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Life in the lens

Words by Dan Warden

After 22 years serving in the military as a Survival Specialist, Richard Birchett has adapted his pathfinding skills, using them to track, stalk and photograph even the remotest wildlife species.

As a wildlife photographer, for Richard Birchett, the welfare of the subject is paramount. “To disturb it from its natural behaviour, in order to get the picture, goes against everything I believe in. I would much rather enjoy the experience than get the shot, although if practical and morally safe to do so, a picture is a massive bonus.”

Without a doubt, Richard’s favourite place to photograph in Cornwall is the Goonhilly Downs. He describes the sheer diversity of nature over the 300 hectares as “amazing,” explaining that “one day it can be deathly quiet, but the next it can be full of life and sometimes put on a spectacular show of birds of prey.”

Richard’s goal, in time, is to become a professional photographer, and it seems that he’s well on his way; early last year, he presented a short film for the BBC’s WinterWatch 2019, then later in the year he was shortlisted for the 2019 British Photography Awards. Professional or not, through his experiences and images, Richard has the uncanny ability to highlight the many benefits that the natural world has to offer, drawing on his skills as a military Survival Specialist and his ability with a camera to re-engage his audience with it.

Nuthatch, Gweek | Great spotted woodpecker, Gweek woods

Peregrine falcon at Kynance Cove

Red-billed Cornish choughs at Ogo Dour Cove, Mullion

Nuthatch, Tehidy Woods

Grey seal pup at Soapy Cove, the Lizard | Hobby, Goonhilly Downs

Kingfisher at Tremayne Quay, Helford river

Cornish badger at Windmill Farm Nature Reserve, on the Lizard


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