Monday, 31 December 2012

The end of another year

The end of a very exciting 2012! This was the year that I walked away from a 27 year career in I.T., I graduated from Edge Hill University with an MSc in Conservation Management, I spent much of the year working for the university as a research assistant studying saltmarsh invertebrates, I got a job surveying upland breeding birds with the BTO and I ended the year working as a freelance ornithologist.

Holidays included a week in New York, a week in the Pyrenees, a week in Barcelona and a long weekend to Anglesey, and my survey work included three weeks in the North Pennines and Yorkshire Dales, two weeks on Anglesey, a week at Betws-y-coed, a week in Pembrokeshire and a few days in the north east of England.

Despite the weather, I still managed to get in a walk with Elaine most Sundays, and during the year we walked in the Lake District, North Wales, Yorkshire Dales and the Pennines, and I did more cycling than ever before, clocking up just under 2500 miles in the year.

I had one of my best ever years for birds, not in terms of my UK year list perhaps which ended up around 200 species, but certainly in terms of quality. I finally managed to see Lammergeier in the Pyrenees, whilst in the UK I found American Black Tern at Eccleston Mere (only the 5th ever in Britain) and I found the first Welsh Rough-legged Buzzard “for many years” on Anglesey. Even better, I managed to get photographs of them both to prove it! Hard to imagine topping those two birds unless I move to the east coast! I also twitched two species which were new for me, Little Swift at New Brighton, and Semipalmated Sandpiper at Hoylake.

I had fabulous views of Otter, Badger, Roe Deer (in St Helens), Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Common Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise. The high alpine, flower filled meadows of the Pyrenees were a real eye opener and one of the highlights of the year, and I managed two visits to Upper Teesdale, perhaps the best botanical site in England. I saw more gentians this year than is good for anybody, and certainly more sedges!

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot, I also got divorced and celebrated my 50th birthday.

It’s hard to imagine 2013 being quite so exciting, but with a new job about to start in the New Year, there's every possibility that it will be!

Happy New Year and good birding to everybody who reads this blog! Let's hope that it's a good one!


  1. Congrats Colin on all your achievements, you should be realy proud. you are certainly doing St.Helens proud. Take care and all the very best in the coming year.

  2. Happy New Year

  3. Keep up the good work with the blog Colin. Best wishes for 2013


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