My top ten natural history highlights of 2017

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday 24 December 2017 15:42

Every year just seems to beat the last one. This has been my most prolific recording year to date with well over 15000 records entered so far this year but what were the highlights? In reverse order we have:

10. Tiered Tooth at Ebernoe Common. My all time favourite fungus which also couldn't be more Christmas if it tried.

9. The first time I'd ever seen an Osprey fishing let alone catch a fish (and then drop it). This was in the Cuckmere.

8. Rock-pooling at the Pound near Eastbourne produced my first live Lobster (which promptly nipped me) and not only my first species of sea slug but three species of them, I've still not seen them anywhere else! It's the best place I know for rock-pooling in Sussex. Thanks to Oli Froom for the photo.

7. Wildlife in Portugal was AMAZING. I had ten new birds which were all unforgettable but the highlight has to be Mediterranean Chameleon just for how much effort we put into tracking one down and its sudden appearance at the final hour.

6. Controversial as it might be, mopping up loads of rare bugs on Jersey and adding them to my PSL list was a blast. This Graphosoma lineatum says it all really.

5. After walking the beach in Hove for weeks looking for a Portuguese Man o' War, I finally struck gold after a tip off from work that they'd arrived.

4. Invertebrate survey at Butcherlands, Ebernoe Common. I still haven't identified all the specimens yet but the spiders alone were amazing. The large population of Pardosa paludicola was a real surprise to everyone. Thanks to Evan Jones for the photo.

3. The invertebrate survey at Graffham Common was even more surprising, the spiders were also out of this world there but it was perhaps this Sundew Plume, that hadn't been seen in Sussex for 20 years that was most surprising.

2. 1000 species in a day. Probably the most fun you can have in 24 hours of non-stop biological recording. Read more about this here. Photo by Alice Parfitt.

1. Pan-species Listing ALL of Sussex Wildlife Trust's 32 reserves. When I first did this last year we were on around 9770. I have six reserves left to analyse and I will have updated the list for the year. Will we have reached 10,000? I will be talking about this at Adastra soon in more detail but I can't express enough how useful an exercise this has been and will continue to be if regularly updated. I use the spreadsheet every day now and can't imagine doing my job without it.

Let's hope that 2018 is another amazing year for wildlife recording! Thanks for reading.

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