A Review Of My 2015 Wildlife Resolutions.


  • See 2 new species of butterfly.
    • I went beyond the necessary for this resolution, managing to see at least four times as many. However, the first two were particularly wonderful, with the first being a Grizzled Skipper in mid-April, then completing the resolution in mid-May with Duke of Burgundy. (Other new species were Chequered Skipper, Essex Skipper, Grayling, Brown Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak, Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary and Silver-washed Fritillary).
  • See an otter (not just spraint!).
    • I saw plenty more otter spraint, and even what I think was otter anal jelly (such a thing exists?!?!). However, this resolution was completed in Scotland in late June (Day 22 of Megan & Matt Go Wild) and I practically danced with excitement. After the otter had swum out of sight of course. Two more otters were seen that week on the Isle of Mull, also an excellent and exciting sighting, but less dancing as that was the moment that my camera decided to break. And the ensuing search for the missing piece of the camera meant I missed good views of Harbour Porpoise and White-tailed Eagle. I won’t lie, there were quite a few tears. However, I saw both HP and W-t Eagle again so all was well, plus of course, I had seen otter!!
  • See a kingfisher.
    • Now this was in the list as I was thoroughly annoyed at myself for not having seen a kingfisher in the UK. Particularly as I had seen at least three species of kingfisher in South Africa!! Bah! However, the resolution was ticked off sooner than I thought it would be, in late March during a visit to Suffolk – as written about in this blog post. Plus, I saw another one later in the year at RSPB Radipole in Weymouth. Phew! Both sightings were quick fly-pasts, but I definitely saw them well enough to identify them as a kingfisher, so it counts!
  • Go on at least one birding twitch.
    • In fact, I went on a couple of twitches this year, but the first twitch was when I saw the Hoopoe on Portland. I had been in Dorset for less than 24 hours at this point (having moved there in mid-April for a seasonal position with Dorset Wildlife Trust). An absolutely stunning bird, and I hope to see this species again in the future!
  • Continue with the moth-ing (Obviously! And hopefully sort out getting a MV trap).
    • Now we all knew this was going to happen, and I did indeed continue with the moth-ing, catch many new species for me – and finding a few new reserve records at Lorton Meadows (mostly through caterpillars and finding adults during the day rather than through light trapping). I didn’t get a MV trap, but it turns out I don’t need to, as Matt has one!
  • Record a species in a new square. – suggested by @mattprince1969
    • I did this at least twice, both at Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Lorton Meadows Nature Reserve with Essex Skipper butterfly (as mentioned above, a new species for me!) and a Nationally Scarce soldier beetle identified as Cantharis fusca (also a new species for me, caught by local schoolchildren during a minibeasts session at Lorton).  
  • Make a proper effort to increase ID skills of insects.
    • I’m not sure what constitutes a “proper effort” – why I wrote that in the resolution I don’t know! However, I think I did so. Thanks to pan-species listing, I have attempted to identify a range of insects, and in doing so, have learnt a lot about the identification process. Plus attending a course on dissecting moths to identify them from their genitalia has surely got to count as a proper effort, right?
  • Organise a BioBlitz.
    • Completed with my bioblitz on 7th June, organised for Radnorshire Wildlife Trust. It was great fun, and I learnt from it. Both on how to organise and run a bioblitz, as well as how to identify different species.
  • Go to Birdfair.
  • Donate wildlife photos to charities (particularly Wildlife Trusts of course!)
    • At the start of the year, I donated the photos taken on RWT reserves to RWT, and likewise later on in the year for DWT. And I have begun the process of donating photos to the central Wildlife Trusts, and now, with BCN WT. So I do believe I can safely tick this resolution as being done!
  • Get into the top 20 on iRecord Butterflies.
    • I will admit to having not finished uploading my records on the iRecord app (to be resolved during 2015), so my record count isn’t as high as it should be. It is 400 records at the time of writing with 38 species, putting me in 14th and 13th place respectively. The latter won’t change as I have uploaded all the species, but perhaps I will go up a place or two with the number of records. Either way, I’m in the top 20 in both lists.
  • Get better at recording wildlife seen (and submit data obviously), including compiling a year list and life list for birds.
    • Well, I set aside a whole notebook for my wildlife sightings of 2015 and have written down the vast majority of wildlife seen, so that part of this resolution is complete. I haven’t submitted all the data yet, but aim to do so (one of my resolutions for 2016!). As for my bird lists, well my year list is yet to be calculated, though I do have a life list of 161 (with an aim of reaching 200 in 2016).
  • Get round to sorting out my Pan-Species Listing website account / list, and set myself a PSL target for the end of the year. – suggested by Tony Davis
    • finally completed this near the end of July, with a PSL total of 661 at that time and a target of 1000. Although I didn’t reach 1000, I am glad that I set myself a target. And I hope to reach 1500 in 2016.
  • Visit Grant Museum of Zoology (London).
    • A spare day off allowed me to complete this resolution, and weirdly, I managed to meet someone working there who I used to work with at ZSL London Zoo. It’s a small world. I had a lovely time wandering about, though I probably didn’t get as much from it as I could’ve. A feeling I get with many museums. I would love to get to know it a bit more and discover more about the specimens. Perhaps I shall get the chance to do so in the future.
  • Pick up more litter!
    • Hard to be sure that I completed this resolution, as I didn’t measure how much litter I was picking up previously … and how much I picked up this year. However, I did plenty of two minute beach cleans whilst working at Chesil Beach, as well as picking up litter when out and about at Lorton Meadows Nature Reserve. Plus, the pockets of my waterproofs and my rucksack can attest to me picking up litter on many more occasions, so I feel that I have completed this resolution.
  • Learn how to use my camera properly, rather than just sticking to the same settings all the time.
    • I am not quite sure if I learnt how to use it “properly” but I have definitely tried out different settings so I am going to tick this one off.
  • Launch my not-so-secret project.
    • I present to you my YouTube Channel. Enjoy! Constructive criticism welcome. (NB: I know I haven’t uploaded anything recently, but I have plans).

Not Completed

So I didn’t complete all 25 resolutions. To be honest, I didn’t really expect to. I just enjoyed setting myself the resolutions and completing some. Most of the ones below are partially completed, so that makes me a little happier than not ticking them all off.

  • See a species from a new Order (to me, not a whole new Order obviously). – suggested by Max Blake (originally suggested as a new phyla, but maybe a little too difficult just now, 2016 perhaps)
  • Start learning scientific names properly.
  • Learn how to pin insects (so that naturally dead insects that I find can be used for educational purposes).
  • Learn how to clean my bones collection (especially the badger skull).
  • Make a proper effort to increase ID skills of wildflowers.
  • Make a proper effort to increase ID skills of birdsong.
  • Write an article for a non-wildlife focussed magazine / newsletter / blog.
  • Try out BirdTrack.
2 replies
  1. Paul Seligman
    Paul Seligman says:

    Well done – though setting yourself some 40-50 resolutions is seriously ambitious. You really did some good things. Otters are getting a bit more common here in South Wales and I saw a couple without going to look for them. In terms of wildlife resolutions – I vaguely thought I’d get more into Hoverfly ID, would do some Butterfly Conservation surveys on my BBS transects, and would make my expanding annual survey of House Martin Nests in the Cardiff Bay area more rigorous and comprehensive. Both achieved, the first to some degree, the second and third completely. I’m really happy with the HM survey, I have designed a nice data capture sheet and a spreadsheet for analysis and I just sent a draft paper for review. This year I want to find a way to export all my historic non-UK bird records to eBird (too many issues with BirdTrack)..

    • MeganS
      MeganS says:

      Ah, it was only 25 resolutions!

      I’m hoping to attempt hoverfly ID this year, one of the resolutions for 2016 is to identify 5 new sp of hoverfly.

      What are the issues with BirdTrack?


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