Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Here's to 2013... and beyond!

Well, we are near the end of the year, so it's time to look back and reflect. And look forwards and plan stuff.

So, the reflecty bit first. What has finding 1000 species been all about? For me, it has been the most amazing journey of natural history discovery, and also about making new connections, finding out in a deeper way about my neighbourhood, and an almost biblical act of self-improvement. I first opted in around about mid Feb I think, through the quasi-mysterious and intriguing tweetings of Andy and a few others. I knew this was for me, and my first decisive act was to put together some decent reference books and equipment. I now have a shelf full.
Getting to know these books has been a great learning experience. Next was figuring out how on earth I was going to reach one thousand. I reckoned it would be difficult. My game plans are outlined to an extent in previous posts. But basically I knew that I would have to enlarge my skill base considerably. I couldn't just sit back and rely on my previous experience. Besides, I wanted to tackle new things. It was going to be like exploring.

From then on it was a kind of whirlwind of seasons changing, species coming in, and species fading out.

I don't want to run through the challenge blow by blow, so here's some of the highlights in pictures:

Oak Beauty
Brook Lamprey
The moth trap
Species No 1000 - Lagria hirta

Dark Green Fritillary
 Merveille-du-jour, most wanted moth of the year on Twitter!

And many many others. I discovered the joys of identifying new groups, like hoverflies, spiders, molluscs and ground beetles, and also the frustrations of many groups I have yet to master - hymenoptera, fungi, aphids, springtails and others. These are the future. I found a closer connection with the weather and the seasons. I discovered places that now have a piece of my heart - the green lane, the stream, the ponds, the hedges and the trees.

I thought it interesting to break down my eventual species list of 1170 species into species groups. I think it probably just indicates how large-species-centric I am, but here it is just for the reader's titillation:

Amphibian 3
Aphid 5
Bird 86
Bristletail 1
Bryophyte 16
Assorted bug 35
Centipede 2
Charophyte 1
Coleoptera 42
Crustacean 1
Diptera 53
Fish 3
Fungi 30
Hymenoptera 28
Lacewing 3
Lepidoptera 451
Lichen 10
Mammal 13
Millipede 4
Mollusc 22
Odonata 12
Orthoptera 6
Leech 1
Spider 27
Trichoptera 5
Vascular plant 305
Woodlouse 3
Worm 1

So, there it is. Lots more to discover. 

Now, looking forwards, I have clearly become a committed pan-species naturalist. I intend to widen my search area and start putting in some time at some of Norfolk's best places for wildlife. I won't forget my home turf, and will keep building the 1k square list. I will pass my records on to Norfolk Biological Information Service. And I will try to encourage other folk to get on board. Inspired and energised!


1 comment:

  1. It's not my aim to necessarily get a 1000 in 2014, but the blog and its contributors have both inspired me to swell my library and go deep on my patch next year. The blog will serve as a great resource and inspiration when the going gets tough as I'm sure it will !