We're going to try and see a 1000 species in a day, will you join us?

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday 27 January 2017 08:21

Put Saturday the 10th June in your diaries. What time Saturday? I hear you say. ALL day Saturday I say. Midnight to midnight. Make no mistakes, this going to hurt. As Douglas Adams said about the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster: It's effects are similar to having "your brains smashed in by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick". Change the lemon to a sweep net and the gold brick to your binoculars and you're starting to get the idea. We are going to try and see and identify a 1000 species in a single day!

I've been toying with the idea for a few years but when summer comes it's too late to plan it, so we've put a date in the diary and we're sticking to that date and that time. So, we've been fleshing out the rules and if you want to do it in your region too, you are more than welcome, the more the merrier. The rules are:
  1. It has to be Saturday 10th June.
  2. It has to be from midnight to midnight. We did talk about this but I think the beauty of summarising all this at the end will be exactly what the PSL community was able to do in a single 24 hour period. It will be great knowing we're all starting and (probably) ending together too.
  3. It has to be teams of two. No more. And you must see everything together (although you both don't have to ID it). This is to stop people splitting up into groups and to encourage some aspect of learning and camaraderie.
  4. We'd much rather you find a partner to work with but if you don't have any friends, then it's going to be a major handicap to do this solo, so we'll allow it if you have no choice. Scribing alone is going to be extremely intense. I really want to encourage people to find a partner though as we have set this up as a two person challenge and we could always do a solo one another time.
  5. If one person ducks out due to tiredness, they can no longer record as soon as they leave you or until they return. Again to stop people splitting up.
  6. One vehicle. With as much equipment as you like. You can deploy traps but they can't be activated until midnight. So you could dig a few pitfalls in but they have to have lids on until midnight, set some moth traps up but you can't start them until midnight etc. Bare in mind though that you can only have one vehicle full of equipment with only two people in it. Other people can attend but not help in anyway, including with kit.
  7. Moral support in terms of food and drink bought in by other people is OK though I guess.
  8. You can start and finish where you like.
  9. Supporters can't go and pin things down for you in advance. By all means use your knowledge of your sites, this will be vital but no one else can help.
  10. ALL records must be submitted to your local record centre afterwards.
  11. A running total must be kept. This is vital to stop you over/under counting but also to let you know where you are.
  12. Carefully designed recording forms will be key to this but you're on your own for how they'll look.
  13. Leave a few hours at the end for microscope work if need be. All identifications though must be completed by midnight. After that it's game over. This is going to be very difficult to gauge.
  14. I'd also encourage everyone doing it to raise money for conservation charities in your area. I'm doing it for the Sussex Wildlife Trust and most of our route will be on our sites. So I'll start fund raising closer to the time so any support there will be much appreciated. I think a penny a species might be a good way to approach it.
Now I hope people don't think that's too strict. Just want to get the rules down so that people can then decide if and how they'll play it. It will be great to get a list of who is going to take part.

Is a 1000 possible? I reckon we can do it. And by we, I mean my team mate is gonna be Dave Green. We have our route planned roughly. I've done a test run on a cold frosty day at Woods Mill in January I got 130 species on my own in an hour. Including Leptodon smithii, Purple Hairstreak (an egg) and Raven. Clearly the first two were down to knowing the site but I didn't plan it, as much as just started in the car park. I can't begin to tell you how much fun it was. So imagine what it would be like in June armed with a net and a beating tray too!

I'm hoping to get the press, Springwatch and maybe even the Guinness Book of Records involved. I really doubt anyone has ever done anything like this before anywhere in the world, the closest being a bird race/bioblitz. Birds are going to be almost incidental in this. Provisionally we've said 75 species but it will be a waste of time to go looking for them, just wait for them to flush or fly over. The big gains will be in the inverts and plants.

I'll also pull together ALL the records collected nationally so we can show off what we can do as a group in a 24 hour period! Time to show off what the last seven years of PSLing can really do!

Have I missed anything? I'm trying to be as inclusive as I can without making the rules too easy to flaunt. So any comments are welcome. Please let me know what you think and lets start putting some names down as to who exactly is involved. Team names might be fun too. We might even get t-shirts made up...
  • Graeme Lyons & Dave Green - In Sussex raising money for Sussex Wildlife Trust.

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