a wildlife review of 2018

I have always so loved seeing wildlife around both within the garden and outside in. This love has been there since childhood, where I spent hours watching blackbirds nesting within the hedges that surrounded our house, spending ages within rock pools, seeing what would crawl out of the woodwork.

Even during the times I was fishing, watching wildlife was always part of that, the enjoyment of watching a kingfisher landing on the rod tip, only 10ft away at times was as pleasurable as seeing a big fish in the net. Of course, fishing depends of wildlife from feeding the fish and to the fish themselves, so gaining that information of what is going on, was a great learning curve

My aim in 2018 was to spend more time seeing wildlife and listing what I had seen. Part of the reason behind it was to try and help control my depression and anxiety. This had started to vear its ugly head over the past year or so and I needed something to focus on other than work and family and this was idea. It brought me a lot of enjoyment during the year despite it being my worst year mental health wise I have had for many years well at least 10 anyway.

I always need something to aim for in what ever I am doing, so I set my self a few targets, one was to see 200 species of birds, 20sp of butterflies, 10sp of damsels and dragonflies and 15 sp of bees. Quite tough aims but could of been achievable but in the end I failed to achieve those goals for them all apart from the butterflies, where I scrapped in with 20! Do I care? Nah not at all, it was a little bit of fun that got me looking more into the beauty of what’s surrounding us and looking out for small things within the garden and whilst out walking in the wild and towns.

My highlights have been seeing so many birds for the first time, some I have wanted to see for many many years. Within minutes of driving though France, I spotted a large group of Avocets just feeding on a low reservoir, a bird I had wanted to see since my boyhood. Next highlight was a brief one but just stunning, watching a Hobby chasing a swallow, seeing both birds twisting and turning within the evening sky, like two aircraft in a dog fight. Seeing a large group of Black Tailed Godwits, sat there within 12m of me . Memories that will last with me for years

Butterflies indeed were the only group I managed to see all I aimed to see. The only new one happened to be a 5 second view but what a view! a Purple Emperor landed within a metre from me for a few seconds before flying off again. One of our biggest butterflies and one of the most stunning. I felt so lucky just to see it

Well I am going to do the same this year and just have fun, This year I am going to try for 200 birds again, 25 buffer flies, 20 bees, 10 dragonflies and Damsels flies and 10 different uk Orchids, another childhood favourite! I hope I will get there but if I don’t, well it doesn’t matter, just as long as I enjoy it! I hope you will enjoy my journey too

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Do hope this year is better for you Thomas. Best wishes. Julie.

    1. thomashort says:

      thank you Julie, I hope all is ok with you

  2. Hope you have a better year. I tried keeping track of my bird sightings with the BTO app last year but quickly started to forget to log new sightings. Nice idea though. Good luck hitting your targets. Fun either way.

    1. thomashort says:

      thank you πŸ™‚ I haven’t heard of that app I shall take a look thank you, its enjoyable isn’t hoping to increase my knowledge of the natural world by doing this

  3. I hope 2019 is a better one for you. Being outside, getting fresh air and being immersed in the elements help I think. I think your challenge to see these creatures is a really good one Thomas. I wish you well. Xx

    1. thomashort says:

      thank you Sophie and I hope things are going well with you and your lovely plot at the moment, just lovely being outside isn’t,

      1. It really is especially on frosty days like today. I found getting a dog really helped me. Xx

  4. What a great challenge. I don’t think I saw more than 25 butterflies last year, most of them Cabbage Whites! Wishing you success in your endeavour and a happy and peaceful New Year

    1. thomashort says:

      Happy new year and thank you, i am looking forward to just trying to see as many new ones as I can as well πŸ™‚ I am very lucky indeed in the places I work and around where I live

  5. tonytomeo says:

    I find that I learn more about our local birds by reading about the observations of others, even though ours are very different specie. I did not pay much attention to them until I started reading about them online.

  6. fredgardener says:

    I hope 2019 will be better for you. You may have found your way while many others are still searching. This is called introspection and resilience. Mine were probably made thanks to Twitter and photography … take care

    1. thomashort says:

      thank you Fred, I am sure it will be πŸ™‚ bit of positive thinking I hope, you too fella πŸ™‚

  7. blhphotoblog says:

    I have tried doing lists in the past, now I just enjoy the moment although I do set my self the challenge of seeing something new. With the butterflies it usually involves a lot of travelling!

    1. thomashort says:

      I think thats the thing I am hoping to avoid by not putting too much pressure on myself to achieve them, tbh my memory is awful as well lol
      yes they are all over the place aren they, I do love seeing the older things, seeing the robin a few cm away while weeding is always beautiful πŸ™‚

      1. blhphotoblog says:

        Enjoyment, that’s what it’s all about. I suffered burn out when I used to go twitching, it was depressing to miss a new bird, now I just enjoy all I see and a confiding Robin is priceless.

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