2015 has been an epic year, too much has happened to sum it up in one blog post but I’ll do my best. Inevitably some stuff will be missing, at a later date and no doubt just after I hit ‘post’ something else will pop in to my head. That is the way the cookie crumbles.
This post was powered by many bands, the best of tunes I’ve listened to while writing the posts throughout the year. A top something is included at the very end of the post, cus’ lists are my thing, right.
Last year was the 2nd year pan species listing although I do prefer the name ponk species listing, something I called it before I knew other people had similar interests! I asked myself to do three things by the end of 2015;
- Hit 1000 species overall
- Improve on all the groups from 2014
- Be happy with the recording I did
I can be delighted to say I did all three, just about…
The 1000th species came on the 10th of June in Bulby on the yard of my late boss Pete. It was the asparagus beetle Crioceris asparagi. I’m pleased it was a beetle, where my main interests are and even more please it was on Pete’s yard in the company of JL the ponk Yoda.
I improved on all the groups apart from a few, the few I didn’t improve upon I’m not massively upset about, I can rectify that in 2016. Here is a comparison of the numbers;
Apart from a few groups, I improved on all groups – some more so than others. Fungi was poor for me this year having seen hardly any, well, not putting the effort in. With this group I can’t help but feel I really need more gear to make headway with them, like chemicals and keys. Plants was another non-improver, a group I always struggle with. I like many others have no excuse though, you don’t have to look very hard to find a plant!
I think for next year I would like to see a bit more action in the flies, grass hoppers and crickets, spiders, bugs and… worms, yes worms, sections.
Moths and beetles have been the ponker’s staple species throughout the year with big numbers added to each, for me at least. It is no good comparing myself to the top PSL’ers or even the ones around me the rankings table. Everyone has different commitments and interests, that’s what I tell myself anyway. The moths have been the result of some serious trapping in the woods back in the motherland of South Linkisheer (VC53) with JL. 175 species of moth were trapped in the wood, many of them new species on my list. Two new county records came from the woods this year, sadly no photo as both were very small micros!
Perinephala lancealis – New to VC 53
Tebenna micalis – Also new to VC 53
Beetles are my main interest so no surprises that I added over 100 to the list in 2015 taking my total to 239. I think I could have done more beetling last year however, the beetling I did do was pretty good, no – excellent. I’ve been sieving dung heaps, looking in deadwood, under logs and stones, spotting them out moth trapping and wandering the streets of Nottingham and a village in South Lincs looking for the little beauties. The top beetles this year are….
Agapanthia villosoviridescens – A stunning long horn beetle found on the Xmas tree yard this year, not a new species on the list – check out them there antennae!
Asemum striatum – Found with JL at Bulby, a big beetle!
Chrysolina banksi – Me and Meg found this while visiting her parents in Calne, it was crawling around on the church. We found quite a number of them, a really big an obvious leaf beetle.
Prionocyphon serricornis – This beetle flew into my dreadlocks and landed on my shoulder while out with JL and the Lincs beetle recorder. A stunning little beetle which I think added a new site to the atlas. It was missing its front legs, presumably in my hair.
Platydema violaceum – This beetle needs no introduction, its been popping up all over in South Lincs and seems to be spreading. I’m still waiting on news from the NHM about a species associated with it that I am really excited about. We have reared this species on and released them back into the woods we found them, more interestingly it has taken us a number of years – more so for JL – to even find the larvae on the fruiting body of jelly ear on elder.
Philonthus spinipes – Probably a new county record and found by Meg at our university campus in the muck heap – her first county first. A cracking looking rove that is quite large, it was a new species to the country in 1997 in Dorset.
Siagonium quadricorne – A nice rove beetle found at the base of an oak tree in the center of Nottingham, Colwick woods. You will have to google the species, it has epic horns on its face!
Reesa vespulae – My first one-man-band county first although Lamin got in on it too by determining it for me. It flew on the train while at Grantham, I wrote a short note for the Coleopterist about it – and it was short.
Quedius puncticollis & Heterothops niger – Both these were found in a moles nest me and JL dug up. Both had not been recorded for around 100 years.
They are a few beetles that jump right out at me, as said before I will probably remember a bunch more as I hit post but oh well.
Overall in 2014 I submitted 1000 records, in 2015 I doubled that. Maybe I can double it again this year…? Records in iRecord now stand at 6006 putting me in the top 20 records for species seen and 23rd for records submitted. Out of more than 13,000 contributors, I think that is pretty damn good.
Thats 1, 2, and 3 on the list of to do for 2015 all ticked of the list leaving me in a pretty good mood and ready for 2016. I just want to mention iRecord again, something worth checking out for biological recording. Where ever I can I mention this fantastic website from the Biological Recording Center.
The link is here – http://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/
Now, a few other highlight from the years ponking… how many can I cram in before it turns into a book!
Rove beetles, I have made some headway into the troubled waters that are the Staphylinidae, ‘like climbing everest’ it has been likened too. An experiences beetle herder told me to start on them sooner rather than later while your eyesight is good – I can see the sense it that. I still need a few key works but for now the two keys by Lott will do nicely. Having a group on Facebook certainly makes contacting beetle people for confirmations – find it under Beetles of Britain and Ireland.
Moth trapping in the back garden of my home in Nottingham city center has been really good with more than 100 species recorded. This year I hope to run more traps and stop being so lazy!
Me and JL took a chance to go and see some orchids at Barnock Hills and Holes. They were nothing short of stunning. Bee, man and fragrant.
While at work near Bourne one day, JL pipped up with an interesting bird nearby – well within twitching distance, something both of us don’t really do. That bird was a red footed falcon. This story comes with a sad twist, some mindless fool shot a red footed falcon, probably the same bird. Here is my only photo of the little male looking quite sorry for itself in our British weather.
Putting some faces to names this year has been a real highlight. Getting to meet some of the people who have helped out over the course of the past few years and absorbing some of their knowledge has been brilliant. I won’t mention names but you know who you are. One person can get a shout, JL. Again all year he has put up with my hopefully decreasing stupid questions and help out in everything natural history related. I think to sum up our recording effort together, it can be done in one phrase…
Whats that shitter!!!!! – A call of a ponker when seeing something quite interesting. Usually heard around the moth trap or while looking under and in deadwood.
The other county first…
As well as the already mention county firsts, the following have also been added…
Nemophora fasciella, new to VC 53
Dendrobaena pygmaea, The UK’s rarest earthworm. New to VC56
Xeris spectrum – A big sawfly that landed on JL while pruning Xmas tress. Lincolnshire first.
Hopefully that is them all. Not a bad thing to have to try to remember.
I think that is about it for this post. The only thing left to do is come up with some targets for 2016.
- Hit 2000 species, the second 1000 should come quicker than the first.
- Double the beetle list
- Improve on the groups form 2015
They all sound about do-able. Ah, I almost forgot – the tunes of 2015.
NOFX – Just everything by them
Ignition – The Offspring
The Dresden Dolls
Out Come the Wolves – Rancid
The Hell (Not for everyone)
Here is to 2016,
Ponk on… and yes Meg – your harvestman book will be ordered!