12 Days Wild

The 12 Days Wild initiative from the Wildlife Trusts is always a good incentive to drag myself away from the cheeseboard for a few of the daylight hours each day over the Christmas & New Year break.

Each year we visit regular walks and try to add a very new walks into the collection too - even if on some days it's not much more than a scout round the garden to make sure that the feeders are full and that the pond hasn't frozen over.

Day 1: River Cherwell

Day 2: Green Lane, Shotover

Day 3: Checking the feeders

Day 4: Lye Valley

Day 5: Pond Life

Day 6: Parson's Pleasure

Day 7: C S Lewis Nature Reserve

Day 8: Stoke Place

Day 9: Aston Rowant

Day 10: Ivinghoe Beacon

Day 11: Uffington White Horse

Day 12: Littleworth Nature Reserve

Next stop - 30 Days Wild in June. 


Monthly Report, December 2021

Another southern month - with a photographic tendency towards trees plus sunrises and sunset - and occasional ornithological interludes.

Reporting Days: 31

Location: Oxford

Miles walked: 97

Miles driven: 354

Gardens tended: 2

Photographs taken: hundreds (mostly trees)


Trees

Still hints of autumn colour at the start of the month - but definitely into full winter look by mid-month.

Green Lane, Shotover

BBOWT Warburg

BBOWT Sydlings Copse

Sunrises & Sunsets

Several fleeting but dramatic sunrises - and even the occasional sunset too.

Sunrise from the office window

Sunrise from the office window

Sunset in Bury Knowle Park

Birds

Lots of activity around the garden feeders - but swans and kingfishers elsewhere.

Starlings in the garden

Swans at Weston Turville Reservoir

Kingfisher on Port Meadow





That Was 2021

2021 was a strange year. In many ways just a continuation of 2020 - so how do I distinguish it from 2020?

Travel was again pretty much curtailed - still haven't been on a plane, train or bus since early 2020 - and travel has been primarily day trips between Oxford and Surrey plus a number of extended trips to Shetland (achieved by car and boat).

Having got the travel grumble out of the way, and on the plus side, I'm actually quite pleased that my carbon footprint has been so reduced and it's been splendid to have had so many days when the big decision was which Shetland beach to wander on.

I have successfully taken another 365 pictures of the day.  I have successfully taken another 12 pictures of the month (see below for this years set). I've taken a bewilderingly large number of photographs (I'm blaming the auks - and the very fast silent rapid shooting function on the new cameras).

My vague target was to walk 2000 miles this year - haven't even made it to 1500 - again, I think I'm going to blame the auks, I spent far too much of the Shetland summer sitting watching them to clock up the walking miles I might otherwise have done.

And since this seems to have turned into another post about auks, I might as well point out that I've seen five species of auk around Shetland this year - puffins, guillemots, black guillemots and razorbills and, finally, a little auk - much less common around Shetland than it's cousins but no less welcome.

Auks

Little Auk at Grutness

Guillemots at Sumburgh Head

Razorbill at Sumburgh Head

Puffin at Sumburgh Head

Black Guillemot at Scat Ness


Pictures of the Month 2021

January: Christ Church Meadow, Oxford

February: Green Lane, Shotover Estate, Oxford

March: Mallard, C. S. Lewis Reserve, Oxford

April: Blue Tit in the Oxford garden

May: Puffins at Sumburgh Head

June: Pyramidal Orchid at Milham Ford Nature Park, Oxford

July: Puffin and Puffling at Sumburgh Head

August: Orca at Scat Ness

September: Blue Tit in the Oxford garden

October: Scat Ness Sunset

November: Snipe at RSPB Otmoor, Oxfordshire

December: Kingfisher at Port Meadow, Oxford


Monthly Report, November 2021

The month has been spent back in the south (mostly the Deep South) - and most of the photographs have been tree (or at least autumn-colour) related.

Reporting Days: 30

Location: A wee bit in the Cairngorms, then Oxford

Miles walked: 117

Miles driven: 810

Gardens tended: 1

Puffins seen: none

Jabs received: 2 (Flu and COVID booster)

Photographs taken: hundreds (mostly trees)


Trees

Having found very few trees around Shetland last month, it's been good to catch up on my arboreal photos this month - and it feels like the autumn colours were pretty good this year.

Autumn at Loch an Eilein, Cairngorms National Park

Loch an Eilein, Cairngorms National Park

Green Lane, Shotover, Oxfordshire

Harcourt Arboretum, Oxfordshire

Shipton Lock, Oxford Canal

Sydlings Copse, Oxfordshire

Mesopotamia, Oxford


Birds

It also been good to spend a little bit of time birding around Oxfordshire too - aside from watching the usual suspects around the garden - was particularly pleased to spend time with the snipe at Otmoor and with the kingfishers along the banks of the Thames.

Snipe at Otmoor

Kingfisher on the Thames


Sunrise, Sunset & Snow Fall

And just in case you might have gotten the idea that sunrises are only found on Shetland - or that snow only falls in winter.

Sunrise in Headington, Oxford

Sunset in Bury Knowle Park, Oxford

Snowfall at Rock Edge local nature reserve, Oxford