Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Eating the Tart

My interest in all things natural was established and rooted in birding, gradually grew and expanded with mothing, and has over the last couple of years started to flourish into full blown pan-species listing (albeit at a relatively leisurely pace). It is entirely unsurprising that there are literally thousands of species that I have yet to see that would be considered, certainly by those with a specific interest in that group, to be complete 'tarts ticks'. But of course the reality is that for everyone embarking on the PSL adventure, whatever their roots and background, there will be a number of essentially easy species to pick up.

A bit of banter on Twitter with Graeme Lyons a few weeks ago centered around 'bogey' species, and perhaps establishing a bit of a Bogey Blitz in 2014. My immediate thought was that I haven't really got any bogey species as such - there is nothing that immediately comes to mind that I have specifically tried and failed to see several times. But it did get me to thinking about species I really should have seen.

Despite a few years of avid twitching in the 90's, there are a number of birds that I really should have seen but haven't on account of never having once made the effort. I guess I always expected that I'd connect with these during a twitch or other birding trip. Similarly, most birders drift into watching butterflies and dragonflies in the summer months, but I never really did as mothing was my main alternative focus. Therefore my butterfly list, currently 40 species, is largely thanks to incidental encounters and there are some blindingly obvious gaps in my list. My odonata list is even more laughable at just 17 species, as previously I've really struggled to be bothered with looking for/at them.

So, my personal 2014 challenge will be to tackle some of these gaps ......

Metaphorically speaking, I'm going to attempt to devour this big tart by seeing the following omissions from my bird, butterfly and odonata lists:

Ptarmigan Cairngorm 29/05/2014
Cory's Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Leach's Petrel
Roseate Tern
Greenish Warbler

Lulworth Skipper
Silver-spotted Skipper
Grayling Aylesbeare Common 13/08/2014
Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Small pearl-bordered Fritillary
Silver-washed Fritillary Brampton Wood 22/06/2014
High Brown Fritillary
Purple Emperor
Brown Hairstreak
White-letter Hairstreak
Black Hairstreak
Chalkhill Blue Barnack Hills and Holes 09/08/2014

Beautilful Demoiselle
Common Emerald Damselfly Woodwalton Fen 02/08/2014
Variable Damselfly
Azure Damselfly Ketton Quarry 11/06/2014
Red-eyed Damselfly Huncote Embankment 21/06/2014
Small Red Damselfly
Common Hawker
Hairy Dragonfly
Club-tailed Dragonfly
Downy Emerald
Keeled Skimmer

That's a nice round 30 species. Whilst I doubt that I'll see all 30 I'll have a good go, and I will be calling on the advice, help and company whenever possible of friends and the the various bloggers, twitterers and facebookers that I've made contacts with. Of course it would be great if other PSLers had hit-lists like this so we can share the odd tick along the way.


Stewart said...

Hi Mark, Happy New Year. In your ommissions I have all the birds, 6 butterflies and 9 of the dragons.

I see you havent bothered looking at odonata very much? Try Dan Powells A Guide to the Dragonflies of Great Britain. His prose really got me hooked. He gives them a great vibe, quite aethetically pleasing rather than scientific species / taxa approach.

He describes a Black tailed Skimmer eating the face off a Common Dater that dared stray into his territory!


Stewart said...

Oh and Northumberland in August is Roseate tern heaven as well as easy Common Hawker and Black Darter :)

Skev said...

Cheers Stewart - HNY and a nearly belated Happy Birthday to you.

Up your way for Roseate was certainly in my thoughts, and I was hoping for an early Greenish around same time. Maybe I should bring a couple of traps up and make a proper trip of it.

Hooded Birder (Andy) said...

Hi Skev, I learned my Odonata this summer - Hairy Dragonfly and Common Emerald Damselfly are both relatively easily found on the summer trail behind Lag 2. The circular trail around Lax Hill is also a favoured spot for WL hairstreak - I think a few were seen this year.
Cheers, Andy

Skev said...

Cheers Andy - will be out and about more in 2014 having spent most of 2013 in my home 1km square.

I've seen your VC55 bird hit-list - a few on there I need as well.

Stewart said...

Aye well, if you fancy coming up, get in touch and we'll have a scout around. I'm sure Tom would be up for some trapping too....