April saw me get out a bit too, although it was mainly local stuff. While staying with family over Easter in Yorkshire I put up some branches next to their feeders and it wasn't long before they started to get some use. Unfortunately their resident male Bullfinch never put in an appearance while I was there (other than when I was sat inside without a camera!) but this Blue Tit was much more cooperative.
It was another few weeks before I managed to get out with a camera again, the small matter of my exams getting in the way! 2 days after these finished, however, I was out in the reedbeds of Suffolk where I spent nearly a month around RSPB Minsmere. Unlike the previous year when I was there, the Bitterns were not as showy, but I spent more time photographing other species such as Bearded Tits and Dartford Warblers.
Then it was back to university for a week for the last bit of the term, before nearly 4 months off followed! For the first few weeks of this monstrously long holiday I spent a lot of time in Richmond Park photographing a family of Little Owls which I had come across. Despite the horrendously early starts required to get there for sunrise I was rewarded with some great view of the adults and young birds.
I also spent a bit of time with some badgers near me that appeared in daylight in the evenings, although as the nights got longer in August this didn't last long! Hopefully I can keep going with these next Summer.
The happiest badger ever photographed!
In August I was back in Suffolk for a few days, with the aim of photographing birds in the flowering heather. Unfortunately it wasn't a great year for the heather, but I still managed some images while I was out there.
In September I went on holiday with the rest of my family to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. It was the first time I'd been to America and I loved it there. Our visit coincided with gorgeous colours of the Aspens, and we were lucky enough to see some amazing wildlife, even including 19 wolves in Yellowstone park! Despite it being a family holiday, of course my camera came with me and I managed to get some photography done.
Getting back home I had a couple of weeks before my second year of university started, so spent several mornings in Richmond Park photographing the deer rut. Some of the mornings had great conditions, with clear skies and mist covering the ground.
Other than a couple of photos taken with a new lens in December, the deer photos were pretty much my last of the year.
Re lenses, I am selling my 600mm f/4 AF-S II lens as I'm now using a 400mm f2.8. The version I'm selling is the one before the VR model. If anyone is interested in seeing some photos send me an email here and I'll send some over.
Other than images I've taken I also had some more in magazines, and I contributed to features for Amateur Photography and N-photo magazine. I was also delighted to have my third cover image, this time for the Wildlife Trusts' Wildlife Watch Magazine! I have also had images in several other magazines, and an exhibition of my photos at the National Trust's reserve Dunwich Heath. My images are still also being featured weekly on Mark Avery's blog (markavery.info/blog/)
In competitions, I was really pleased to have an image commended in the British Wildlife Photography Awards Portraits category.
All that's left is to wish you all a happy and successful 2016. I'll do my best to keep sharing photos as I go on here, Facebook and Twitter and am looking forward to seeing you in the field!