James Lowen 


2017 TOP TEN: #1

"It's the final countdown." What will be the 2017 number 1? For a reminder of previous entries, click on the links. 

#10. Best plant: "Roding Orchid"

#9. Garden Hawfinch

#8. Best twitch: White-winged Scoter

#7. Best place: Picos de Europa, northern Spain

#6. Best birding experience: Firecrest Day on Portland
#5. Top voyeuring: mating Hornet Moths

#4. Top cat(s). One week, two Lynx

#3. Best detective work: Bedstraw Hawk-moth

#2. Best self-find: Olive-backed Pipit in Wells Woods

So here it is. My favourite wildlife experience of 2017... and in my new home county of Norfolk, to boot.

​#1. Life highlight: dancing Adders

I have been addericted for eight years now. Between February and May, in particular, both in Kent and in Norfolk, I've spent countless hours on heathland and downland watching Adders. They are wonderful creatures, and I have photographed them and blogged about them endlessly. I can't imagine ever tiring of seeing them. Every single encounter gives me a frisson. But I have never managed the Ultimate Adder, the Adder Nirvana: sparring or "dancing" males. All that changed on 11 April this year when two silvery serpents towered off the ground and writhed around one another. Start-to-finish, the whole encounter was over within six seconds. But being so long and so intensely craved, and so hard to orchestrate, it was nevertheless unequivocally my stand-out wildlife encounter of the year. Roll on April 2018.