It has taken me just over a year to reach it and it hasn’t been without frustrations, realisations and an acceptance of limits BUT on the 25th of June 2015 the 400th species went on my list at Taf Fechan.The 400th wasn’t the first thing I saw that was a very small species of Bee buried deep in a Dandelion, not only beyond my cameras technological capabilities but also very small bees buried in Dandelions are inevitably unidentifiable without taking a specimen, killing it, popping it under a microscope and using keys with some very specialised language. I’m not against taking specimens I just don’t want to, thus my first acceptance of limits: some things are just not identifiable.
The 400th wasn’t the second thing I saw, that was what I thought must be a perfectly identifiable little moth with distinct markings sat happily on a bramble until I got my camera out focused on the thing then watched it fly away through the viewing screen knowing that because of the delay by the time I looked up I would never find it again, thus my second acceptance of limits: things escape.
The 400th wasn’t the third thing I saw which was exactly the same as the second thing I saw but every single photo was so completely out of focus you could barely make out it was a moth at all thus my third acceptance of limits: technology is not infallible.
The 400th wasn’t the fourth thing I saw because that was a fly and all flies (with a few exceptions) are a massive minefield of hideously complex similarities and impossible without genital dissection and a spot of amateur genital dissection on a Thursday night doesn’t appeal, thus my fourth acceptance of limits: you can’t do everything.
The 400th wasn’t the fifth, sixth seventh, eighth, ninth or tenth things I saw because I got distracted by hoverflies thus my fifth acceptance of limits: there will always be favourites.
The 400th was actually the 11th thing I saw which was rather ironically another micro-moth but this one behaved itself by sitting still, by being perfectly identifiable without reference to genitals and being in focus. So the official 400th species on my list is Agapeta hamana!
Graham Watkeys Taf Fechan Warden