Poor old Gilbert is getting restless. Despite the fact that there is more interest in wildlife than ever before, it seems that most of the so-called conservation organisations are losing interest in species. Instead they prefer to babble on about landscape scale conservation and ecosystem services (whatever they are). Could this be because most of their staff don't have any knowledge about species if they don't have four legs?
This is my attempt to encourage an interest in good old-fashioned natural history.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The fat lady is gargling

It seems to have been hard work this month keeping on track for my target of 1000 new species in the year but despite that feeling, I have managed to keep the required number of species per week coming down. The last couple of fungus group meetings have not been very productive but have both provided a few new species, ranging from the moderately scarce such as Hypholoma sublateritium to the ridiculously common Sycamore Tar Spot Rhytisma acerinum.

Hypholoma sublateritium
Sycamore Tar Spot (Photo: Royal Horticultural Society)
Of course, I have seen the Sycamore Tar Spot before - I'm sure that anyone who opens their eyes in the countryside will have seen it - but I've never paid it enough attention to actually work out what it is.

A bryophyte meeting at Portsdown Hill had the potential to give me all the remaining required species but was severely hampered, and eventually curtailed, by awful weather. A jelly lichen, Leptogium schraderi was of interest in the car park

Photo: www.lichens.ie
and a tiny liverwort Leiocolea turbinata was also of note, mainly because it was so small that with the naked eye it just looked like algae growing on the bare chalk. It was only under a lens that you could see the notched leaves.

Photo: www.cisfbr.org.uk
The remaining new species have been a mixed bag of insects that were collected earlier in the year. The highlight was the Red Data Book Tephritid fly Myopites eximius - a pair of which were found on the larval foodplant, Golden-samphire, at Thorney Island.

Photo: goweros.blogspot.co.uk
 So by the beginning of the weekend I was left needing 12 more new species to reach the 1000, with 10 days left to do it.

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