Posts Tagged ‘Happy New Year


Happy New Year

Well, the end of 22 is just about upon us and 2023 is about to open its doors. It’s been a more relaxed year here on the North Norfolk coast with restrictions fading into memory and life returning to somewhat like normal.

Throughout 2022 there have been several low points. Leaving Scillies in October the day after the Blackburnian Warbler turned up was one. Visiting Manchester and seeing the amount of litter both in the city centre and surrounding countryside was another; seeing such disregard for the environment was not just disappointing, but stomach churning.

Thankfully there have been some outstanding high points; including several ‘firsts’ for me. Eleonora’s Falcon, Cape Gull, Glanville Fritillary and Late Spider Orchid being a few examples.

Episodes with Broomrape, Bee Eaters and Little Buntings were entertaining and far reaching.

Despite foreign travel being shunned by Tania and me until next year we’ve had a number of trips here at home and tours have been UK wide. Scotland appeared on the agenda four times with Dumfriesshire, Sutherland and the Spey Valley twice. Scillies was visited twice with Spring and Autumn breaks. There were also tours to Knepp in West Sussex and the East coast including the Farne Islands. A very successful trip to Cumbria was enjoyed for its butterflies and dragonflies. We had a personal trip to the Isle of Wight which was very productive. A short trip to Kent with Tania and Tony took some topping; the range of Orchids we found coupled with time watching an Eleonora’s Falcon would take some beating. By a hair’s breadth however my moment of the year was in October on the island of Tresco. The day I spent with Tania photographing a Swainson’s Thrush was for me just the biz!

It’s been a long time since I have seen this diminutive, subtly marked species, so well. Seeing American Thrushes in the Americas is wonderful. Seeing one in the UK is always a thrill; but actually spending an extended period of time with one at close range was just exhilarating.

We are both looking forward to the New Year and what it brings, and hope you are too. Happy New Year from us both.


Goodbye 2019

Well, we’re nearly there. A new year. A new future. A new start.

As we stride forward over the threshold drinking our ‘cup of kindness’ it’s hard not  to look back. For Tania and I it has been a year of paperwork, patience and facetime. That’s now over. For good. 2020 will cement our future… together.

On the wildlife front 2019 was again full of sightings. The Bay of Biscay trip sits high on the list of favourites; how can a rare petrel and a cast of whales not be up there. Lots of highlights on the tours and day trips. Two trips to Australia were also up there. A place I’ve become to regard as my second home. However, the trip Tania and I did to the South coast of Victoria in July around Warrnambool sits atop the pile. Just the variety of birds, wildlife, locations and photo opportunities was just fantastic.

So what of 2020. Florida is on the agenda, the Forest of Dean. Oh! … and a Wedding! The round the UK mammal tour will run as will Central Scotland and the East Coast Seabird Tour. Cornwall, Scillies, and Cumbria are also all booked and will run. Whatever, 2020 brings it’s set to be exciting, different and interesting. I couldn’t ask anything more from life.

The photo is a Black shouldered Kite that we spend a pleasant evening photographing on Victoria’s south coast. Happy New Year!


That time of year again

The end of another year is almost upon us. Goodbye 2016 and hello 2017. Thinking back through the last twelve months there’s been so many good sightings; so many good times. It really has been a good year.

The Geese and Goosanders on the Solway Tour performed for us as did all the specialities on the April Scotland Tour. The Mull tour was spectacular; eagles, whales and more. Canada leaves Humpbacks breaching through my memories for many years to come. Scilly was a classic. Orchids, butterflies and Nightjars all played a part during the year. So many sightings, so many places.

If I was to choose one moment; one sighting above all others, it would have to be seeing Cuvier’s Beaked Whales in the bay of Biscay. Beautiful, enigmatic, specialised life forms that we can only peek at through tiny keyholes in time before they descend once more to the depths.

Happy New Year… have a good one.




The year of 2014

2014 will remain in my mind as a good year despite some issues I would rather have not faced. I guess when we go through life there will always be bitter less palatable times mixed in with the sweeter parts of the whole cocktail. When we look back it’s almost always the best times that stand out in our memories; and thank goodness that’s the case.

So what happened in the last twelve months to balance the scales of enjoyment in favour of the positive? Well the answer is simple; LOTS! I’ve tried my best despite difficulty of choice to ‘condense out’ just ten special moments. I’ve listed them here in escalating order of delight.


1) Having visited the enchanted Isles now for over 26 years it has to be said it wasn’t a classic autumn on the Isles of Scillies. No mega rarities; but as always there was still a lot to see. The place is so beautiful it’s just gratifying to be there… God’s acre.

2) Sitting in bright sunshine and enjoying the sheer tranquillity of the rocking of the boat anchored among The Cairns of Col on our Mull Tour was unforgettable.

3) Wandering locally along the cliff tops and hedgerows on the hill here at Northrepps I’ve bumped into and found several birds of note this year. Corncrake, Greenish Warbler, Red breasted Flycatcher, YB Warblers and more. Local self-find birds are so gratifying.

4) Finding your own scarce bird is always a special moment. Finding an Icterine Warbler with friend Andy 500 yards from Falcon Cottage and having him there to share it will stick in my memory for a long time.

5) On the Farne Islands being surprised as the Bridled Tern flew over my shoulder and perched among the other terns just yards away.

6) After receiving a phone call from Steve Gantlett and Paul Lee stating they were watching Pilot Whales of Cley we made the journey from Gorleston to see them. Watching Long finned Pilot Whales off Norfolk was a treat we will wait many years to repeat.

7) When in California we went out to sea with Nancy Black; a skipper of unprecedented skill and expertise. She placed us in among a school of some 700 Risso’s Dolphins of all ages. We were surrounded. Nancy cut the engine and we floated among them. All we could hear was the gentle lapping of the waves against the hull punctuated with the rhythmical blowing of the dolphins. A magic moment I was so pleased to share with Sharon.

8) We went to California to photograph Grey Whales and Bobcats. That side of things was very successful but California had so much more to offer. Watching Black footed Albatross’s sail past the boat, being astounded at the bulk of bull Northern Elephant Seals just metres away and walking through quaking roosts of Monarch Butterflies was just so memorable; as was being dwarfed by Sequoya’s, their tops hidden in the mist raking the sky. One moment that stands out however was seeing two Californian Condors sail above us around the mountains; living dinosaurs and a dream realised.

9) Four tours to Scotland gave all they should do and more; all the specialities and a few special moments. The Golden Eagle carrying a Hare over us on Mull, the Minke Whales offshore and the Common Dolphins that played around the boat. The moment that is most memorable however was being aside friend Bob as a Capercaille strutted its stuff at our feet.

10) The top moment of the year however has to be while visiting Minsmere at the end of October. I was leading a small party of bird watchers. As we walked to the sea I had the audacity to think that I might re-find the previous year’s revisiting Humpback Whale … and bugger me I did. Nobody was more surprised and delighted than me when I looked towards the horizon and actually saw it. Finding Suffolk’s second Humpback and also watching it the following month from the Norfolk coast was just simply the best feeling.

So those are my highlights for this year. What on earth can we look forward to in 2015?


2013 06 08 Golden Eagle Mull Scotland_Z5A4847 2014 02 12 Capercaille Abernethy Highland Scotland_Z5A9039a 2014 03 04 Monarch Butterfly Monterey California_Z5A3385 2014 03 05 Risso's Dolphin Monterey Bay California_Z5A4010 2014 03 06 California Condor The Big Sur California_Z5A5084 2014 03 06 Elephant Seal Piedras BlancasThe Big Sur California_Z5A4823 2014 03 08 Black footed Albatross Monterey Bay California_Z5A6340 2014 05 12 Cairnes of Coll Mull Scotland_Z5A7247 2014 05 12 Common Dolphin Mull Scotland_Z5A6949 2014 07 06 Bridled Tern Inner Frane Farne Islands Northumberland_Z5A4657 2014 08 27 Icterine Warbler Sidestrand Norfolk_Z5A1401 2014 10 04 St Agnes Isles of Scilly Cornwal!cid_1FF3EF79-BB08-494D-B5D5-628F581AA139 2014 10 07 Barred Warbler St Marys Isles of Scilly Cornwal_Z5A6871 2014 10 15 Yellow browed Warbler Walsey Hills NOA Norfolk_Z5A8449 2014 11 09 Humpback Sea Palling Norfolk_Z5A1305 2014 11 12 Long finned Pilot Whale Weybourne Norfolk_Z5A1832!cid_A87238A5-EF5D-45D4-9C4C-66A57852121A

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Mar 2023


%d bloggers like this: