Sunday, 11 December 2016

Flower visit data

In the course of extracting data from photographs, I have attempted to also extract data on flower visits. This has not been entirely successful as my abilities as a botanist are somewhat limited and my problems are compounded by the huge array of domesticated species that figure - I shall never get to terms with these!

Nevertheless, there are some useful data emerging. Where FB members helpfully tell me what the plants are, my problems are more limited (although I sometimes find myself questioning an ID).

At the moment I have vast numbers of records as 'at ???' but there are about 500 species represented in the flower visit data for 2016 and doubtless there could be a lot more if somebody competent was to work their way through all the URLS! I am not suggesting that anybody should attempt this but it is an option. Over the coming years I hope we will be able to combine hoverfly ID with more accurate recording of flower visits. As you will see from the tabulation of the most frequently visited plants, several groups give me a lot of problems - yellow and white composites and Brassicas, umbellifers and Senecios are particularly apparent in this mix! Other problems occur where there are two extremely similar species and where domestic and wild species lie in the same genus - Senecio, Hypericum, Potentilla and Geranium come immediately to mind.

This seems to me to be one aspect of photographic recording that could be highly instructive over time. Which are the best flowers to plant for nectar and pollen sources? There are a few ideas emerging from this year's data.

Figure 1. Plants with 20 or more records of hoverflies in 2016

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