2022 - Twelve Pictures of the Month

I'm coming to the conclusion that every year is weird, and every year has a mix of good bits and not-so-good bits. 

I'm not going to dwell on the NSG bits of 2022 - but in the good bits column I've got (i) taking yet another 365 Pictures of the Day, (ii) getting back to walking the Thames Path (I've walked almost 1700 miles this year), (iii) starting to get back to planning international travel (trains, not planes) and (iv) spending almost six months hanging out with the auks around Sumburgh Head on Shetland.

And from the 365 Pictures of the Day,  I've picked 12 Pictures of the Month.

January - Aberdeen Sunrise

February - Stoke Place Snowdrops

March - Lye Valley Frogs

April - Sumburgh Head Puffins

May - Nest Building at Sumburgh Head

June - Fishing Season at Sumburgh Head

July - Sumburgh Razorbills

August - End of Season Burrow Maintenance 

September - Quendale Bay Sunset

October - Autumn Storms on Scat Ness

November - Crooklets Beach, Bude, Cornwall

December - Thames Barrier in the Sunshine

And as for setting objectives for the 2023, lets just roll with it - there'll probably be a mix of good and NSG bits..

Monthly Report, November 2022

After a lot of Shetland-centric months, this month had a distinctly southern flavour, mostly spent in and around Oxford with a wee road trip to the south west of England to check out the North Devon beaches.

Reporting Days: 30

Location: Mostly Oxford

Miles walked: 156

Miles driven: 1329

Gardens Tended: 2

Photographs Taken: Hundreds (mostly trees with a few beaches for good measure)

Trees & Leaves

Still plenty of colour in trees even well into what can only be called a mild autumn (or perhaps a worryingly warm autumn).

Through the trees at Sydlings Copse nature reserve

Green Lane still has hints of green

Colourful Puddles in Bury Knowle Park

Bare Trees (and blue skies) in Bury Knowle Park


We used to spend a lot of time around the North Devon coastline - but for the last few years we've spent rather more time hanging out on the Shetland beaches.  It's always good to get a fix of sea air.

Weston super Mare

Woolacombe Sands

Crooklets Beach, Bude (just over the border into Cornwall)

Combe Martin


And even though Oxford doesn't have much in the way beach walks, it does make up for it (a bit at least) by offering a choice of riverside walks.

Parson's Pleasure

Looking over Magdalen Bridge

  And (spoiler alert) December's report is very likely to include both riverside and harbourside pictures

Monthly Report, October 2022

Another dual-location month - first week in the soft South, the rest in the wild North.

By the Numbers.

Reporting Days: 31

Location: Oxford and Shetland

Miles Walked: 123 (plus 75 miles rowed - on a rowing machine!)

Miles Driven: 875

Gardens Tended: 1

Photographs Taken: Thousands (mostly waves)

Hints of Autumn

In early October definite hints of Autumn around Oxford - at both Sydlings Copse and along the river Cherwell in Mesopotamia.

Sydlings Copse


Waves & Surfers

October on Shetland brings both wild seas and skies and sometimes gentle waves too.  And just occasionally surfers turn up to check out the waves.

Wild waves on Scat Ness

Wild seas at Sumburgh Head

West Voe Beach

Scottish Surfing Championships at West Voe Beach

Sky Watch

It's always worth looking up - some mornings start with red skies, other days end with a fine sunset, and after sunset the skies can sometimes provide a stage for the Mirrie Dancers.

Sunrise at the Pool of Virkie

Sunset at Quendale Bay

Northern Lights over Quendale

Around the Lighthouse

The light is always changing at the Sumburgh Head light house

Morning Light at Sumburgh Head

Sumburgh Fog Horn

Evening Light at Sumburgh Head

And the most memorable October day on Shetland in 2022?

That was probably day the internet stopped.  By quirk of fate (or Russian interference, if you're a conspiracy theorist) both of Shetland's links to the outside world were damaged within a few days of each other. So, no internet, no mobile phones and no landlines.  Strange day. 

Monthly Report, September 2022

A month of two halves - a Shetland half (lots of coastal walks and wave photographs) and an Oxford half (lots of woodland walks and tree photographs).

Reporting Days: 30

Location: Shetland and Oxford

Miles Walked: 145

Miles Driven: 826

Gardens Tended: 3

Birthdays Celebrated: 1

Photographs Taken: Thousands (Waves and Trees, but not in the same picture)


Calm Afternoon at Sumburgh Head, Shetland

Cloud Cap on Fitful Head, Quendale Bay, Shetland

White Water off Sumburgh Head, Shetland

Brei Geo, Scat Ness, Shetland

Sunset, Quendale Bay, Shetland


Early Morning, Manchester Ship Canal, Warrington

Woodlands (and rooftops)

Sydlings Copse, Oxfordshire

C S Lewis Nature Reserve, Risinghurst, Oxford

Green Lane, Shotover, Oxford

Sunset, Headington, Oxford

And next month - back to the coast.

Monthly Report, August 2022

Again, a Shetland month - albeit with a quick trip to Glasgow thrown in for good measure.

August always seems like a transition month around the cliffs - the auks pack up and depart, and the first hints of autumn appear but there is still the potential for a bit more summer weather.

And the 4-word summary of the report - auks, waves, fins, fog.

Reporting Days: 31

Location: Shetland

Miles Walked: 150

Miles Driven: 432

Gardens Tended: 1

Photographs Taken: Many thousands (Auks, Waves, Fins & Fogs)


During August the auks finally abandon the cliffs and head back out to sea. 

In most years there's a sense of sadness marking the end of summer, this year I was just relieved to see them go - with avian influenza being so prevalent at the moment the open sea is safer than the colonies.  

The razorbills always disappear first (mostly not even waiting for the start of August), the guillemots next (although there are always a few laggards) then the puffins (usually disappearing en masse) and finally the black guillemots (although these don't go far, and just change plumage for the winter season spent close to shore).

Dry Stone nest building at Sumburgh Head

Calling Tystie at Scat Ness

Who's watching Who at Sumburgh Head


A spot of sunshine plus some decent seas rolling in from the southwest alway gives the chance of seeing good white water - fabulous to watch (from the right vantage point) but I wouldn't want to be navigating close to the cliffs. 

White Water at Scat Ness

White Water at Sumburgh Head

Breaking Waves at Scat Ness

Rolling Waves at Scat Ness


After a pretty limited opportunity to see much marine life over the last couple of months, it was good to get a period of calm seas and lots of time to watch for passing fins.  For about ten days in August both minke whales and basking sharks were reliable sightings in the waters around Sumburgh Head.

Minke whale off Sumburgh Head

Basking shark off Compass Head


And the calmer summer weather almost inevitably means summer fog around Shetland - which is fine unless you happen to be trying to get a flight...

Foghorn in the Fog at Sumburgh Head

Scat Ness in the Fog


And speaking of flights - in August I took my first flights since March 2020 (and my first Loganair flights since January 2020). I was starting to wonder when I'd need to venture back into the air, but travelling at short notice on the ferry isn't really practical over the summer and some things just can't be done by Zoom or Teams (other platforms are available...)

Leaving Sumburgh Airport

And next month - I'm expecting to have a mix of Shetland and (whisper it gently) Oxfordshire pictures...