Natural history burn out

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday 6 July 2012 15:42

It's a wonderful thing having a job that is also your hobby but it doesn't come without its problems. The botanical survey season is my busiest time of year and this building intensity of work can often make me feel less inclined to go out in my spare time looking for wildlife. It usually hits me by the end of August or September but it has come early this year. I felt it happen on the way back from Ireland. So, I need to press the reset button. Extra-curricular activities are going to be dropped back to a minimal level so I can concentrate on work and relaxing. Treating work as just a job for a while is in fact quite a healthy thing, especially during busy times, and I see this process as a natural part of being a naturalist and an ecologist. So, this blog is going to be a lot quieter over the next few months. I also found having no phone or Internet for a week in Ireland a huge release.
That said, I have had some new additions to my list at Iping and Stedham this week. I got buzzed by a large shiny black beetle whilst doing some quadrats there yesterday (5th July). Without a net, I managed to knock it to the ground with the palm of my hand. I suspected it would be a Minotaur but it was in fact the Na Heath Dumble Dor Trypocopris pyranaeus that James found a dead specimen of a few weeks ago. Nice!

This blood thirsty fly was also new to me being the fairly common Chrysops caecutiens. Mark caught it feeding on his arm in the car park and batted it off. The well aimed blow was a fatal one but I saw the poor beast twitch a couple of times, all I need to tick a species. But perhaps it was the breeze catching its hind tarsi? I didn't want to waist an opportunity to learn about a new species though, so I potted the dead specimen.
Finally, a really smart staph ran across the path in front of us, the highly distinctive Platydracus fulvipes. I just checked it out on the taxon designations spreadsheet and it's down as being nationally scarce (Nb). Even better though, I just called Peter Hodge (Sussex beetle recorder) and it seems this is only the 2nd Sussex record! Peter said he had only ever recorded it once anywhere in the UK and that was at Ambersham. Even the new key states the habitat as 'uncertain'.

1 Response to "Natural history burn out"

Mark G. Telfer Says:

Graeme, we had Platydracus fulvipes in the pitfalls at Graffham in 2010. But I'd love to see a live one.

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