Thursday, January 1, 2015

Look back at 2014

2014 was a busy year for me, unfortunately not due to wildlife watching! I moved house in June and this had a massive impact on my free time; my new house still isn't quite straight yet. I did get out and about when I could but time long trips was limited so I am glad I got to Cyprus before I moved, although I still haven't had time to edit those photos yet either! (Cyprus blog post coming soon, hopefully).
Like a lot of birders I don't twitch as much  as I used to, but maybe that is not a bad thing. But a mega rarity in the form of a Buff-bellied Pipit just down the road at Burton Point proved irresistible and this LBJ showed well at times.

This was a quality year-tick for 2014 as I had seen the bird at the end of 2013 when it was first found.

Cetaceans were also a dominant theme of my wildlife trips last year. A trip to New Quay in Wales in August produced some stunning land-based sightings of Bottlenosed Dolphins, including a mother with her calf. (another blog post in the pipeline!)

While much further north in Northumberland, I went on a boat trip in search of White-beaked Dolphins. Sadly this species wasn't seen on my trip but two Minke Whales and a cetacean life-tick in the form of Atlantic White-sided Dolphins close to the boat more than made up for missing the target animals.

The beginning of summer also coincided with Autumnwatch's 100 days of nature; a challenge to encourage people to attempt to photograph wildlife every day in the run up to last year's Autumnwatch. And this certainly prompted me to get outside with my camera; the results of which are still on my twitter feed @keithscovell3
One of my many highlights of this challenge was a visit to Arnside Knott in Cumbria where I photographed the scarce High Brown Fritillary. My dolphin with calf photo also made it onto Autumnwatch Unsprung!

Closer to home a record number of Pinkfooted Geese, (45,000!) were recorded at Martin Mere in Lancashire, where I was able to witness a remarkable avian spectacle on a par with any starling murmuration.

There was only one very brief cold snap in December and I was lucky enough to be at Leighton Moss RSPB when up to four Otters could be seen running and playing on the ice; truly magical!


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