16 Sept 2014

16 Sep 14 - Bicentennial Celebration

Back in mid May, the blog reached it's centennial post, which was a chance to look back on the first 7 months of blogging. The centennial post was split over 2 posts & was a chance to look back on the Non-Passerine & Passerine families photographed up to that point. It was great to have been able to reached that milestone and also look back on some of the great bird families I had photographed up to that date. Also it showed I was getting the enough photos and interest to keep the blog going. At the time, I was really pleased as I had just reached a total of 15,000 hits on the blog and a daily average of 150 hits a day. But I did have the advantage of some great trips over the Winter & Spring to India, Western Sahara & Morocco and Israel to provide plenty of material. I had also been to Croatia as well, but hadn't got around to putting those photos on the blog at that point.
Kingfisher: This was the first Bird photo on my first post (24 Oct 13)
Well 4 months on & I've just reached the bicentennial post. It's quite ironic that a few days ago, I was sitting in the hide at Middlebere & two of the species seen on the first morning with the camera appeared again & gave me the idea for this post. The first post all started with a Kingfisher & a Fox at Middlebere, but then went on to really challenge my fledgling photographic skills with a Pallid Swift at Stanpit. Sadly, there were no rare Swifts involved on this occasion. But at least there was a Kingfisher & it's the first I've seen at Middlebere since the first post & only my third for the site.
Kingfisher: The all black bill indicates this is a male (12 Sep 14)
Kingfisher: Back to the original wooden perch (12 Sep 14)
Kingfisher: You looking at me? (12 Sep 14)
There was also a showy Fox. This is a species I see erratically, but every few visits to Middlebere. They are generally on the approach track, but occasionally they appear in front of the hide. On the first occasion, the Fox came right up to the hide, but the individual was more wary on the recent sighting.
Fox: This was the original photo (24 Oct 13)
Fox: The recent sighting. At least it fits in the photo being further away (12 Sep 14)
So it's been a great last 100 posts. Recently I looked at the number of species of photos already on the blog & realised I have already photographed just over 5% of the Birds of the world. So just another 95% to go.
Reed Warbler: My first Reed Warbler for the blog. That's one less to the 100% target
With the Summer, there has been a lot of opportunity to blog more on other wildlife interests, other than Birds. Butterflies & Dragonflies have been a lot of fun over the Summer, with the undoubted high (& subsequent low) of finding the Map Butterflies. But it's also given me the chance to explore some of the other lesser known Insect groups that Birders rarely look at, including Grasshoppers & Bush Crickets and Shieldbugs. I look forward to more of these posts in the future, as I've really enjoyed looking at these groups and learning more about them. It's been really encouraging that people who know more about these groups are helping point out the occasional error, but good to know I'm getting nearly all the photos correctly identified.
Ruddy Darter: Dragonflies species are dropping off now, but there are still good numbers of some species. South Haven (10 Sep 14)
Another thing that has been encouraging over the last 4 months, the total number of hits has almost tripled to over 43,000 and the daily average is around the 300 hits a day. Another thing that has been fun, but I wish I had started this on day one on the blog is the flag counter. This counts countries, or to be more precise internet countries, of visitors. Thus Jersey, Guernsey & the Isle of Man all appear as flags. Big thanks to my friend Clare for reading the blog from Bhutan today & adding the 90th country since I discovered the flag counter: great timing Clare. Of these 90 countries, I've only managed to visit 38 so far. So it's interesting & really great to see how widely this blog is being read.
Flag Counter: Now up to 90 countries. Wonder if I missed any countries in the first 7 months
Certainly, the Butterflies & Dragonflies has helped to attract some additional followers. If so, I hope you enjoy the blog & will keep visiting it. There might not be so many shots of these over the coming Winter, but they will feature a lot from next Spring onwards & I've got plans for some Butterfly & Dragonfly posts to keep interest going over the next few months. Also, I've still got a couple of more Map posts to finalise, but Birding has kept me so busy, that I've not had the time to really sit down & write them yet. Hopefully I will publish these Map posts soon.
House Martin: The first post ended with a rare Swift. This commoner House Martin will have to do as a stand in. But it's another new species for the blog, just got this photographed as they start departing the UK
I am already looking forward to the next centennial milestone, I've got some exciting plans to keep the photos & ideas on the blog looking fresh, but you will have to wait till these plans develop. In the meantime, there is the important matter of the Autumn's Birding to attend to first. Let's hope there will be some good Birds for us all to enjoy. Finally, a big thank you to everybody who reads the blog. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have & you continue to follow it going forward & better still encourage your friends to have a look at it. Thank You.