When I was a child, way before the sweet shops sold 'fun-size' this, 'jumbo' that, and the marketing men decided that 'our' confectionery needed to be rebranded to keep in line with the north American market (Snickers were Marathons and Starbursts were Opal Fruits), our choice of loose sweets in glass jars was enlivened by Jamboree Bags. These bags were made of cheap paper and coloured in muted reds, blues and greens. You couldn't see what was inside them, so every purchase was as much a risk as a surprise. A good bag might contain a sherbert dip, a giant toffee and a strip of caps (ask your parents if you don't know what caps are). A poor bag would have Parma Violets, a plastic whistle that didn't work and a sheet of paper with a few jokes printed on it. This post is my version of a virtual jamboree bag - a place to sweep up all the loose ends and package it neatly to then dispose of it to your good selves...
Has Gavin Haig really deleted the marvellous 'Not Quite Scilly'? I've tried to get on the site but Blogger tells me it no longer exists. I do hope that's incorrect. I am belatedly adding three more blogs to my list of worthies, all are from Surrey birders. The first is from Pete Alfrey, who you may have heard of as he is one of the pioneering birders who put the Azores on the map as the Western Palearctic hot spot for yankee vagrants. He also has a wide-ranging interest in the development of Beddington Sewage Farm and the general area. Secondly is the laid-back camera-work of Roger Brown, who puts together entertaining videos from time to time demonstrating the gems on offer at Beddington. he is also one of the few birders I know who is aware of the musical genius of Lemon Jelly. Last, but not least, Neil Randon, who has the unenviable reputation as a dipper of birds. He is a fellow paid up member of the graphic designer club.
When I went to Sandwich Bay, I took loads of reference books with me. I thought that I would spend hours poring over mosses and lichens to bump the pan list up. As it happens, I did none of that. Even though I was free to do what I wanted for as long as I wanted to, I found that my time spent birding, botanising and looking for moths, butterflies and dragonflies kept me more than occupied. I was also aware that I needed to concentrate fully on trying to sort out the grasses, rushes and sedges that I found. The upshot is that I have come to the conclusion that I cannot possibly 'do' everything - time spent on beetles, flies, lichen, mosses etc is time spent away from my main, core interests. So, although I will maintain a pan-list, and although I will still try and identify 'other' living things, I will not spend too long doing so.
A couple of recommendations for you, not natural history books per se, but books that someone with an interest in the the welfare of our planet and what it is made from would find valuable reading. First up is 'Here on Earth' by Tim Flannery. Also 'Periodic Tales' by Hugh Aldersey-Williams.