Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013...

I feel obliged to do a 'From the Notebook' Hootenanny style post in the closing minutes of extra time.

Looking back on 2013, I wont bore with endless highs, mainly because I didn't have too many, but here is a short summary of my naturalist year.

The weather was certainly a change on recent years with a dreadfully cold and bleak spring followed by the best summer for ages.

Birding. Well this year has been my poorest on the Howick patch since I moved here in 2009. Great White Egret, Siberian Stonechat and another Barred Warbler in the garden were my highlights.

Great White Egret at the Pond Field, Howick.
These meagre offerings were eclipsed slightly further afield when I added Cattle Egret, Collared Flycatcher and Ivory Gull to my Northumberland List. Again, I didnt do any national twitching....In 2014 I might keep a low key year list, something I've not done for years.

Collared Flycatcher ( Ian Fisher)
On the downside locally, some usually annual birds were missed such as Redstart, Garden Warbler, Grey Plover etc

Holidays. Three weeks away shared equally between Suffolk, Catalonia and Ardnamurchan added a lot of interest, with several new moths, plants and lichens to identify. 2014 will see us away to the Outer Hebrides for the first time...

Nettle Tree Butterfly, Catalonia, Spain
Moths. My best year ever despite several missed spring species such as Pine Beauty, Oak Beauty, Engrailed etc. I ended up with 369 species of Lepidoptera in the garden. I even managed a few trips out to upland habitats mothing that added to the interest plus a successful public event held here at our village hall.
Garden trapping will continue unabated during 2014, with, hopefully, another public event in the summer...

Chocolate Tip, Suffolk, a real contender for highlight of the year.
So, what has been the highlight of 2013? After some consideration, it is not the expected bird or moth but a mammal that takes the honours. A Minke Whale seen well, off my home patch in the summer, was only my third and a first for me in Northumberland. To see it surfacing on an oily calm sea, un-noticed by a good few other 'users' as the warm afternoon sun shone down will remain etched in my memory....

Happy New Year everyone, enjoy yourselves what ever you get up to....stay well. X.





3 comments:

Dean Stables said...

All the best for the new year, Stewart.
As for the title of this post....i for one, will definitely saying "goodbye 2013" !!!

The Wessex Reiver said...

Happy New Year to you too Stewart - it may have been a poor birding year but an interesting year for all wildlife. Keep the notebook pages turning

Stewart said...

Dean - Cheers mate, and you too, hopefully this one will be better than last .

Andrew - Thanks Andrew, I will..