Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 highlights

I have so many favourite memories from 2015, but it's the orchids that really stand out for me. It was a real joy hunting for different orchids and exploring many wonderful reserves, managing to see a wonderful 18 different types of orchid. It's hard to choose, but I think my favourite were the stunningly beautiful butterfly orchids from Aston Clinton Ragpits.
The green-winged orchids at Bernwood Meadow were spectacular, the musk orchids at the Rifle Range were very tiny and very rare and the bee orchids at Yoesden were quirky with their hairy bees knees. Then there were the delicate little fly orchids at Dancersend, the incredibly rare single red helleborine and the frog orchids that we spent a lot of time hunting down on Watlington Hill.
We’ve found some weird and wonderful fungi this Autumn, but some of my favourites have been the ‘out of this world’ earthstars, the statuesque magpie inkcaps, the black trumpet shaped horn of plenty and the prickly terracotta hedgehogs.

The red kites are always a favourite and this year our back garden red kites, Whistlejacket and his wife, had two babies which they brought to meet us. We also watched on helplessly as Kenny and Katrina’s nest was blown out of their tree in my parents back garden, although we did get to have a good look at some of the interesting things they used to line their nest!

The blog has gone from strength to strength with 245 posts this year and over 26,000 pageviews since the blog started. Bug Mad Girl wrote some of the blog posts this year and was awarded an amazing Highly Commended in the BBC Wildlife Magazine Blogger Awards. Three of my photos were chosen as BBC Wildlife photo of the day and a couple were printed in the magazine. I wrote a guest blog post about Yoesden for BBOWT that was also printed in the Bucks Examiner.

So many wonderful memories, but the best thing from last year has to be watching Bug Mad Girl and her brother run, jump, climb, discover and have fun outside. Opening the moth trap in their pyjamas in the morning, filling their wellies with water, peeping under metal sheets in the hope that a slowworm will be underneath, racing up and down slopes and climbing a favourite tree. It's been a thrill to be a part of it all!

As for next year, we'll just have to see what happens. There are some difficult times ahead for our family, so I'll just be glad to get through the next few months with us all in one piece. Saying that, there are a few orchids I'm very keen to try and see and we'll be watching the red kites and hoping they manage to build a more secure nest! I've also written a piece about snakes head fritillaries for a Wildlife Trust book called 'Spring', so I'm looking forward to seeing that published. Whatever happens, we'll be out there and we'll write about it in the blog.

Wishing you all a very happy and healthy New Year and thank you for reading (and hopefully) enjoying the blog this year.

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