 32 messenger pigeons have been decorated with Dickin Medal, an award that honors the gallantry or devotion of animals in war.