Naturalists are as likely as anybody to play the New Year’s resolution game, though our aims tend to be more exciting than going to the gym more or taking up ill-advised fad diets. More birds, more plants, more insects, more recording, more everything! It’s an exciting time, thinking about all the wonderful wildlife encounters the next twelve months might bring.
Last year I hoped to add a bit of structure to my biological recording by signing up for two new schemes, the National Plant Monitoring Scheme and BeeWalks (run by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust). Unfortunately the plant scheme fell by the wayside in the chaos of a PhD field season (I should have known!) and I made a poor effort for the bees – just two walks completed. I remembered three, but only had two when I came to enter the data. Another black mark!
In all honesty, I don’t need resolutions. Just resolve. I know the sorts of things I’d realistically like to achieve, and making a list of them probably won’t help. So this year my main resolution is simply to do more of the things I enjoy. Fortunately many of those things are also worthwhile and useful, but if value to society and nature is my primary driver I think I’m more likely to end up disillusioned and guilty about failure.
I do have a few specific aims in mind as well, but I won’t beat myself up if I don’t achieve them:
- The kind folk at the NPMS allowed me to retain my square so I’ll be back for another crack at plant monitoring. No PhD fieldwork this year will mean a more varied and flexible summer.
- My BeeWalk route is a rather lovely one hour-ish nature ramble across one of my favourite places in the world and I have no excuses at all, to myself or anybody else, for not walking it more often.
- A biological record a day. I might see nothing but a woodpigeon all day, nonetheless, that pigeon will be noted and logged.
- Go birding more often, see more birds! I’m not that concerned about year listing any more, however 158 points to a poor effort indeed for 2015. I missed all kinds of not particularly uncommon species I don’t want to go more than two years without seeing.
Here’s to a wildlife rich and successful 2016 for all!
This year’s adventures to date: