ophrys's picture

Which species are you looking out for in 2013?

Idle musings over a New Year breakfast about which species I would like to find locally to me in 2013...

Amphibians and Reptiles ...Grass Snake
Birds ...Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Invertebrates ...Zodion/Thecophora sp
Mammal ...Otter
Plants ...Fly Orchid

Grass Snake is a long shot, as my main site is rather dry heathland, but it seems to be getting wetter and wetter and is alive with frogs...it's also close to extensive wetlands.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is harder and harder to find and a real rarity locally, but I have a couple of sites in mind...damp birch/alder woodland which should be suitable

Zodion/Thecophora are two small genera of Thick-headed flies which were recorded on my local site over 80 years ago and it would be great to prove they are still around.

Otters are around, but I need to get up a bit earlier and make the effort! Not seen any for a few years, now.

Fly Orchids must be around on the chalk of the Wolds, where there is Beech woodland...must remember to go and look this year.

There you go...nice to look forward to sunnier days and exciting finds. Anyone else got anything good on their 'to find' list for 2013...




Masked Marvel's picture

Grass snakes

Hello Ian

From some of your posts I have an idea where you are located. I suggest you try Skipwith for grass snakes, there's a good population there.

My personal aim is to get some decent photos of Merseyside sand lizards.

ophrys's picture


Yes...good idea. That wish is really for one a bit closer to home...either near Allerthorpe or more likely along the Pocklington Canal, where I am amazed that I have yet to see one. Good luck with the Sand Lizards.


My Flickr photos...


John Bratton's picture


My targets this year include:

Daphnia atkinsoni in its two former Winteringham sites. I haven't found it or even viable eggs since 2004, but am hoping last year's high rain will have got a new population going and laid down an egg bank.

Groenlandia densa: not seen for several years at Winteringham, then in autumn 2012 there were seven plants in a recently cleaned out drain. Went to check on them last week and the drain has been cleaned out again, no Groenlandia visible.

Musca domestica. I've never found it, but keep intending to set traps near chicken farms.

Egle spp. Flies to look out for early in the year on willow catkins.

Coleophora genistae at a new site on Anglesey. It is only just hanging on at the two known locations, thanks to overgrazing on one nature reserve and complete absence of management on the other.

Dippers nesting on Anglesey. They were lost from their last known nesting site when the council built extensive boardwalks through the nature reserve, but I've hopes of them turning up on a private site as they regularly winter there.

And of course bone skipper Centrophlebomyia furcata is always there at the fantasy end of my targets.

John Bratton

ophrys's picture

Centrophlebomyia furcata

Better get that dead donkey staked out on the lawn...


My Flickr photos...


John Bratton's picture

Not doing badly. The pool

Not doing badly. The pool where D. atkinsoni was last seen did fill again this spring and the water flea re-appeared in March. Groenlandia was also in its ditch last month. And there was Coleophora genistae at its two known sites, in good numbers at one, and a new locality on Anglesey in May.

(I've just edited a typo in this. That is why it has turned orange again.)

Martin Harvey's picture

House fly

John, I've recorded (what I think is) Musca domestica from my house three times in the last few years, are you implying that it really has become unusual these days? Should I be surprised by my records, and maybe check my IDs?

Entomologist and biological recorder

John Bratton's picture

Yes, according to

Yes, according to correspondence on Diptera.info a few years ago, it has largely been replaced by Musca autumnalis. I think the switch to refuse being sealed up in plastic bags was one suggested cause. Someone from a museum, in Ireland I think, said they had not found M. domestica for ten years.

I have not done a very thorough search here. I hung around Anglesey tip for a while once but didn't catch any. I ought to try around the numerous chicken factories.

Amadan's picture


Having been lucky enough to be involved with Sylvia Sheldon's work in Wyre Forest many years ago, I have been a firm fan of this inoffensive reptile ever since.
It's only when you move to a new area, and start looking for them, do you realise the hours of work she has put in over the years to be able to - reliably and apparently effortlessly - take you to see one.