PSL complete

Back in the mists of time (or at least the turn of the millennium) I sat down and worked out my UK list of lifeforms that I had identified. This was primarily made up of birds, plants, butterflies and moths, although I was able to dig up plenty of additional filler, such as dragonflies, easy to identify insects and a whole host of miscellaneous creatures that I could remember having seen. I kept it in a notebook and now and again would suddenly remember something from the past and add it to the list. The list was purely for a bit of fun, and as far as I were aware there was nobody else that kept such a pointless tally - but I was so very, very wrong.

I cannot remember the moment that I became aware of other 'lifeform listers' although I'm pretty sure that the name Mark Telfer was involved. He, too, kept such a list and not only that, he was on the lookout for other like-minded souls, to gather (and publish) a league table of totals. Even though my competitive listing days were long over, I was drawn to this idea, got in touch with him and soon found myself in the Top 10 of 'Pan-species' listers (as it was soon named). My stay at such heady heights in the table soon plummeted as others got wind of the project, and it soon became obvious that there were hundreds of us out there. The project mushroomed, Facebook accounts and websites were founded, field trips organised - I covered a lot of this a couple of posts ago. I also then mentioned that a new home had been provided for the PSL family over on the BUBO Listing platform and that I was in the process of moving my observations on to it. Well, that task has now been completed. 

It has, on the whole, gone smoothly. I've lost a few species in the move, as the BUBO site is still missing some, or are using authorities that differ in their taxonomical agreements as those that I referred to before. Also, in botanical circles clearly identifiable subspecies are 'a tick' whereas on BUBO there is no allowance for that. Together with some of my obscure checklists being out of date, the lumping of species and poor admin on my part, my Pan-species list now stands at a lower-than-expected 3,762 species (or, if I'm being precious, 3,818, including those that are missing or not allowed on BUBO).

The exercise has awakened the pan-lister in me, not in a competitive way but in the 'I wonder what is out there' sense. Just to test the water I wandered into the garden the other day, shook a bit of ivy and gathered together three spiders, one of which was not only identifiable, but new (and common). Wonder is outside the back door and lifers are that easy!

Today's images comes courtesy of a Kestrel up on Epsom Downs, perched on a race course marker while feeding. I couldn't identify what it was feasting on and after it had finished and flew off I walked up to where it had been perched to try and find any left-overs - just a neat pile of entrails were on the grass. No feather, fur or bone.


Alastair said…
Lovely images of the Kestrel Steve. Yes, as you've probably noticed I'm embarked on the same endeavour, although my list will be somewhat smaller than yours when I've finally put everything in, botany is not a strength. But, as you suggest, usually it's not too difficult to add to the list, just wander out in the garden and look. Alternatively delve around in my photo archive, or in my specimen fridge, or in an old notebook, or even on my blog, not everything is in iRecord, or identified already. There's another PSLer not so many miles from here and the other day we had an afternoon of looking. There were a few ticks each and the sharing of skills and interests added species neither of us would have necessarily found on our own. These days I get just as excited at finding a new beetle as I used to at finding a new bird, and the excitement can occur rather more frequently - its an addictive activity and I think PSLers are generally muchly content, or at least, easily distracted.
Frumzi said…
Thank you for being a guiding light in your niche.

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