December 22, 2022  •  1 Comment

Welcome to my review of 2022 which includes what I have been up to over the past year and some of my favourite highlights. This year I did a lot more travelling to new locations and several visits to some of my favourite locations. I also took the plunge and bought a mirrorless camera body which has been a steep and long learning curve but I'm pleased with the quality of my images. There are still a few niggles to sort out but I'll stick with the new system.

During the Winter months of January and February I like to visit wetland areas where many birds will spend the colder months. Most of them migrate from the far north like Siberia and Iceland which are frozen solid. A location I've visited over many years is WWT Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. A fantastic place with thousands of ducks, geese and swans.

Bewick's swan (Cygnus bewickii)Bewick's swan (Cygnus bewickii)Bewick's swan (Cygnus bewickii)
WWT Slimbridge, Gloucestershire.
Bewick's swan. A Winter visitor from Siberia landing at Slimbridge.

In February I took delivery of a Nikon Z6 Mk2 which is a digital full frame mirrorless camera. I found the first few outings very different from what I am used to but the new systems plus points out weigh the few niggles I have found over the past few months. I'm still learning!!

Water rail (Rallus aquaticus)Water rail (Rallus aquaticus)Water rail (Rallus aquaticus)
WWT Arundel, West Sussex.
Water rail. One of the first images from the new Nikon mirrorless system I now use.

Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)
WWT London.
Peregrine falcon. One of my favourite images from the Winter.

Brandon Marshes near Coventry is a place I enjoy visiting especially for the kingfishers. The beauty of the mirrorless system is that they are silent in operation making them ideal for getting close to wildlife and not spooking them. The kingfisher image below is an example of this as the bird was only about 20 feet away! With my old system the bird would have flown with the sound of the first shutter release.

Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
Brandon Marshes, Warwickshire.
Common kingfisher at Brandon Marsh, Warwickshire.

As I mentioned earlier, I covered many miles this year. I made five visits to the cliffs at Bempton on the East Yorkshire coast. A round trip of around 500 miles but the sheer numbers of seabirds there make up for the travelling. Again 'Albie' the black-browed albatross was the star of the show who apparently spent the Winter in Germany with the Northern gannets.

Black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris)Black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris)Black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris)
RSPB Bempton cliffs, East Yorkshire.
'Albie' the black-browed albatross wowing the crowds at RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica)Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica)Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica)
RSPB Bempton cliffs, East Yorkshire.
Everybody's favourite, the Atlantic puffin.

Northern gannets (Morus bassanus)Northern gannets (Morus bassanus)Northern gannets (Morus bassanus)
RSPB Bempton cliffs, East Yorkshire.

Early Spring is a good time to witness Gannets in courtship. Bempton Cliffs.

One of my most memorable moments of the past was going to photograph the famous Colin the Cuckoo. Colin has been visiting Thursley Common in Surrey for the last 9 years flying from West Africa. He has learnt that photographers carry mealworms which he is partial to! He is still a wild bird and comes and goes as he pleases so I don't see the harm in feeding the birds. I suppose this is like feeding the birds/wildlife in your own gardens!

Common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)Common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)Common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
Thursley Common, Surrey.

'Colin' the cuckoo

The Farne Islands on the Northumberland coast was a location that had been on my 'bucket list' for many years but this year I finally braved the 6 hour drive. I pre booked two boat trips and visited the Staple and the Farne Isles. The sheer number of seabirds on the islands is mind blowing. I had never seen so many puffins together and to walk amongst them was an experience I'll never forget. I can't wait to make a return visit or three in 2023!!

Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica)Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica)Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica)
Farne Isles, Northumberland.
Puffins everywhere!! Farne Isles.

Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea)Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea)Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea)
Farne Isles, Northumberland.
The Arctic terns on Farne will attack you if you get too close to their nests

During the long very hot Summer we encountered I spent quite a few weekends watching and photographing motorsport. I've always been a bit of a 'petrolhead' especially when it comes to the hot rod scene and drag racing. Santa Pod Raceway is not far from my home in Oxfordshire and is the best place to watch quarter mile racing and see some great cars.

Pro Modified CamaroPro Modified CamaroPro Modified Camaro
Santa Pod Raceway, Bedfordshire.
Drag racing at Santa Pod Raceway

After the long hot (too hot at times!) Summer I was looking forward to the deer rutting season which is normally mid September till late October. Considering the high temperatures, I witnessed more fights between rival stags and bucks than I ever have. Most of my visits were to Bushy Park in London. A great place to witness this annual spectacle but it can get very busy at times.

Red deer (Cervus elaphus)Red deer (Cervus elaphus)Red deer (Cervus elaphus)
Bushy park, London.
Red deer stags battling it out. Bushy Park, London.

Misty mornings are quite common while the 'rut' is taking place which can add a bit of atmosphere to your images.

Fallow deer (Dama dama)Fallow deer (Dama dama)Fallow deer (Dama dama)
Bushy park, London.
Mist & sunrise make a great backdrop for wildlife photography.

Red deer (Cervus elaphus)Red deer (Cervus elaphus)Red deer (Cervus elaphus)
Little Kimble, Bucks.
Red deer stags in battle.

Towards the end of this year we paid a visit to Elmley Nature Reserve in Kent. Another location from our every increasing 'bucketlist'! It is a great location for owls and hares amongst plenty of other wildlife. On this occasion the weather was turning very cold with temperatures mainly below zero centigrade. It was great exploring the place and we have already booked a return visit for early 2023.  Barn owl (Tyto alba)Barn owl (Tyto alba)Barn owl (Tyto alba)
Elmley nature reserve, Kent.
Barn owl hunting at Elmley, Kent.

Brown hare (Lepus europaeus)Brown hare (Lepus europaeus)Brown hare (Lepus europaeus)
Elmley nature reserve, Kent.
Brown hare. Elmley nature reserve, Kent.

As 2022 comes to an end we have already started planning for next year with several locations booked. Over the Christmas holidays we will be spending a few days in Norfolk. A great area for wildlife.

2022 was a fantastic year and now can't wait for 2023.

Thank you all for reading my review of 2022 and thank you all for your support and kind comments.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year



Many more of my images can be viewed on my Instagram gallery page.








Stunning and very Beautiful Photographs as always , such a talent you have! Looking forward now to the next year!! Happy New Year
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