Thursday, July 11, 2013
Eyeing the Rope
Almost there (although like Andy I won't be stopping on the grand) on 983. Frankly, I'm astonished: anyone who read my first post so long ago may remember me bemoaning my urban surroundings and doubting that I'd get anywhere near, but here I am. It's not that I've discovered any hidden habitats, it's just that road verges, neglected gardens and especially the forecourts of lock-up garages can be more diverse than I thought. As someone who's botanised around the area for 20 years I expected 200 plants and I'm now on 290+, with some genuine surprises. Days after I remarked to John that I hadn't seen Flixweed for years I chanced upon a few plants in a gutter - where did they come from ? I've found other local scarcities like Corn Spurrey as well as the predictable aliens and a surprising 43 species of grass. Lichens have come up with 66 and bryophytes with 43 and I've a couple of spots earmarked to check later once the insect frenzy has died down. I've kept a macro-moth list for the garden, which normally comes in at around 150, for years but was I wildly optimistic to hope for as many micros ? So far they're slightly ahead and I'm nearing 300 despite the general awfulness of 2013. I've even had a garden bird tick, the mightly Kestrel. These are generally extremely rare round here - it's too built-up and Peregrine is the common falcon - and a bit of a bogey for me since Dawn and the girls saw one some years ago. Dawn kept repeating this feat this year until she finally managed to get me onto it - surely just one bird, which has adopted the unusual habit of hovering at extreme height and then stooping into the gardens. My next challenge is to manipulate the next few species so that my 1000th is not, heaven forbid, the leafmine of a fly.