It’s the last post of the year, the year that will be hard to beat because 2014 has been epic. I’ve met some quality people along the way and finished the BTEC in countryside management *cough* distinction *cough* and now started the degree in the same subject. The only regret I have is not doing it 4 years ago when I first got interested but ah well, those years of experience have served me well prior to re-entering education.
Now, onto the top ten of things that are new to me and my list, some are common and some are more rare although when picking the species rarity never came into it. For me the top ten that follows are the things I can instantly remember standing out.
10) Rhodotus palmatus, wrinkled peach. Seen this twice in South Lincs in the same wood, the first time it had not quite reached the peak of ‘wrinklement’ but on the second time on a different dead elm… a stonking specimen.
9) Sinodendron cylindricum, rhinoceros beetle. I carried out a mini saproxylic survey of the ancient woodland at Brackenhurst and this was the stand out species for me purely on looks. This told me I still had a long way to go studying Britains beetle fauna because I was stunned to see that in this country we had out own little rhino beetle.
8) Triaxomera parasitella. It landed on my arm in Sherwood forest, I photographed it and then it flew off. Turned out this was the first record for the National Nature Reserve for this species. Super happy. Check out it’s blonde hair cut!
7) Zootoca vivipara, common lizard. Stunning. My first UK lizard and in my home county of Lincolnshire. It was pretty chilled out too!
6) Vipera berus, adder. On a uni trip up on Black Moor in the Peak District, the lecturer informed us we might spot and adder on a certain set of slopes. It took some spotting but eventually after trawling the moor at a ridiculously slow pace I finally caught sight of a tiny snake. I even managed to get a photo… of its arse end! I believe this is a male.
5) Orgyia antiqua, the vapourer moth. I was out walking around Attenborough Nature Reserve, near the hide in the sky as I like to call it, when a chap with a massive macro lens noticed I was poking about in the undergrowth. He called me over and pointed into the vegetation and said “Caterpillar in there”. Best caterpillar I’ve seen in person and one that reminds me of a punk . This little critter has “never mind the ….” written all over it.
4) Agapanthia villosoviridescens. Two in a row from Attenborough and this happens to be from roughly the same area. I was ponking the margins of the ride when I noticed this stonking longhorn with its zebra antenna.
3) Geastrum floriforme, daisy earthstar fungus. Only site in Lincolnshire for these little fungal gems, they were moved a short distance when some work needed to be carried out around them. Can’t beat poking them to get them to puff out some spores!
2) Hericium coralloides, coral tooth fungi. A late entry onto the list and what a cracking fungi this is, possibly the best one I have seen yet… no, it is and by a long shot. It took a ladder at 0745 on the way to work to get an ID on this and it was worth it. Quality record.
1) Scaphidium quadrimaculatum. Number one had to be a beetle didn’t it. The easiest rove beetle to ID that I’ve seen and I know this gets John excited too. Brilliantly marked with almost orange bat silloutes markings.
It’s not all about new species on the list, it’s about recording. This year has been epic and shows that it was my proper first year as a recorder and not just a lover of British wildlife. I use iRecord and strongly recommend it to anyone who records wildlife as it is free and links in with many other databases, one day it will hopefully be the one stop shop for amateurs and pros alike. From iRecord this year I have entered nearly 1000 records covering just over 500 species, my total records at just short of 4000 covering 4 years. I can see next year that my recording will only increase with the projects I have planned.
On the recording theme, the top five things I have seen this year taking a step back from pan species listing… what have I recorded that put a smile on my face without having to check if I’d seen the species before.
5) Sparrowhawk kill in Notts city center. Managed to sneak up on this stunning bird by crouching behind trees and then poking only my camera round to take pictures from the LCD screen and it worked a treat.
4) Raven dipping then cronking, see this post (link).
3) Kingfisher hovering at Brackenhurst and I managed one half decent photo. I was amazed to see one of my favorite birds doing something I had heard about but never seen.
2) Dorcus parallelipipedus, lesser stag beetle. Found this a few times throughout the year in a graveyard in Nottingham city center, a quality record that seems to be in good numbers across this small site. Can’t get enough of this little beastie!
1) Winner hands down, taking all the glory and all the lime light is Platydema violaceum. This little purple beetle has alluded John, me and pretty much most of the country for the past 100 years. John kindly agreed that we could get Rowan Alder and Mark Telfer over to see this providing our luck was in and thankfully it was. See the posts (link) and (link).
2015… the near year of ponk, I wonder what the first species of the year will be…