Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 - Review and awards

My take on my "year just ending".

So (aagghh!) 2016 came and has now gone (more or less)*, that's the first non-surprise then.

I've got my rose (or red or white if you prefer, or even "beer" coloured) tinted glasses on to have a quick review of the year, make my awards (some serious, some in fun).

*correct at the time of typing!

Review of 2016

As expected 2016 turned out be sandwiched, exactly in the middle, of last year and next year, as suggested by most bookies.

  • weather forecasters across the board hedged their bets extensively and got most of it wrong!
  • weather was wrong i.e. Winter was warmer than Spring, Spring was just plain miserable, Summer was wetter than Spring, and Autumn didn't start until Winter;
  • long periods of "not much about" due to aforementioned wrong weather;
  • Tw'early for the Swallowtails at Strumpshaw;
SPotY (Spoiling Prat of the Year) Award goes to the weather, and here to collect the award on behalf of the BBC & Met Office are  . . . .

Caroline Ahern (RIP)

& Tomaz Sniffercracker

Lows (cont'd)
  • Underwater photography at Panshanger failed to produce any meaningful results other than a close view of a large bill - could've been a big duck I suppose (had to be careful there!);
  • BiF photography still a challenge, (if they WERE still would be less of a challenge!);
  • Dogs
  • Dog shit
  • Dog owners
  • Dog shit bags
  • Dog walkers (professionals?)!
  • More dog shit /owners /bags
Under control?
 Award (2) - SPotY (2) -  Anything / anyone oblivious to other people using the park/reserve/wood/ field/path/etc. for a purpose different to them.

  • Away days (Dorset/Arne, Bridlington/Bempton Cliffs, Southwold/Adnams,/Minsmere)
  • Hen Harrier (Hay Street);
  • Waxwings (Stortford & Hertford);
  • Owls (Burwell/Heartwood);
  • Danemead (Silver-washed Frits);
  • Mistley & Mersea (Waders, and esp. Sanderlings)
I've spent time at several new locations for me this year, Dorset (Arne), HMWT Danemead,  RSPB Strumpshaw Fen, to name a few but my favourite, and winner of

Best Newcomer (for me) Award goes to RSPB Bempton Cliffs - Gannets, Puffins, Guillemots & Razorbills at arms length, the stench of fish too close for comfort!

Being out & about gives the chance to eat at places not normally visited and I've turned up a few gems - Tearooms at Mistley Place Park, Seaview Holiday Park CafĂ©, W.Mersea but the best I've found and winner of 

My Restaurant of Year Award  - Sutherland House, Southwold,

Food Surprise of the Year - El Coronel, dessert at Sutherland House
Two scoops of refreshing lemon sorbet with a shot of Russian vodka

On a personal note I'd like to wish the following people "All the best" for the New Year - together with the reasons why! I hope they accept their "awards" in the spirit they are given!

  • Company of the Year Award goes to The Bearded Tit (aka @GrahamC57) - for his company, his knowledge, his beers and for not realising that while I'm driving I can't hear a bloody word he says 'cos I'm almost deef in my left ear!

  • TaB (Take a Breath) Award goes to Mrs.Watervole & Katy Kingfisher - no explanation necessary!
  • Sod the weather Award - also goes to Mrs.Watervole & Katy Kingfisher - they're out there at every opportunity regardless of the weather. Great determination!
  • Best Oldcomer Award goes to Seymour Birdies - for sharing his skills, knowledge and ID skills - "It's all coming together"!
  • Best Tweet (in which I'm mentioned) Award goes to Jackie's Jaunts (@JackieBrunt) whose Kestrel pics from October are still getting more Likes & Retweets!
  • Logical Award goes to Adrian Hall @HallAdrian66 - for the ongoing "It's a Gull, it's got yellow legs  . . . " approach.
and finally a few of my personal favourite images from 2016 - not necessarily my images!

from Hugh Harrop Wildlife (@HughHarrop)

and my own efforts

- Gannets at RSPB Bempton Cliffs

Hen Harrier at Hay Street

Essex birds - Mistley

and Mersea

That'll do -


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