As we head into 2016, I thought I would just write a summary for my blog and wildlife in general for 2015. This year I finally decided to take the plunge and start this blog. It is something I wanted to do for a while but to be honest I was a little nervous about putting myself out there. I had no real expectations and I had not really thought about where I wanted the blog to go. The thinking behind the name was not about blogging daily, but promoting the idea of incorporating nature into our daily lives. When I began blogging in June, I started by looking at wildlife from my window, and focusing on the often overlooked American robin. From then I have covered species such as killer whales, wolves and corncrakes and discussed the importance of wildlife for our health , the need for wildlife education in schools and my personal birding and bird ringing experiences. I did not expect in my first year to be highly commended by BBC Wildlife Magazine in their Wildlife Blogger Awards 2015, that was certainly a highlight for the year, their Local Patch Reporters page is a fantastic platform for wildlife bloggers, and it is certainly worth looking at!
Before I began blogging I was really in the dark about the wildlife community, especially wildlife bloggers. One of my highlights from this year and from starting the blog in general has been the opportunity to connect with fellow naturalists. I have learnt so much just from reading the huge variety of excellent blogs out there and being able to connect with people through social media.
This year has been mixed for wildlife. Cetacean sightings in the UK have increased and around Vancouver Island endangered species such as the Southern Resident Killer Whale and formally listed species such as the humpback whale have increased in numbers. There was even a rare fin whale spotted, showing signs that populations are recovering and could eventually recolonise the area. This year saw a number of bird species usually found in southern Europe breed in the UK, species such as bee-eaters and Montagu’s harrier could be seen. Whilst native species like bittern and barn owl had a good breeding year across the country. On Vancouver Island, endangered birds such as purple martin had a record breeding year, more endemic Vancouver Island marmot were released from captive breeding into the wild, giving hope for species survival.
However for many species 2015 was particularly negative. British Columbian wolves and grizzly bears as well as UK badgers and fox have endured a torrid time at the hands of unscientific, expensive and ecologically damaging culls and hunts. Endangered raptors continue to be persecuted and funding for renewable energy has been significantly cut, whilst damaging practices like fracking will soon be putting UK National Parks in danger. Mass habitat loss globally, for example fires in Indonesia, continue to force wildlife towards extinction, we are officially entering the sixth mass extinction, and this one can be directly attributed to us.
There is hope though, wildlife is slowly becoming more valued by people, wildlife education continues to grow and the environment is getting more media coverage than ever. We are seeing conservation success stories from all over the globe, showing that when time, effort and funding is put into conserving species, they can recover.
For 2016 I shall be continuing the blog and building on it, I also have other little projects planned, including a Youtube channel, which is scary and exciting!
Happy New Year!