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City critters: five awesome photos of animals in London

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Five ace urban wildlife photographers talk us through their favourite images:

Fallow deer (pictured above)

Jamie Hall: This picture was taken in Loughton, near Epping Forest, at about 1.30am. There’s a window of opportunity, after the pubs close and before the first buses start at 5am. The deer tend to sulk in the shadows. Sometimes they walk the streets and footpaths. When you shoot in urban environments, you have more light than in the wild: street lamps, passing buses. There’s an insane amount of waiting involved – but I love it. With each new picture I take, I want there to be a wow factor; for people to say, “Wow, really? That’s different.”  www.jamiehallphotography.co.uk

 

Parakeets 

Simon de Glanville

 

Simon de Glanville: Photographing animals in the city is different logistically to doing it in the wild; it involves more jumping over walls, avoiding security guards, managing drunk pedestrians and lying in puddles. I discovered a south London cemetery where these ring-necked parakeets roost in their thousands. But working out how to photograph the fastflying birds took another year. Using a highpowered flash I was able to freeze them as they whizzed by. For me, catching animals in a fleeting moment like this is the holy grail of urban wildlife photography. www.simondeglanville.co.uk

 

Black redstart 

Luke Massey

Luke Massey: The most amazing thing about this photo is that there are fewer than 100 breeding pairs of redstarts in the UK. This is a juvenile, which I photographed a stone’s throw from St Paul’s. These guys arrive in the UK each spring, but around September start to head south to spend the winter in southern France and beyond. I’ve worked all over the world, from the Amazon to the Zambian bush, but there’s something about city wildlife that keeps me coming back. People think it’s not there: they hurry around, heads down, looking at phones. So my work is evidence of the biodiversity in urban areas. www.lmasseyimages.com

 

Myopa 

Penny Frith

Penny Frith: This is a fly that, in spring , will spend her days hanging around on leaves waiting for solitary bees to parasitise – her body acts like a tin opener, prying apart the segments of a bee’s abdomen to insert her eggs. I photograph insects in Peckham, and I’m astonished by their diversity: mason bees nesting in the cracks of telegraph poles; spiders hiding in fence posts. In Warwick Gardens, I’ve photographed 469 different species. In a small park like this, you get to know what lives here, what likes visiting and how they all interact with each other. www.insectinside.me

Grass snake

 

Christian Moss

Christian Moss: London is a great place to look for reptiles – you can find populations of grass snakes in Richmond Park, the London Wetland Centre and Epping Forest. Common lizards and slow worms can also be seen at those last two places. There are also non-native reptiles that have made London their home, including red-eared terrapins and the Aesculapian snake. The adder can be found on a few sites within the M25, but they’re under threat from habitat fragmentation and development. You can support UK amphibian and reptile conservation by recording sightings at www.recordpool.org.uk. www.photoblog.com/mossy

 

SEND US YOUR SNAPS!

LONDON PHOTOGRAPHERS, we want your shots of the city's wildside. We're looking for beautiful, inspiring or downright weird snaps of London's parks, forests, gardens, waterways, even window boxes, and the creatures that live there. Award-winning wildlife photographer Mark Smith will judge the competition and weíll publish a selection of the best entries in the magazine. There are prizes to be won too, including tickets to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition and canoeing sessions with Hackney Wick's Moo Canoes.

Upload your photos at www.timeout.com/wildlondoncomp or by using the hashtag #wildlondoncomp on Instagram or Twitter. Entries close on August 19.

Find full competition details and terms and conditions here

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