2015 Highlights: in Pictures

2015 was a great year for me and wildlife: I started to pay closer attention to the change in the seasons, I read more about wildlife, I bought three rather chunky field guides, I got a bat detector, I went on a search for fin whales and I travelled more than I ever have (great for my scratch map).

Instead of showing you all of the photos I took this year I thought I’d try and make two collages…it turns out it was harder than I thought! After some deliberation I managed to choose a few which might not technically be the best photos, but they all triggered some fantastic memories.

Use this Native one.jpg

From top left to right:

Chris and I travelled to Jersey at the beginning of 2015; it is an absolutely stunning island, abundant with wading birds like oystercatchers, and of course cows – everywhere!

On a walk in July I saw a lady bird on a thistle in my local patch. Nearby flitted dozens of butterflies but I liked this little lady the best.

Regent’s Park in the summer is gorgeous! So many flower beds, rough patches of grass, huge lawns to picnic on, and I even saw a kestrel on one occasion.

I love bees. Bees are the best.

On another walk I nearly stepped on this poor shield bug, I saw him at the last second and scooped him up for a quick photoshoot instead.

One afternoon me and Chris sat by a quiet secluded pond covered in lilies, dozens of dragonflies were darting over the water’s surface catching midges and the like. I couldn’t get a good photo because of their speed, but hopefully this year I’ll do better.

Here’s a recognisable sight for most nature lovers; a blue tit perched and ready to spring onto a feeder.

Buddleias are butterfly magnets and this brimstone was powerless to the flower’s charms, breaking its cover to collect some nectar.

Lastly, I went on my maiden voyage to Richmond park – not my last that’s for sure.

 

Next up are the exotic animals/zoos! I managed to visit at least eight zoos and sanctuaries in 2015, and with a visit planned next week for Colchester I’m not planning on slowing down. Here’s a few highlights:

Zoos

Top left to right:

A squinting sand cat ready to go to sleep at Berlin Zoo. I. Can’t. Even.

My first ever encounter with an Amur leopard was in 2015 at Dublin Zoo. Wow. I imagine no one has ever taken a bad photo of these handsome cats! During our visit, I also realised how giant Amur tigers are when one walked right past up to the glass. I’ll never forget the look of shock on mine and Chris’ faces as it slinked past.

This little garden eel at Kew Gardens stole my heart. Garden eels were one of the first species I saw when I was learning to SCUBA dive a few years ago. They’re very wary of their surroundings and if you kick your fins too hard they disappear into the sand within a blink of an eye.

Monkey World in Dorset is an amazing animal sanctuary where they rescue and rehabilitate primates from all over the world. The stories I read were powerful. This chimpanzee is called Sally and she has been a foster mum for many troubled adolescent chimps, helping them on the road to recovery. She deserved her own portrait. (The featured image for this post is also from Monkey World)

Centre:

This emperor tamarin at ZSL London Zoo sat proudly on the edge of his rainforest enclosure just a metre away from me. There is so much character in his stance, I absolutely love this photo. He also puts me to absolute shame in the facial hair department, especially as he was only one year old at the time.

I love this photo because the tiny poison dart frog looks like he’s contemplating a leap into the unknown (Berlin Zoo).

On holiday in Croatia we were lucky to be joined by a small pod of wild bottlenose dolphins who wanted to bow ride our small catamaran. The encounter lasted only a few minutes, but it was magical. This happened in the first half an hour of our three day trip, we got so excited that we would see dolphins all the time…well, those were the only dolphins we saw for the entire 72 hours. Still magical. (Obviously not a zoo experience, but still one I wanted to share)

Once again. I can’t even. This red panda lives at Dublin Zoo and was having a nap right at the top of his tree.

Last but definitely not least (in the cute department), I met Edward the baby sloth at ZSL London Zoo! He was very busy eating some Hibiscus flowers (otherwise known as sloth chocolate!) for lunch and had scheduled several naps for the rest of the day. I was lucky he could fit me into his schedule.

One last bonus photo

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Just in case you weren’t sure what species he was…spotted at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

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