It’s been a wild year

Here are twelve animals to celebrate a wonderfully wild year. I’m looking forward to cranking my wildlifing up a notch in the new year and thought I’d get in the spirit of things by looking back at some of the best sightings over the past few months.

The Albino Squirrel – I found this rare and eye catching fellow in Selsdon Wood in the Summer. I had no idea that such a creature existed, but it seems there are several in the Croydon and Surrey area.

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The Wood Duck – I didn’t know ducks could display such amazing colours. This wood duck was splashing about, puffing out his chest in a pond at the Wetlands centre in Barnes.

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The Common Seal – Common feels a bit unfair seeing as how they are anything but common in Cornwall. This particular seal was enjoying the sunshine on the infamous Black Rock.

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The Starling – I’ve written about these starlings twice now, and may well have included this very bird in both posts. I love their colours and the way they strut. This picture sums up their cock sure nature perfectly.

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The Rose-ringed Parakeet – Definitely my most featured bird on WSL. I even managed to get a feature in BBC Wildlife magazine about these little green invaders.

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The Black Swan – These two swans almost look like one swan looking in the mirror. They stared at each other for quite a while before having a fairly lackluster fight.

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The Peacock Butterfly – On a visit to Cornwall to see my parents, I saw this butterfly for the first time. It was sitting on a buddleia along with a small tortoise shell and a red admiral. I’ve never seen so many species in one place.

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The Great Crested Grebe – I got to know great crested grebes quite well this year. There was a family of them living on South Norwood Lake. This picture shows the male having just caught what looks like a crayfish.

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The Jelly Fish – Again in Cornwall, while waiting to jump in my dad’s boat to go Seal watching, I noticed this translucent jelly bobbing around. I loved the way it looked in the shallows.

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The Heron – Herons are everywhere in London, but I still love spotting them. It always seems like a privilege to watch them fish. This particular bird was in South Norwood Lake.

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The Pied Wagtail – This bird entertained me for quite a while, bouncing around trying to avoid my camera. I took a lot of pictures, but every time the bird had positioned itself right next to a pile of New Forest pony manure. I finally got a clear picture of it, and as I did so it stared right into my lens. What a poser.

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The Dragonfly – I have chosen this little beauty for his comical facial expression. If I’m doing this NYE thing right, it might be a reflection of my own expression in the morning.

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Happy new year wildlifers.

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