Our Rare Species Inventory coordinator, Patrick Roper, has been busying himself (where on earth does he find the time?) over the last few months with a series of fascinating, enlightening and beautiful weblogs dedicated to biological recording. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “weblog”, or “blog”, then have a look at this comprehensive article about weblogs on Wikipedia. If you’re interested in wildlife and recording, be sure to bookmark these sites (or subscribe to them via a news-reader) and visit regularly as they’re updated almost daily and are an intriguing insight into the work and thoughts of a naturalist. They also provide us with some particularly innovative ideas that anyone can try, even in an urban environment. Here’s a brief description of each blog:
A regular, illustrated wildlife diary. As an ecologist and biodiversity researcher and recorder, Patrick visits a wide range of rural and urban habitats mainly close to his home in Sedlescombe near Hastings in East Sussex. Ramblings of a Naturalist covers the full spectrum of wildlife, from mammals to microbes. As well as details of encounters with Englandâ€™s flora and fauna, details of where to see species of interest are often given. Visit Ramblings of a Naturalist.
Since September 2003 Patrick has been studying a square metre of rough grassland and the immediate surrounding area in his garden. By May 2006 over 700 species of plants and animals had been identified and there are many more as yet unidentified and, of course, undiscovered.
Observations from the square metre are often surprising and unexpected and the project reveals how much we still have to learn about the dynamics of biodiversity. The daily detailed scrutiny of such a small area also triggers many reflections on our relationship to the other species with which we share the planet and how better to understand both them and ourselves.
The Square Metre also comments on management issues and techniques many of which are similar to challenges faced in biodiversity conservation on a larger scale. Visit The Square Metre.
In November 2005 Patrick bought a small windowbox, filled it up with supposedly sterile John Innes No. 2 compost, added a log, a rock and a tiny pond and then left it in a convenient position out doors to see what wildlife would colonise it. Part of the purpose of the project is to show that if a windowbox is the only “wilderness” you can have access to, nature can still generate many surprises and challenges.
Windowbox Wildlife reports on the developing flora and fauna of this smallest of nature reserves and comments on management issues and techniques. Visit Windowbox Wildlife.
Other Local Weblogs
There are several other local weblogs covering areas in Sussex, such as RXWildlife, which covers the coast between Rye and Bexhill and contains some lovely photography. Andy Phillips, creator of RXWildlife also keeps his own personal “wildblog”, called Roof-top Observatory detailing the wildlife he sees from (and in) his roof-top observatory in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex. Just goes to show, you don’t need to be in a rural environment in order to find fascinating natural treasures.
If you know of any other local wildlife websites, or weblogs, do let us know.