Monday, February 19, 2018

Dalgety Bay - 400 up

So I managed to just sneak onto 400 before a brief Highland holiday with the family. A few additions since returning means I'm more or less still in line for 450 by end of Feb. Nice to see the moth trap not empty. Although technically it was, with three Dotted Border on the house walls, all the very pretty form fusca.

I'll be taking a leaf out of Tim's book before month end probably and doing some more sieving. I've had precious little from sieving leaf litter with even what I thought common litter species apparently absent (or my failing eyesight...). Not even a pseudoscorpion.  I still retain hope though, and I think at least partly it's the wetness that's to blame. maybe I'm subconsciously avoiding Tachyporus!

398 alga Ulva intestinalis Gutweed
399 fungus Phanerochaete velutina A fungus
400 fungus Inonotus radiatus A fungus
401 bird Turdus viscivorus Mistle Thrush
402 moss Campylopus introflexus Heath Star Moss
403 lep-moth Agriopis marginaria Dotted Border

A new moth and a nice beetle

Put my light trap on last night for only the second time this year. Only 4 moths, but one was a Mottled Grey, which is quite a scarce moth in east Norfolk and a new one for me. Was also nice to attract a female Great Diving Beetle, not one I get in the trap very often.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Garden grass litter pile

Here's what it looks like. Sorry for the appalling picture quality...

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Got a lifer today in the form of the fairly scarce chrysomelid beetle Phyllotreta diademata (male, gen.detted). Beetle number 49 for the garden so far this year. Lots more to come once the weather starts warming up, I hope. Just in case anyone's interested the current 49 are:

Amara ovata
Anchomenus dorsalis
Anotylus rugosus
Aphthona euphorbiae
Asaphidion curtum
Barypeithes pellucidus
Bembidion guttula
Bembidion lampros
Bembidion obtusum
Bisnius fimetarius
Brachygluta fossulata
Calvia quattuordecimguttata
Cartodere nodifer
Cypha longicornis
Cyphon padi
Cyphon pubescens
Demetrias atricapillus
Gyrohypnus angustatus
Harmonia axyridis
Lathrobium brunnipes
Leistus ferrugineus
Leistus fulvibarbis
Lithocharis nigriceps
Longitarsus parvulus
Loricera pilicornis
Olibrus aeneus
Omalium rivulare
Paranchus albipes
Phaedon tumidulus
Philonthus varians
Philorhizus melanocephalus
Phyllotreta diademata
Pogonocherus hispidus
Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata
Pterostichus strenuus
Quedius maurorufus
Quedius scintillans
Rhyzobius litura
Sepedophilus nigripennis
Sitona lineatus
Stilbus testaceus
Tachinus rufipes
Tachinus subterraneus
Tachyporus chrysomelinus
Tachyporus hypnorum
Tachyporus nitidulus
Tachyporus obtusus
Trechus obtusus
Xantholinus linearis

Monday, February 12, 2018

Dalgety Bay - Dead Wood

Yesterday was a busy day but I managed a quick tour of the woods behind my house before a planned shopping trip. Big "return on investment" there with some expected but not yet sen species ticked and a couple of tree species that I haven't noticed anywhere else. These woods contain some pretty old trees and my understanding is that there used to be a lot more before our houses were built there.

A few seaside additions too, including a new seaweed for me which was identified during a one day conference on recording that I attended on Saturday.

Hoping to get to 400 before I go up north for a few days. You can see from the below chart how fast this year has been so far. CUL is my local SWT reserve and the initial date of 2014 is maintained because of the way the table's set up.


Lepidochitona cinerea

Sand Masons

Hysterium angustatum

Desmarestia aculeata

374 alga Choreocolax polysiphoniae An alga
375 alga Ulva lactuca Sea Lettuce
376 annelid Lanice conchilega Sand Mason
377 lep-moth Conistra vaccinii Chestnut
378 lep-moth Phigalia pilosaria Pale Brindled Beauty
379 mollusc Lepidochitona cinerea A Chiton
380 * alga Desmarestia aculeata A seaweed
381 coleoptera Notiophilus biguttatus A ground beetle
382 flowering plant Sedum album White Stonecrop
383 flowering plant Teucrium scorodonia Wood Sage
384 bird Pyrrhula pyrrhula Bullfinch
385 collembola Tomocerus minor A springtail
386 flowering plant Aesculus hippocastanum Horse-chestnut
387 flowering plant Corylus avellana Hazel
388 * fungus Costantinella terrestris A hyphomycete
389 fungus Exidiopsis calcea A fungus
390 fungus Geastrum triplex Collared Earthstar
391 fungus Hysterium angustatum A fungus
392 fungus Rosellinia aquila A fungus
393 fungus Sistotrema oblongisporum A fungus

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Skye - Third/Quarter of the Way There

Just a very quick update, it is almost 2am after all...

Saturday 10th Feb was my first day off this month, I have Sunday 11th off work too. I blasted around a fair whack of my square, finding a few new millipedes, beetles and the odd harvestman or plant new for 2018. 

Anyway, the upshot is that I'm on 337 species, which is just over a third of the way to the 1000 species total and exactly a quarter of the way towards my own target of 1350 species. 

Plus I have a fair few samples of bryophytes awaiting ID. Hoping to push forwards to 350 species by the middle of next week. After that I'm off down in England until the start of March. It's a radical slow down, but still ahead of where I was this time last year. Pics to follow at a more reasonable hour... 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Dalgety Bay - ann(elid)us mirabilis

Worms, worms, worms! I think I do, on balance, still think earthworms are tedious. Once you get to the seaside though, everything changes! Marine worms are a varied and very attractive lot.

An amazing brief visit to the intertidal yesterday produced a nice small handful of easy species (edible crab, overflying mute swan), but the evening session was more exciting with 4 out of 4 species being lifers.

It was interesting to put the scaleworm Harmothoe imbricata (big!) with its relative Lepidonotus squamatus. From the books it's not always apparent what different animals they are. The Harmothoe is a magnificent beast as you can see below. Psamathe fusca I thought was going to be something sort of ordinary from the ragworm stable, but once under the lens it revealed its beauty, particularly in its colours as the green and pink resolved with closer inspection.

The worm that broke the mould was a nemertean which I briefly tried to ID as a terrestrial flatworm - it was near the top of the beach. Once it became apparent it wasn't, though, the marine books both held sufficient keys (I hope) to nail it as Cerebratulus fuscus. It was interesting to watch it submerged in sea water. I didn't like this group much either to begin with but they are growing on me, partly because of watching them in action.

All will be returned to the sea today after their brief visit ashore. 

Even the seaweed was julaceous today...

Cerebratulus fuscus

Scaleworms - for, um, scale

Psamathe fusca

Ceramium virgatum on a kelp stipe

355 cnidarian Actinia equina Beadlet anemone
356 * echinoderm Amphipholis squamata Small Brittlestar
357 fungus Chaetosphaerella phaeostroma A pyrenomycete
358 mollusc Littorina littorea Common Periwinkle
359 fungus Pleospora herbarum A fungus
360 * diptera Geomyza tripunctata An opomyzid fly
361 mollusc Trochulus (Trochulus) hispidus Hairy Snail
362 mollusc Cornu aspersum Common Garden Snail
363 dermaptera Forficula auricularia Common Earwig
364 fungus Melanomma pulvis-pyrius A pyrenomycete
365 * collembola lepidocyrtus cyaneus A springtail
366 crustacean Cancer pagurus Edible crab
367 bird Cygnus olor Mute Swan
368 annelid Spirobranchus triqueter  An annelid worm
369 fish Lipophrys pholis Shanny
370 * annelid Psamathe fusca A ragworm
371 * annelid Harmothoe imbricata A scale worm
372 * invert-other Cerebratulus fuscus A nemertine worm
373 * alga Ceramium virgatum A seaweed

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Eype at low tide

Finally managed to visit Eype beach at low tide and was very happy with the result. Completely legitimately within the square there is a good area of seaweed encrusted boulders and even some rockpools. Only there for half an hour (it was decidedly cold and with a bitter wind) but in that time photographed 12 species of seaweed. Not all ID'ed yet but gives me hope.
Also some Honeycomb worms tubes (Sabellaria alveolata), I think? Photo below.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Dalgety Bay - Diet of Worms

I decided to take a small break after January's madness. OK, that's a lie. I was painting my kitchen. There's no way I ever decided that, but it happened anyway.

Fortunately I was able to manage a fantastic hour at low tide on Sunday morning to keep the show on the road. It was a nice exercise in the variability of annelids. Ironically this was exactly the group I was thinking of as tedious and possibly avoidable. They showed me! My favourite was Cirriformia tentaculata, a spectacularly tentacled worm from under an intertidal rock. It would have been the scaleworm, which is awesome but which I already knew from last year.

Spirorbis spirorbis

Lepidonotus squamatus - a scale worm

Cirriformia tentaculata

Lumbricus rubellus

The Star of the day, literally, was the lovely Small Brittlestar, Amphipholis squamata, of which there were two. This is a very pretty little thing and allegedly bioluminescent. I spent some time trying to see this (naturally!) but to no avail.

And lastly on the way to the coast I wandered briefly into the woods and picked up Chaetosphaerella phaeostroma, which I expected to find somewhere. The spores are good value under the microscope.

So, we keep moving along and the kitched is even almost finished - I hope.

342 alga Fucus serratus Toothed Wrack
343 flowering plant Ficaria verna Lesser Celandine
344 diptera Phytomyza ranunculi An agromyzid fly
345 lichen Opegrapha calcarea A lichen
346 lichen Lecidella asema A lichen
347 alga Laminaria hyperborea Cuvie
348 * annelid Cirriformia tentaculata A marine worm
349 annelid Lepidonotus squamatus An annelid worm
350 * annelid Lumbricus rubellus An earthworm
351 annelid Spirorbis spirorbis An annelid worm
352 bird Anser anser Greylag Goose
353 bird Streptopelia decaocto Collared Dove
354 bryozoan Electra pilosa A bryozoan
355 cnidarian Actinia equina Beadlet anemone
356 * echinoderm Amphipholis squamata Small Brittlestar
357 fungus Chaetosphaerella phaeostroma A pyrenomycete
358 mollusc Littorina littorea Common Periwinkle

Friday, February 2, 2018

Skye - January Round Up

Everyone else is doing it, so why can't I, as The Cranberries almost said. So here's my January breakdown (numbers, not mental. That'll probably hit me around about September, I imagine).

Algae - 27 (1 charophyte, 18 freshwater, 7 marine, 1 terrestrial)
Lichens - 18
Fungi - 30
Bryophytes - 19
Vascular Plants - 109
Cnidarians - 1(an anemone)
Molluscs - 19 (14 terrestrial, 1 freshwater, 4 marine)
Bryozoans - 2
Annelids - 1 
Platyhelminths - 4 (3 terrestrial, 1 freshwater)
Nemerteans - 1 (terrestrial)
Arachnids - 6 (3 spiders, 1 pseudoscorpion, 1 harvestman, 1 mite)
Myriapods -7 (3 centipedes, 4 millipedes)
Crustaceans - 6 (3 terrestrial, 3 marine)
Springtails - 1
Bristletails - 1
Orthopteroids - 1 (an earwig)
Coleoptera - 3
Diptera - 2 
Moths - 4
Insects - small orders - 1 (a lacewing)
Fish - 2
Birds - 51
Mammals - 1 (human...)

Total for January is 317 species, not quite a third of the way towards the 1000 species. I've set myself a rather ambitious target of 1350 species in total, which puts me at almost a quarter of the way towards that target. It'll be better when the weather improves and I have a bit more spare time to explore the square in daylight hours. 

February will probably be a fairly poor month for me, I'm heading on a two week roadtrip sometime mid-month and I'm still busy at work during daylight hours right up until I head off. Still, 317 is a tremendous start. If nothing else it has Ali all stoked up (probably aiming to hit his 1000 before the end of March, haha!)

Here are a  few of my highlights from January - 

Neobisium carcinoides in a drystone wall
White-billed Diver - a ridiculously poor (and heavily cropped!) image
Vuilleminia coryli - the Waxy Crust Fungus on Hazel twigs and branches

Mycetophila ornata - a fungus gnat regularly attracted to lights at night