Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Funny old year

Typical Christmas - an excuse for nostalgia and repeats.....

The year started with a few drives around the county, a memorable one ending at Walland Marsh in biting cold, watching hen harriers and marsh harriers returning to their roosts in the reedbeds.
Some birds were stalked....
some sightings were lucky breaks.....
....while some just stood in front of the camera and showed their best side.
Later in the year, my birding enthusiasm waned, and I missed a marvellous variety of rare birds, including a blue-cheeked bee-eater which turned up on the cliff-top.

Plants move slowly, so can be easier to find.... even though some may say that God only created them to stop us getting our shoes muddy.
A good number of new plants were tracked down with the help of a growing library of books. A new edition of the Kent Atlas is eagerly awaited.
A few early spider orchids appeared on the range, but despite much searching on the downs I found no late ones.
Finding a new site for small blues in the village was exciting, and a good year for wall browns was proven by diligent surveying. They may have benefited from the good summer weather enjoyed in this corner, but not shared by the rest of Britain.
Huge numbers of painted ladies were seen through the year, until the last one flew south over the cliffs in November, to be snapped up by a late swallow.
Less formal surveys indicated, however, that local kittiwake numbers continue to fall.

A holiday in Italy provided a rich variety of new butterflies, birds and plants. Where to next year, I wonder?

A few trips around the UK also broadened the mind, especially when accompanied by people skilled in attracting wildlife.

Foraging experiments continued, with the range providing a good source of veg.

One of the fondest memories of the year will be the flowering of thousands of devil's-bit scabious, covering the downs at Lydden.

But soon, winter returned, for once with a vengeance.
It's been a funny old year, really.


Warren Baker said...

Those summer pics have got my appetite whetted for the coming butterflies next year!

Enjoy the new year clebrations Steve.

Greenie said...

Steve ,
Really enjoyed wandering through your year .
Great Dartford Warbler .
I will come down next year , and you can show me the Sand Catchfly ,
I've never seen that .
All the best to you and yours for 2010 .

Mary said...

A very nice year and thanks for all the great photos to remind us!

Kingsdowner said...

Happy New Year to all of you!

Greenie, it would be good to see you down here (I may find a Late Spider in the meantime)

Charlie P said...

Lovely roundup, that Scarce Swallowtail pic got my heart racing for a moment until I read the accompanying text.

Happy New Year!