2019 – Some good things.

Yesterday I wrote this:

I should have done this yesterday. Put it off for a day and you look around and find you are in a different year! Nothing much has changed though. It’s still damp; cold enough to be uncomfortable but warm for the season. While the world of politics and commerce has atrophied over the last two weeks the business of consumption has scaled new heights. I welcome the clean new month – a time of resolution, of new beginnings, a lean determined start to a year which could be different in many ways. Will the climate crisis finally propel so-called Green politics into the mainstream? Will Boris become Mr Nice and start telling the truth, or will he offer Britain on a plate to Trump and the money men? Will Australia stop mining coal? Will Europe fall apart? Brazil stop burning the Amazon?

All I can guess is that the world will look very different this time next year; possibly very much worse. Meanwhile, here’s a selection of my pictures from last year.

The Kingfisher Hide at Parc Dinefwr where I volunteer, is frequently capable of presiding over a stretch of water where nothing moves for an hour. Not in January though – for two weeks running we had exciting visitors:

In February I went further up the valley to catch the light on the snow:

Quattro the White Park Bull at Dinefwr extended the black nose of friendship in March. He looks placid, but perhaps “resigned” would be more accurate. Soon he will be out in the pasture again, but when?

Our local kites began nesting in April and kept up a running battle with a pair of crows who also had a nest nearby.

I was overjoyed in May to have a pair of Pied Flycatchers taking over one of my nest boxes at home. The eggs hatched, and the chicks grew, but a ten days later there was no sign of the adults and there were flies buzzing round the box. The four bigger chicks had gone but the others were dead. I still don’t know what happened.

I always enjoy visiting the Pembrokeshire offshore islands, and in  June I stayed a night at St Justinian, where the boat for Ramsey Island docks. This was sunrise from the campsite:

At the end of the month we set off for a week in York and then in July a trip up the coast of Northumberland, where I took a boat to the Farne Islands where these Kittiwakes were nesting.

In August one of my regular vigils in the Kingfisher Hide got me the clearest picture yet of this charismatic bird:

September found us for the second time this year in Sussex where my 87 year old cousin Jill lives. I visited a nearby bird reserve early one frosty morning and found this fox:

In the middle of September I set off for the Scottish Highlands and Islands, spending 5 days on Eigg and 4 on Canna before heading further north to do some tree planting in Glen Affric. This is Canna with the Isle of Rum in the background.

This is Athnamulloch in Glen Afric where the 10 volunteer tree-planters  stayed:

Later in the month I at last achieved my ambition to photograph bucks fighting during the rut. Again this was at Dinefwr Park, and will serve for November too, since I took few pictures that month.

In December my daughter Hannah hit 50 and held a big party in Bristol. Here she is, on the right, with her friend Dionne:

Finally, yesterday, I took the traditional group picture of Thelma’s family who have been enlivening the New Year period for several years. Back row from the left are daughter in law Carol, son Matt, grandson Arthur, son in law Viv. Front left is an unflattering self-portrait, Thelma, dog Louis and daughter Nina.

 

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3 Responses to 2019 – Some good things.

  1. Peter Twyman says:

    Thank you, a very nice chronicle.

  2. Esther says:

    The pied flycatcher story is a peculiar one. Just wondering, how does the top of the birdbox open (it obviously does, as you took a picture from teh chicks)? Is there a latch, or is the roof attached by hinges only? In the latter case, a smart predator (squirrell, cat, stone marten) could easily flip up the roof and pillage the nest, giving the parent birds such a fright they’d abandon the remaining chicks. Sad, but hopefully they’ll give it another try this year!

    • RICHARD S TURNER says:

      Well, that’s got me thinking. This pattern of bird box is one I use to make batches of 50 each year for our local RSPB bird reserve https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/gwenffrwd-dinas/
      They are intended for Pied Flycatchers and none of them have catches. However, there are very few cats there so the possibility that it was a cat which only took the bigger chicks is a very real one. We don’t have Stone Martins in Britain though Grey Squirrels are very common. The native Pine Marten is being re-introduced to the area but is very shy and would not come near the village. Unfortunately I’ve never known a bird return to a failed nest, but I will put catches on my nest boxes now and keep my fingers crossed!

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