For me, going out and exploring is absolutely essential. Getting lost provides me with an escapism incomparable to anything else. It enables me to pause, mull and re-calibrate, helps me to reflect and re-connect with myself and permits me occasionally to witness the natural world as independent of humanity. When I get lost enough, sometimes I forget about the Anthropocene. I am able to stand in awe, to ramble, revel and enjoy the natural world on its own terms. In a nutshell, that is the joy of birding. Like most things worthwhile, it is the journey that matters rather than the destination.
This year that journey took me to Norfolk, Cornwall, Somerset, Kent, Essex, Gloucestershire, Surrey and Sussex. All in all I recorded 178 species, not including the famous ringed teal of Welney WWT (a suspected escapee) and one or two muscovy ducks. Here are just a few snapshots from the year, taken on my phone through the lens of my spotting scope.