The Lyons Den is one year old today!

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday, 24 April 2011 13:30

This is not a Hornet but a queen Median Wasp Dolichovespula media that I saw scraping a post on a farm yesterday.

Was I really thinking straight when I started this blog? I'm not sure, I didn't really have an agenda, it's evolved quite a lot since then, the listing theme for example but I should have known what to expect with  my obsessive mind! All I knew was that after some 22 years of being an avid naturalist, and a decade working in the field, I had accumulated enough natural history knowledge that I felt I had something to say, I guess I felt like I had earned it, being the weird kid at school who liked moths had finally paid off. That and my work puts me in some really great places on a near daily basis. In order to make the blog work, all I really need to do is take a few good photos, the writing is the easy part, the content is already there. Of course this is just the 'front end' of what I do, the highlights. I do edit out much of the difficult issues I deal with, I decided from the start that I am doing this for my enjoyment as much as anyone elses so I am avoiding difficult issues and going for the fun stuff, I do enough of that at work! Working as an ecologist is far from easy at times, dealing with difficult issues, complex ecological processes, long tiring days in the field, wrestling with data analysis, trying to convince people using the evidence based approach and giving habitat management advice. Don't get me wrong, I love my job but there is a lot more to what I do than simply going  for a walk every day and photographing everything I see.

I also wanted the blog to be an antidote to boring bird blogs that show nothing but the same individual birds. I used to get the same thing with natural history on the tv, there was a point  in the 1990s where they seemed to show nothing but big cats, chimps and elephants and all I wanted to see was a pangolin or a hoatzin., something I had never seen before. So I decided from the outset that I would make the species that people do not often feature the stars of this blog. Absolutely no tweeness? I think I have achieved that. I like to throw in more popular culture references than an episode of Spaced and aim the blog at a wide audience, from professional to novice. I was thinking of hanging up the laptop recently but I am going to keep going, at least for another year but there are others things I want to work on. I have been writing a sci-fi novel for about four years, that has totally gone on the back burner since I started this blog but that is literally another story...

So, time for some statistics (the six moth stats are in brackets). Well, yesterday was the day my blog received the most hits. I knew that if I wrote that title people would look! Over 200 people looked yesterday, it's already the fourth most popular post. So there have been 7192 (2565) unique visitors of 21,020 (7251) visits. There have been 1514 unique visitors in the last month. A total of 37,323 (13,430) page views. I have posted 322 (186) times and they've been read in 88 (45) countries. Birds is the most frequent label, followed by beetles then moths. My pan-species list is on 3268 from 2748 in August. That means that 16% of all the species I have ever seen, I have seen for the first time in the last 9 months!

So what is my agenda? Well I want to reach as many people as possible and show them that it's not all that hard to get into new taxa. You can do it yourself with the right equipment and texts. I want to show that in order to study invertebrates, it is essential to take specimens with certain species and that people should be more accepting of this, I don't enjoy killing invertebrates but I wouldn't be able to do my job without doing so. You can't identify many species from photos and it's very frustrating being sent images that can't be identified. I want to show that  the study of difficult taxa can be done with relatively little cost and is not just for the elite. I also really enjoy blogging and I like having an online diary I can refer to from anywhere, it's actually quite a useful tool. Anyway, it's all out there for you to see. Thanks for following and here's to another year of blogging!

7 Response to "The Lyons Den is one year old today!"

Tom Arbour Says:

Congrats Graeme, my you have many more blogeversaries.

Jonathan Newman Says:

Keep up the great work Graeme. I'm totally hooked on this blog and love the less usual suspects being featured so comprehensively.

Ray Hamblett Says:

This could well be the bench mark for all future natural history blogs , happy first birthday :)

Steve Gale Says:

Congrats Graeme. Yours is a blog that I eagerly read and learn an awful lot from. Please carry on! From a fellow pan-species lister.

Tom Says:

I echo all the above statements Graeme, you're doing a great job. Please keep going as it's one of the best natural history blogs around.

Graeme Lyons Says:

Thanks for all the comments guys, glad that you're enjoying it!

Anonymous Says:

Congratulations on your 1st anniversary, we are soo pleased you are carrying on, this is the very best, most humourous, interesting, down to earth Blog I know of, we all enjoy it so very much and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for such an enjoyable read.We love it!!

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