Thursday, 26 December 2013

It was a very good year 26th December 2013


One of my favourite places - The Ardnamurchan Peninsula, Scotland
The end of a year is traditionally a time of reflection bringing with it, let us admit, some regrets but also a lot of hope and optimism for the coming year and whatever it may bring. I am a birder, as are many other people now. When I first became aware of my interest in birds it was a very different pastime to that which it has now become. There was no hint of the technological revolution that would bring birdlines, pagers, internet sites, even blogs, dare I say, that have become so familiar and without which we would now be very much at a loss. Clothing, books, optical aids, specialist travel companies were all in their comparative infancy as was leisure time. Now with more and more people taking early retirement and the baby boomers, of which I am one, reaching a 'certain age' many people are taking up birding as a quiet and relaxing pastime reflected in the fact that the RSPB has well over a million members and is one of the biggest landowners in the UK. Birding, with the huge growth in numbers taking an interest, has developed into many factions, cliques and a plethora of minority specialities which inevitably brings some bickering, petty rivalries and jealousies but in the main it is usually good humoured, rarely leads to serious conflict and for the most part we remember that we are all birders, in whatever shape or form, competent or just starting out, part of one big family with a common interest in life forms that come in a myriad of colours, shapes and sizes that thrill  us and enhance our lives in many ways. I invite you to rejoice in that fact and that so many of us now share such a diverse and stimulating interest, even passion.

Here, from 2013, are some pictures of my favourite encounters with birds and, in the quieter summer months, a couple of encounters with scarce butterflies, all of which I hope you may enjoy. I certainly did!

Happy New Year and best wishes to one and all



Bearded Tit       Hyde Park         London      16th January


Buff bellied Pipit    Horton GP' s  Buckinghamshire  13th January


Pine Grosbeak       Saltoo      Mainland        Shetland     7th February



Desert Wheatear    Rattray Head    Aberdeenshire     8th February

Black bellied Dipper         Thetford       Norfolk      16th February
 

Thick billed Lark      Boumaine du Dades        Morocco  25th March


Egyptian  Nightjar    Sahara Desert    Morocco   25th March




Pallas' Leaf Warbler     Moor Green Lakes      Berkshire    13th April
photo c Roger Wyatt
Black necked Grebe     Farmoor Reservoir       Oxfordshire       21st May


American Golden Plover      Cuckmere Haven      East Sussex      15th June
 

       Rosy coloured Starling     Wells next the Sea   Norfolk     26th June


Purple Emperor   Bernwood Forest   Oxfordshire    12th July
 
Brown Hairstreak      Otmoor     Oxfordshire        21st August
Great Snipe    Kilnsea   East Yorkshire  15th September  

Arctic Skua    Sizewell     Suffolk     24th September

Sykes' Warbler   Fair Isle   Shetland   30th September
Cape May Warbler    Unst       Shetland      29th  October
Mourning Dove     Isle of Rum      Inner Hebrides         30th October


Northern Bald Ibis     Oued Massa NP     Morocco    20th November
Crimson winged Finch     Oukaimeden   Morocco  23rd November

Northern Hawk Owl    Zwolle    Netherlands      30th November

Desert Wheatear     Severn Beach     Avon      14th December
Ivory Gull       Patrington Haven     East Yorkshire   21st  December




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