Saturday, 31 December 2011

Looking Back

Well, there goes another one.  Almost as soon as 2011 crept up on us, it's all over bar the shouting and 2012 is snapping at our heels.  So, with all the TV and radio programs summing up the year and looking back at what has, or might have been, I thought I would do something similar.
It's been another good year for 'new species' ticked off (or, more accurately, added to) my life-lists.  Most have been, as usual, noted in foreign parts, during our holidays.  Starting with plant life, in Lanzarote, we saw Agave attenuata and 'Filao Trees', Crassula ovata, Echium bonnetii, Euphorbia balsamifera, Heliotropium erosum, Kleinia neriifolia and Launaea arborescens among many others.  Madeira was also good for 'new species of plants most notably Calico Flower (Aristolochia elegans) and Mountan Ebony (Bauhinia variegata).  The fluffy Kapok Trees were also a first for me.  The fabulously red flowers of Erythrina crista-galli were note-worthy too.
Closer to home, my mother's garden proved interesting with Asian Pokeweed and Buckwheat plants springing up from nowhere, and Shipley Park proved equal to the challenge too and I was able to tick off a few new species here too including Hedge Bedstraw, Long-stalked Crane's-bill and the beautiful, little Fairy Flax.
As always, the bird list has expanded a bit too.  We started with Barbary Partridge remaining frustratingly far away, in Lanzarote in January.
There were Pain Swifts in Madeira, Red-Rumped Swallows in The Algarve, A Madeiran Kestrel and Madeiran Grey Wagtail (technically only sub-species, but still worth noting) and Canaries.  Although, not all the birds we saw in Madeira were classed as 'ticks', however colourful they were.
Most recently, we saw Lesser Redpolls almost in our own back yard, while walking round Shipley Park.
Our Trip to The Algarve proved to be good for invertebrate ticks too with Red-winged Grasshoppers, Bath White Butterflies and Crimson-speckled Moths to add to the list.
Capping them all however, who can forget the 'Greater-Spotted, Pain-Enduring, Brave-Faced and very rare species known in these parts as Malcolm and his plaster....
Well, enough is enough and I think we've all had enough of 2011, so bring on 2012 and lets hope there a good number of new ticks to be added during the coming year and many fewer trips to the doctor to be jabbed with a needle..!
Happy New Year.
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