Unlike most of the other inhabitants, of "Blogland", my review is not a well considered, and rational, look back over the previous twelve months. Oh no! Much too simple - this is a heart on my sleeve, as I write it, sort of effort. As I've already touched upon the angling aspects, in a previous post, I will attempt to recall some of the other events that occurred during the year - most of which enriched my life and/or aided my understanding of the natural world; but not all.
In January, Thanet, like many other parts of the UK, took a delivery of heavy snowfall - it wasn't until the end of the month that things looked like they might be picking up. On the final day of the month Emily and I stumbled across a Great Northern Diver in Ramsgate Harbour. It had been present for a couple of days prior to our sighting - I was down with the camera next day, minus one grand-daughter!
|The adult winter Great Northern Diver which took up temporary residence|
in the Outer Harbour (Jan/Feb 2013)
Spring was painfully slow to arrive; in fact I'd make so bold as to say that it missed Thanet entirely - certainly the expected waves of common summer migrants were conspicuous by their absence. Swallows failed to breed on my Newland's Farm patch for the first time in thirteen years and Swifts were as scarce as hen's teeth in the skies above Dumpton.
|A superb little bird which performed exceptionally for the massed ranks of|
pilgrims who assembled to pay homage.
It wasn't until April that anything much happened to cause me to get excited (away from the fishing). A Penduline Tit had taken up territory around the small clump of Greater Reed Mace on the Alder Wood Trail at Stodmarsh NNR. I decided to join the masses and pay tribute to the event by immortalising the individual on my memory card.
|A cock Siskin at our garden feeding station - nuff sed!|
It was next day that a stunning male Siskin decided to pay a visit to our garden feeding station. I was sat at our garden table, camera to hand, as events unfolded - a wonderful experience. The wonders of garden watching were not to be confined to birds; on the 28th April I discovered an Ashy Mining Bee nectaring on a dandelion. An easily identifiable insect, it appears to be the first record of the species for Thanet? (BWARS website)
|A first record for Thanet?|
Three weeks later, whilst visiting my daughter, I managed to catch up with a hoverfly which I'd hoped to find. In no way is it a rare insect, just one that I'd previously managed to avoid/overlook? With its sticky out beak, Rhingia campestris
is a very distinctive species.
|Un-mistakable, I think?|
June means just one thing - the start of the coarse angling season on the UK's river network, however, it was also a month when Goldfinches dominated the garden feeding stations of Thanet. I bumped into Franny, as we both purchase more sunflower hearts in the pet shop at Newington, Brenda's garden hosting these wonderful finches in similar numbers to our own.
|Feeding station Goldfinch|
On the 15th June I was in situ, at the eastern end of Manston airfield, awaiting the arrival of the last airworthy Vulcan bomber XH 558. She arrived, without fuss or fancy - doing a couple of circuits before sedately touching down on the Manston runway. She remained for a week, leading up to the airshow - what a magnificent piece of engineering. What a magnificent advert for British vision and design - sadly now in the hands of a publicly funded charity - it all comes to an end in 2015!
|Simply the best!|
The summer was a rather pleasant period, weather wise, and on Thanet, sun tans were commonplace as residents and visitors, alike, took advantage of the coastal facilities on offer. Moths came and went, migrants being a very scarce commodity in the garden M.V. trap. For some strange reason Privet Hawk-moths enjoyed a bumper season.
|Not the greatest shrike photo ever taken - It meant so much more than that.|
It wasn't until October that anything further occurred. As I made my way home from work on that Friday lunch time. A Great Grey Shrike, a patch tick, chose to stay a couple of days; much to the delight of many local birders. This was, however, just the warm up act! On the morning of the 12th I was to witness an arrival of winter thrushes the like of which I'd never previously seen. The swirling clouds of Redwing, Fieldfares, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes was enough , but 200+ Ring Ouzels just put the "cherry on the cake!"
|Wonderful memories of a once in a lifetime event for an inland patch watcher|
At the end of the month the Wrathall clan attended a charity event, at Alan Duggard's Equestrian Centre - Strickly MK. What a night! It has to rank up there with the best that I've ever attended.
So that about rounds up my journey through 2013 - well almost! On 5th February my mum left us, to embark on the next stage of her journey. Her passing has left a massive void in the Wrathall family - yet we continue to move forward as a solid unit.
|Happy memories - Mum and Dad|
All that is left is for me to thank each and every visitor, to this blog, for your interest and support. I hope that 2014 will be all that you wish for yourselves and your families.