Colin Varndell

Natural History Photography

Recent Highlights
Natural Details
  Reptiles and amphibians
Slide Presentations
Photodays and workshops




Various photographic events are led by Colin throughout the year which are suitable for all levels of expertise. However, camera clubs and photographic societies generally make contact direct to arrange workshops around specific subjects for practical photography, which is of interest to their group. If you would like to arrange a workshop around a specific subject with Colin please email in the first instance.


We have been baiting wild woodland birds for photography here for over thirty years and can now offer this unique opportunity to photographers. The site is a private five acre nature reserve on the edge of a Dorset village. It is wooded on the north side and open on the south side to allow for maximum sunlight. There are three winter bird feeding stations here, two are permanent and the other mobile. There are three wooden hides at the permanent woodland feeding site large enough to accommodate up to six people and their equipment. Elsewhere there is a ground level (sunk into the ground so you are shooting at a low level) permanent hide for nervous species like songthrush, magpie, carrion crow and common buzzard. There is also a permanent high level tower hide for shooting portraits of birds waiting in willow trees. The mobile feeding station/hide is moved around the five acre site throughout the winter to take advantage of birds feeding on natural foods like windfall apples, thistles, burdock and teasel as well as drinking and bathing.

The range of species varies from year to year and the best time for most birds is from December through to the end of April, peaking in February and March. Wild birds which have visited our feeding stations have included the following:

Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue tit, Brambling, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Carrion crow, Chaffinch, Coal tit, Collared dove, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Goldfinch ,Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Greenfinch, Green woodpecker, Grey wagtail, Hawfinch, Housesparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh tit, Moorhen, Nuthatch, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Redpoll, Redwing, Robin, Rook, Siskin, Songthrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stock dove, Tawny owl, Treecreeper, Water rail, Woodpigeon, Wren and Yellowhammer.

We also get regular sightings of grey squirrel, brown rat, bank vole, wood mouse, rabbit, roe deer and fox from the hides. At certain times, there are opportunities for nocturnal wildlife photography.

Charges to use the hides are as follows:

£35 per person per day. If you want to photograph a particular species we would endeavour to ensure that suitable bait was laid for several days beforehand. No species can be absolutely guaranteed, although most of the common birds are pretty reliable.

£25 per person per day (minimum group size 3 - maximum group size 7) this includes Colin on hand all day to assist with perches baiting etc and to offer advice.

£90 per person (minimum group size 3 - maximum group size 7).
This includes coffee, lunch and tea. Demonstrations and instruction by Colin as well as all day access to the hides. Factsheets on mammal and woodland bird photography issued on the day.

For a booking form for the bird hides or more information contact Susy at

Badger hide
We have constructed a five seater hide at our main badger sett. Badgers and other nocturnal wildlife will be fed regularly throughout the winter in readiness for badger and fox photography in the spring and summer. Please contact us for more detailS.

If you belong to a group, or have a few friends with similar photographic interests, who would like to spend a day with Colin photographing a natural history subject of your choice, we would be happy to give you a quote.