I tried to pick my top 10 of my photos of 2011 but ended up with a few more than 10!
Back in January and February I spent many mornings in a Lidl car park hoping the sun would come out and the waxwings would pose before I had to get to work before 9. One morning they came down to a low hedge and someone walked with a couple of feet of them before they flew up to a nearby tree. So I positioned myself 3m or so from where they had fed. Soon after I had waxwings flying either side of my head and this chap posed nicely.
I went to Southend pier in February to look for purple sandpipers and Mediterranean gulls and photograph the turnstones with my wide angle lens. I got some shots of the turnstones but this gull, which I thought at he time was a juvenile black headed gull, kept posing in front of my lens. It turned out to be a 1st winter mediterranean gull, which was a nice bonus!
Hares were a creature I had never seen properly until last year, so a good photo of one seemed unlikely to happen anytime soon. But driving along the Elmley Marshes road in March I came across this brown hare just a few metres away and when it turned to face me I got a shot I really liked.
In April I went up to visit some friends who have a caravan near Leighton Moss reserve. But we ended up spending little time in the reserve, because their bird feeders at the caravan supplied close ups of marsh tits and bullfinches, 2 species I had on glimpsed before.
At the end of June I was lucky enough to go to Pitsea Landfill site By Phil Shaw, who was kind enough to not just show me round but also to let me use his camera set ups and hides while photographing foxes and badgers.
In November I finally got to Gigrin Farm. The light on the first day was abysmal but the K-5 and F4 300mm (I shot at ISO3200 + F4.5) let me capture my favourite red kite photo when some with other setups just gave up. I particularly like the background and the view of the feathers on the back of the bird, which I reckon is their best angle.
A couple of nice shots of common birds rounded off my year, having finally got some half decent shots of them.