My #microbigyear - an in depth study of animal diversity on a local scale
A "big year" is a birding concept. As Wikipedia states:
A big year is an informal competition among birders to see who can see or hear the largest number of species of birds within a single calendar year and within a specific geographical area.
Birding big-years mean lots of travelling, money spent and dependence on seeing other peoples discoveries rather than finding them yourself. I'm sure it is very exciting, but I'll spend my year in my new garden.
Originally being inspired by the Swedish microbirders, thrilled by the 1000for1ksq project in Great Britain last year, and kicked off by the first birding big year in Norway this year, I created my own big-year. It is a mixture the two first concepts, finding species locally. My goal is to find out how many species from the animal kingdom I am able to identify in my suburban garden in Bergen, Norway during 2014.
The site and the goal
I moved to this place last autumn, and do not really know what to expect. I lived a kilometer north of this before, but the habitat was a bit different. The garden is on the border between densly populated Bergen and the lower southeastern part of mount Løvstakken (477 m.a.s.l.), at about an altitude of 100 m.a.s.l. Compared to more or less the same placing as the former garden, there is more of an original habitat bordering to the new site, and not a dense Sitka plantation. Birch is the most common tree, both both a few Oaks, Aspen, Beech and Rowan grows here. Scattered Pines and few distant Sitkas supplement the tree diversity. The shrubbery is dominated by Vaccinum and Juniper, and I kind of don't know much more about the vegetation since I moved here in October. My last place, where I trapped moths from late 2007 until summer of 2013 gave totally 400 species. Random sightings of birds during the years produced 80 species.
Estimating species to be found during 2014 is therefore a bit of a guess, but my first aim is to reach the beasty number of 666. Actually, it is not completely out of the blue. I have humbly judged my skills, potential and coming effort. Moths and bird will pose a small time-consume coming to ID. However, for most of the other groups I have to consult literature and in some cases experts. Estimated species number for different groups:
The species hunt will be restricted to weekends and evenings. I'll moth-trap as much as possible during the season from march to november (but will unfortunately for the total species list be away most of July). Birds will be observed whenever :-) For other groups the species harvest will be more random, photographing by-catches in the moth-trap and other bugs posing around.
All spontanious animal species seen inside or from the 1000m2 patch consisting of my garden and close surroundings during 2014. All trapping methods can be used, including camera-traps, light-traps, pheromon lures etc. Aggregate species* are included, but not if one of them is determined to species.
* species aggregates: usually small or large clusters of species counted as one taxon in species lists, where the different species are hard or impossible to separate from eachother. In the #microbigyear this means if an unidentified Goshawk/Sparrowhawk is seen, it counts as one species. If a Goshawk is recorded the day after, this will be the counting species (and the agg. is removed from the species list).