2017 Wildlife Resolutions

After last year’s mixed success of completing my resolutions, I am going to not aim quite so high – but I am still going to set myself 17 resolutions for the year.

  1. See a silver-spotted skipper butterfly (Hesperia comma).
    • If I do this, I will have seen all the skipper species (Hesperiidae) in the UK. My completed groups so far are Nymphalidae and Riodinidae.
  2. See a large blue butterfly (Phengaris arion).
    • I practically live just around the corner from them now, so I should be able to do this!
  3. Put out a moth trap on at least 100 nights in the year.
    • I fell out of practice with moth trapping last year, particularly as the year progressed and life got in the way. Whilst I expect I shall have some weeks where I can barely trap, hopefully I will manage to balance it out so that I trap for at least 100 nights overall.
  4. See two new species of orchids.
    • Not sure how many I’ve seen, but I would love to see some more. I think my current favourite of the ones I have seen is probably the bee orchid (Ophrys apifera)?
  5. See an adder (Vipera berus).
    • Of the six native species of reptiles in the UK (x3 snakes, x3 lizards), I have seen five so far – even including holding a smooth snake (Cornella austriaca, whilst with a licence holder of course)
  6. Reach 200 on my birds list.
    • Yes, this was on my list of 2016 wildlife resolutions, but at least now I am slightly closer to achieving that! My latest addition (not sure of what number I’ve got to now though) is waxwings on 8 Jan 2017.
  7. Go on at least two birding twitches.
    • I have decided not to include the waxwings, as they were a 20 minute drive away and that isn’t a proper twitch.
  8. Reach 1000 on my pan-species list
    • I aimed far too high last year trying to reach 1500, I don’t think I have even reached 800 (that needs to be confirmed, my PSL is so out of date!). 1000 seems far more achievable.
  9. Catalogue my collection of wildlife items
    • This could turn out to be quite a task, especially trying to remember where and when everything was found!
  10. Submit an application to give a talk at BirdFair.
    • Yes, this was a resolution last year. I missed the deadline though (albeit that I still ended up on the main stage twice). This year, I am definitely getting my application in early!
  11. Visit the park near the office at least once a week and note down any wildlife sightings.
    • This one shouldn’t be too difficult, there is a nice little park nearby. The most number of birds I have seen there in a lunchtime is 10 species, here’s hoping that increases and I also see plenty of insects come spring and summer!
  12. Take a photo of a peregrines falcon (Falco peregrinus) in Bristol.
    • I have only managed to see the peregrines twice so far, both times were very fleeting. It would be great to get a good view and take some photos of them.
  13. Visit Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.
    • One of the benefits of living and working in a city is that I now have plenty of cultural attractions on my doorstop! Definitely one of the top places I need to visit is the natural history section of Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.
  14. Fully read at least two of Stephen Moss’ books.
    • I realised late last year that despite owning a few of his books, and being fortunate to count him as a good friend, I have never actually read any Stephen Moss’ books cover to cover! Oops! I must amend that this year, and have aimed for at least two of his books.
  15. Read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.
    • I am even more ashamed to admit that I have never read Silent Spring. Don’t judge me too much please.
  16. Go on a course about non-insect invertebrates.
    • I have been on a number of insect, bird, mammal, etc courses, and I have even run an insects course myself. Aside from helping to test a new draft of an earthworm key, I haven’t done anything – let alone an actual course – that focusses on non-insect invertebrates.
  17. Go to a new conference.
    • By new I don’t mean brand new and never happened before, but a conference that is new to me. Having not attended loads of conferences, this shouldn’t be too difficult, but it will be interesting to see what I end up attending!

5 thoughts on “2017 Wildlife Resolutions

  1. Megan,

    I’ve just had a read through your blog – brilliant to set yourself these targets. i can’t really speak for most of your targets, but will speak from my knowledge (ie moths!)

    2. Large Blue Butterlfy – I think your nearest site in Bristol will be at Daneway Bank in the Cotswolds – this is also an excellent moth site – so why not look with as net for dayflying moths (but explain to people you are not collecting Large Blue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) or even try trapping there at night?

    3. Half the nights of the year for trapping is a heck of a lot – ie over 180 nights – maybe that is too much when you allow for being on holiday, ill etc and also winter when it is really cold and you won’t see much night after night – I don’t want you put off moth trapping. Maybe more achievable, but still quite hard is to aim at 100 nights in the year – ie roughly twice per week?

    8. 1000 on your pan species list – one of the easiest ways to help toward this is moths – I saw over 900 species of lepidoptera in Britain last year. I know you aren’t as fanatical on the moths as I am but they can help massively. An average garden should give you 200 species plus in a year and lots manage 300+. Then the other way of getting moths to help you is to go to excellent habitat with a group of people out moth trapping in late June/July/early August. On these nights if the people trap micros as well then 150+ species should be possible in a night at a star site on a warm night such as ancient woodland or some special place like Wicken Fen. You also mention going on a training course with non-insect invertebrates, which sounds great, but why not also try a moth course that is not about dissection – I’m sure you would gain a lot from one and could easily see 100+ and maybe even 200+ depending which course you come on with me! Also with the moths if you want help locally in Britstol then Bristol Moth group used to be very active with field meetiungs etc – masybe if you tagged along this would help on your species count. If you can’t find out how to contact them then ask me and I will ask around for a contact.

    Good luck with all of this

    Best wishes


    ps see you tomorrow, but probably not much time to chat there!

  2. What are pan-species? I would love to see waxwings. I’ve noted quite a few bloggers have seen them recently. Do you follow The Quiet Walker? She saw some in a supermarket carpark! I have seen bee orchids in Clitheroe where I live near a quarry. Hope you achieve all on your list.x

  3. Great to have such an ambitious list. Soe are readily realised (e.g. see and adder just needs you to be at right reserve at right time of year and day whereas I’ve never seen a smooth snake), but others will take determination and persistence. Good luck, Megan.

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