To be honest this year has ended as a crap one for me. I've not had a days birding since my last one on 14 October and I won't get out - with the exception of at least a couple of 'escape days' which I'm looking forward to but are a long time coming - for several weeks yet....trust me I know what I'm talking about.
However, a bird like the Kentish Plover at Cockersands on Tuesday 3 May isn't likely to ever be forgotten and I'll need to do a search to nudge my memory on all the other birds found/seen in 2011 of which there are several, American Golden Plover and Lesser Yellowlegs have already sprung to mind. So all in all 2011 was about as opposite to 'crap' as is possible to be and good birding days were as endless as any other year for me.
So to add a bit of colour and interest to the blog on the last day of this year 2011, I'd like to take this opportunity to share and showcase six photographs which have blown my socks off and hopefully will yours. They have been randomly chosen by yours truly and in no way are to be seen as a selective bunch to be set apart from the many excellent/brilliant/amazing pics I find on other birders/photographers websites, all good friends of mine many of whom I have personally met and some I've had many an hours first rate birding with at equally first rate locations and all of who have given me the necessary permission to post their images on Birdsblog.
Actually - with the exception of the last photograph - they are in bird name alphabetical order, and all resist the temptation to repeatedly use words like stunning/brilliant/excellent/amazing. The picture of the Cuckoo is by Paul Foster who did well to capture this bird on the wing, not all that easy to find these days let alone achieve an image as good as this.
Great White Egret.
The 'Great' one as Reculver Birder Marc Heath called it when he visited Oare Marshes in Kent recently....a close encounter with the Great White Egret.
The Herring Gull doing what it does best which is to 'down' large sizes of food source in one gulp - and shown to good effect - by David Cookson ....impressive stuff by DC.
The Little Owl giving its usual 'oh no not him again pointing his camera at me'. A nice one of this appropriately named bird by Brian Rafferty
This White-whiskered Puffbird was just one of many 'gems' for Colin Bushell when he visited Colombia recently.
And finally....the 'non bird' image of the Meerkats is from Gary Jones a very cool pic indeed.
Common Sandpiper. David Cookson.
I see with interest the/a Common Sandpiper has been reported a couple of times recently at Conder Green again, if this is 'the' wintering bird then its been hiding from all comers for several weeks now.
If you're looking to while away some time you could do much worse than visit any one of the above to view some excellent photography, read some interesting accounts of birding days, and much more. Meanwhile....A HAPPY NEW YEAR and GOOD BIRDING and many thanks for 'sticking' with Birds2blog to see if and when it comes back to life. I'm still getting new first time visitors, like the average of 14 over the last 30 days including 20 yesterday....who'd a thunk it!