2016 - A Year In Review

Now that 2016 is coming to an end, I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect on the year, and highlight some of the best bits from the past twelve months.


So here, in no particular order, are my (wildlife-related) highlights from 2016:

1) Rainforest Trust Interview.
At the very beginning of the year, I was lucky enough to have an interview published on the American conservation charity, The Rainforest Trust's website - where I discussed Borneo and the threat of deforestation to the world's forest. This was the first time my work had been properly published before, so this was a very exciting opportunity and certainly led to me doing more of this kind of thing throughout the year.


2) Papercourt Meadows Short-eared Owls
Going back to Papercourt Meadows in Surrey in the winter of 2016 was fantastic yet again. We were greeted by beautiful sunsets and at least three individual Short-eared Owls - a great number for such a small reserve. It was a great winter for Papercourt - and I'm hoping the same trend will repeat itself this coming winter.


3) Trip to Extremadura, Spain.
This was a super trip to Spain that was full of wildlife. The Extremadura region is now one of my favourite places I've visited - the food, landscape and, more importantly, the wildlife is fantastic - overall a wonderful trip with lots of new species that I hadn't seen before.  The posts are here.


4) BTO Work Experience - Young Birders + BBC Wildlife Blog.
My week of work experience at the British Trust for Ornithology was a fantastic opportunity by itself, but it also gave me the chance to get two more pieces of writing published - one on the BTO Young Birders Blog, and one on the BBC Wildlife blog. This was very exciting, especially to see some of my work published online, on websites other than my personal blog.


5) Surveying Nightjar with the BTO.
Also a part of my week's work experience at the BTO, the opportunity to join the BTO surveying nightjars near their offices was certainly a highlight of my year. To get involved in science, and to see nightjars, their nests and their young in ways that wouldn't be possible without joining a survey like this. Despite not catching one to ring, this evening was amazing - a definite highlight. My post about it is here.


6) Encounter with Wild Turtles.
Another definite highlight of the year was swimming with turtles in the harbour of Meis, a Greek island of the coast of the Turkey. The turtles were readily coming close to the harbour walkways - so close that we could film them without even getting in the water. But swimming with turtles had always been something I'd dreamed of getting the chance to do, so we headed round the harbour to a designated swimming area and waited to see if they would come round. And sure enough, they did, and I managed to get closer than I ever would have thought to wild turtles in the water. Amazing.


7) Bird Ringing
2016 was also the year I started bird ringing which has been truly amazing. Being able to not only see birds closer than ever before, but to also get involved in some great science has been fantastic. I have, writing this, been ringing for approximately 7 months and have processed almost 300 birds. Each and every one of them have been incredible. You can read my post HERE. And of course, thanks again to my trainer, David, for teaching me some brilliant skills. I have learnt so much more about birds than I ever thought.


So, overall, 2016 has been a great year for me in terms of blogging and wildlife. I have been given so many great opportunities and have had some great experiences, some of which will stay with me for a long time. What's more, the blog stats have been going mental this year, with a huge increase on 2015, which I didn't expect to happen to be entirely honest. In total, this year has rendered almost three times as many pageviews - so thank you for reading my blog!

I will of course be continuing into 2017, and am looking forward to more experiences and writing some more posts next year. I hope you've enjoyed reading my blog over the past year - into 2017!

Thomas.

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