Well, as yet nothing has arrived on the mat to suggest I have been named in the New Years honours list. It could be an oversight, a loss in the post or some other technical hitch, so I haven’t given up hope just yet. In any event I’m over joyed to note that Richard Starkey, better known to legions of admirers as Ringo, has been awarded a Knighthood. Nothing less would have been enough to pay tribute to his classic musical renditions, such as the great Yellow Submarine, sung by us all when we take a bath I’m sure, and his equally great acting skills, surely warranting an Oscar, in the brilliant film of the twentieth century, A Hard Day’s Night. Yes, these were gifts to humanity that should forever be treasured.
Shoveler on Killy Lake (Jan)
Mute Swan on Killy Lake (Jan)
Now then, time restraints have prevented me from completing the end of year blog that I had planned, so I have decided to include a few images that bring back very good memories to me of time spent during 2017 and I’ll also add a few short comments.
Long stay LBB Gull at North Shields Fish Quay (Jan) whilst watching Iceland and Glaucous Gulls
Wagtail at Druridge (Feb) whilst watching Shore Larks and Twite
Ferruginous Duck on Killy Lake (Mar)
Little Owl at Druridge (Jul)
Out for lunch with a friend (early summer)
I have begun with some images of local sightings, a couple that show Killingworth Lake can look good when caught in perfect light. Sightings in Northumberland this year have also included species such as Pacific Diver (a lifer), a pity it came to a sad end, Bee Eater, White winged Black Tern, and of course the Hawfinches. I have a keen interest in the history of ornithology and had looked forward to attending a talk at the NHSN concerning Northumbria born Canon Henry Baker Tristram. Unfortunately, the talk was cancelled but I more than made up for this by reading the book by WG Hale called Sacred Ibis which coverers the life, travels and collecting of the Canon. A great read especially for local birders. I have on occasions heard the term hard core birder/s used, on occasions by some who think they show toughness. I personally think it a rather silly term, but I think if anyone thinks of themselves as a hard-core birder, then they need to read this book and other like it to find out what tough birding really was in the past!
Ural Owl, Sweden (Jun)
Dotterel, Sweden (Jun)
Slavonian Grebes, Sweden (Jun)
Siberian Jay, Sweden (Jun)
A Room With a View, Sweden (Jun)
Sam, Sweden (Jun)
Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to travel a fair bit, in recent years along with Sam, and the past couple of years have seen us in Finland, Norway and Sweden. This year was the turn of Sweden and some great adventures and many laughs were had along the way. I think if I had to choose one area outside of the UK to concentrate my birding and travel on I would pick Scandinavia as it offers so much without the need for tiresome long-haul travel. I’ve included a selection of images from the many taken. An account of the trip is to be found in my blog, so I won’t start to recount details again.
Common Blue Butterfy at Mull of Galloway (Jul)
Evening at Threave Castle (Jul)
Osprey at Loch Ken (Jul)
Barnacle Geese, Dumfries (Oct)
Solway Sunset, Dumfries (Oct)
Closer to home, but across the border in Dumfries and Galloway, provided me with some of my best moments of the year. Sam kindly invited me to stay as he has been working in that area. I was up there in early summer and early autumn and on both occasions had some great days of watching wildlife, whilst also learning a great deal more about the history and culture of the area. Difficult to say what the highlights were as there where many, but watching Golden Ringed Dragonflies on a red-hot day in July, an Osprey close by catching a fish at Loch Ken, Peregrine Falcons and Ospreys seen and heard calling at the same time at Threave and of course thousands of geese in the autumn where up there with the best moments.
I have found that bird watching can take you along many different routes and I have developed many interests. Whatever your interest, however far along the route you are and what ever time of life you begun, I hope that you have a very rewarding and interesting 2018.