Sunday, January 26, 2014

2014: the beginnings

This time last year I started properly paying attention to the wildlife in my local area, particularly in the 1km square centred roughly on my house.  Then at Easter I got a job monitoring insects in oilseed rape fields in Wiltshire that meant I barely visited the square for four months, and most of the rest of my spare time went to finishing writing up my PhD, so it ended up with a fairly small-scale effort, though I did eventually reach 4,609 records of 1,059 species (with a load more stuff in pots awaiting a spare minute!).

This year, with just one full-time job and a few side projects, I've got the chance to try it properly.  In addition, I start as one of BBC Wildlife's local patch reporters on the 10th February, so I'll be documenting everything I find over the next year.

So far,I've taken advantage of the warm January weather to wander round a few of the local paths, checking on the progress of the floods (most of the top half of the map has been underwater for much of the year so far) and poking through the flood debris.  So far, I've found and identified 221 species in my square: the full list is at but the highlights include four pairs of goosanders and two kingfishers on the lake at bottom right, 16-spot ladybirds in the flood debris, and a water scorpion:

(cross-posted at Insect rambles and 1000 species for 1km)


  1. Great start Richard, and I suspect you're going to blow my total away before the year ends (or even gets half way!) However, whilst you're clearly an insect whizz, you may need to revise some bird ID. Red-breasted Mergansers (I presume you meant, not Red-headed?) are rare inland, and four pairs would be exceptional; surely these were Goosanders?

    Anyway, looks a great square with loads of potential. And great news on the BBS Wildlife stuff too, will try to remember to read

    1. Thanks - should be fun, if busy! Suspect the square will feature heavily...

      Good spot - common merganser/goosander turned itself into red-breasted there.