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Feather and fur

When not travelling to Peru and Alaska, twenty-year-old Bertie Gregory captures the wildlife he sees in the area around his home in Lytchett Minster and on Brownsea Island

An adult sandwich tern feeding a sand eel to its chick

‘It all started off when I was twelve years old and I got an underwater disposable camera,’ recalls Bertie Gregory of his beginnings in photography. ‘Later on I started nicking my dad’s SLR, but I remember the moment when I decided I wanted to take wildlife pictures. I was out walking my dog in the snow when a deer rushed out in front of me; I started taking pictures and haven’t looked back since.’

Little egret (Egretta garzetta) wading through shallow water on Brownsea Island

Bertie, who is in the second year of a zoology degree at Bristol University, has seen his photography take him all over the world, but there’s no doubting his favourite place in Dorset: ‘Brownsea Island is a big place for me. It’s got an amazing population of terns in spring and summer and a big feeding flock of avocets in the winter. I’ve been fortunate to work with Dorset Wildlife Trust and am working with the 20:20VISION project, which meant I could stay overnight in the hide and so get some fantastic early light to shoot with.’

An avocet silhouetted as it feeds at sunrise. Bertie was able to get this shot thanks to being able to stay overnight on Brownsea Island

Somewhat closer to home is Bertie’s back garden: ‘It’s quite boggy with lots of mud and worms, and we have a buzzard who comes there almost daily for the worms.’

A buzzard in Bertie's Lytchett Minster garden

Bertie is also an unnoticed, or at least non-threatening presence at a local badger sett where last year there were nine badgers who have become habituated to a hide.

European badger (Meles meles) family feed in long grass near to their Dorset woodland sett last summer

But badgers are not his favourite animals; that distinction belongs to peregrine falcons: ‘I’ve seen them in the wilderness off Vancouver Island taking sea birds, and in the city skies above the Palace of Westminster taking pigeons. They really are incredible, the world’s fastest animal and so adaptable.’
Bertie hopes to be able to take his aesthetic sensibilities and wildlife knowledge and translate them into a career in wildlife film-making or presenting wildlife television programmes. Like his favourite animal’s, his adaptability and speed mean it would be a brave man to bet against him.

Flock of shovelers (Anas clypeata), gadwalls (Anas strepera) and teal (Anas crecca) flee Brownsea's lagoon as a buzzard flies over

Also shot for the 2020VISION project on Brownsea Island this moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) was taking off from a frozen lagoon

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