My challenge for 2014

Torpid dormouseIt’s that time of year, when, snugly indoors we make plans for the next 12 months. I’ve decided to set myself a big challenge. I want to see (and try to photograph) every species of British animal in the wild.

FrogNo doubt it will take me more than a year (if I ever achieve it). I’ve already seen quite a few, but there are many on the list that will be quite tough. My chances of seeing a Scottish wildcat are slim, as they’re so rare and secretive. Others will be found in even less accessible places, for example the 18 different species of dolphins and whales that visit the British coast.Hedgehog

So why set myself this challenge? Well, it seems a good way of getting to find out more about the wonderful wildlife of the British Isles. I’ll need to read up about them to learn where and when to see them. It will also push me beyond my comfort zone, making me visit parts of the country I’ve never been (in my mind Bristol is up north). Finally, it involves a list, and I do like ticking things off lists!Badger

As for the mechanics of it, to start with I’m basing my list on animals included in the Collins Complete Guide to British Animals, although no doubt there will be some additions or subtractions along the way. That includes mammals, reptiles and amphibians. I’m leaving birds out of it for now, as that would just be too big a challenge. You can see the list on a new page I’ve created. I’ll let you know how I’m doing as the year goes on, and share some of the things I learn along the way.Inquisitive seal

Wish me luck! Have you set yourself any wildlife-related challenges for the new year?


13 thoughts on “My challenge for 2014”

  1. Cool challenge. Funny you are leaving out birds, they’d mostly be easier since there are so many birders out there to give you tips, but it makes sense as you’d have a hard time just finding all the species of birds in a year.

      1. Hey, after I commented I thought about a resource that could be useful to you (though you might already be familiar), iNaturalist:

        It’s a citizen science project where people report observations of the various species they encounter. The sightings are geotagged, so if you are looking for a species you can search and get some sense of their territory and where sightings have been.

        Good luck, sounds like a great goal for the year.

      2. Thanks for suggesting that resource. I hadn’t come across it before. It’s a great idea, and could be a fantastic resource.

        At the moment it looks like there aren’t many records from the UK, but maybe I should take that as a challenge, and try to add to it!

  2. A serious challenge that I’m sure you will meet. I look forward to your reports along the way. My challenges are to finish two books currently in draft form, and to keep posting new articles on my blog. I pinned, tweeted, and scooped your challenge (see the scoop at

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Garry! Sounds like you’ve got pretty ambitious challenges ahead of you as well!

      Thanks for sharing my blog – I haven’t seen before, but your page looks really interesting – I’ll have to investigate it some more!

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