2020 highlights of a wilder Devon life

2020 is a year which will be difficult to forget for those of us lucky enough to still be alive. For me, it meant lockdown exercise on the local industrial estate in Devon and meandering along the banks of the River Teign. I also got to spend time with my son and his girlfriend, sheltering from potential infection in London, and had a really precious, wonderful time with them.

Here’s the view from a social distancing walk:

Abbotskerswell - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The year had started so promisingly with Redwings and Mistle Thrushes in the churchyard in front of my house:

And there was time to visit Brixham and see a Shag catch a Pouting at the breakwater:

I took a series of videos of the very tame Ruddy Turnstones at Brixham Breakwater:

And then had fun blogging about it:

I was thrilled to see a Great Northern Diver catching crabs very close in the harbour and documented it in Surely that’s got to scratch on the way down? and The adventures of Dick and Titty at Brixham breakwater. Brixham became one of my favourite places.

Early morning cycling trips to Stover Country Park to see the birds and avoid infection became the norm. Here’s Little and Large:

Wood Pigeon - Stover - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Perhaps the highlight of the year was locating the nest of a Long-Tailed Bushtit and photographing the parents and aunts and uncles arriving with caterpillars for the growing brood in The Caterpillar Service:

Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Here’s the full story:

The Caterpillar Service – Day One
The Caterpillar Service – Day Two
The Caterpillar Service – Day Three
The Caterpillar Service – Day Four
The Caterpillar Service – Day Five
The Caterpillar Service – Day Six
The Caterpillar Service – Day Seven
The Caterpillar Service – Day Eight
Babies!

I learned the virtue of patience, with long hours waiting and observing. After all, I had no work or income, so standing staring at a hedge seemed a viable alternative.

Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I took some of my favourite images, which thrill me still, during that glorious week in May.

Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

In June I spent a few evenings staring into the sky trying to track fast moving birds in flight. I wanted to practice and improve my technique. Here’s how I got on:

Sand Martins on the Teign

Sand Martin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

House Martins

House Martin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Swift by name

Swift - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I’ve definitely got better, don’t you think?

I managed a trip to Brixham and Berry Head:

Brixham

And that was just the first six months of the year. I think I’ll keep the next six months for tomorrow. It’s worth reflecting at leisure, isn’t it?

Sunset - River Teign - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

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