Saturday, 19 December 2015

Review of the Year - 2015

Never tried this before but there's nothing on the telly so why not have a quick look back over this year.  I done a few blogs through the year so this one will try to cover the rest of the year with reference to those blogs where appropriate.

A few things stand out, the Osprey at Panshanger Park in September was an obvious highlight as was slipping arse over tit at Burwell Fen with Seymour Birdies at the start of the year, that visit was my first to The Fens and gave some distant views of Short Eared and Barn Owls.  I've just realised I didn't "blog" the Osprey saga, maybe next year!  Not surprising that I chose some of the Osprey pics to decorate this bit of the blog!

This year I visited RSPB Minsmere & Rainham Marshes for the first time, highlights there were "Beardies" at both locations, Bitterns & Marsh Harriers at Minsmere, and dreadful service in the "café" at Rainham - twice!  Previous blogs cover these visits.

I was a regular visitor to HMWT Amwell throughout the year, for the Barn Owl at the start of the year, plus of course the Bittern.  The James Hide Kingfisher was a focus for a some months - I didn't realise how many photos I had taken of him & her, now I know why I tend to by-pass the Kingfisher Hide at RSPB Rye Meads - another regular location for me.  Norfolk Hawkers (first time here! well spotted BT!) & other dragonflies kept the interest during the summer, Siskins started and finished the year there. 

What pictures to choose for Amwell?  These birds . . .

and the Kingfisher

and these "others" . . .

And for RSPB Rye Meads . . .

Common Terns just fly & eat,

the waterfowl are clean and make a splash . . .

except the adult Swans, who really should know better!

I recall two visits to the River Stour at Mistley, Essex to see & photograph the waders.  The first visit was great from the photos point of view especially Black-Tailed Godwits, the second visit with The Bearded Tit was memorable for the almost total lack of birds, and the continuous renditions of various sketches from Monty Python which I didn't expect but then "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!"  All the photos are from the first visit.

October was, well, eventful I guess you could call it, especially following a work party at Panshanger which resulted in 2 nights B&B in Lister Hospital Stevenage. 

November was memorable for the Short Eared Owls (and mud!) at Heartwood, my first real good sightings of these marvellous birds.  I returned several times and I'm not finished yet I suspect.  This was on a par with the Osprey for me - you may not agree.  I hoped to get one or two reasonable pictures, I never expected to get these!  Some aren't spot on but you gotta love 'em all the same!

There were Kestrels too but the Owls just did it for me!

That's it for me for 2015, I've been lucky to get two or three really good experiences and a few half decent photos,  I had the shock of my life in October and thank the HMWT Panshanger Volunteers for getting me to hospital as quickly as they did (David if you read this, I hope you now don't flag down any more horse-boxes!)

I hope your wildlife year had some memorable highlights for you, and wish you even better times next year.


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