I love having natural history projects on the go, future plans and aims in which to get motivated and add a level of order to my wanderings. 2020 has, so far, been a year of being diverted, largely governed by COVID restrictions and moral choice. Three holidays/trips were cancelled and my searches for new species of micro-moths were severely restricted. However, this forced me into spending far more time in my immediate area and this had many positive results - the end of year round-up will heavily feature these. Is mid-to-late October too early to start planning for next year? I don't think so - in fact I've already started. So here are my initial thoughts on what 'ND&B 2021' might look like. And yes, things beyond our control might just alter them at short notice...
I'm blessed that I can still get so much out of the wildlife on my doorstep. It does help that I live on the edge of suburbia that then quickly becomes chalk downland, farmland, heath and woodland. It is wonderful for plants and insects (if not so much for birds) and, being in the SE of England, is regularly at the forefront of colonisation by species from the continent that are making their way north and north-westwards. So, the large part of my time will be spent on the Uberpatch with the following targets:
Birds (140 species); Plants (700 species); Moths (500 species); Butterflies (38 species) and Dragonflies (18 species). None of these are anything other than a bit of fun and a means with which to motivate me to keep on trying to identify those tricky micro-moths and difficult plant groups. And, as a frivolous aside, I will keep a record of how many steps I take in the search of them all - the aim is of completing 1,000,000 of them. That should be a doddle.
I had identified a number of plant species within the SE of England that I was going to target this year, but restrictions meant that it was not advisable to travel and try and see them. Hopefully, this can be resurrected next year.
My dabbling in certain orders of insect (shieldbugs is one) will continue. I'm far removed from being competent with them, so a bit more reading and fieldwork may take me from 'absolute beginner' to the heady heights of mere 'beginner'.
And finally I will try and get in the odd break so that I do not go stir crazy locally. Katrina and I have booked time in Scotland next summer (close to the Perthshire botanical wonders) and I will visit the Sussex South Downs and Kent shingle again. They supply what I need to reinvigorate a jaded soul should that scenario become reality.