Wildlife checklist

The start of a new year might be seen as a chance for a new start – although so could the start of every minute, sentence, and action.

In that spirit, I will aim to give you a suggestion for something you could do every day of 2013 to help wildlife in some way.  Sometimes the ask will be related to the daily blog (as it is today) and sometimes it will appear as a separate blog later in the day.  In all cases if I ask you to do something then I will do it myself too.

Here’s a very simple idea for 2013  – make a list of one wildlife ambition for each month through the year.  This list will help motivate you to get out and interact with nature – and that’s a key part of wanting to stand up for nature.

Here’s my list for January-June inclusive – I’ll update it half way through the year:

January – Mandarin duck – yes, I know it’s an introduced species but it is very beautiful and I will be spending some time in the part of the country where it can be seen.

February – see a drake smew – the most gorgeous wintering duck we have.

March – to see or hear chiffchaff, willow warbler, sand martin, swallow and wheatear in Northamptonshire before the end of the month.

April – listen to the nightingales at Glapthorn Cow Pasture.

May – to see Duke of Burgundy.

June – road runner – yes that might be tricky in the UK but I will be spending some time in places where it should be easier.  This blog will be going ‘on tour’ for a while in the USA.


How about you?  What might be on your list?

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32 Replies to “Wildlife checklist”

  1. Jan - Check on how the White tailed Eagle reintroduction is going in Cumbria.
    Feb - Keep pushing the Pine Marten reintroduction for Cumbria after this great article in the this paper - http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sciencetoday/2012/1115/1224326599383.html No its not a bird but it will have an effect on them.
    March - Another trip to Egypt. Can't keep away. The First ever Bird watcher was found here 4000 years ago - Becket 3rd from Beni Hassan.
    April - Start on the Pied Flycatcher work. lows of 6 pairs increased to 98 pairs and back down to 6 pairs now.
    May - launch next Children's Books in London and Bath.
    June - Trips into Scotland to carry on my writing for another series.

  2. January- Great Orme-chance to improve seabird knowledge!!!
    February- Wharfedale- maybe a Merlin?
    March-April NRS for BTO. A new challenge!
    May- Scotland I hope! Eagles and more.
    June- enjoy the new life, all species that are around us.

  3. Nice idea Mark. Living in the deepest south of Europe my list would read slightly differently!
    January: Attempt to find an additional territory for Bonelli's Eagle (currently 38) within my local patch - Serrania de Ronda.
    February: Map local breeding sites for Lesser Kestrel (we have 2 populations 1. resident 2. Migratory).
    March: Put the camera down and do more fieldwork! Find breeding pair of Black-winged Kite... suspected as breeding for the 1st time within my patch 2012.
    April: Set aside at least one day to ring spring arrivals with a focus on Sub-alpine Warbler, but Spectacled would be most welcome!!
    May: Continue my research with Black Wheatear social and breeding biology!
    June: Census Chiffchaff both Common and Iberian - confusing as we have both in Andalucia!

    Healthy and Peaceful New Year.


  4. January-Attend evening classes at college...not for spelling.
    February-More Barn Owl photography
    March-See if I can improve the number of Swallows breeding on horse breeding/farm like last year
    April- Actually get some photo's of Nightingales at Glapthorn-always left wondering why more people don't go there, you never know Mark you might bump into me!!!
    May-Count/Record the actual number of species of birds on an ELS scheme that I THINK has worked ok and try to photograph the Grasshopper Warbler. And learn a bit about Butterflies
    June-Avoid getting sunburnt (wishful thinking that there will be sun)

    ALL YEAR ROUND-Try to enjoy what we have before it's gone.

  5. January - May. More swans to colour-mark.
    May-June . Nest boxes locally and Pied Fly scheme in mid Wales.
    July - December. Yet more swans to colour mark, plus all the cygnets I missed when in Wales.

  6. January: Smew (achieved but no male yet). Get to see Waxwing (missed by 5 minutes this morning).
    February: Keep practising with the new camera. Get to see Waxwing.
    March: Keep practising with the camera. Get the ear back in for spring migrants. Probably too late to get the waxwing.
    April: Hummingbirds at Asa Wright. That why I needed the camera.
    May: Nightingales still going strong in the Cotswold Water Park.
    June: Move towards a better understanding of dragonflies.

    A happy New Year to everyone.

    1. Bob - good luck with all of that. Let's see how we all get on at the end of June. HNY to you (both) too.

  7. Not sure about the timing of all this, but...
    Start work in the garden of my new house, to plan what I want do, install a pond and a mix of habitats, put up nest boxes, including for swifts.
    Having done a nest finding course last year with BTO, build on that to start recording nests, and start training to gain a C class permit for ringing nestlings.
    Do my usual two BBS squares, and hopefully continue to help with monitoring for Hen Harriers, and also perhaps help with giving talks to local groups about the Skydancer project.

    Think that will do for starters!

  8. Think my months will be shaped by what birds I wish to see come within about 40 miles.
    Admire you all having special goals but a friend once told me that in general "you are not going to do after 40 what you did not manage before 40".So think that gives me a good excuse not to expect too much.

  9. I would love to see a male Smew, and I'd also like to see a male Eider. It's been years since my last Eider sighting and it is such a smart-looking bird!

  10. I will try some of your suggestions Mark - not June as I won't be in USA!
    Most should be possible for me - Smew are found on the Cotswold Water Park most years; Willow Warbler and Swallow before end March is tough especially WW but I do look for early migrants every year and with Swallow I try and find one before my wife's birthday which is 5 April - failed last year.

    A few years ago I became interested in Lepidoptera and I started by moth trapping using a light trap. Each year I try and add a little more scope to my efforts - two years back I took on some surveys for Butterfly Conservation's local key butterfly sites as well as moth trapping away from the garden. Last year I started trying to identify every micro moth that I came across which was very tricky, and this year I intend to delve into the mysteries of leaf miners that are the early stages of many micro moths. Plenty there to keep me busy but I will also be doing a good deal of birding and bird surveys as well.

    Thanks for a great blog Mark and a Happy New Year to all.

    1. Tony - I know nothing about moths! Butterflies I know a bit, but not much! Good luck with the micro-moths.

  11. Do more moth trapping and send all the records to the appropriate recorders ( I trap in North Yorkshire and Powys)
    Find more nests for NRS and ring more pulli, especially ofring ousel.
    Take better pictures.
    Be nicer to people who deserve it.
    Try to take more and better notes.
    Enjoy it all.
    Try to make a difference for moorland raptors.
    Finally visit the Bird Fair.

  12. Happy New Year Mark!
    Having a new(ish) house and large garden I am trying to record 365 species of animal only (no plants) this calendar year.
    But outside the garden...
    Jan: waxwings (already done)
    Feb: displaying goldeneye drakes at local gravel pits
    Mar: welcome back the local breeding little owls (they returned today as it happens)
    Apr: Male emperor moths on the local lowland heath
    May: I used to film our breeding swifts before we moved. I now have a new nest box and a lure CD so would love to have my favourite bird of all back breeding with us
    Jun: See May!

    Good luck with your list eh?

  13. January-making more bird boxes.
    February-plough area for more wildlife friendly plants.
    March-filming woodpecker displaying along with othe nature.
    April-sowing wildflower mixes & trout fishing in areas where divers could be seen.
    May-netting late & hopefully lost birds.
    June-fingers crossed a flycatcher will be in one of my boxes !!

  14. Jan: Find a Willow Tit and visit a WWT centre to pick up the free book they owe me for becoming a member
    Feb: Skydancing Goshawks if I'm lucky
    Mar: Start raptor monitoring fieldwork for the breeding season ahead
    Apr: BBS & raptor monitoring
    May: Visit Bowness-on-Solway, Cumbria to see the skua passage & raptor monitoring
    Jun: BBS & raptor monitoring

  15. Hello Mark and all - here I am late to the party as usual. My list would include:
    i) getting as much wildlife friendliness in our new garden as Mrs MK will allow;
    ii) stimulating some interest in nature in our 10 month old daughter in a way which means she thinks it was her idea (I think she's already quite fond of starlings) and
    iii) starting regularly correspondence with our MP about wildlife issues, starting with raptor persecution (and I suspect returning to that subject quite often)
    iv) writing a blog about some of the lovely ash trees on my patch how they fare against the expected chalara onslaught in the summer - and somehow making this uplifting as well as sad.
    It would be great to hear, Mark, how you and commenters get on with your lists through the year?

  16. Funny, your January ambition as i was just thinking you might like a visit to the Dean & Highnham Woods as I was eating my lunch beside Cannop ponds - and photographing a very nice Mandarin pair being fed bread by a family !

  17. ps The bird of the day, though, and always an ambition, if rarely realised these days, was a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker just by the gate on the short trail at Nagshead RSPB/FC nature reserve.


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