A Day in the Life of a Wildlife Photographers Lackey

May I just start by adding that I am not the wildlife photographer, my partner is. My position in all this appears to be cleaner, food prepper, flash holder and ultimately the fixer of computer problems when everything freezes mid way through picture processing. The first I know of this is when he storms past me (probably when I am cleaning out animal dishes!), arms waving, announcing in a loud voice how everything is against him. By the time he has returned from his rant the problem is solved and the artist can continue on his quest for the perfect shot.

The one thing I do enjoy is problem solving, computers and mechanical things that need fixing. These things I do have plenty of patience for – sitting in a camouflage hide for hours on end whilst needing a wee, waiting for the elusive polecat to turn up, not so much patience! We each have our role to play and it pretty much covers our needs and thats just fine.

The patience needed to get the subject in front of the camera! What is it they say? Never work with animals or children.

The reason I am writing this is because I caught myself feeling a bit bored the other day, wondering where life was taking me, am I really pushing myself enough and so on. As easy as you think it is to leave the rat race and organize your own time as regards earning from home, its is certainly proving a challenge for me! There are so many jobs to do around the house and paddocks that the days just pass where I may have accomplished much on the cleaning, repairing and planting front and yet so little on the stuff that puts the food on the table.

Let me explain just what takes me away from my top priority of the day…….. My day doesn’t start at an exact time, it all depends on when my little terrier ‘Maddy’ wants to go downstairs for what I presume is a wee but I suspect, sometimes, is just to have a bark! Invariably it is dark outside so I can’t quite tell, whichever it is she always looks pleased with herself. I am not a great morning person and my bleary eyed shuffle around to the chickens to let them out is a struggle.

Mr Cockerel looking handsome for his ladies

Firstly I have to maneuver through the small doorway into the run without spilling all the chicken food and not stepping on Maddy, who insists on being the one to welcome the chickens out. Next is to dodge the minefield of chicken poo just waiting to take my feet out from underneath me – laying amongst chicken poop, usually in your dressing gown, is not big and it’s not clever! The cockerel does his little dance, a bit of a stomp in a circle around his outstretched wing, the ladies not that impressed bundle their way over to the food. I leave them to it for an hour or so before I return to let them out free-ranging for the day.

A quick wave and general ‘baby-talking’ to our resident fox Rosie as I pass her enclosure. She looks up from her sunbathing spot as if to say “Good morning” and continues her lazy sun soak.

It’s all about the sun bathing!
(Rosie, our resident fox)

Heading in to the barn, I say hello to our younger hand reared fox. My terrier is first through the door as usual, and is greeted by an extremely excited and very wriggly little fox. They nose each other and run off to dive into the straw bales, just a mass of gingery fur tumbling about, little squeaks of delight coming from ‘Hetty’ the fox. The silly smile on my face comes to my attention and I realise, for a moment, how lucky I am to share my life with such beautiful creatures.

Best of friends at play

 

I go about changing the drinking water, rinsing out dishes, collecting eggs and generally tidying up. The fox and the hound continue playing much to the annoyance of our visiting swallows chattering away in the rafters as if complaining about the raucous commotion below.

Our yearly visitors waiting for Mum to return with their lunch

Owl Capone is waiting patiently on her perch for me to unlatch the middle barn door, upon opening she flaps and pounces in what I would like to think is excitement. She is beautiful, delicate and ferocious all at once. Much to Richards annoyance, Capone has bonded to me so it is my tweeting sounds she responds to and his fingers she likes to bite!

Back in the house and the chores to do!

In my mind I am setting my timetable for the day – quick clean, washing on, bread machine set and then settle down to write. Between the washing and setting up the bread maker I have my dear old cat hacking up a fur ball on the matting – plenty of stone flooring but of course she chooses the densely woven mat to be sick on! While I am considering just throwing the damn mat out my partner comes in with a worried look on his face and presents me with an offering of a baby rabbit cupped in his hands. I look at his face and put everything down that I was doing and follow the usual routine of running about like a nutter trying to get together a safe, warm bed, a little bit of food and some water while he checks over the patient for any injuries. Once the patient is settled everyone goes back about their business leaving me with a few more chores than I started out with.

Finally I make it to my chosen work area. The light and airy space in the conservatory, organised and comfortable. I open my laptop and prepare to write my ‘big break’ novel. I hit a few keys just to make sure it is working – delete the random letters I have just created, flex my fingers and off we go! In truth I manage a couple of sentences before the welcome distraction of the chicken commotion coming from behind the barn, they want out of the run and they want it now!

Mugged by chickens

My trusty terrier at my heels, we head out. Rounding the corner of the barn I see the usual sight of all ten chickens pressed up against the mesh door, longing to squeeze through the 50p size fence holes to freedom. One twist of the latch and they burst forth and waddle off to find adventure before realising that I may have some tasty treats to offer, so before I get back to the barn I am hassled by the gang of noisy birds until I give them a scoop of corn.

The day continues on pretty much like that and my writing gets put on hold for another day. Now, Is it that I am procrastinating on the writing front or am I just a slave to my family of furry and feathered beasts, oh yes, and my “always searching for that perfect picture” partner.

It’s not a bad life really.

A much needed reassuring squeeze for a rescue cub
A big smackeroo from Maddy – Who said foxes and terriers don’t get on!

17 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of a Wildlife Photographers Lackey

  1. Typically sat down with a G and T in this sunshine after a very busy sunday morning to relax and read your blog. Love it Helen. Keep it going. So enjoy being apart of the life you share with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. G & T in the sunshine, sounds perfect. Thank you for your lovely comment x

      Like

  2. Hi Helen & Richard. What a delightful read and the pictures are so complementary.
    I love what you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Julie MancyTaff Cunliffe 24th Feb 2019 — 4:31 pm

    Hi Helen and Richard, just read your blog and thoroughly enjoyed it, and the most beautiful pictures. Your so lucky! Can’t wait to read the next one

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have so enjoyed reading this and of course the beautiful photos. You are as talented as your partner and I look forward to reading the next installment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Janet, what a lovely thing to say. We hope that between us we can share the special relationships animals have with humans as well as each other. 😊

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  5. Hi Helen & Richard, Loved your blog. What a wonderful life you have (hard work no doubt but sounds very rewarding). Looking forward the next one & hearing more about Maddy & Hetty x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Sue. Maddy’s daily interactions with Rosie, Hetty and Charlie are a joy to watch so hoping to bring more stories about them to others. Many thanks for your comment. 😊

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  6. clare howe elliott 24th Feb 2019 — 11:44 pm

    A truly pleasant and re-invigorating read….when I can be transported from my slightly unprepossessing life into yours for a few minutes!…thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Clare. If I can bring a little bit to of joy to some then that is a worthy cause 😊🦊

      Like

  7. Lovely article Helen. I know exactly how you feel. For about 20 years I used to rear and rehabilitate cubs/foxes that had come into us at the local wildlife hospital. I loved the work, and still have two regular foxes come for a goody or two each evening. Thanks for sharing your wonderful work with us, and your husband for taking such lovely pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lovely to hear from someone with so much experience of foxes, I bet you have a tale or two to tell of the characters you looked after? I am so glad you enjoyed my blog, many thanks for the lovely comment. 😊🦊

      Like

  8. Anne Sarsfield 27th Feb 2019 — 9:51 am

    Have really enjoyed reading this !

    Liked by 1 person

  9. SAMANTHA louise tapscott 12th Mar 2019 — 4:51 pm

    Looking forward to the next blog

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘πŸ¦Š

      Like

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