It is a very personal thing, "best", yet I hope to explain why each image is included. Technically they are quite basic - to me they are memories and so much more!
No. 1 - Black-throated Diver: an adult in full breeding plumage. This bird was one of three that frequented Kilchurn Bay, Loch Awe, during April 2012. The stunning plumage pattern, with the intricate markings of the throat and upper breast combining to produce a stunning mix. Throw in a beady red eye and the water droplet - job's a good un!
No. 2 - Golden Oriole: digiscoped from the balcony of our apartment at the Anna Marie complex, Pefkohori, Halkadiki, NE Greece. Our first holiday to mainland Greece and we had a blast. The weather was superb and the birding way beyond anything I'd previously encountered on our travels. There were many better sightings; yet this image sums up the holiday!
No. 3 - Alpine Swift: my first day in Icmeler, Turkey. I'd climbed to the top of a small hill (where the Turkish flags flies proudly above the town) to be surrounded by masses of Alpine Swifts. I have no idea how many shots I took, but do know that this one is a bit special - for me.
No. 6 - Common Crossbill (Crossbill sp.): I'd specifically targetted this species and travelled to the Clowes Wood complex, just beyond Tyler Hill, in order to get my image. It took several trips, yet this effort seems to encapsulate the period and do justice to this very smart little finch.
No. 7 - Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: Another target species from the Spring of 2009. This stunning male performed in the sunshine at a site near King's Wood, just outside Canterbury. Just the best time to be out and about, early spring in the Canterbury "ring woods" - Buzzards "mewing", drumming woodpeckers, singing Nuthatch and Treecreeper - Brimstone butterflies; wonderful memories.
No. 8 - Black-winged Stilt: another holiday image from Greece. This bird was present for a couple of days around a small marina. Some careful stalking and a huge slice of luck allowed me to get this shot. Again; very happy memories.
No. 9 - Cattle Egret: a digiscoped shot of a breeding adult at a colony at S'Albufuera, Mallorca in June 2007. The approaching storm clouds producing a dramatic back-drop to the sunlit bird perched in the tree top along the reserve entrance track.