Diversions in Natural History is an occasional blog recording various walks and the organisms encountered, mostly in the UK, but also wherever I might happen to be. Professionally, I work in digital publishing, and have an evolving interest in the natural world. I’d often go to the Wildfowl Trust’s reserve at Slimbridge when I was young, and walked Dartmoor extensively in my teens, during which time I started to wonder what plants I was walking on. Gradually in my 20s I started to read a bit about botany, and made my first tentative steps in identifying plants some time in the early 90s.
Over the next decade or so my plant identification improved a bit, but it’s only been relatively recently that I have begun to appreciate quite how diverse and challenging even some of the most mundane and ‘obvious’ things can be. So, it’s probably only since about 2010 when I started going to some of the courses run by the Sussex Wildlife Trust (SWT) and the Field Studies Council that I have begun to get a bit more systematic and serious about it, keen to try and better understand the habitats and ecology of the places I visit as well as simply knowing what I’m looking at. Using iSpot has helped, and Graeme Lyons at SWT made me realise that there is more to life than just plants, so in 2014 I started to maintain a pan-species list, which helps me remember what I’ve seen, and where.
After going to Graeme’s bryophyte course in 2012, since the end of 2013 I’ve been particularly enjoying going out with the south-east group of the British Bryological Society too. And then a group of us in Forest Row have just started a local natural history group, and have already been amazed at the extent of interest there has been.
However, I’m still acutely conscious that there’s tons of stupidly common things that I don’t know what they are, and that despite best efforts I repeatedly mis-identify stuff. So, if you do see anything wrong on here, please let me know…