Friday, 6 January 2012

Happy Birthday to Us!

Wild with Pants is one year old today. What a wild year we have had since starting up this blog a year ago.

It started with Barn owls and since then we've been extremely lucky to have seen and photographed:

Hen Harriers, Marsh Harriers, Sparrow Hawks, Peregrines, Short Eared Owls, Kestrels, White Tailed Eagles, Golden Eagles, Red Kites, Bittern, Lizards, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Fallow Deer, Grey and Common Seals, Hedgehogs, Mink, Stoats, Foxes, Hares, Otters and Otters and Otters and Otters...

2011 has to have been the year of the Otter for us as we are now well into the 30s in numbers we have seen as opposed to 7 this time last year.

We have seen stuff around our beloved Forest of Bowland, Applecross (Wester Ross) North Wales, Oxfordshire, Isle of Mull, the Lake District and Wirral. (Not to mention India).

Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve has been exceptionally good to us this year. Providing some incredible views of Marsh Harriers all year (it seems as I write that one of the females has stayed on and is overwintering at the Moss too!) Also a Bittern Bonanza this last few weeks. Back in April we were delighted when we camped nearby and arrived at Lower Hide at 6am to see our first otter in fresh water (in England in fact) Since then we have seen them at Leighton Moss singly, in twos, threes, fours and twice all 5 together and have had long viewings of upto an hour or more. Of course Leighton Moss has also afforded us the opportunity to witness starling murmurations this year too. An absolute must for everyone at least once.

Isle of Mull was a first time wonder for us and did not disappoint. Each day we hit the road by 7.30am and headed all over the island and onto Iona and we were rewarded with the best sightings yet of otters singly and in groups of 2, 3 and 4. Watching 4 Golden Eagles together above Carsaig Crags was also unforgettable.

Back at my childhood stomping ground of Wirral we twice saw hen harriers and after wishing to see them for the longest time we saw our first short eared owl over Burton Marshes (followed swiftly by our second and third) We had a repeat of the experience on the following day too.

So what now?


The wish list for 2012? More hen harrier action in Forest of Bowland would be great, more barn owls (love them) More Shorties too if possible. Otters- well of course.
BUT I guess the big wish would be to see badgers and I would love to see a long eared owl and have an opportunity to photograph a little owl (Seeing fewer and fewer) Photographing boxing hares would be awesome and that is definitely on the agenda for spring. Would also like to photograph some fox behaviour.

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