With only five weeks (ish) until the start of a new year, as is my custom, I have prepared the way by making plans for my natural history assault on 2013. I find it hard to start a year with no aims at all. I cannot contemplate just mooching about, visiting here and there just to see what's occuring. There is no form nor function in doing so (unless I stumble across a wintering mega, in which case all analysis is off).
My main thrust will be concentrated on my uber patch - that is all of my local patches which, when strung together, wiggle from Ranmore in the SW to Beddington in the NE - about a 15 mile wiggle. I have already collated my bird observations across this area (since 1974) and created my own personal and 'virtual' bird report, something that I love to update. Within this uber patch is found Beddington SF, Holmethorpe SP, and Canons Farm which, for an inland birder, offers plenty of scope.
What I want to do next year is compile a similar report for plants and lepidoptera. There are marvellous habitats on offer where some real highlights can be found and as much as these are the jewels in the crown of 'my' part of the north downs, I'm hoping that a bit of concerted effort in those areas not normally covered by naturalists might turn up the odd surprise.
Although not a listing exercise, I will keep a count of what I find, if only to encourage me to look critically at what I am seeing - it would be so easy to leave grasses, crucifers, pugs and micros (to name but a few) alone. I have prepared the way with checklists, my OS maps are at the ready, and I am all a-quiver to get going. I won't ignore other orders, but they will take a bit of a back seat.
Having said all that, I wouldn't be surprised if I find myself knee-deep in some other project by February...