2017 was when I embarked upon my quest with gusto. Which quest? To find all the animals, plants and fungi I wrote about in my childhood nature notebooks and photograph them and blog about them. It’s been a fabulous journey as I find what’s changed in childhood, in technology, in nature and in me in the last 40 years. Here’s my nature notebook entry for the Jay and my photograph of one from 40 years later:
2017 was the year I finally learned to appreciate the common birds around me, including Mallard Ducks at the local country park. I love the drops of water like… well, you know what the water’s like:
One of the most beautiful birds in the world also lives here; the Mandarin Duck. It’s one I didn’t see forty years ago:
I know that the male gets all the attention, but just look at that female:
Here’s the full story:
I saw Blue Tits 40 years ago and drew them in pencil. In 2017 I finally took some digital photographs of them:
Here’s my favourite:
And here’s my full blog post with my drawing and photographs:
I was lucky enough to see a Treecreeper very close up in 2017 only a few weeks after I had bought my telephoto lens. What a stunning bird:
Here are plenty more photographs:
Grey Squirrels are one of my favourite animals. There were plenty of opportunities to portray their character:
One of the occasional visitors to my local country park are Long-Tailed Bushtits:
On the estuary of the River Exe I was lucky to see a Red Breasted Merganser close-up. What a wonderful bird:
It really was that close.
This Buzzard only appears close with the aid of a large telephoto lens:
Here’s the full story:
The Buzzards here are famous for eating frogs. There’s one which regularly makes people squirm as it sits in a tree and pulls their legs off. In 2018 I’m planning to get photographs of that.
2017 was the year I took up bird photography properly as I’d previously not had a telephoto lens. I was thrilled when I managed to get a close-up of a male Bullfinch after several attempts:
It was one of several species I had good luck with including the local Great Spotted Woodpeckers, although I must say they were a little suspicious:
I saw Chaffinches:
And even had a Goldfinch build a nest in the large palm tree in my tiny back garden:
One of the most delightful visitors to my back garden was this Wren:
It’s a terrible shame that it met a rather tragic end at the paws of my neighbour’s cat.
In 2017 I found a local field with Barn Owls (no photographs – I don’t want to disturb them) and the very rare Cirl Bunting:
It’s shortly to become 1,275 homes:
2017 wasn’t all about birds:
2017 wasn’t all about things that fly either: there were plenty of fungi too. Here are some of my favourite mushroom finds from this year:
Mushrooms are truly extraordinary. Just look at those colours.
At the end of 2017 I took a walk on Dartmoor and thought about the state of nature in the UK and what we can all do to restore a wilder life:
Here’s wishing everyone who’s been kind enough to read my blog, follow me on social media, like my photographs and leave interesting and encouraging comments a very Happy and Healthy New Year for 2018. Thank you all. It’s been a pleasure to have your company.