I'm 20 years older than then, and that has consequences (cue squeaky knee). I suspect that this New Year's Eve I'll be lucky to even see in the New Year and will probably venture up the stairs to Bedfordshire long before the bells ring it in. These days, a post midnight bedtime, irrespective of any booze intake, induces a similar next morning feeling to a hangover. That's age for you!
So all the other blogs I read are either making plans for 2020 or just talking about others making plans for 2020s and the rights and wrongs of this. There is also a tendency to look back at the past year and pick out specific highlights.
I'm not going to do much of the latter except to say that three visits north of the wall to Scotland were a particular high. Just being out and away from lots of people was incredibly good for the soul. I did see a few cool things including a non-stakeout Pine Marten, but for me the highlight there was just walking through the Caledonian Forest at either ends of the day, taking in the landscape and feeling rather insignificant.
So what about next year...
No massive plans, I want to keep plugging away at beetles. There's definitely been a shift in my ability to recognise and ID things this year. Luckily it's a shift in a positive direction!
I'm getting through specimens far more quickly and my carding has improved. I'm also enjoying getting all my records entered to look at where I've been/might visit. So with that in mind I've decided to try to make 2020 the year that I visit and record beetles from all 40ish 10km2 squares in Cambridgeshire.
Some of these will get filled easily through many of the regular trips but many, especially at the northern end, will need to be specifically visited. I seem to only have done any biological recording from about half of these squares previously so there will be some new places to visit. But many will be flat arable deserts with very little to offer but it will still be interesting to see what might be there to find. It will also mean I venture to some differing habitats. From saltmarsh (yes! I know, who'd have thought) in the north to some chalk grassland in the south. Plus a few rich fenland sites in the middle.
So that's my only real plan for next year. That and the aleochs.
I've made a stab at identifying some of the of the aleochs that I've collected over the last year and whilst being bloody difficult I'm keen to soldier on. Some of the details of tarsi number and other features on small individuals are a struggle for my microscope so I'm going to purchase a cheap compound to try and elucidate some of this detail. Anyway wherever I get to it will keep me out of trouble, I hope. At least it should give my brain temporary respite from politics and the current state of the planet.
So best wishes for 2020 and the New Year of wildlife. And remember to be kind. We need more kindness in the world!
|Aleochora cuniculorum. One that I've already identifiied, albeit with a fair bit of help. Found in a MV trap at the Lodge RSPB reserve earlier this year.|