Friday, 25 January 2013

2012 Year In Review Part Two

As said and promised, part two, la deuxième partie, another six months too go.  So lets crack on before its time for tea.

  There was an abundance of insects during July, and as is my nature, I couldn't help but start naming as many as I could, and the ones I couldn't get I would occasionally look up, not as easy as birds.  
Some of my favourites from this month were: Ruby-tailed Wasp, Zebra-jumping Spider, Banded Demoiselle, and a species of Butterfly I think was Marbled White.  Most of these were seen on reserves, the Spider was seen on the wall of a hide at Rainham Marshes.  That's forgetting Moths.  While camping I recorded several species, the most exciting of which was a Poplar Hawk Moth on the wall outside the toilet block!  Odd place of choice.  Other species; Dingy Footman, Plain Pug and what I believe is a Yellow-tailed Moth, all n the toilet area! 
 The bird highlights of July; Marsh Tit, Yellowhammer, Stock Dove, Sedge Warbler and  Avocet, each of these at the time were lifers.  Reed Warblers were seen frequently, including a small family group!
 Amphibians were also abundant, my favourite experience was watching the froglets as they were trying to get out of the pond in Brighton!  Marsh frogs, and a toadlet were also seen while out birding.

  I went Ireland again in August, a great birding time with; White-tailed Sea Eagle, Ravens, Choughs, Gannets, Sandwich and Common Tern, Shag and Bullfinch, Dipper, but the best bird, despite terrible views, was a Long-eared Owl!  I saw it at night, after several nights of looking -as it was on my Grandma's land- it just took off about 50 foot away , disappeared behind a Polly Tunnel and out the other side.  We new it had landed somewhere but in the light couldn't see where, it turned out to be on a post which we had already looked at but didn't realise exactly what it was!
 Mammal wise; Fallow Deer, Wood Mouse, Pipistrelle Bat and Common Seal, seen on a boat trip dedicated to them.

  For the beginning of September I was still in Ireland.  We visited a beach named White Strand, where, I saw a Fulmar! The beach its self was amazing; large rock pools filled with Hermit Crabs, large Shrimps, fish and in one, a Starfish!  The views were also great, all the rocks going out to the sea with there rock pools.

Lesser Redpoll, Sanderling, Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit and Linnet were also seen while in Ireland.
 The day I came back from Ireland my father rang me to tell me that I had come runner-up in the Times young wildlife photographer, I was very pleased!
 Back in England I was soon at Rainham Marshes, hoping to see the Baillons Crake, no luck, but I did get incredible views of a Water Vole, and distant vies of Greenshank!

  Outside my bedroom window in Brighton there is a Elderberry tree, this came into fruit in October bringing Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Robin etc...
 Plenty of Nuthatch sightings at various locations, a Gannet off Brighton Beach, at Abberton Reservoir I saw Whooper Swan, Pintail and Grey Partridge, all lifers.
  I bought a new Scope in October, the Acuter ST16-48x65A, compared to my old Clubman 20x it was amazing!  The image quality even in low light astounded me!  This scope helped me get a Med Gull on the patch, a life tick as well as a patch!
 Firecrest, now that's a hard bird to photograph, and I was lucky enough to have one in the garden in Brighton on the 30th, despite showing fairly well I couldn't get anything good.
 I took a trip up Tower 42 in October, as David Lindo -the Urban Birder- holds a birding group up there to look for migrating birds, we only saw a Sparrowhawk and some Siskin, but it was still fun, and the view was amazing!

  The best birds of November where, Lifers: Short-eared Owl, Stonechat, Brent Geese, Snipe and Green Sandpiper.  Non-lifers: Grey Plover, Buzzard, Pheasant, Avocet, Firecrest in the garden again, Coal Tit, Siskin and another Med Gull.
 I made it my challenge for when my cousin Caleb came over, to get him as many life-ticks as possible.  I managed 17 for him, but didn't manage to get him all the ticks I wanted.  He was very happy with that, especially as one of the birds was a Kingfisher!  I am pleased to say that at the beginning of last year he wasn't at all interested in birds, and now, for Christmas he got Binoculars and bird books!  Another non-birder changed to a birder.

  Finally the last month, by now you have read hundreds of words and seen 15 pictures, so I will keep this short.
 My 13th birthday was in December, to celebrate we went to Pulborough Brooks to do some birding, the best birds were; Bullfinch, Pintail and a ring-tail Hen Harrier!  Not much birding done in December, but I did do a fair bit of photography in the garden.
  All in all an incredible year, I'm happy with how much my photographs have improved since last year, no surprise really as I only properly started this year!  I'm also happy with my ID skills, although I can't do mega rarities and stuff like that, I can ID Med Gulls from Black-headed, and that's an achievement in my book!
 So hopefully 2013 will be just as good, if not better!

 Favourite Shot Of 2012
  Quite a difficult one to pick, I'm not sure why but I think I will have to go with these two Red Ants, no, I'll do two favourites, despite being mostly a photographer of birds both these images are Macro.  The second one like as the Damselfly seems to be leering at the camera!  I'm still not totally certain if I like the focus with the Ants, partially I reckon it should be on the live Ant but I quite like it on the dead one.

So now this post is over, I do not know how long it ill have taken you to read all this but it took me several spread out hours to do it.  I hope it has not bored you to much, and that you enjoy the pictures, despite many not being very good.  I think I will need a break from blogging for a few days, so the patch yesterday will have to wait.


  1. Nice to see a summary of your year. You went to some great places - and got some lovely photos!

    I'm sorry I missed your fungi ID request til now. I'm not much good at fungi but I know a guy who is - his blog's here: and I'm sure he'd be happy to have a look.

  2. Thank you, oddly I only just noticed your comment! WIll check out that link.

  3. Just found your blog, Gideon via Twitter.
    I think its great. I like your review of 2012 - I wish I was half as accomplished a birder / photographer / amateur naturalist as you when I was thirteen. Not to mention you have your own Blog!


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