As we speed endlessly towards 2016, I once again find myself reminiscing on the past year.... this year has been an absolute rollercoaster ride and one that in many ways im glad to see the back of! That's not to say this year has been all negative, just insanely busy and stressful.
As many of my regular readers will have noticed, I have been very quiet on the blog front, this has been due to the fact I have had to miss an entire season of ringing and birding, for a very good reason I might add. I have been incredibly lucky to become a father for the second time, my baby girl, Isabelle, was born in September and was a healthy 9lb3oz, only 6 oz. lighter than her bruiser of a brother when he was born. Unfortunately my wife, Kay, was very ill in the lead up the birth which required (rightly so) my presence at home.
I did still manage a little birding, often taking my son Bradley with me in order to give Kay some time to rest. In doing so I added a few of lifers to my list including Pectoral Sandpiper, Hudsonian Whimbrel and Terek Sandpiper, I also caught up with a couple of rarer birds that are always nice to see, including Great Grey Shrike, Grey Phalarope, Great White, Egret Black, Winged Stilt among others. I have cherished this time with him and its been lovely to see his interest in natural things starting to develop.
I am incredibly fulfilled with my amazing family and want to first say a massive well done to my wife.... what a trooper and proving once again the fairer sex is indeed women. I know for a fact I could not have done what she has this year. Secondly I want to say how unimaginably proud I am of my son Bradley. In the last 3 months he has had to deal with a change of epic proportions to his little life, and he has handled it admirably and much better than many adults could have done! Last but not least I want to say welcome to the world to my Daughter Isabelle, you have completed our family and in the best way possible.
And now onto the apologies section for there are invariably quite a few. I am sorry to all my friends, who, unfortunately, have been sidelined for a large proportion of this year while I looked after my domestic interests. Apologies are also due to Duncan, Trevor and Barry for my missing a massive chunk of this year ringing and frankly going off radar for most of the time, these guys work tirelessly with us trainees and without guys like this, the knowledge we gain from their data would not be possible.
Looking forward to 2016 now and I am planning a big year birding, I will, with Duncan and Trevors permission be ringing once more and am aiming for my C permit. I am also birding in Southern Portugal, my first proper venture abroad looking for birds. The Ria Formosa is supposed to be a great destination for Waders as well as Passerines. Now that my whole family are able to travel and walk about I will be dragging them on some 'twitches'. This year I am going to focus on Hampshire, with the occasional foray out if its something I particularly want to see.
So for now friends........ Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy Birding from mine to yours!