Saturday, December 31, 2011

Where Did A Year Go?

It’s time for recalling the past year’s highlights of birding, ringing and photography. Now is the moment when we choose to forget the low points, the empty pages in a sodden notebook, netting a handful of birds on a seemingly perfect spring morning, or discovering that you set the aperture wrong after all. So here we go in rough chronological order with a selection of photos and personal highlights of 2011.

In the early part of the year we holidayed in Egypt at a time when the country was undergoing a revolution, but the confiding birds hadn’t joined in the turmoil and just behaved naturally for a visiting Brit. Egypt proved to be a wonderful place for bird photography and so difficult to select just a few pictures, apart from the Kingfisher which is just about my favourite photo of the year, taken with a decent choice of aperture for once.

Kingfisher - Egypt

Cattle Egret - Egypt

I’d left Will counting Siskins building up by the hundreds in his garden, together with a dozen or two Brambling and Lesser Redpoll. Within days of returning from Egypt I joined him for some memorable ringing sessions and notable breakfasts.

Brambling - Garstang

Lesser Redpoll - Garstang

Siskin - Garstang

Bacon Butty

Spring and autumn were great for catching and photographing Wheatears at Pilling. With the help of sacrificial meal worms I caught fourteen “Wheats” and clicked the shutter button a couple of hundred times on the beautiful chat, passing Meadow Pipits or the occasional Linnet.

Wheatear - Pilling

Meadow Pipit - Pilling

Linnet - Pilling

The annual ritual came along, May in Menorca, the island where birds are hard to find but fortunately more numerous than birders. This year a ringed Audouin’s Gull at the poolside gave me an excuse to find that extreme rarity, a Menorcan ringer.

Audouin’s Gull - Menorca

Audouin’s Gull - Menorca

Summer was warm and wonderful, ringing Swallow chicks, finding Skylark nests and stumbling upon young Lapwings or breeding Redshank.

Skylark - Pilling

Swallow - Pilling

Redshank - Pilling

Lapwing - Pilling

Then at the end of summer came a chance to take photographs of a species rapidly becoming a rarity, the unfortunately named “Common” Cuckoo.

Cuckoo - Nateby

Autumn and early winter was given over to ringing pipits, buntings, finches and thrushes “on the moss”, the satisfaction of working a regular patch with a job well done.

Reed Bunting – Out Rawcliffe

Tree Pipit - Out Rawcliffe

Yellowhammer - Out Rawcliffe

Many Thanks to Another Bird Blog followers and visitors for looking in throughout 2011 - here’s wishing you a Happy and Bird-Filled New Year.


grammie g said...

Hey Phil...No answer for that question!! ; }
I had been busting my butt for 3 days bringing wood to the basement and chopping kindling I know where those 3 days went...; }
I have enjoyed following your blog so much Phil this year and have learned a amongst all the tomfoolery and the badgering back and forth ; } haha!!
Wishing you the very best that ***~*~ 2012~*~*** has to offer my friend, buddy old pal!!


Kay L. Davies said...

I remember your trip to Egypt and its beautiful birds, and now I'm looking forward to finding out what birds you can find on Lanzarote.
We still have Blackpool on our list of places-in-England-we-can-reach-by-train, although we haven't confirmed any plans yet.
All the best to you and Sue for 2012.

Russell said...

All you photographs are beautiful but the first two of the kingy and egret in Egypt are spectacular. Actually you did have a great year for birding. I hope 2012 is just as rewarding! Cheers.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

From the glorious image of the Kingfisher, those beautiful captures of the Wheatear's standing on the golden toned lichen, that darling little Swallow with it's mouth open wide, and the sweet fluffy Lapwing, and not to forget the splendid Cuckoo, and all of the delightful songbirds captured with such a tender heart for what you and Will do. Have a wonderful day and a marvelous and blessed New Year Phil~

Cheryl said...

You photos never fail to transport my soul to a place of peace.

Wishing you all good things in the new year.

La sonrisa de Hiperión said...

Como siempre geniales tus fotos.

Feliz año nuevo y un abrazo.

CameraCruise said...

Beautiful photos!
Happy New Year.

Lauren said...

AMAZING birds! Love the Audouin’s Gull and the Cuckoo. I too am transported by your photos and stories!

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