It's fair to say I'm never happier than when photographing wildlife predators. Sharks are my primary quarry and I've spent many hours photographing them underwater. But I cannot ignore the skies and the aerial raptor predators. 

I've been photographing a fair few this year, but the one which has eluded me hitherto is the Northern goshawk - very rare in the UK with only an estimated 600 breeding pairs. I jumped at the opportunity of spending time in dense woodland in North Devon. I was filming on land owned by by the late Johnny Kingdom. When I had a call from Liam, who hosts photographers, telling me he had heard a goshawk, I was on my way. After a 11-hour stint in a pop-up hide covered in camouflage I saw the princely sum of zero goshawks. Yet I could hear the distinctive calls so nearby. 

A couple of weeks later I tried again. Although again drawing a blank, I did have some  great sparrowhawk encounters. This area is rich in biodiversity. 

Exmouth Journal: Female sparrowhawkI then had another call from Liam with more regular sightings of a goshawk. Off I trundled at 4am in bleak wet conditions.

Exmouth Journal: Northern goshawk

At 8am I noticed a large raptor in my eye corner. Bingo - it was a goshawk feeding on a kill. Unfortunately my lens was pointing the wrong way. I had to wait until it looked away and moved my lens carefully each time it did so until it was in the frame. These were tense moments as it could take off at any moment. Then it was in focus and it stayed 20 minutes. A couple of hours later a buzzard also landed and hung about for two hours. Although now fairly common buzzards are generally very shy.

But to capture a goshawk in the wild felt fantastic. Tick!