Sunday, 16 December 2012

Top Ten Wildlife Experiances of 2012

2012 has been a fantastic year for wildlife for me, seeing my first great-crested newt, waxwings and otter and travelling from the Channel Islands to Scotland and everywhere in between!

There's no particular order as I enjoyed all the experiences equally!

1. Jersey, Channel Islands - Lizards and Red Squirrels

Another first: the squirrels proved a challenge but luckily came to a feeder. The Jersey red squirrels are darker than their Scottish cousins.

Jersey has two lizards not native to England but a few colonies in Dorset and scattered groups exist from releases. The aptly named green lizard is a large reptile reaching 40cm!

again the imaginativly named wall lizard is present around rocks and walls and with caution can be approached slowly.

Jersey was also the location for my last nature trail although never say never!

2. Isles of Scilly - Grey Seals

I won this trip in a competition and have always wanted to go to the Scillies. The climate means it never has frost and plays host to lots of species that are uncommon on the mainland.
The grey seals are quite common and this one had netting around it.

 Seabirds were common with a colony of puffins in the summer though I'd missed that. The shags were present in good numbers instead.

3. Cornwall - Sand Lizards

This vibrant sand lizard is something of a secret in Cornwall. The population was reintroduced about 20 years ago and has become very healthy with a good number of them present in this location. I'd spent a week in Dorset and didn't find any - I went to a location only 40 minutes from where I live and found over 20 of the lizards!

4. Dumfires & Galloway - Starling Murmuration

It's a phenomenon I'd seen on TV but never in person and it was breathtaking to see thousands of birds working as one. The local buzzards and sparrowhawks also seemed to like it!

Murmaration video on vimeo

5. Nottinghamshire - Waxwings

These are some of the most colourful birds you're likely to see in the UK. Having a massive influx of them into Nottinghamshire I knew I wanted to try and find one so went off with local birder Rob Hoare who found a flock of around 100! It's worthwhile finding local experts as they are going to know where your intended target is!

6. Peak District, Derbyshire - Grayling

Grayling have always been one of my goals for underwater photography and I finally got the chance to photograph and film them in the Peak District. With the water being so clear it made ideal conditions.
Thanks to Rob cuss for helping me out.

7. Norfolk - Dipper

While staying with fellow wildlife photographer Josh Jaggard we heard reports of a black-bellied dipper, a rare subspecies of the white-throated dipper.

It showed very well and was not bothered by all the birders who came to see it!

8. Dungeness, Kent - Marsh Frogs

I've heard of marsh frogs but never had a confirmed sighting until I went to Kent which is crawling with them! Every lake, ditch, canal and marsh has them and they have become a important food source for a lot of local birds.

9. Bristol - Insects

While having an exhibition in Bristol I took the time to get some shots in its local parks and found more wildlife than I'd expected! Newts, tadpoles, beetles, jackdaws are all living quite happily in the middle of Bristol.

10. Mini Fish

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