Monday 25 December 2017

Happy Christmas!

It's Christmas time again, where has this year gone? Not my favourite time of year either I must confess.

Our Christmas Tree 

Another year older (unfortunately), another year wiser (not) - 2017 has certainly been another challenging year professionally and personally but again Mother Nature has been a constant prescence and has soothed my soul and eased my way through difficult times.

Plenty of bird highlights this year :- Baird's sandpiper at Marazion and red breasted flycatcher at Rame were the only life ticks for me but glossy ibis, green winged teal, desert wheatear, Eastern black redstart, great white egret, lesser scaup, Bonaparte's gull, roseate tern, Caspian gull, cattle egret, white winged black tern, surf scoter, hawfinch, waxwing, wryneck, great grey shrike and red necked phalarope amongst others made up a good range of scarce and rare birds.

Good numbers of butterflies were seen along with 3 lifers - chalkhill blue, swallowtail and Lulworth skipper - with heath fritillary, grayling, small blue, clouded yellow and dark green fritillary also being butterfly highlights. Moths again were poorly represented due to very few moth box sessions but a Ni moth at Wembury was a highlight and I had a great morning at a charity moth event on Dartmoor with my mate Mavis.

Plenty of cetacean sightings this year around the Devon and Cornwall coast - common dolphin and harbour porpoise - but the undoubted highlight was the hump backed whale at Slapton beach, a surreal experience and again a lifer for me.

Foreign trips provided some great wildlife sightings, notably Singapore for birds and Hong Kong for cetaceans with some lovely views of the pink, Indo Pacific humpback dolphins. I even managed a pelagic trip off Brixham which was a great experience and I had a fantastic ferry crossing from Roscoff to Plymouth with some great sea bird and cetacean sightings following overnight strong winds and heavy rain.

And so to 2018? I will be getting myself a Swarovski telescope at last, my little Nikon travel scope is great but limited and its time to upgrade to something more powerful and versatile (if a little larger and heavier). More butterfly trips are planned along with more pelagic trips and next year I think I will concentrate less on a year list and more on scarce and rare birds. Lets hope it's a good one - Happy New Year!

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