There are various challenges which I've come across via twitter with similar intentions - the 1000 for 1KSQ (http://1000for1ksq.blogspot.co.uk/) is an excellent challenge, which unsurprisingly encourages participants to find a thousand species within a single 1km square. Success is highly dependant on developing a wide breadth of knowledge, but also, to an extent, on the willingness to take specimens, especially of invertebrates, to confirm identifications. I have no ethical issues with this, and recognise it as an essential part of proper surveying work, but on a personal level I've never felt comfortable doing it.
Instead of going purely for volume, I decided to focus more on documenting those species which can be identified without resorting to microscopes and dissecting kits. I'm fortunate to live in a rural area with easy access to a variety of countryside, which I keep meaning to explore, so I decided to see how many species I can photograph within walking distance of my house. Whilst a thousand species might prove a bit of a stretch, I should be able to get at least half way there, especially given that I recorded 306 lepidoptera species just within my garden last year!
The challenge has made a bit of a slow start, thanks to combination of short days, bad weather and the inconvenience of having to go to work. The torrential rain in particular made me less than keen on venturing outside with my camera. Fortunately there are a few species which share my liking for staying warm and dry in winter, and these got me up and running. First up was a small garden spider which had made its web in the hallway, a reward for not feather dusting!
|Number 1 on the list, a small Garden Spider Araneus diadematus|
|Daddy Long-legs Spider Pholcus phalangioides|
|Hawthorn, with nice red berries to make it extra easy to identify!|
|Bramble and Violet Bramble Rust, (the small purple patches on the leaves)|
|White Dead Nettle, an important source of early pollen, but this may be a bit too early|
|Ash bud - I'd never realised there was an ash tree in the hedge before|
|The lovely patterned bark of a Silver Birch|
|Christmas is over, but the holly is still looking nice|
|A fractionally slower yellowhammer than average!|
|The worst picture of Greenfinches you're likely to see today!|