So another year has almost gone by, seemingly in a river of rain water. Dismal days summed up the wettest year on record with a band of rain following me up and down the country, with the only real exception being a few days in March spent in St Ives, when we were treated to some unseasonable warmth and glorious Cornish sunshine.
December has been particularly dull, and after booking off a few days over the festive period, I've spent most of them sat in the house, looking out at the rain. Such a waste of valuable time off. I have popped out a couple of days though, when the clouds have stopped shedding their load. With such short days, travelling far afield is a bit pointless, so I've found myself camping out in the new hide at the Moors pools, at Upton Warren.
On both visits I waited until dusk to see the bittern, though it only showed one afternoon, and for about 5 seconds. Not quite the majestic views had down on the levels, or even a couple of winters ago on the North Moors pool. Still, there are other subjects to point the lens at.
Finches - green, chaff and bull varieties frequent the feeders, in good numbers too. I often overlook more common species like the greenfinch and chaffinch, so when they posed on something interesting, I took a shot.
I do love the colours on these birds - enough to brighten up a dull day.
But the bullfinches steal the show every time. They have a glow to them and really stand out in the darkness of hedges.
The family of rats still seem to be enjoying the free food on offer, and show their ability to climb when they fancy a nibble on suet. Or just sit looking rather plump, munching on the ground.
Every so often the unmistakeable call of long-tailed tits chirrups out and over they come, in their small flock, bobbing and flowing, taking it in turns to feed on whatever takes their fancy, usually the suet.
Such fluffy looking birds with those distinctive stripes over their heads.
Occasionally the secretive water rails would break cover, usually scuttling across the channels, or swimming at pace.
So while perhaps the one star of the show failed to show, another resident put in a couple of appearances, and brought a smile to many of the folks I was sharing the hide with.
A kingfisher, which tried fishing from all manner of perches, though I didn't see it make a successful catch.
The "man-made" perches provided the closest views, though when it chose natural ones, like reed maces, the shots were arguably more attractive.
Thanks to everyone who has read, followed and commented on this blog over the year, and let's hope 2013 brings less rain, more bright weather and loads of great subjects for me to photo and share on this Blog. Cheers!