Blog musings

As you've probably noticed, after the 365 daily posts I set out to do at the beginning of 2015 there came an abrupt halt. This in large part was due to the difficulty I was having in finding new species to blog about, but also because it felt like 'mission accomplished'. 2016, I felt, required a different challenge.

I got a huge amount out of doing the blog. It was never intended for other people; rather a way of putting vicarious peer pressure on myself to keep it up. In the past I'd tried to do the same (daily identification of species) using a notebook but inevitably found excuses to stop. 

Mostly, I learnt a lot. Having to spend a few minutes each day looking things up and then write something about it is a great way to assimilate information. Some days, when I had the time, I would spend up to an hour perusing various books or following hyperlink trails across the internet.

I rediscovered Twitter. Previously I'd found Twitter superficial and tedious but this time I followed people posting about botany, entomology, nature and conservation. Some people put out wonderfully informative photos and mini-guides. And there are other brilliant blogs too. Far better than mine for people interested in learning about natural history.

Although on the one hand I gained a sense of achievement finishing the last post on 31st December, I found myself somewhat bereft over the next few days. I think I missed the anchor the blog provided, keeping me attached to the natural world. So I came up with new ideas for 2016 to continue my learning about lifewildaroundus. I did the New Year Plant Hunt for the first time (run by the BSBI and 'curated' by Ryan Clark, an indefatigable blogger and Twitter user). I decided I'd continue to blog new species when I identified them (although I haven't kept this particular resolution!). I have signed up to new BTO and Sussex Ornithological surveys. I thought I'd add pages to the blog (such as this) when the desire or inspiration to write about something came upon me. I thought I'd sign up to Nature's Calendar, an online phenology site which does good work. I intended to join the British Bryological Society and attend some of their field meetings. 

Some of these things will come to pass. There is simply too much out there that interests me and too little time. Although I've spent some time identifying mosses and liverworts and find them beautiful and fascinating, a part of me keeps thinking "but you're still a mediocre field botanist; shouldn't you wait until your able to identify all the flowering plants? What about ferns, grasses, sedges and rushes?" Rather than start going on BBS meetings I should concentrate on the Sussex Botanical Recording Society meetings and submitting my own records from various tetrads for use in the upcoming new national Flora.

I'm just finishing Michael Proctor's New Naturalist volume Vegetation of the British Isles. Wow, what an extraordinary repository of knowledge he must be. His lifelong interest and expertise shine through. I have about a hundred other New Naturalists but it's always a difficult balance between sitting inside reading and getting outside doing. Or in the case of bryophytes, sitting inside doing what you earlier outside collected. (One of the attractions of bryology!)

I have no one to please but myself. One mustn't fret. The point is to allow the wonder of Life to remain in the foreground and to savour it while one can.

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