Happy New Year and a big thank you to everyone who reads and comments on my blog. I really appreciate every follow, like and view.
2016 was quite a manic year with lots of amazing animals and events.
January started well with being picked as runner up in RSPB Wildsounds with a sound recording I made of a Tawny owl against the background of fireworks.
On my local patch there was quite a bit of flooding during January especially down on the River Thames.
In February I got involved with Rants for Change, a project where people could talk about what annoyed them. I spoke about dogs being let off leads in Nature reserves and “Uncool for school’. How nature is looked at as being uncool in secondary schools by some people.
I was very lucky to be invited down to Ham Wall in Somerset by Iain Green to watch the Starling murmuration. My local reserve at Otmoor is brilliant for murmurations but Ham Wall was even bigger and better.
I got a new close up lens for my Bushnell trail camera and had great fun using it around my garden.
During March I went to Secret World in Somerset and saw the wonderful work they do at this rescue centre and met some tiny badger cubs.
My local hares started appearing more frequently out in the fields.
I had the privilege to be invited to the BAWC Wildlife Crime Conference where I learnt a great deal about Wildlife Crime. While some of it was pretty horrific it was great to hear people speak up about it and can be done against wildlife crime.
April had its ups and downs. Firstly I saw a Water Vole in the wild for the first time, thanks to Iain again.
I went on a mammal survey and leant how to handle small mammals with Oxfordshire Mammal Group. The best of all was being awarded Young mammal photographer of 2016 by the Mammal Society for a photograph of a Hare.
On the downside ‘Cookie‘ one of my local badgers was run over on the road not far from my house.
May was mainly spent looking for Cookie’s cubs, and it did have a happy ending after the heartbreak.
June was crazy, not only was there 30 Day Wild to complete but I was invited to appear on Springwatch Unsprung to talk with Chris Packham about my photography and young people being involved with wildlife.
July was the beginning of the summer holidays, days on the river including a rescue of a lamb. My parents also help out with safety cover for open water swimming which means I get to spend time on the river with them.
July also saw a Stop the Cull March in Cheltenham. I have been to quite a few of these marches in the past two years and it always makes my heart skip to see how passionate people are about saving Badgers.
In August I was lucky enough to go Whale watching as part of ORCA’s citizen science. Fin whales, Orca, blue shark, sunfish, tuna, dolphins and birds were all spotted between the UK and Santander in Spain.
Of course August is Birdfair, a chance to catch up with friends and meet new people.
Back to school in September meant not much time for wildlife, but I got chance to spend some time studying the Ivy plant in my garden and saw an Ivy bee for the first time.
October was the month for fungi spotting with a few outings to the local wood and other areas.
In November I had a close encounter with a Kestrel, spending some time taking photographs and filming this bird was amazing.
My blog appeared in a poll as being in the top 50 of the World’s top wildlife blogs which was a huge surprise.
Although not much wildlife watching went on during December, the year ended on a high with one of my photographs coming runner up in the National Geographic Kids photo competition.
Cookie was given pride of place as Oxfordshire badger groups new mascot and appeared not only on their new posters but as a Christmas card as well. I feel this is a great tribute to her.
I’ve plenty of things planned for 2017 but mostly looking forward to whale watching in Hermanus, South Africa.
Once again, thank you to every one who supported me, invited me places, encouraged me and followed me throughout the year.
Wishing you all a fantastic wildlife filled 2017