This time last year I had recently returned from a photographic expedition to Florida. If anyone is interested the relevant blog posts/trip report starts here. Likely not, but those were the days. I've been taking solace in reminding myself of some of the great trips I've been on, the wonderful birds I've seen and the fun I had seeing them. Although I'm marooned in Wanstead at the moment looking back at these photographic memories never fails to raise a smile and I am so glad I documented them all.
There are some photos that I consider a cut above. Photos that I will always remember taking, photos that made me smile at the time, that perhaps even elicited a giggle. I just found one that I think sits very near the top of my list of all-time favourite photos. It's not a Wheatear. It's not any kind of pin sharp bird. It's not a glorious sunset from an epic location. It's not artistic or technically clever in any way. In fact I would go so far as to say that is is plain stupid. It's not even taken with a proper camera, it's simply a snap from my phone. I don't recall ever having posted it, or if I have I can't find it. But even if I did it is one of those photos where the quality easily merits a repeat.
It is Snuffi. Snuffi is a small and partially threadbare Panther. Many of my favourite photos involve Snuffi. He comes with me on every trip, and it is essential that he has his photo taken in front of landmarks and so on, or at least somewhere readily identifiable as being "there". If you have followed this blog for any length of time you will no doubt have seen him pop up before, usually at the very end of trip reports. You have probably been kind enough not to mention it. That a middle-aged man could have such an attachment to a small cuddly toy is best left to professionals, but here is a photo from that trip to Florida. I remember passing the sign and then stopping the car and turning back once my feeble brain had processed the possibility that the nice clear stretch of road afforded. I am very glad that I did as in my book this is one of the all-time greats.