My natural history highlights of 2010

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Wednesday, 22 December 2010 19:39

I thought I should pull together my best natural history moments of 2010 as it is has been a really memorable year. I whittled it down to fifteen and that was hard enough. Blogging has definitely made me get out even more than I usually do, I plan to do even more natural history in 2011, watch this space for a post on next year's listing challenge. Anyway, here they are in reverse order.

15 - Stumbling on a rare fly at Windsor Great Park
Jo's Mum, Sam, lives really close to WGP. On my first visit there I found this weird looking fly which turned out to be the RDB Caliprobola speciosa which is confined pretty much to that area. I had never even heard of it, that's the sort of species that dipterists might go all the way there just to see!

14 - White-tailed Eagle at Amberley Wildbrooks
I think the title explains it all. Eagle!? Sussex!? Oh yes, and I watched it fly off into the sun until my eyes burned.

13 - Devil's Fingers
Any fungus that looks like something from The Thing and can induce violent retching at its foul stench deserves another mention. This might be the strangest thing I have seen this year.

12 - Moth ticks at Friston
I had quite a few ticks during an invertebrate survey at Friston this year including the second Sussex records for Raspberry Clearwing, Olive Crescent and this amazing micro moth, Orange Conch.

11 - Heath Tiger-beetle and rare spiders
A trip to Pirbright Ranges in early June and we soon caught up with the mighty Heath Tiger-beetle as well as loads of rare spiders.

10 - Wartbiters
A targeted trip to Castle Hill to look for these big green crickets was very successful, we spotted them by ear first after listening to recordings! They look like they're made of plastic.

9 - Marsh Dagger at Woods Mill
Probably the rarest moth I have ever found in a moth trap.Thanks to Penny for putting the trap out!

8 - Creepy crawlies in Woodvale Crematorium
Thanks to Nick Hunt for getting me on to two great species in this Brighton cemetery, the Purse-web Spider and Rugged Oil-beetle Meloe rugosus.

7 - First for Sussex in Eridge Rocks car park
If it wasn't for Jo running off and hiding in the woods I might never have found this new-to-Sussex beetle in a red-rotten hollow oak tree in the car park at Eridge. It's Pseudocistella ceramboides.

6 - Filming BBC South Today, One Show and Springwatch Wild Night In Live
Three appearances on TV with the BBC this year were all very exciting, finding I was on IMDb in the same line up as David Attenborough though was even more exciting (even though he only appeared on a recording and I didn't meet him on the night).

5 - Arable plants on the edge of Brighton
Arable plants on chalky soils were an unexplained blind-spot in my vascular plant list...until this summer that is. Fields within a few miles of Brighton and even within walking distance of my house produced lots of good species including Night-flowering Catchfly, Narrow-fruited Cornsalad,  Prickly Poppy and Rough Poppy.

4 - Stag Beetle in Bryan's garden in Henfield
Bryan gave me a ring to say they had a few Stags in his garden and I rushed round with my camera. Awesome. The Coolpix 4500 made this photo work due to its twisting body.

3 - Scarce beetles throw themselves at me in the West Weald
A trip to Ebernoe and The Mens during the first really warm day at the end of May yielded a trio of nationally scarce deadwood beetles, all new to me and new to the sites. Two of which were caught as they flew at my head. I think my dreads might look like red-rotten wood to a beetle! Platystomos allbinus above, which landed on my face, might be my favourite beetle and it's the photo I like the most from 2010.

2 - White Stork lands in front of us on a field trip to the Cuckmere
The first and only time I have ever had to shout 'White Stork!' at an oblivious group of conference delegates that were about to walk right into it. Amazing.

1 - Focusing my binoculars on a Polecat in broad daylight
Finding this rare beetle (Lymexylon navale) which was then closely followed by a Badger chasing a Polecat in broad day light, all under the bows of the huge Idehurst Oak at The Mens, was my highlight of the year. Actually, that whole day was pretty amazing. Beetles really caught my interest this year and I expect the trend will continue next year. Next summer seems a very long way away indeed right now though.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me and followed my blog this year, I intend to return to prolific posting in the spring. Comments are very much welcome, I'd be interested to hear what your favourite posts have been! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

5 Response to "My natural history highlights of 2010"

martinf Says:

Very much looking forward to your 2011 blog

Anonymous Says:

cracking read, looking forward to see what you find next

Sue Walton Says:

Can't wait for the next instalment!

Steve Gale Says:

Graeme, my chances of catching you up on the All-Taxa listing list have just receded somewhat with your plans to get out there even more! Good luck for 2011.

Graeme Lyons Says:

Thanks for the comments guys!

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