Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? I don't think so as there are so many memories that shouldn't be forgotten and as another year comes to an end, its the perfect time to look back and reflect on what the year has delivered. It started over New Year just like the weather we have now mild wet and windy weather, but without the destructive storms. By the middle of January it had turned cold, and there was snow. The cold weather seemed to last for ever, and spring was probably five weeks later naturally than the previous year.
It wasn't until the middle of April that things started to warm up, and signs of life began to show. The Bluebells in Old Down were as ever spectacular, and lasted much longer into May. Spring migration saw my first Redstart, and singing Firecrest in Old Down.
June saw sightings of Roe Deer kids, and Woodcock roding over Plash Wood, and Hares in the fields all around the patch. The summer though finally arrived in July with a long spell of warm weather, and plenty of butterflies. Four new ones this year, White Admiral, Small Copper, Common Blue, and identified later in the year, Essex Skipper.
I discovered moths during the summer, and my trap in the garden produced some really beautiful insects, the highlights being Elephant Hawk Moth, and Poplar Hawk Moth true beauties.
Into September, and there was another Redstart, a new bird in a male Whinchat, and plenty of Spotted Flycatchers. The local birds of prey, have put on a good show all year, with some really good views of a pair of Red Kite. The highlight though was a Honey Buzzard late in September over Old Down.
There was a large influx of the winter thrushes with Redwing arriving early at the end of September. and the mixture of dry and damp weather through September and October produced some good fungi finds.
Into November and there was a massive change in Old Down, with many trees felled and removed leaving plenty of open space, and dead wood. What happens in the spring with these changes remains to be seen, lets be positive and hope it brings much new life. Elsewhere building development on Brislands Lane has lost us a wonderful butterfly field, but then twenty years ago local people were probably saying the same about the field my house is in today
It was a mast year, and there was plenty of seeds and berries everywhere, oak trees bent with the weight of the acorns, and the storms took their toll on many old trees. With the acorns has come huge flocks of Woodpigeon, and with them has been regular sightings of Peregrine through the end of the year. A big surprise though 3 days before the end of the year was a Stonechat at Plain Farm.
Throughout the year I captured many photographs of Brislands Lane showing the changes that occur through the year. Putting these all together in a video, and showing them to a beautiful piece of music for me is a fitting way to close the year.
A Happy New Year to Everyone, and please may I find that Short-eared Owl!
This post has been quite popular, so if you were wondering the piece of music is by British Sea Power, and comes from their amazing soundtrack of the the DVD From The Land to the Sea Beyond, which also is well worth watching.