Monday, 2 February 2015

100 up!

It has been a slow and steady start to my 1000 for 1km square challenge., and have made it 10% of the way towards my target there are ten things that I have realised:

1. It is a tough challenge - harder than I realised it would be and will need a lot of time.
2. The birds are a problem - the Long Mynd is poor in terms of quantity of bird species, and my likely total of 70 or so species is well down on other squares that hit this target.
3. Moths will be vital  - with the lack of birds, moths are going to be the most important group. I have set myself a target of 250 species.
4. I need to learn lichens - lichens are really hard, but there are probably close to a hundred species in the square.
5. Snails are cool - a real revelation has been looking at snails and using the keys to identify them, my new favourite group.
6. I need to get wet - the Batch and pool on Novers Hills are likely to hold lots of species which I will not record unless I get myself a net and in them.
7. Timing is everything - I am already getting worried about missing out on some species, it looks like Early Moth and Pale Brindled Beauty may elude me this year.
8. The ecological recording community is great - I have had so much help already from people I have never met to identify tricky species, even sending off fungi samples to Yorkshire.
9. I am going to need a bigger bookshelf - I have already purchased about 20 new books and keys for the year, with plenty more on the list.
10. I have learnt plenty - my natural history knowledge is already unrecognisably more extensive than just a month ago.

Today, I reached 100 species. A walk up to the top of the Rough Road belatedly got Broom (Cytisus scoparius) on the list, though I am not sure how I missed it before. Having a poor total of invertebrates on the list I decided to dig around for woodlice, and found two common species. The first was the Common Shiny Woodlouse (Oniscus asellus).

Common Shiny Woodlouse (Oniscus asellus)

This is a really distinctive species, with the pale yellow spots, pale fringes and rear claspers. I found these under rocks, and picking through a dead tree stump I found species number two, the Common Rough Woodlouse (Porcellio scaber). This is a fantastic species when looked at close up, with it being easy to see how the name is derived.

Common Rough Woodlouse (Porcellio scaber)

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