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

Looking out of the window today, I can see the Out Skerries on the near horizon. The lingering presence of a Western Bonelli's Warbler there is playing on my mind: I'd love one to find my garden. (Frankly, I'd settle for a Wood Warbler like this one, seen on Skerries years ago).

A wall of fog has rolled in across most of the island this evening. Outside the back door it smells and sounds like autumn. The silvery, sweet calls of the first Yellow-browed Warbler of the year are coming from somewhere in the garden behind me.

We may not have many trees here in #Shetland for a show of autumnal colour, but those rich tones are there, if one looks for them, at ground level. Bog Asphodel is the gift that keeps on giving, swapping vivid saffron-yellow flowers for intense chestnut seed heads.

Some great days out for @botany_beck in 2021 - I love botanising and the associated adventures. I’ll definitely be re-reading two of my favourite orchid books this winter, @LeifBersweden’s #OrchidHunter and @dunnjons #OrchidSummer for inspiration! #orchidfriends #wildflowerhour

Well, now. This’ll be interesting. My review copy of Britain’s Orchids has arrived...

A satisfying morning - although I suspect my autumn has peaked rather early now! - finding this lovely 1st-w Brown Shrike at Warham Greens today. Glad so many got to catch up with it throughout the day. A couple of photographs from before the arrival of the crowds...

It’s been a strange unsettling year & back in March at the start of lockdown my #orchidyear seemed in tatters. I did manage to see a few new species but undoubtedly my highlight was seeing the stunning Lady’s Slipper, Cypripedium calceolus in not one but two different locations!

And here’s another @Greenwings tour I can’t wait to be involved with next June. It’s going to be macro-marvellous...

I like looking for species previously unrecorded in my corner of #Shetland - I've found a few plants new for Whalsay, and a bird too over the years. This week a new bumblebee, Early Bumblebee, found me - tragically, I trod on it barefoot, and it stung me. First Whalsay record...

I think I’m looking forward to co-leading this tour more than any other next year - the chance to combine two of my passions, orchids and wildflower photography. I can’t wait.

The Yellow-bellied Flycatcher showed very well today for the assembled socially-distanced twitch at Balephuil #Tiree - everyone (including the bird!) behaved perfectly.

A Satyr tragopan photographed today by our guide in Bhutan. One of the numerous interesting and beautiful bird species we can see on our Sept-Oct tours, which should be departing about this time next year. One of them will be led by @dunnjons

Blue Fulmar with a regular pale phase for comparison - a really dark, smaller bird, 1 of the 4 seen during a pelagic trip 18 miles east of Noss. Taken with Olympus E-M1X & 300mm F4 pro lens/x1.4 converter.

My weekly round up of the latest scarce and rare bird sightings in Britain, Ireland and beyond for the lovely folks at @RareBirdAlertUK. This week mainly looking pretty buff.

Our two trips to Bhutan clearly can’t happen this month as planned, but we can daydream until next year. Here’s a few dreamy butterflies from this wonderful country! 🇧🇹 🦋

Breakfast reading today, and my mind's blown by the epic discovery by @NimbosaEcology of a fern growing in SW Ireland that's normally found in Cuba, Jamaica & the Dominican Republic, believed to have colonised naturally by transatlantic spore dispersal.

One of my favourite books of last year is coming out in paperback in October. Do take a gander...

In case you missed this. Welcome to Grousehog Day...

In which the British government, in the face of an escalating pandemic, once again proves it's one rule for them and their chums, and another for the rest of us. But hey. Grouse-shooting is a sport, right?

Yes. A blood-sport.

Settling down to write a piece about press gangs and plants this morning. This is Common Scurvygrass - an abundant plant on the banks (low cliffs) around my #Shetland home. It used to be harvested and taken to sea as a dietary supplement to ward off scurvy, hence the name. (1/7)

On my walk today I found all these beautiful #Fruits for another lovely #wildflowerhour challenge! : Yew, Snowberry, Sweet chestnut, Hawthorn, Oak, Black bryony, Blackberry, Bilberry, Spindle, Holly, Wild Iris & Rowan. Also found naturalised Gaultheria & Leycesteria formosa!😊🫐