Best of 2012
Its been an interesting year of wildlife and photography for me. I’ve probably not seen or photographed as much as last year, but what I’ve seen and standard of my photos I reckon has improved.
The first notable photograph was taken at Centre Parcs in late January, where I photographed a sparrowhawk for the first time and even witnessed it take a blue tit, which was rather impressive to see. The best photo form the set is probably this one of it locked on target. It wasn’t the best setting, in the brambles but best I’ve managed so far.
Less spectacular, but still new was this woodworm beetle which I also photographed in January.
Snow in February led to a number of waders on the grass at Reculver, where I got my best shots of dunlin,
and golden plover.
A trip to Wildwood lead to this nice beaver shot.
And at Rainham I finally got a decent view and some photos of a bearded reedling/tit.
In March I did some pond creature photography at Rainham Marshes and finally got a passable shot of a leech, in this case a duck leech.
And at Oare Marshes I got my best shots of a black tailed godwit.
But March was marked by the trip of the year, when I finally got to go to the Cairngorms. On the journey up I saw my first red grouse.
When there me and Dave met up with the wonderful Pauline and Ian (see their site here for some jaw dropping images Pauline and Ian’s Zenfolio). They effectively were our guides and boy did they deliver!
And loads of other stuff like divers, goldeneye, black grouse, red squirrel, red kite, osprey…..a wonderful week in Scotland!
April was er, well, a wash out. A look back through my photos from April 2012 and all I can find is a sorry looking bluebell and a soggy rabbit from a flooded Minsmere, where, as it alwyas does when I go there, it rained!
That said on the 1st April, before the deluge of rain, I had a nice walk around Rainham Marshes (I went there more than ever this year) and got my best ever common lizard photos.
May‘s weather was not much better in the UK, but I had 2 weeks in Kefalonia, Greece.
The wildlife highlight was this loggerhead turtle.
But I saw loads more, but I haven’t posted yet, other than the .
May was not a complete wash out in the UK. I had some success with my Aquarium photography of pond creatures:
Great diving beetle larva.
Lesser diving beetle larva.
Scarce emerald damselfly nymph
June was pretty good for pond creatures too with this great silver water beetle larva eating a snail.
Another trip to Rainham lead to some more nice common lizard images.
Including this nice 2 tailed individual!
The annual trip to Thursley was the least productive yet, photographically speaking, but I did see some wing clapping nightjars, my first redstart and a wood mouse posed briefly.
July was pretty wet too, but their were some sunny days, one of which I popped over to Elmley Marshes early morning and was rewarded with some hares feeding and one air boxing.
As I watched the hares I kept hearing a weird call which turned out to be my first ever quail!
The rain messed up and delayed a lot of insect flight periods and having missed the Duke of Burgandy butterflies, I headed to Blean wood for the heath fritillarys, which normally would have all gone a week before, but I still found a few, one which posed for a close up.
One of the top finds was in my house, a spitting spider!
I had to call off my trip to the New Forest as the rain would have flooded the campsite! A few day trips, including a wet day in London made up for it, where I got this photo of a soggy heron
In July the scarce emerald damselflies finally emerged, a month later than last year.
I got a decent photo of an egg laying emperor dragonfly.
But highlight of the month and rivalling the capercaillie (no seriously!) for the year, was an animal I’ve been after for years: a water stick insect!
Another nice pond photo was this darter nymph.
At the start of August I headed down to the New Forest and finally got a southern blue damsefly, a new species for me.
But that was not the odonata highlight of the year for me. On the 8 August a very blue dragonfly flew past and I knew what it was, a southern migrant hawker, This species first appeared in the UK properly in 2010 and a few were seen in 2011, but 2012 was a good year for them.
I posted it on my blog and on a few sightings pages and a few folks came down to visit! Not surprising when you see the colour!
I spent the rest of the month recoding my sightings and observations, which I will finish writing up soon! I also got my best migrant hawker shots this year.
In September on a trip round North Kent I found my first UK Great green bush cricket and velvet ant.
I got my best ever adder pic.
And photographed a striped emperor dragonfly nymph.
In October I got my best photo yet of wood ants.
A trip to Richmond park resulted in a nice set of mandarin duck photos.
And my first truly rutting deer
November was notable only for my trip up to Yorkshire, where I got my first ever purple sandpipers.
My best oystercatchers.
And saw some leaping salmon.
I did also get a nice landscape
December was rather unproductive, the only photos I took really were of backswimmer in a pond creature photography session.
Overall a rather good year, with a slow end, but things will hopefully pick up in 2013. I have a number of trips planned, so hopefully I see and photograph some nice stuff and I have a camera trap arriving tomorrow, so with some luck that will give me some nice footage of wildlife at night.
Happy new year and may you 2013 be full of wildlife!
Posted by Neil-UKWildlife