31 January, 2013

1000 species, 1 square

What with it being a new year and all, I thought I'd set myself a new challenge- to find and record 1000 species in a single 1km square. Unfortunately, I can't take credit for sprouting the idea behind this brilliant task- that hat goes to a man called Andy Musgrove, who thought it would be a great idea to completely bio-blitz his home 1km square just outside Norwich, by setting himself a target of 1000 wild species by the end of 2013.

Since putting the idea online, he's gained a number of followers willing to add their square to the challenge, and thus an element of competition has brewed to see who can reach the big four digits first, and possibly go beyond. You can find the challenge at http://1000for1ksq.blogspot.co.uk/

With a lot of committment, and a few late nights spent identifying those obsure green fungi, I'd like to think its a do-able task, even in suburban Surrey, and after spending a good hour staring at the OS map trying to work out how to get the best out of the (limited) habitat in the local area, I've measured up my very own 1km square in Thames Ditton, from which I hope to make a decent attempt at recording 1000 species.

Hopefully, most of the magic is going to happen where that blue bird is sitting in the middle of the square, on my local urban fringe site, Stokes Field. It's a small mix of woodland and grassland, along with an exposed hilltop, and abandoned rose field at the south of the site, which should be good for invertebrates (just before the A309- which I'll be using as the southern most boundary to the km square). The blue arrow to the west indicates the most important habitat in the square, the garden. At the end of the day, it's the easiest place to get to, and it also happens to be where I run a moth trap pretty much every night through the summer, so it would seem mad to leave it out.

The likelihood that I'll actually reach 1000 species is pretty low, as is the likelihood that I'll remember to keep this going throughout the year (or at least until October when I head off to Uni), but if it gives me a bit more motivation to stick to the patch, and the chance to improve identification skills on insects that I wouldn't normally bat an eye lid at, then its worth a try. I'll still be able to stay dedicated to other local patches (Bushy Park etc), but this'll be a interesting little thing to do on the side.

Let the fun begin...


Sean Foote said...

Hi Bill, Do you have any good ID books for some of the more difficult insect groups e.g. Beetles, Flies etc.? If not, are you going to get any? Let me know if you come across any good ones.


Billy Dykes said...

Rather embarrassingly, the only book I have that covers beetles/flies etc is the 'Collins Complete British Insects' Guide- and even that only contains the most common species. I'm going to sit down sometime soon and order some new additions, and I've been compiling a list of literature I've got my eye on...

-The Carabidae (Ground Beetles) of Britain and Ireland
- A Photographic Guide to the Shieldbugs and Squashbugs of the British Isles
- Spiders of Britain and Northern Europe
- The Vegetative Key to the British Flora
- Field Guide to the Bumblebees of Great Britain and Ireland

Can't find too much available on Diptera though, please let me know if you can recommend anything?

Cheers, Bill