Happy New Year! In the first week of this shiny new year, we are hearing from seven AFON members on their hopes and plans for 2017.
I have always been interested in nature and wildlife, but the past 6 months have seen my interest in it grow more than ever before. Since September, I have seen 30 new bird species & had my first experiences of the twitching world, it’s safe to say I’ve become a bit of an addict. So what are my aims for 2017? Well, with my ever growing love of wildlife there’s a lot, I sense it’s going to be a very busy year.
One of my main aims is to spend more time watching and recording cetaceans, with a particular target of seeing White-beaked Dolphins. Back in November I qualified as a Marine Mammal Surveyor for ORCA a charity working to protect cetaceans in UK, European and adjoining waters. Having now qualified it means in 2017 (and beyond) I will be able to volunteer as a surveyor on their offshore surveys, identifying and recording what is seen from ferry routes. Not only will this enable me to contribute to vital research but it is also a great experience, having the opportunity to see species of cetacean I may not have otherwise seen. I look forward to seeing and learning so much taking part in this.
Now on to the rest of my aims for 2017:
I would really like to develop my identification skills of birds and butterflies, I believe the best way to go about this is to get out there and see it. I finished 2016 having seen 220 bird species, learning tips on how to ID them along the way. I would like to increase that number to 250 British birds seen by this time next year. Two particular target species that I’d like to set my eyes upon are Waxwing and Montagu’s Harrier so I will work extra hard to see those.
As for butterflies, I didn’t really develop such an interest in them until mid-summer so had missed some flight periods. Having a whole year of butterfly interest ahead of me, I aim to see a lot more species. Two particular targets are Purple Emperor and Marsh Fritillary, hopefully an achievable target. I would also like to visit more places, not just in the UK but in the world. Having lived a rather untraveled life until now, getting a passport is top of my to do list and once done I’d like to visit some wildlife rich places in other countries. Until the passport is secured I’ll stick to my target of visiting Scotland, it looks beautiful and holds some great wildlife, so I’ve heard.
My final aim for 2017 is to do with moths, for Christmas I was lucky enough to receive a moth trap. Until now I’d been using a very DIY, botch job of a trap which didn’t retain moths very well, leading to frustratingly low numbers. I aim to get the new moth trap running as soon as possible and look forward to the new species I may get. I’d like to get better at identifying moths over the next year and also seeing some new ones in my trap but also elsewhere. A particular target of mine is to see more of the hawk-moths, I find them fascinating.
Something I truly love about wildlife and nature is there is always so much to see and learn, it is forever changing and offering new things to see. I look forward to spending the entire of 2017 engrossed in nature and wildlife, I hope to catch some of that on camera to share with others.