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Stunning photographs accompany Attenborough's Wild Isles show

WHEN David Attenborough says in his new documentary series, Wild Isles, that Britain is one of the most nature-depleted places in the world, his words resonate. Yet an accompanying book by Patrick Barkham and Alastair Fothergill brings together photographs that celebrate the stunning wildlife of Britain and Ireland. A reminder, perhaps, of the things we should cherish before it is too late.

Often seen in huge, shape-shifting flocks, starlings (main picture) are actually in decline. To capture their nighttime roosting behaviour, the Wild Isles team deployed thermal cameras, with the birds’ warmth causing them to show up in bright white. “There’s something very Christmassy about it,” producer Chris Howard said in the show, “all these trees festooned with light.”

Great crested grebes, (pictured above) during a courtship dance, were once hunted almost to extinction. Today, their numbers are on the rise, but changing weather patterns brought on by climate change made it difficult to predict and photograph this behaviour. “Ten, 15, 20 years ago, it would have happened almost like clockwork,” Howard told New Scientist.

Two male adders above battle for dominance, in the hope of securing a female. After sex, the males are dragged around by the female, bound together by dozens of penis barbs.

A grey seal sleeping vertically in the water, its nose poking out to breathe (pictured above)

The image above shows a scallop escaping from a starfish by rapidly snapping its shell, creating a jet of water that propels it to safety; and pictured below a white-tailed eagle hunting a barnacle goose in Islay, Scotland.

New Scientist video
Watch the unique behaviour of some of the rarest UK birds from Wild Isles

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