Jon Dunn

Jon Dunn


Jon Dunn is a natural history writer, photographer and wildlife tour guide based in the Shetland Isles, but with strong links in mainland Europe and North and South America that see him travelling widely in search of memorable wildlife encounters.

Author of the critically acclaimed “Orchid Summer” and “Britain’s Sea Mammals”, and co-author of “Britain’s Mammals“, he has written natural history and travel articles for several British magazines and newspapers, and writes the weekly Rare Bird Alert online Rarity Round-Up.

His photos have featured in “Britain’s Sea Mammals” and in numerous magazines and journals (60 North, Birding World, British Wildlife, Birdwatch, British Birds, Birdwatching, Alula, and Dutch Birding) and newspapers (The Sunday Telegraph, i Newspaper, Shetland Times, and Yorkshire Post). Front covers have included 60 North and Shetland in Statistics.

He credits a childhood living in the rural West Country of England for his lifelong interest in all things natural history based – a childhood spent exploring the water meadows and abandoned orchards of the Somerset Levels, and the droves and ancient woods of Dorset’s Blackmore Vale. Before long he had spread his wings further afield and was travelling widely around the British Isles and then further afield in search of birds, butterflies and orchids. A move to Shetland 15 years ago fulfilled his dream of living on the edges of civilisation in one of Europe’s great wild places.

He was once stalked by a Mountain Lion whilst bird-watching on edges of Mexico’s notorious Sierra Madre Occidental, but generally prefers experiencing wildlife on his own terms and not as part of the food chain.

Jon Dunn @dunnjons

Another highlight of my recent Orkney trip - seeing tiny Scottish Primroses, found in a small area of northern Scotland and nowhere else in the world.

For a wee primula it packs a punch - beautiful, tough, but thriving only in a Goldilocks zone of perfect short turf & salinity.

All set up for a night in a cabin - can’t wait! @dunnjons @ShetlandTours @NLFerries

It's #NationalMeadowsDay - here in #Shetland many are presently fields of golden buttercups, but look closer and they're bursting with biodiversity - full of myriad flowering plants, humming with bumblebees, and home to many ground-nesting birds.

Oh, and a pony or two.

It's #NationalMeadowsDay ! Throughout the day we'll be bringing you the sights and sounds of this wonderful habitat @Love_plants @nature_scot @CNPnature @ScotLINK @ScotWildlife @ForthNatureScot @dunnjons

Changing lockdown criteria in Scotland meant a work trip to Orkney was possible today. Orchids were the main focus, but there was a fine botanical supporting cast - here a lovely Mountain Everlasting flowering on a pristine area of maritime heath.

We launched a crowdfunder yesterday - it has just passed £30,000. Thank you so much.

We challenge the lawfulness of licences issued by @NaturalEngland for @DefraGovUK Badger cull. Free shooting, as licensed, is palpably inhumane, we say.

Bog cotton, birdsong, cloud-watching, #Shetland this evening.


There have been Crossbills on the move for some days now, arriving in #Shetland from Scandinavia. It's surely only a matter of time before the first of their rarer kin, Two-barred Crossbill, is found. Will 2020 be another irruption year? This bird one of several seen last year.

An amazing encounter for @LinnetinPaston and I on the edge of Salthouse Heath today. A breathtaking Purple Hairstreak on oak, one of at least a dozen, at head height or lower.


Promising to “build, build, build” his way out of the economic crisis, Johnson promises to slash “newt-counting” red tape in the planning system to speed up delivery of infrastructure projects.

So much for a 'green recovery'...

25 June, resting under a tree in glorious sunshine just in @BCSussex area when this Purple emperor floated over and landed. It came to me, a nice change from my usual wildlife peregrinations. Black Down, nr Haslemere, Surrey. @Hotel_News_Now @dunnjons @zimmer_donna @PaulHdigiman

A nice but quite random discovery during field work out on the moorland of Yell today, this delicate wee Lesser Twayblade, one of just two plants. #shetland #orchid

Hybrid orchids have been on my mind a lot lately - and more about them later this year - but for now, here's one in #Shetland that flowered strongly in 2017, weakly in 2018, and was gone last year - Dactylorhiza x latirella, scarce hybrid between Early & Northern Marsh Orchids.

Thistles of various kinds are just starting to come into flower in #Shetland. Widely despised as prickly weeds, I am a big fan of them - they're a terrific local nectar source for insects and, in the autumn, provide foraging areas for tired migrant birds.

A spot of urban birding on my way home from watching yesterday's Minke Whale in Lerwick, #Shetland.

Roof-nesting Herring Gulls are found throughout Britain, but few have such a purpose-built nest cup than the remains of an old chimney pot.

An absolutely humbling afternoon today watching this magnificent Minke Whale feeding in a sheltered bay on the edges of Lerwick.

Other British towns have urban foxes - here in #Shetland we have urban whales.

North Greece in June is an incredible natural studio for macro photography, bursting with life of all kinds.

I'm delighted to say I'll be co-leading an exciting @Greenwings tour there in 2021 with @bugboybaker & @MattDoogue - and you could join us...

Enjoyed an evening up #Hermaness this week, trying some bokeh technique to help add a creativity to my #puffin portfolio.

Are you a fan of ‘bokeh’ effect? if Which of these do you prefer? (Bokeh, by the way is the soft out-of focus sparkles of light) #photography #shetland

That's my day made, right there. I love hearing that #OrchidSummer has brought some pleasure, and is proving inspiring.

Thick fog enveloped the east side of #Shetland yesterday. I was weeding the vegetable patch when I heard the Whooper Swans creaking overhead, but couldn't see them. White noise. A little later, there they were on the loch beside the house. Non-breeding, but here all summer now.