Wednesday, 29 December 2010

End of Another Year

With my being laid up with the Flu over the Christmas period, I’ve not managed to get out and about, but instead had a go at revamping the look of my blog.  It’s become traditional at this time of year that television channels create cheap programmes by re-hashing what’s happened over the year, so unashamedly, I bring you 2010 through my Camera.

It’s actually been a disappointing year for me, especially from a photographic point, with many of the opportunities and sights available to me in previous years, not happening this year.  This may have had something to do with the weather as the year started off colder and snowier than normal effecting the survival of many wildlife.  With temperatures below freezing, Grey Squirrels were more approachable and very photo generic.




As usual, the beginning of the year was slow but I did get my first opportunity of seeing and photographing Barn Owls, unfortunately these were lost when my hard drive crashed before I had backed them up and no future sightings of this beautiful owl were seen.

Around the same time I made my biggest photographic purchase – a Sigma 500mm lens.  A second hand copy came up at a bargain price and after initial doubts I took the plunge and haven’t looked back, it’s a great lens and does everything I could want of it going past my expectations.  Since then, lenses, even second hand, have gone up so I was lucky to get it when I did.  It’s opened up new opportunities for me allowing me to get that little bit closer to wildlife and yet not be too heavy that I can’t walk about with it.


A nice surprise in spring was to see Red Squirrels again on Tyneside.  It had been a few years since seeing them last as the Greys slowly move northwards replacing them.  Unfortunately, this was the only time I did see them this year with sights in Northumberland also becoming rarer.  It seems inventible that it will become extinct from mainland UK.


It felt like I spent the first half of the year waiting for summer or at least some decent warm, sunny weather.  With the end of May and beginning of June being promising and with ‘experts’ saying the last time we had as colder winter as we did was back in 1976 then if was followed by a hot summer, it seemed this might be a good year, but no sooner than the good weather came, it was gone again -  back to a ‘normal’ June.


Despite being a little cool and often overcast, I made the most of the days I could with the coast being especially productive despite the endless stream of dog walkers ignoring signs and the enjoyment of others.  Unlike other years previously, opportunities for photographing certain wildlife seemed scarce, particularly Foxes.  I had particularly hoped to get the iconic image of Fox cubs playing outside their den and had the previous year, found out a quiet location.  Unfortunately after spending many a mosquito ridden hour waiting, it was obvious that the den was no longer in use. However, one Fox encounter I did have was very memorable when one came up within close distant and, despite my being in plain sight, it didn’t see me and eventually went on it’s way.  It was one of those times where just watching was more important than trying to photograph wildlife as using my camera would have scared it away.


With the summers breading season well in swing came opportunity of photographing this years young including one of my favourite places along the river Tyne where Sand Martins nest.


While still waiting for summer to arrive, spring came!  With this came plenty of chances of colourful photographs and, for the first time this year I was finally able to photograph some Kingfishers.  The last and best time came a week before the big freeze when a Kingfisher unexpectedly came within metres of me, but unfortunately had my converter on and was almost too close making a good sharp, clean shot difficult, that and having a slow card in my camera which soon had the buffer filling up.


Winter came early this year, ending 2010 much as how it started with record low temperatures and amounts of snow.  I seem to be one of the few people around who actually has enjoyed the snow.  However, it’s easy to forget how bad this can be for the wildlife not used to these kind of conditions.  No doubt it will have a negative impact on the coming year, already owl sightings are down and no doubt Kingfisher numbers will suffer again.  Plans for the coming year?  I think I will spend more time with my landscape photography.  Wildlife wise I’m hoping to photograph Short Eared Owls if they make a come back as well as Little Owls and Barn Owls.  Foxes will be on top of my list as usual, especially cubs.


Hopefully, 2011 will bring new opportunities as well as a bit of good fortune. 


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