Paradoxes

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday, 28 September 2012 07:13

So this is the longest I have gone without writing a post since I started this blog. Burned out, taking a break from natural history, whatever you want to call it my enthusiasm to do much outside of work is at an all time low. Strangely, I'm not worried about this. So last week, when I started one of the timed invertebrate counts at Iping, I wasn't expecting to get that excited. Boy was I wrong!
After rather a dull start we moved onto the grazing trial plot where we recorded Hornet Robber-fly and a number of dung beetles including Athodius foetens. Things really started picking up on the Stedham plot though when Andy called me over to show me a rare 'orb weaver' had just beaten off pine. I am hoping we can get a photo of this spider as it really is quite smart and totally unlike the other species in the genus. It was the Na Araniella displicata. As I was about to start sweeping I looked down in my net to see a distinctive spider of a genus I was yet to see, a pirate spider or Ero! This is a striking little spider with a cryptic pattern and strange tubercles on the abdomen. It was the Nb species Ero tuberculata. Just as I was gleefully singing 'we don't need another Ero!' I swept another one of the lumpy little buggers. It was then that I noticed the strange beetle in my net...

At first I thought it was a mordellid, but I recognised it from a specimen Patrick Roper gave me a couple of years ago. It's the Wasp Nest Beetle Metoecus paradoxus. There in the net was another one but looking quite different. This one must be a male as it had strongly pectinate antennae. I figure I had swept a pair in cop. I also recorded Ammophila pubescens and Machimus cingulatus for the first time. I even updated my list to 4089. I am eagerly awaiting DNA of a bat that I was lucky enough to see at Ebernoe a month back too but that is another story...
So am I back? I'm not sure. Someone asked me if it is affecting my work. The simple answer is no, I am still as passionate about the job. Where things have changed is the hobby side of things. So, I intend to spend the winter doing other things like BMF, Jiu Jitsu, lifting heavy things, occasional rock climbing, watching LOTS of films, writing my novel and drinking lots of beer.  So as quickly as I became animated by the survey's findings on the day, I rapidly sank back to the cold indifference that has dominated my feelings towards natural history since I returned from Ireland. Will I ever reconnect with my estranged hobby?...

2 Response to "Paradoxes"

Steve Gale Says:

If you gorge yourself on Begian chocolate for weeks on end you will end up vomitting and not wanting to go near the stuff for quite a while. Natural History study can be a bit like that...

Andrew Cunningham Says:

It is a good thing and very easy to have too much of.

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