2016 is drawing to a close so I thought that I'd look back at the year in today's blog post. So here's a few highlights from my wild 2016.
Bournemouth Peregrine Falcons
It was amazing to watch live pictures of a peregrine falcon nest only a few miles away in the centre of Bournemouth. We could watch the eggs hatch and the chicks grow up until the point they eventually left the nest. Hopefully the falcons will return to the nest this coming Spring and the camera will be running once again.
Canada Geese Nursery
I was able to watch a large number of canada geese raise goslings and regularly came within a few metres of the gorgeous young birds. Because the goslings can't fly the geese are forced to raise their young within a fairly small area, which just so happens to be very near my house.
It's just come out that this year was particularly bad for insects (BBC News). Living in the South of the country though means the weather remains fairly mild and I was lucky enough to see lots of different butterflies over the year. It also worked out that I could see them regularly from the Spring right through to November. I think I counted well over twenty different species which is not bad considering I didn't really travel that far.
I feel that deer are often overlooked my nature enthusiasts but I've really enjoyed getting to know the local deer this year. As well as magical encounters like the fallow stag above and a brief glimpse of a white stag I have spent lots of time watching the roe deer that live near the river Avon. On virtually every visit there would be three deer somewhere on the floodplain.
In September I visited Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour and looking back I think that was probably the best day of my year. I saw lots of waders in the lagoon, including spoonbills, loads of beautiful insects across the island and got really close to a Sika deer!
I wrote two blog posts on my Brownsea adventure (Brownsea Island Lagoon and Brownsea Island II) and I will certainly be returning in 2017!
As Autumn came around I became enthralled with the amazing things that are fungi. They come in all shapes and sizes and this year seemed to be particularly good for them- everywhere I looked another amazing fungus would be spotted. I never had that much interest in them before but now I've become a little obsessed!
Great White Egret
I'd never seen one before but this year I was able to get really close to Blashford Lakes' winter resident Walter on a number of occasions. Great white egrets are beautiful birds and still relatively unusual in the UK. They are becoming more common and I saw a second individual at Longham Lakes recently.
All that was just the tip of the iceberg. Here are my final blog totals for 2016- these numbers are animals I have featured on this blog and only count those with photos so even then I've seen plenty more. And I only started the blog in April too!
I've got lots of exciting plans for 2017 so watch this space. Happy New Year!