Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Skye - Big Year WP Birders

I've been keenly following the exploits of three Swedish birders who, possibly for the first time ever, are going for a properly organised Western Palearctic Big Year. They began the year in Kuwait and have trotted across to Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Western Sahara, they even turned up here in Britain for a bit of impromptu twitching! Plus they've birded Sweden whilst back home between trips. They've just embarked on a long trip (over 100 days duration) scooping up what they can where they can. They can be followed on their page at Big Year WP 2017

So why am I blethering on about these lads on a 1000 in 1ksq blog? Well because their total for the W.Pal and my total for NG3963 are very similar. They're just about to hit a huge glut of returning summer migrants, I'm hoping for a modest glut of invert activity.  

As of today the Swedes are on 408 species of bird and I'm on 413 species of everything. 

Come 31st December who knows what the figures will say? Will they (or will I) burn out and chuck it all in before then? Will events dictate that we scrap our plans? Or will we both come home in a blaze of glory, new records having been set? Ha yeah, that'd be nice.

My latest pickings 
412 - Oregon-grape (plant)
413 - Cumminsiella mirabilissima Mahonia Rust (microfungus on the Oregon-grape)
414 - Common Quaker (moth) 

I've accidentally counted something I haven't seen yet so my revised total is 413 species. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sand Point VC6

List still growing slowly but surely. I got my first Wheatear at last. Highlight so far has been a Scathophagid netted on seaweed that has just been confirmed by Stuart Ball as Scathophaga calida a first for mainland England with the only other records from Isles of Scilly, Glamorgan and Scotland. Another more common lifer came in the form of Nedyus quadrimaculatus with a mating pair on Nettle.

Algae 7
Slime Mould 1
Lichen 47
Fungi 11
Bryophytes 60
Vascular Plants 78
Cnidarians 1
Molluscs 6
Arachnids 1
Springtails 2
Hymenoptera 2
Coleoptera 5
Diptera 15
Moths 1
Birds 41
Mammals 4
Others 1
Total 283

Scathophaga calida

Nedya quadrimaculata

Monday, March 20, 2017


Had a nice Andrena apicata Scarce (Nb), a lifer which I'm well happy with. Found it settled on top of a large stone (under willow) sheltering from the rain...a nice common lizard under same stone.

A bit miffed as my means of uploading photos has broken, hoping to get this sorted soon as. Managed to get these uploaded before it gave up the ghost. So my next few updates may be lacking images...unless i've already got some on file.

406..Orchestes fagi (Beetle)

407..Isotomurus palustris (Springtail)

408..Endrosis sarcitrella (Moth)

409..Ophiodesmus albonanus (Millipede)
Ophiodesmus albonanus

410..Lacerta vivipara – Common Lizard
Lacerta vivipara – Common Lizard

411..Ribes uva-crispa – Gooseberry

412..Poa annua – Annual Meadow Grass

413..Dactylis glomerata – Cocksfoot

414..Andrena apicata – Large Sallow Mining-bee (lifer)
Andrena apicata – Large Sallow Mining-bee.

Tip of sternite 8 squared off

415..Vicia sativa – Common Vetch
416..Raven (forgot to add this from the beginning of the year)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Here are the scores for County Durham

Yes attempting this again but why,  I've no idea.
Anyway after what appears to be another  slow start,  here are the scores on the doors for NZ2549 - County Durham. I really need the temperatures up,  not just for the species count but for my old bones too.

The best was just the other day when a small white Acleris moth in the garden trap turned out after  its bits were examined by the county recorder as A.logiana and the first for County Durham (VC66).  I've found firsts for the county in the way of birds and flora but after all these years moth trapping this is my first moth.

Here she is (its a girl) A. logiana
 aka Black-headed Birch Leaffolder Moth or Grey Birch Button

So, I'm on 231 at the moment. This time last time it was only 190 but doing the same square will have the great advantage that I know where a lot of the flora, bryophytes etc are which should give me more time to spend on the family groups I'm rubbish at, ie nearly all of them.
Here's the breakdown

Keith Robson
Waldridge NZ2549 (VC66)

Skye - It's a Shore Thing

Only been out a couple of times this past few days. After several days' worth of howling, battering WSW winds and high water in the bay I snuck down to the beach the morning after the winds dropped. Pretty damn good on the water with 4 Great Northern, 2 Black-throated and 1 Red-throated Divers all being new for the year. I managed one superb pic of the Black-throats, clearly good enough even to rule out Pacific Diver, just check out that clean throat and the crown profile

Award-winning camera skillz...
Also trawled through the great heaps of washed up seaweeds finding Dabberlocks Alaria esculenta in good quantity and a few Cuvie stipes with the encrusting red alga (or pinky-purple to be precise) Melobesia membranaceae, both being lifers for me. 

Must be a deep water species, only ever see it washed in after storms
Also found on the Cuvie stipes were lots of weird and wonderful looking bryozoans. I took a batch back with me but couldn't say I was convinced with the IDs of several. However, I was happy with two that were new for me - Callopora lineata and Disporella hispida. Here's a pic of the latter

Disporella hispida alongside the ridged tubes of Janua pagenstecheri
Still on the shore, but above the beach itself, I found a large patch of Yellow Iris pushing through the damp soil and Silverweed is coming through too, both new for the year. I found a dock leaf full of a fruiting microfungus and took that back for a bit of microscopy. 

Turns out to be the very common Venturia rumicis, yet another lifer for me
The next day whilst I was painting a wall, I had a Meadow Pipit fly low overhead - calling like a goodun but heading south. Probably telling it's mates to turn back. This too was a first for the year. Looking forward to more migrants, plenty of Pied Wagtails this past week, plus another Lesser Black-backed Gull (pure...) but I'm just waiting for Wheatear, Skylark, Twite, waders, hirundines and the warblers now! They'll be here soon. 

401 - Black-throated Diver (bird)
402 - Red-throated Diver (bird)
403 - Great Northern Diver (bird)
404 - Dabberlocks  Alaria esculenta (marine alga) - Lifer
405 - Melobesia membranaceae (marine alga) - Lifer
406 - Callopora lineata (bryozoan) - Lifer
407 - Disporella hispida (bryozoan) - Lifer
408 - Yellow Iris (plant)
409 - Silverweed (plant)
410 - Venturia rumicis (microfungus) - Lifer
411 - Meadow Pipit (bird)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Aberbargoed - Rhymney River

Turned the rugby off and headed for the river before it got dark. Managed these...

391..Scaphidium quadrimaculatum (Beetle)
Scaphidium quadrimaculatum
392..Asellus aquaticus (Hoglouse)
393..Tilia cordata (Tree)
394..Exidia glandulosa (Fungus)
Exidia glandulosa
395..Carex paniculata - Greater tussock sedge
396..Lithobius melanops (Centipede)
397..Phoxinus phoxinus – Common Minnow
398..Plasmopara nivea (Fungus)
399..Apium nodiflorum – Fool's Water-cress
400..Ancylus fluviatilis – River Limpet
Ancylus fluviatilis – River Limpet

401..Elasmostethus interstinctus (Shieldbug)
Elasmostethus interstinctus - Birch Shieldbug

402..Lumbricus terrestris (Worm)
Lumbricus terrestris - Earthworm. Ten pence in photo...

403..Protomyces macrosporus (Fungus)
404..Uromyces dactylidis (Fungus)
Uromyces dactylidis on Ficaria verna

405..Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Snail)

Year list currently on 590.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Aberbargoed - Bedwellty Tip

376..Zygiella x-notata (Spider).. from my garden.

377.. Brachyiulus pusillus (Millipede)
Brachyiulus pusillus adult males need to be checked for possible Brachyiulus lusitanus

378..Archiboreoiulus pallidus (Millipede)
Archiboreoiulus pallidus. Going to give these a good look over later for Troglomyces triandrus, a tiny fungus seen as tiny black spots on the mandibles (of males) or antennae (females)

379..Larix kaempferi – Japanese Larch
Larix kaempferi – Japanese Larch

380..Bank Vole (Mammal) first mammal.

381..Auriscalpium vulgare (Fungus)
Auriscalpium vulgare -  
Earpick Fungus
A little closer

382..Salix cinerea – Grey Willow

383..Gerris lacustris (Bug)

384..Anaphalis margaritacea – Pearly Everlasting

385..Trochulus hispidus (Snail)
Trochulus hispidus - Hairy Snail

386..Lepidium didymum – Lesser Swine Cress

387..Megasternum concinnum (Beetle)
Megasternum concinnum

388..Tachyporus pusillus (Beetle)

389..Cotoneaster frigidus (Plant)

390..Cochlicopa lubricella (Snail)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Skye - 400th species

Rapid blast down to the shop between some preposterously heavy hailstorm showers gave me all of five minutes at the shore scanning through the gull flock. And there it was, number's the only pic I managed of it, just in the nick of time as it flew off! 

400 - Lesser Black-backed Gull

NT1582, Dalgety Bay, Fife - dipping in a good way

So after a slow week of house guests and distractions (all of them good) I met up with someone from the local woodland group who just happens to have a house in the square and a pond in his garden. Hoorah! Thus an unexpected and unsuspecting Palmate Newt was added to the list. Few more plants around the place too.

We don' need no Steenkeen' Hellebore

Lesser Celandine

Palmate Newt - a boy

And here's a numbers update:

Class Jan Feb 16-Mar
Algae 8 13 13
Lichens 37 41 41
Fungi 28 31 37
Vert - Birds 38 50 54
Vert - Other 2 4 6
Lepidoptera 1 2 2
Diptera 4 7 7
Arachnida 4 13 14
Coleoptera 6 17 17
Mollusc 9 24 25
Collembola 8 10 11
Invert - Other 22 33 39
Plants - Vascular 47 63 67
Plants - Bryo 22 29 30

236 337 363

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Skye - brief update

Rapid update only, been out and about but haven't really seen very much that's different. Though I keep shying away from lots of stuff like lichens, bryophytes, algae, beetles etc. Need to pull me finger out! 

Recent additions -

391 - Phytopus avellanae (arachnid - a mite that causes "big bud" on Hazel)

392 - Marsh Thistle (plant)
393 - Entyloma ficariae (fungus on Lesser Celandine)
394 - Uromyces dactylidis (fungus on Lesser Celandine) - Lifer 

395 - Leuctra hippopus (stonefly) - Lifer
396 - Protonemura meyeri (stonefly) - Lifer
397 - Milesina scolopendrii (microfungus on browned parts of Hart's Tongue) - Lifer
398 - Milesina blechni (microfungus on browned parts of Hard-fern) - Lifer

399 - Ganoderma australe (fungus)

Still got masses of stuff in pots including a swanky looking pair of Stenus that I don't have the key for and lots of bryophytes from weeks and weeks and weeks ago. I ought to either bin 'em or do 'em. Can't keep on ignoring them like this haha! Will I really hit 400 without seeing a single bee or Holly Leafminer? Bizarre.