2013 has been another fascinating year when it comes to the wildlife I've been fortunate to see & experience. Here are just a few of the highlights:
I managed to see 87 species of Hoverfly this year...
It's been another great year for birds. The list for my local patch - The Western Yar Estuary from Yarmouth down to Freshwater Bay - now stands at 150 species, with Gadwall, Eider, Goldeneye, Pintail, Red-breasted Merganser, Pochard, Hen Harrier, Merlin, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper, Woodcock, Little Tern, Razorbill, Little Owl, Long-eared Owl, Grey Wagtail, Lesser Redpoll & Siskin all being added during 2013. Oh, and there was also a certain special bird...
The summer-plumaged Wilson's Phalarope which turned up in June, resulting in my first big patch Twitch. I was on holiday in the Pyrenees when it was found but managed to see it on the last day before it disappeared after returning home a day early because of the floods (it made up for the Wallcreeper that I may well have seen otherwise)!
I think this year has been the year when my interest in moths really took off after building up for several years. I ended up running the trap just about every evening during the summer (much to Carole's disgust as the bedroom list seemed to grow at an exponential rate!). Who would have thought that my little featureless back garden would turn up these two beauties:
My plant interests have been concentrated in the small graveyard at Colwell Baptist Church where we allowed this patch of the old Colwell Common to flourish for the first time in many years.
I've enjoyed leading some environmental education classes for a local primary school, even taking the plunge and buying 2 Longworth small mammal traps for a Yr 5 local walk.
And my favourite bit of Trailcam footage during the year?
Don't you just love this grooming Badger!
So what about 2014? Continuing on the small mammal theme, I'd like to finally get confirmed footage of the local Harvest Mice.
Now that there is new effective live trap on the market that doesn't mean taking out a mortgage to buy a set, I shall also be engaging in more small mammal trapping!
In 2014 I will continue to look out for a visiting Otter, too, and maybe catch up with some of the Deer that Tim commented on a few days ago.
I shall continue to develop my environmental links with the local schools and also have the opportunity to lead some birding walks along the estuary which I will follow up.
I've no doubt the moth-trapping will go from strength to strength, particularly following the offer of a generator from James.....maybe this year will be the year when we refind the famous Isle of Wight Wave, an adventure that began on the Tennyson Down cliffs last summer.
And because I'm going to be out at night a lot once more, I also intend to spend more time using the Bat Box to record what's around and try my best to crack the sound analysis software!
I could go on, but I need to sign off and enjoy the rest of New Year's Eve with Carole, my long-suffering wife!
2014 is going to be a great year...I'm already feeling excited like a small child!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!