The turning of the year is always a great time for reflection. Celebrating the darkest day with the thought that longer days, warmer days and sunnier days are on their way is such an ancient and powerful part of our own biology that it’s been co-opted by Christianity for one of their festivals as well.
In 2019 I finally got some decent video-creation software and my first project was of Vernon Bradley singing Honey Bee, recorded by Ippykak. Having kak in your band name has got to be a mistake, surely? It’s a bit ippy if you ask me. What a fabulous tune. I’m really looking forward to working with Vernon on something new in 2020.
I had great fun photographing Fulmars in Orkney in 2019. They are my favourite fliers. They have an effortless beauty. Mallimack or ‘Bad mouth’, their Orcadian name, doesn’t come anywhere near describing them. Their tube-nose means I often call them short-winged albatrosses.
Watching them soar thrills me more than music or alcohol.
Puffins, however, have a different flying style. 2019 saw me photographing flying Puffins on Westray, and not just at their Castle o’ Burrian honey-pot.
Naturally I had to muse about arm-wings and hand-wings, given my obsession with biology. That obsession started as a child, where I filled my childhood nature notebooks with pencil-crayon drawings and blue biro scrawl full of everything I identified. This blog is simply a continuation of those notebooks.
Then I made a further attempt at flying Swallow shots.
In 2019 I posted my 2000th post on this blog. It’s been a pleasure to share it all.
Air pollution kills 28,000 to 36,000 people a year in the UK, according to King’s College, London, in a report published by the UK Government. What must air pollution do to our birds? The world’s going to hell in a two litre turbo-diesel if House Sparrows are endangered. House Sparrows in a city are our canary in a coal-mine.
Here’s a typical 2019 blog of mine, mixing scientific publications, governments statistics, love of nature, and photography as beautiful as I can make it:
As there’s plentiful sea around Orkney, I took a few moments to try some wave shots.
I really must spend a few more moments with the sea in 2020.
On Mainland Orkney I spot two archaeological relics which have been replaced with a device that fits in my pocket.
It prompted another blog:
2019 was also the year I took some of my best Puffin portraits and did a series called Monday’s Puffin:
2019 was also the year I started my own YouTube channel to feature some natural experiences. Have you visited? I’d love it if people spent more time outside with the natural world, rather than watching YouTube videos.
Loving being with nature is the only way we have of safeguarding this incredible treasure-trove of species, whose lives are suddenly in our unsophisticated ape hands.
One of my favourite experiences was seeing Sanderling close up on Mae Sands. I posted a whole series of blogs of my shots of them. They were definitely worth a very wet leg.
I’ve loved every moment of my wilder life in Orkney in 2019. What will you do in 2020 to bring a little bit of wildness into your heart?