Visit Blog

Explore Tumblr blogs with no restrictions, modern design and the best experience.

Fun Fact

The name Tumblr is derived from "Tumblelogs", which were hand coded multimedia blogs.

Trending Blogs
#september

My 10 wildlife and photography highlight blogs of 2020: Post 1 – Summary of my year of birds

I had another really fantastic birdwatching year this year! I have so far seen 188 birds this year my fourth highest ever in a year. After breaking my bird year list record in every year between 2016 and 2019 last year notching up the fabled 200 birds in a year and in this post in all of those years’ thread of blogs I talked about the same characteristics of what made them an amazing year of birds, 2020 was another year characterised by a high total for my standards, a fast start with so many species seen early on and arguably my best ever start as I shall visit in this post and a stock of sensational bird species seen, common and rare, new and ones I’m more familiar with. In this post I examine my year of birds introducing some of my favourite bird photos I took this year too. Tomorrow’s post is about experiences had with birds on my list of favourite birds in 2020 as has become normal in these posts with a part 2 posting for that on Thursday because it did get long.

So with me off work this year from the start of the year until 9th January I made another storming start of birdwatching. My New Year’s Day was incredible for me. I started with my traditional Lakeside morning walk the country park beside our house where I was able to tick off an array of common species for my 2020 list some very special indeed. Every year these walks are always different with different stars and standing out for the 2020 one were views in quick succession of my first Redwing, Mute Swan and Wren of the year. Then we turned it into a truly big New Year’s Day as we visited Portland harbour and bill in Dorset and saw some very classy species there. This included a life tick so bird I’d never seen before when after getting a cracking view of a Great Northern Diver in the harbour the second time it had been a New Year’s Day year tick for me after we visited this harbour on 1st January 2014 a kind gentleman we met told us there were some Black-throated Divers in the harbour. We scanned out to sea and were delighted to see two of them such beautiful and distinctive birds. I remarked later in the day how I was so excited to start my new year list at Lakeside, Portland and birds seen from the bedroom window with the new beginning and feeling of going into the unknown once more and maybe year ticks being more plentiful than the closing few months of the previous year it brings I felt like a child the night before Christmas and seeing a Black-throated Diver made all my Christmases come at once. This is a species I had longed to see for years.

On the way to and at Portland I saw an unbelievable list of species some of my strongest of the year beside the two diver species, this included an early Skylark, Shag, some of Portland’s lovely Ravens at Portland Bill, Purple Sandpiper, a surprise Black Redstart and two of my favourite birds among others from that list seen that day a classic Gannet view and an addition to my list of favourite birds this year the Short-eared Owl with extremely lucky views of two flying late on at the bill. When I knew I was doing this trip with Lakeside on New Year’s Day I’d set the target of making it my highest ever amount of birds seen after one day with how many I could possibly see going to these places as my 2016 New Year’s Day had held that title as the most birds I’d seen on New Year’s Day for ages. I smashed that total ending 1st January on 49 birds, I saw 38 in 2016 that day so my previous highest was shattered. What a start for me!

We spent the next three days picking up many common (and the odd pretty rare) year tick locally, standout species seen being Bearded Tit, Whimbrel, Marsh Harrier, Great White Egret, Goosander and Goldeneye. Then just like in 2019 a standout feature of our opening days was visiting Slimbridge WWT around my birthday, staying at the same cottage we did in 2019 in nearby Wotton-under-Edge this time for three nights instead of two. On the way up like last year we enjoyed some sensational Red Kite views at Benson and Watlington in Oxfordshire, as well as a Red-legged Partridge year tick driving into Gloucestershire. The days in Slimbridge, my birthday and the day before were exceptional. I saw so many bird species, many of which year ticks of both common and rare birds. Reserve specialities and the odd surprise as well. In a year where my photo yields seemed to go up and up again I took an unbelievable amount on two what were really grey and wet in places days in Slimbridge many of my wildlife photos from this as they were on the way in Oxfordshire were some of my best this year. It really was a monumental four days away last winter for my hobby. The standout year ticks I got during two days in Slimbridge were; reserve specialities Bewick’s Swan, Common Crane, Golden Plover, Barnacle Goose, White-fronted Goose, brilliant Water Rail views, a close Fieldfare view I took the first picture in this photoset of this, Sparrowhawk becoming my 100th bird of 2020, a surprise Cattle Egret and Bar-headed Goose the latter a first of another strong list this year of birds I’d only seen for the second time ever something I’m celebrating a lot these last few years. I also took the second picture in this photoset of a Lapwing at Slimbridge this year. There it was lovely to see it teeming with Curlews which was helped by a population bolstering project taking chicks into captivity and releasing them by the amazing WWT which was brilliant to witness in action as such for a bird in trouble in this country.

January continued to be unforgettable for me as I ended it on 122 birds seen, this did something I didn’t think I could and beat by one the figure I ended January on in 2018 my previous highest ever after a month that had my incredible Scotland trip in for my 21st birthday where I saw mountain loads of bird species. During the course of the month this year the amount of birds I had seen was ahead of what I had seen on that date in other years by a long way. This included my highest ever bird year list 2019 and 2018 the second which I found impressive as I rather thought both of those years were a one off in terms of having a start that consuming and numbers of bird species seen that high so quickly but here I was doing it again and better in places. One weekend towards the end of January stood out as on the Saturday we went to the Titchfield Canal path and Fort Cumberland in Hampshire, getting astonishing Barn Owl views of two birds at the former alongside my first Roe Deer and Fox of the year away from birds for a second. At Fort Cumberland I was thrilled to see my first Sanderling and Stock Doves of the year. The next day we went to the Holmhill bog area of the New Forest and saw again some amazing species. We finally saw (and in terms of others seeing it re-found somewhat as it hadn’t been reported for nearly a month up until that point) the Great Grey Shrike we’d checked this area a lot towards the end of 2019 to try and see. That day we saw again something we saw when coming here on my last wildlife/photography trip of 2019 a female Hen Harrier! This was an individual bird I will always hold dear as it was my big 200th species of 2019 so to see it again made me overjoyed having seen the shrike too two of my rarest birds of the year. I also saw my first Bullfinch of the year that day as well as first Fallow Deers of 2020 on the way from the car and in the walk and on both days that weekend the weather was perfect very sunny for during the winter and this allowed them both to be massive days for many photos for me too wildlife and landscape so it was an incredible weekend of birds especially for me.

Into February and March up until the horrible and disruptive for way of life for all of us Coronavirus hit the UK really my year list was still higher or thereabouts on given days than any previous year including my big last two. Through the first lockdown it obviously lost pace with them but still stayed within my top 6 years lists when comparing how many I had seen on given days with certain species still seen on various exercise walks which I was happy with and kept my spirits up during that time. As the lockdown eased catching up with a lot of birds in a sense meant my year list rather recovered comparing it to others and was getting into my top three on given dates with what I had seen in previous years again when we got into June and this continued throughout the summer being very close to where I was last year and the year before in places. When I passed my 2014 total by notching up bird 178 of my year in September it made my year list my fifth highest ever at the time and it was sat quite solidly in third place on given dates for how many I had seen behind 2019 and 2018 it feeling quite weird that I thought well on which date did I reach this amount seen in previous years and a few of the years I didn’t even reach that figure which made me proud of how I had recovered this as a birding year for me whilst staying safe out birdwatching of course and building on that fantastic start I was very happy to get. As I passed my 2016 total too and we went into October I had caught my previous two year lists right up, as there were only three birds in it when looking at how many I had seen in 2018, 2019 and 2020 on that date with my 2020 still ahead of what I had seen on the date in 2017 (the only year list total of mine between this year and 2018 and 2019 at that stage) which felt amazing and symbolised what I mean about really recovering my birding year numbers wise even if the last but obviously necessary lockdown has also slowed me down a little.

I saw my second new bird of 2020 on a very sunny February day a perfect one for landscapes so I took so many photos that day again before Storm Ciara hit the first of a few severe named storms over that period as we visited Toyd Down and Martin Down. At Toyd Down a Great Bustard had been around. We arrived and others thought they’d seen it very far back in fields we did struggle to pick it up first of all. But in the end some kind people we got talking to had picked it out and when we were allowed thankfully to look in their telescope we saw the bird and there was absolutely no doubt that it was this iconic species. We got stunning brief views of it. This was my second life tick in as many months and similarly to Black-throated Diver its one I longed to see and had thought I had ought to have really tried to by now. It was another generally amazing day as I saw my first Corn Bunting and Yellowhammers of the year at Toyd Down two brilliant birds and two Grey Partridges fly up at Martin Down where we went later on. On the way back we ensured my year list climbed pretty high over others on past days in time for limited birding during the storms as I saw my first Mandarin Duck of 2020 at Eyeworth Pond in the New Forest on a quick call in. Yellowhammer was a bird I saw and heard quite a bit through the first lockdown that made me happy at places such as Stockbridge Down and Noar Hill and I saw one at Old Winchester Hill on an amazing summer’s day in August. I also got amazing views of them, Skylarks and Corn Bunting again at Martin Down again on 31st May. We got so close to Turtle Doves too at Martin Down on 31st May it was an honour to hear their beautiful, magic and iconic purr call right beside us coming from thick vegetation on a hot and sunny day. A big bird moment that stood out for me this year with a truly iconic species. On our next visit here two weeks later we managed to get two great views of a Turtle Dove flying around and hear its sensational purring once more. I felt so lucky to see this bird on another great and packed day. They are a credit to our countryside in spring time a quintessential British rural bird and I was so thrilled to see this stunning species especially after not doing so last year.

A perfect way to follow Black-throated Diver and Great Bustard was with another bird I had wanted to see for years and perhaps should have tried harder to as we targeted Pied Flycatcher one of my targets for years with so many seen in Hampshire approaching the August bank holiday Monday. On that day we went to the beautiful Old Winchester Hill in the South Downs similar rural farmland type habitat to Toyd Down, where a female Pied Flycatcher was reported. After enjoying a great variety of garden birds before we left including a young Sparrowhawk that we loved having in the garden two days prior soaring nicely over it which was great we walked at Old Winchester and didn’t see many birds until on the way back. Then we saw some Spotted Flycatchers my third of the year which I liked a lot at the top of bare trees alongside a good few other birds. We knew this was the place to look then and to our delight after we waited a bit the female Pied Flycatcher emerged at the peak of the trees and I was thrilled. I had seen this bird finally really bolstering my year list figure to 175 at that stage and my list of new birds seen this year which I felt really lucky to see. I really enjoyed getting a precious few moments to enjoy this delicious like the spotted looking birds. A real sweet moment of a smashing late summer/early autumn migration I enjoyed this year. A huge sense of satisfaction finally seeing this bird I have longed and longed to this made me so happy a great moment at a fantastic place. I took the third picture in this photoset a record shot of this Pied Flycatcher. I saw so many nice people at a safe social distance out enjoying their bank holiday that day, and it was wonderful to meet four young birdwatchers two very young with their parents and two adolescent boys. On top of this of the faces I saw out generally that day they were so diverse through age, gender and race and I just loved seeing this equality and diversity. And we enjoyed sharing stories at a safe distance with fellow birdwatchers and Pied Flycatcher searchers.

I write a bit more about this in my ninth of these posts about that particular holiday but I saw my first ever Brown Shrike, a pretty rare bird, at Warham Green in Norfolk in September. It was a stunning moment as we arrived at where the bird was and I got my binoculars on to the bushes and saw this cracking looking bird sat there, enjoying a smashing few minutes with this beautiful bird. It was a moment that brought me such great joy and pleasure and a standout moment of my year it was some bird for sure! A real headline bird among others for my 2020 really. Just two days later in our fabulous Norfolk break we saw another new bird in the form of a Red-breasted Flycatcher another really beautiful and very well marked bird that we got views of flitting in and out of trees on a very hot late September afternoon it was an amazing bird to see it made me so thrilled and happy what a sensational afternoon that was for me as I say lots more about in my ninth of these posts about the Norfolk holiday.

On 11th October I saw my next new bird and in a phenomenal way when we managed to see the very rare Wilson’s Phalarope that turned up at the Pennington part of the Lymington-Keyhaven nature reserve back home in Hampshire, on the lovely and quite famous fishtail lagoon there as rare birds always seem to turn up there. As views of new birds go this was some of my best for years and some of my best birdwatching moments ever as we were astounded to see the bird incredibly close up at times beside us in channels to the south and east of the lagoon. It was sensational views and I didn’t have to try too hard to get pictures of the birds that day none were record shots it was real close up bird photography which I loved. Whilst doing all this and watching it as phalaropes do swim up and down and turn back often we got to see how beautiful this remarkable bird – the first in Hampshire for fifteen years I believe which people flocked from far and wide to see – really was. It was a stunning bird. It was very interesting whilst watching to see it try to squeeze through the wire fence back into the lagoon which was fairly cute and flash its attractive yellow legs. Many people myself included took videos of it on our phones and the bird had a huge presence on social media a brilliant quirk of this fantastic vibed twitch I felt great to be involved in we met a lot of good people at a safe social distance that day. What made it even better was that with the bird were two Grey Phalaropes and we saw one our first of the year that day another of my real standout birds of 2020. The Phalaropes do come in during the autumn here when blown of course of their migration in Atlantic storms. The greys more commonly. I also got brilliant views of the Grey Phalarope being in the stream right beside us stunning views underlining why it was one of my birdwatching, wildlife and photography days of the year. Neither phalarope was phased by us at all they are birds of the wilderness in North America to some degree and therefore they’re known to be so approachable. An honour to see those two and other great birds that day. It was my sixth life tick of the year a respectable amount to reach by my standards.

The other real standout and rarest birds I have seen in 2020 are; Peregrine Falcon, Hobby, Osprey, Little Owl, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruff (as shown at Pennington in the fourth of my pictures in this photoset), Jack Snipe, Knot, Little Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper (as shown with Dunlin at Farlington Marshes in the fifth of my pictures in this photoset), Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Dipper, Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Slavonian Grebe again that winter at Lymington the bird that made 2019 my highest ever year list on Christmas day there, Black-necked Grebe, Eider Duck, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Guillemot, Razorbill, Fulmar, Manx Shearwater, Chough, Wheatear, Hawfinch, Crossbill, Lesser Redpoll (as shown at Pig Bush in the New Forest in the sixth of my pictures in this photoset), Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat, Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart, Tree Pipit, Ring Ouzel, Cuckoo, Dartford Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff a bird I got as a year tick at the River Itchen, Winchester in January and as a classic spring one kept my spirits up seeing and hearing so many over Lakeside and other local walks during the early days of the coronavirus lockdown and working from home from late March, it was great to see Blackcaps well throughout this year too at Lakeside quite a bit after seeing my first of the year a female also in January beside the River Itchen at Winchester, Whitethroat was an impressive bird I thought to see for the first time this year at Lakeside in early May too as was House Martin later in the month after I’d seen Sand Martin at the coast just before the lockdown in March and only my second and third ever Goshawks and only second ever Hoopoe and White Storks at Knepp. 

Of course birds are what started my photography and my favourite subject, other bird photos I took this year in this post are; a Woodpigeon during another successful for me RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch in January, “Violet” one of the regular Feral Pigeon pair we nicknamed that visited the garden so much the photo I took from April (I had another extraordinary year for seeing a variety of super birds in our garden, around it and from it this year we really did see so many, so regularly and so well allowing for many great photo opportunities and our garden came into its own as a feeding and bathing service station really during the working from home days where I spent so much time in obviously and a lot of it sat working from home being able to look out the window and notice the birds that visited it lead to so many intimate bird experiences with some I’d even not seen in the garden before), a Mediterranean Gull flying at Hayling Island and a Kestrel hovering at Lakeside Country Park. 

Bringing together my garden bird and House Martin notes I had a brilliant evening on 26th May a week and a day after seeing my first this year at Lakeside when I saw some House Martins fly in past my window right beside me as I worked appearing to check out an area on top of my window ledge possibly with the view of nesting. A brilliant time seeing a species I never had in the garden before which excited me so much! I really did enjoy that and value it a lot. I had a great year for seeing House Martins intimately at home and at Lakeside nearby. In early October just before the regular group of House Martins were to migrate I loved seeing them at the front of the house if a window was open they’d have been practically flying into it they were that close and we got to make out what wonderful and exciting birds they were to see too such an amazing experience with these birds.

I had one of my best ever birds seen from the window moments on 8th September as evening fell when I heard Ring-necked Parakeets calling from my open window and leapt up to see about half a dozen flying over! A bird I had never seen in Hampshire before so this was quite huge news for my birdwatching really they are an amazing screeching emerald flash of a bird. This meant this year I do believe I have got more bird year ticks seen from my bedroom window with this alongside a host of commoner birds some very special on New Year’s Day and Swift in May as I mention a bit in my next of these posts than any other year, very apt for the year it’s been with working from home and that! This fantastic moment and experience came on a day I saw Magpie and Blue Tit in the garden two birds before this year I was not as used to seeing in the garden but really enjoyed in 2020 there quite a group of birds this with many names I could name of ones visiting our garden so frequently and in numbers which was great this year. On the last day of September I saw the Ring-necked Parakeets and heard their thrilling calls from my bedroom again, only this time I was ready and managed to take a photo of one. This was another fantastic moment I was so happy to see and hear these quirky, beautiful and well coloured birds from home once more as on a species basis they were really making their way to the Southampton area where they weren’t known before now it was nice to be part of that. That day also a very rainy day in the end I loved hearing the gushing sound of the mob of Starlings descending onto the garden which I then loved looking at once more with a Goldfinch and House Sparrow mixed in too which was nice I enjoyed the Starlings and other birds in huge numbers in the garden so much this year. I really enjoyed seeing the Starlings splash about in the bird bath as I have with a lot of birds in the garden this year which I’ve enjoyed and loved photographing. I got a brief view of a Ring-necked Parakeet that Friday at Grantham Green in Eastleigh where someone told me they’d been which was an interesting part in the story of them this year. A brilliant birdwatching day when my Chiffchaff journey continued this year seeing our first ever in the garden which was an amazing moment a thrilling bird to see in the garden with Robin and Blue Tit in at the same time with other regulars throughout the day making it a strong day of garden birds. I saw the Chiffchaff a creature of habit for being seen at locations again in the tree out the front of the house the following Monday. I wrote more about birding experiences in my bonus 11thpost about my November and December my last of these highlights posts.

dansnaturepictures
dansnaturepictures
dansnaturepictures
dansnaturepictures
dansnaturepictures
dansnaturepictures
dansnaturepictures
dansnaturepictures
dansnaturepictures
dansnaturepictures
1 notes · See All

2020 has been a fucking year my dudes. celebrate the fact that its almost over with these monthly playlists i made. they’re gonna be privated on new years

image
image

january


image
image

february


image
image

march


image
image

april


image
image

may


image
image

june


image
image

july


image
image

august


image
image

september


image
image

october


image
image

november


image
image

december


image

follow my spotify for other playlists here

the links and codes should all work, but if they don’t then let me know please

39 notes · See All
Next Page