Just thought i'd end the year and welcome 2011 with a "Best of" collection. These aren't necessarily all my best photos of 2010 but some of them bring back fond memories and some i am just really pleased with! Enjoy and hope everyone has a great new year, plenty more photo's to come i'm sure!
Fox, Lemsford Springs, great morning before work spent with Adam and Martin.
Siskin and Redpoll, Blashford Lakes. First time for me seing both these species and Brambling, great hide for photography and great little birds!
Waxwing, Stretham, Cambridgeshire. On a whim i decided to see if i could see 2 birds that had been on this tree for a few days, turned up and nothing was around but within a few a minutes 1 landed...my first ever Waxwing, really special!
Saw and photographed plenty of Nuthatches during the year, just like this one alot!
I had a rare Monday off work and had an absolute stonker starting with this Slavonian Grebe in Worcestershire....
....and then this Sparrowhawk from the hide at the Lodge, we spent 1 hour in the hide and apart from this chap i also saw my first ever Crossbills as well as Siskin and Brambling!
Great Crested Grebe - Hyde Park, London. Love this species and never been so close to it, the comical hair do just made it a great photo for me!
Bittern with fish, Minsmere RSPB. Not the clearest photo in the world but after4 hours waiting in a hide this bird finally flew in and walked towards the hide giving my best ever views of it. Also heard them booming for the first time ever....patience paid off!
Woodlark, The Lodge RSPB. I was working voluntarily and walked the reserve before i began, this was probably my best 'self found' bird of the year, a first for me and a rare bird for the reserve but one they are keen to entice! Also i was the only one viewing it which made it special.
Coots Fighting, not much to say about this one....just really pleased it came out and caught some real action!
Yellow Wagtail - Spent nearly a whole week every night after work at the local dung heap photographing Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail, 2 species i have never been so close to! Was really enjoyable local photography.
Pied Flycatcher, Gilfach Farm, Wales. Had a really top day with Dan Trim in Wales, we saw over 400 Red Kites at Gigrin and before we visited there we spent a few hours watching a pair of Pied Fly's visiting their nest and feeding their young, such close views of these awesome birds and also saw my first Redstart too.
Spent 3 weeks in Scotland with Erin, a really great holiday. Took so many photos and had some great experiences especially with the sea bird colonies but as i took so many images i only wanted to select 1 (apart from the Puffin pic at the beginning!). In the end i could not resist a photo of an Osprey, i got up a 4am and sat in a small hide by the side of a lake waiting to photograph Ospreys fishing. Around 7am the light finally became decent enough for photography and an Osprey finally decided to begin fishing in front of me, was truly one of my most favourite wildlife encounters, such amazing birds and seeing them in action was breathtaking!
June ended with Spotted Flycatchers the main aim. I spent a decent amount of time in graveyards (sounds fun!) trying to get a decent image of a bird with food in it's mouth to no avail, one day at The Lodge I finally found a pair feeding young and finally got the shot i was after.
Common Tern - Biggleswade Common. July is always a bit of a quiet month and alot of it was spent locally. I made use of the long daylight hours by visiting the local river many evenings, the river has fishing Common Terns frequenting it and my main aim was a "fishing" shot with the bird either diving into the river or emerging out of the river with a fish. Unfortunately i never quite managed the shot but had real fun trying and was eventually pleased with my images, this one in particular...
Red Grouse, Stannage Edge, Derbyshire. After a friends wedding reception in Nottingham i rather hungover decided to re-visit the Red Grouse in the Peak District i had seen earlier in the year. I was really keen to see the birds with their young but was also focused on getting a shot of a male bird surrounded by the purple heather that was now in bloom, i nailed it and after the night i'd had previously was pleasantly suprised!
Not much to choose from in September as it was a bit quiet, although i did see my first ever Wryneck and had a great day at Snettisham RSPB. The day in Norfolk was amazing as it was my first experience of massive swirling flocks of waders and in contrast i also had an amazing quality encounter with a Knot that even bumped into my foot, he couldn't care less that i was sitting right next to him!
Glossy Ibis - Stanpit Marsh, Dorset. Another new bird for me and a real confiding one, however it almost wasn't to be as i'd spent all morning trying to get a decent image of it but with no luck. I actually got in the car and drove off to another nature reserve resigned to the fact that i wasn't going to get any images. However something in me made me turn back and keep trying, persistance paid off as the bird landed directly in front of me and this flight shot was not a common one seen on Birdguides and yielded me with my most 'thumbs up' on the site!
Things began to quieten down before winter but November was dominated by 1 bird for me, a Green Heron all the way in Cornwall. Not my best ever photos but another new bird and probably the biggest 'rarity' i have ever seen in the UK and definitely my biggest 'twitch'. Most memorable was spending the 24 hours with Martin and the laughs we had as it involved 10 hours of driving, a night in a hotel and a few hours of near depression when i didn't think we were going to see the bird. Upon seeing it i can remember the sheer joy and the next few hours were spent watching this quality bird doing what it does best!
Lots of snow in December and with winter birds settling in for the next few months it's going to be a great period with plenty more photo opportunities. The year ended with a classic trip out with some of my good pals in Hampshire, good memories of the day with plenty of laughs and plenty of quality birds and photographs. I was most pleased with this 'different' shot of a Little Egret fishing, never been able to get so close to this species so was chuffed with the shots.
Has been a really enjoyable 2010, have seen plenty of new species of birds, witnessed some great natural behaviour, enhanced my camera equiptment and taken my best ever natural history photographs. Hope to improve in 2011 and advance my hobby but most of all keep enjoying getting out there! Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and hope you keep re-visiting!