Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Monday 31 December 2012

My 2012 - a review

16lbs 6oz of hard earned Royal Military Canal pike
JANUARY - My year got off to a decent enough start when I caught my first ever pike from The Royal Military Canal. At 16lbs 6oz, it remains the heaviest fish that "sick-note, Benno or myself have taken from the venue - it certainly isn't the heaviest pike in the water as we are well aware. The other pike that is worthy of mention is one of 14lbs 10oz that I took from our East Kent drain. It is the best looking (marked) pike I have ever caught!

A stunningly well marked pike - quite magnificent in every detail

FEBRUARY - The big freeze rendered our Kentish countryside, plus our road and rail network, a no go zone! With our chosen waters frozen over, Gadget and I headed out into the Little Stour Valley to see what else was about. Bewick's Swans, Tundra Bean Geese and huge numbers of Wigeon, Teal and Gooseander were found on our wandering, yet it was the appearance of a sub-adult male Hen Harrier which provided the highlight.

Stunningly beautiful in the winter light
MARCH - A month where I learned a massive lesson about myself and perception! A Kumlien's Gull, in Dover harbour, was the centre of a very steep learning curve for me (and many others I would guess) I had made a comment on Birdguides, about a photo posted by Richard Bonser - light the blue touch paper and away it went! Bottom line is that the bird was, indeed, a Kumlien's Gull and my doubts were based upon a very flawed idea of what they really looked like - silly me! Fancy expecting an Iceland Gull race to look like an Iceland Gull - a bit like the Channel Wagtail caper - Kumlien's Gull is a dumping ground for any bird that doesn't fit neatly into a box (to be ticked?)

I have to thank Andy Lawson and Richard Bonser for the lessons I learnt during this period - cheers guys.

APRIL - It got off to a flier; as I photographed an immature Goshawk flying over our garden (not up for discussion with the Sheppey fu*kwit - the raptor expert for all Kent and totally deluded c*nt!) the tear drop markings on the breast along with a suite of other features confirming my id to many other experts from the ornithological world as well as others from the world of falconry. Away from birds, I started to spend time looking at the insects that were nectaring on the various food sources within our garden. Using fairly primitive camera gear, I still managed to get some very pleasing images.

Hairy-footed Flower Bee - a male
The moth ended with a pike fishing trip back to the mighty Loch Awe - what a fantastic holiday. Five of us made the journey and were subjected to the very extremes that the Scottish Highlands have to offer. Gale force winds, driving rain, sleet and snow, yet we somehow came through unscathed and caught a few fish as well - brilliant times!

Benno and I recreating our photo of May 2011 - this time Benno 14lbs 6oz and me 13lbs 7oz
MAY - Nothing else to report but the wedding of my youngest brother, Simon, and Yve. A momentous day!

JUNE - Caught a few carp and some nice perch, but it was my chance to watch a Hawker Sea Fury display at the Shepway Airshow that takes the biscuit! A superb event, the display by this Naval aircraft was spectacular. Powered by a Bristol Centaurus sleeve-valved radial engine, it remains one of the fastest piston engined planes in the world. If you ever get a chance - go and see it for yourself!

JULY - much of a muchness

AUGUST - An adult female Honey Buzzard flew over our garden, on the 5th, representing a new garden tick. The rest of the month was about mini-beasts and garden safaris, as I attempted to capture images of the myriad insects that were feeding around the massed buddleias of our garden.

Adult female Honey Buzzard - a failed breeder returning south?
SEPTEMBER - As the autumn developed, so things livened up. There was a noticeable movement of Whinchats around my Newland's Farm patch and Benno saw his PB carp creeping ever closer to 20lbs when he landed  superb Common of 19lbs 12oz. The discovery of Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae) in the hedgerow at the end of Vine Close, was a nice surprise.

19lbs 12oz of Common Carp taken on a Nash "Zig-bug"


Ivy Bee - first discovered in the UK in 2001
OCTOBER - Only one thing; Turkey! A wonderful fortnight in our favourite place. That we have Robert and Jackie, in situ, just adds to our holiday experience. The weather was extraordinary, the company was even better - we had a blast! I walked miles, mainly in the company of Robert, drank copious amounts of EFES beer and took 1,000's of photos - I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!
It is impossible to summarise the holiday with a single image - so I won't attempt it.

NOVEMBER - Work, work and more bloody work! Fantastic money, but not good for the soul - 41 days without a break, now there's commitment!

DECEMBER - You already know the score!

If you have made it thus far, may I wish you and your families everything that you wish yourselves for 2013. Thank-you for bothering to look at the rambling nonsense that is my world - God Bless!


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