I decided at the beginning of this year that I would be trying to see 1000 species new to me in the UK during 2017. It’s a huge undertaking, and means I must average between 19 and 20 new species every week! This blog is an update on my progress towards this target during January.
January isn’t the easiest month for finding pan-species lifers, as there are very few insects to be found! I knew I’d have to work extra hard on my latest undertaking, bryophytes, to stand a chance of the 85 new species I’d need to be on target. Here is a summary of the new species that I’ve found…
Lichens: I bought a few lichen guides which were on offer, intending to keep them on the back burner, and start work on them more seriously later in the year. I spent a morning out at the local woods however, and added 7 new species, bringing my total to a rather sorry 12!
Fungi: I always struggle with these, but managed 3 new species, bringing my total to 104.
Bryophytes: I put a lot of time and effort into this group, and went along to the first Cornwall group BBS (British Bryological Society) meeting. 62 new species was my reward! Bringing my total to 148.
Vascular Plants: A few Cornish naturalised species, and a couple of ferns (Hay-scented Buckler-fern and Borrer’s Male-fern) added 8 new species, bringing my total to 868.
Springtails etc.: I doubled my species list! From 1 to 2… Pogonognathellus longicornis. A monumental name, for the giant amongst springtails.
Orthopteroids: 1 new species, the German Cockroach, taking my total to 23.
Hymenoptera: 4 new species, all gall-causers. Takes my list to 66 species.
Diptera: 2 new species, both leaf miners: Phytomyza chaerophylli on Cow Parsley and Chromatomyia primulae on (yep you guessed it) Primrose. Takes my fly total to 87 species.
Lepidoptera: Moths: 1 new species, the Herald! Takes my total to 482.
Tunicates: 1 species added, missed off list previously. The ‘Star Ascidian’.
Birds: 5 new species, taking my total to 253. They were: Blue Rock Thrush (potentially dodgy), Ring-billed Gull, Pacific Diver, Lesser Scaup and Mandarin.
Mammals: 3 new species added, taking my total to 38 species. They were: Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin (missed off list previously), and Lesser Horseshoe Bat.
Somehow, that equates to 98 new species this month, putting me well ahead of my target! I have a feeling though that I’ve found a lot of the common bryophytes in the area, so I may have to think seriously about starting lichens in February. I’ve also secured permission to get some pitfall traps out around campus, so I’m hoping for some extra beetles. Wish me luck, I’m going to need it!