James Lowen 


2017 TOP TEN: #4

Nearly there. 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

... and now...

#4. Top cat(s). One week, two Lynx

(A bit of a cheat this, as it relates to two separate – but linked – experiences.) In late winter, I visited Spain and Estonia in successive weekends, aiming to see two species of Lynx (Iberian and Eurasian, respectively) in a single week. Bit of a naff thing to do, clearly, but the timing of research trips happened to make it possible. The Sierra du Andujar trip, with Mike Hoit and Will Soar, scored within 30 minutes of dawn on the first morning – despite near-impenetrable fog. A female sauntered within 25 metres of us, not caring a fig about our salivating presence. The following day we were voyeurs, having walk-away views of a mating pair. Eurasian Lynx would be a different kettle of cold-blooded creature, I knew that. Nevertheless, thanks to the brilliant efforts of Estonian Nature Tours, some hard work (not by me!) and a dose of luck, we managed decent views, if awful photos, of a female with a cub. Not a tick (I bumped into one in Estonia in May 2002!), but damn, damn good. Top mammaling. Top cats.