2021 PSL targets (the blog returns)

It’s been a long time since I last posted any blogs! From now on, I intend to write something on here every month or so. I think that’s a realistic target for the new year.

Two years ago at the start of 2019, I decided to set myself a target for each pan-species listing taxon for the upcoming year. I think I failed to reach about as many targets as I reached, but my overall species increase was about as predicted! In setting these targets, I am essentially trying to predict my own interests for the next year, which can be quite difficult! For some groups (Beetles, maybe Vascular Plants, etc.) I feel that I’m fairly likely to achieve my targets, but with many other taxa, my focus shifts and intensifies depending on season, geographical location, and whatever piques my interest at the time.

Curved Sedge (Carex maritima), Invernaver SSSI, Highlands, June 2019. My interest in sedges is directly proportional to my latitude. In the Highlands of Scotland, I frequently spend entire days looking at sedges.

So, without expectation that I will reach many, here are my PSL targets for 2021. I’ll be trying to add at least 1 species per group, except for Reptiles and Amphibians. I’m moving to the Highlands in the near future for most of the year, so I won’t be seeing any new species in those two taxa!

Group2021 Start2021 Target
Algae8690
Slime Moulds34
Protists01
Lichens128150
Fungi366400
Bryophytes351400
Vascular Plants12471300
Sponges67
Comb-jellies23
Cnidarians1718
Molluscs133140
Bryozoans78
Annelid Worms2425
Platyhelminth Worms45
Sea-spiders12
Arachnids205230
Myriapods6163
Crustaceans7175
Springtails etc.3755
3-tailed Bristletails34
Odonata3840
Orthopteroids2627
Hemipteroids456500
Hymenoptera256275
Coleoptera11111300
Diptera377450
Butterflies4546
Moths846900
Remaining Insect Orders8090
Echinoderms1011
Tunicates34
Fish5960
Reptiles66
Amphibians77
Birds315320
Mammals4445
Other Animals12
Overall64327056

I find it hard to gauge whether moving to the Highlands will be beneficial for my PSL or not. On one hand, there are many specialist species I haven’t seen, in habitats I’ve only spent one previous year exploring. On the other hand, the invertebrate season is short, with many species occurring at very low densities. I also want to expand my Sphagnum knowledge, and continue photographing the relatively few species I haven’t yet come across. This won’t add many new species, and will take a lot of time! There will be some fairly serious hiking involved in tracking down some of the bog-moss species I’ve yet to see.

Sphagnum majus, Glen Affric, Highlands, July 2019. Hopefully, by the end of 2021, I will have found and photographed most of the British Sphagnum species and added them to my Flickr library, which I hope will help others who wish to identify bog-mosses.

Anyway, here’s to 2021 being a better year…

A post-rain Bee Beetle (Trichius fasciatus), Aigas Field Centre, Highlands, July 2019

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