Ten years of blogging: the top ten of top tens

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday 25 April 2020 13:48

Yesterday was the ten year year anniversary of my first ever blog post. A thousand posts and over a half a million hits later and here we are. It's been a hoot, so much has changed for me in the last decade. Pan-species listing being a big feature of my natural history adventures which in turn led to becoming an entomologist and eventually going fully freelance and leaving Sussex Wildlife Trust. Working on those reserves though was an incredible experience and three of top ten were on Trust reserves. 

When I first put my list together I had only seen 2748 species, as of today I am on 7648 species, that's almost tripled. I must admit I do love blogging, it's a nice way to inspire other naturalists as well as acting like a journal and a photo library. Oh and gripping friends off of course. I am at present however limiting my time on social media as it feels healthy to do so in this crisis.  That said I put the 24th April in my diary at the start of the year so I wouldn't miss this date. 

Before I get to the top ten of of top tens, I must say a huge thank you to Jo Knell for encouraging me to start the blog. Jo is sadly no longer with us and without her encouragement I doubt I would have started it. Here is the link to my first post which was about an encounter with a Snow Bunting we had at the top of Snowdon during a holiday. I've been blogging for so long now I can't remember not blogging.

Now for the top ten in reverse order. ALL of these encounters were in Sussex. If you didn't read these the first time round or need refreshing, I have included the links to the original posts, please do follow these as there are plenty of anecdotes for each encounter.

10). Pardosa paludicola
In April 2017 I found a healthy colony of this incredibly rare and impressive wolf spider at Butcherlands, Sussex Wildlife Trust's rewilding project, this being only the 8th site in the UK for this  species. I have since found it another site. Read more here.

9). Columbus Crabs
In February 2016, after watching reports online, I had a hunch that I might find these crabs on Brighton beach after a storm and low and behold, there they were. This species lives in goose barnacles and floats across the oceans. These were the first records for the county.

8). Portuguese Man o' War
As above, there were reports about these washing up along the south west coast after storms in October 2017 and I really wanted to find the first Sussex one. I wasn't quite quick enough but did find my own one on Portslade beach.

7). Melodious Warbler
Last June, when I was finishing up a bird survey at Butcherlands that I had been doing for nearly a decade, I had a WTF moment when I heard a warbler singing I didn't recognise. After nearly losing it, I got a good view and a sound recording. So exciting. The fastest bird song I have ever heard. I loved that site and that survey. Butcherlands features twice in this list!

6). Philodromus fallax
The spider year listing challenge of 2019 was extremely fun and by October I had almost given up. Right at the end of a day of recording in Camber Dunes, a spider I had long given up hope of finding popped out! What a beautiful spider.

5). Polycera quadrilineata
2019 was probably my best overall year for natural history, so it's not surprising that four of the top ten are from this year. In March at the spring tide, I usually try and get down to the Pound at Holywell. This time Evan Jones and I had an amazing evening with four sea slug lifers, Evan found most of them but this one I found by netting sea weed, the tropical looking Polycera quadrilineata. See the rest of the blog for the other species.

4). Crimson Speckled
The oldest post here from October 2011. Michael Blencowe and I trapping at Beachy Head. We very nearly never even saw this moth that was resting in a bush, not the trap. I will never forget shouting CRIMSON SPECKLED!!!

3). Large Tortoiseshell 
A lunch time walk at Woods Mill in March 2018 produced a Large Tortoiseshell. It's a terrible photo but just enough to clinch the ID. Another one that almost didn't happen as it flew off so quickly.

2). Coptosoma scutellata
My first first for Britain and an entirely new family of shieldbug at that. This was from Marline in July  2019, Where DO the wings go?!

1). Calosoma sycophanta
Stumbling across this beauty in an arable field at Bishopstone in June 2016 is going to take some beating. It really was mind-blowingly lucky. Big, beautiful, rare. It ticks all the boxes.

So that's it. Ten years reduced into one post. What a decade. So now what for the Lyons Share? Is it time to call it a day?

I don't think so. I'm not done. Not yet. 

So here's to the next decade.

6 Response to "Ten years of blogging: the top ten of top tens"

Roman Says:

Congratulations on your 10th anniversary Graeme! I listened to your podcasts back in 2012 and when they came to an end I started following your blog. Your posts are always informative and entertaining, I am looking forward to the next 10 years!
Best regards,

Michael J Pannell Says:

I don’t think I’ve found a blog more interesting, informative and at times amusing than yours Graeme! I really enjoy reading about what you have found on your travels throughout our island!

martinf Says:

Always a good read and always informative. Long may they continue

Ali Says:

Please don't. A bit of jealousy doesn't hurt to drive us all onward

Graeme Lyons Says:

Thanks for all the comments guys!

Hilary Melton-Butcher Says:

Hi Graeme - congratulations ... I do love scanning through and seeing what you've found ... just enjoy keeping going. Stay safe - Hilary

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