As many of my regular readers will have noticed I have been offline for sometime. There is a large mitigating factor for this.
I sat down and thought the other day; this year I have had 5 different jobs..... 5! I have left jobs by choice and been made redundant as well and I cant say its been a vintage year. With all due respect it has been a bitch of a year.
80 hours of work a week has been needed to keep the wolf from the door so to speak and this has meant that I have had large chunks of time away from the family and other endeavours that I pursue.
My bird ringing has, on the whole been amazing this year, some cracking species like the PG Tips and good numbers for many of the regulars too indicating a good breeding season, however I went AWOL on multiple occasions for extended periods of time due to my work load.
My birding too has suffered, 220 species this year which is respectable, however my Scilly trip was cancelled due to pro rata holiday restrictions at new jobs meaning the trip would be a week unpaid.
I was asked to reflect on my favourite bird of 2014 that I had twitched and for me it has been the Short Toed Eagles tour of the South. I first went for the bird at Pig Bush in the New Forest but before I had even reached Southampton news reached me that it had moved, after a couple of attempts to catch up with the bird in Ashdown Forest, I eventually found it! Turns out I was in the wrong part of the forest (I had wondered why it was so devoid of other birders!!!). I spent a blissful hour watching the bird catching thermals and hunting until it drifted over a peak and out of view.
I am now, thankfully, settled in a job and am looking to be here for the long haul. I must apologise to my ringing trainers, Duncan Bell and Trevor Codlin for my extended absences this year and can assure you both that it is full steam ahead for me from now on!
And to my beautiful wife Kayleigh and my gorgeous little boy Bradley, I love you both so so much and couldn't have made it through this year without you both!