A little look back to start wrapping up the year: 2020 - no comment! Except to say, thank goodness for nature and thank you to all who've helped get us as safely as possible through this year.
Photography related highlights included:
finding a badger sett and using a camera trap* to see if it was inhabited and learn about the badgers for a few months before then discretely hiding behind a tree to watch and film them - first time I'd ever seen badgers in the wild and was not just a highlight of this year but a highlight of my whole life - love badgers! - a little snippet of the badger cub footage is included in the 2020 video above, and more footage (badgers + a surprise guest!) from the camera trap as well as my big camera is included below - definitely the highlight of this year for me! * I bought my camera trap from Nature Spy - it was very reasonably priced and the team gave lots of very helpful advice too - my Dad is now borrowing my camera to see what visits their garden up in Scotland;
seeing an otter on the river near home - no photos but that doesn't matter, never dreamed I'd see an otter near home, having only seen them briefly a couple of times in Scotland, on Skye and up around the Coigach Peninsula;
getting to know trees, from exploring the woods near home on local exercise walks during lockdown - we had a very beautiful, long Autumn this year so this was an excellent year to photograph trees, a collection is included below;
watching a variety of birds visit the feeders and bird bath I've put out in our garden, including regular visits from a pair of nuthatches, they must nest nearby - beautiful birds - we've also had visits from Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Bullfinches, Sparrow Hawk fly bys, Blackbirds, Dunnocks, Robins, Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Long Tailed Tits, Great Tits, Gold Finches, Wood Pigeons, Starlings, Magpies and Ravens.
starting the Northumberland stretch of The Pennine Way when travel restrictions lifted a little during the summer in Northumberland - boggy as owt but brilliant and I'm looking forward to starting again when the days start to draw out;
walking around the permissive footpaths that cross the farm near home, and then meeting the farmer and making him a little book of all the photos I've taken on his farm as a thank you to him for letting us cross his land;
my first photography workshop at the brilliant Kielder Birds of Prey Centre - thank you so much to Steven, Ray and Cath for a really wonderful day photographing and learning about their owls;
seeing Comet Neowise and noctilucent clouds - I'd never seen these ethereal night-time clouds before and seeing the comet was incredible, a very humbling experience;
seeing and photographing more wild goats than you could shake a big stick at - I think Northumberland's wildlife had a good year while we were all staying safely at home!;
seeing an adder in College Valley and then another as I climbed Hedgehope Hill - I'd never seen an adder before, they were small young ones but they were very beautiful - and also very shy and quick, so no photos, but I'll never forget seeing them!;
'talking' to Turkeys :-D - never thought they'd reply!;
watching the family swan down by the river, from the 7 eggs laid to the 6 newly hatched fluffy silver cygnets and then watching them grow up to be beautiful swans;
and then, to finish the year off with a festive touch, stumbling across the Simonside Christmas tree - apparently this is put up there every year, but this was the first time I'd seen or heard of it so it was a great surprise to find it up on the tops!