Monday, June 19, 2017

Sand Point VC6

Eventually dragged myself onto the patch this morning. One of the things I was hoping to find were some gone over Bee Orchids but couldn't find a single one. No matter, there was still plenty to keep me occupied. My only lifer this morning was Amblyjoppa fuscipennis nectaring on Umbellifers. Not often I can ID a hymenoptera but this one was in the Pisces Insects of Britain and Europe Book. Here's the list from the last post up to today:

648. Heliophanus cupreus
649. Helina impuncta
650. Empis caudatula
651. Dolichopus plumipes
652. Trixa conspersa
653. Speckled Bush Cricket
654. Common Froghopper
655. Sandy Carpet
656. Paederus littoralis
657. Greater Burdock
658. Phytomyza lappae
659. Volucella bombylans
660. Neria cibaria
661. Xysticus cristatus
662. Lucilia sericata
663. Sea Aster
664. Valerian
665. Greater Burdock
666. Puccinia dioicae
667. Bishops Mitre Shieldbug
668. Eurygaster testudinaria
669. Phaonia valida
670. Pherbina coryleti
671. Neomyia viridescens
672. Phyto melanocephala
673. Dolichopus ungulatus
674. Hydrophorus praecox
675. Mother of Pearl
676. Eucosma campoliliana
677. Bright-line Brown-eye
678. White Plume
679. Lady's Bedstraw
680. Thyme
681. Pyramidal Orchid
682. Biting Stonecrop
683. Sea Lavendar
684. Common Emerald
685. Marbled White
686. Chrysoteuchia culmella
687. Meadow Barley
688. Calameuta filiformis
689. Haematopota crassicornis
690. Common Centaury
691. Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea
692. Hemp Agrimony
693. Amblyjoppa fuscipennis
694. Coptotriche marginea
695. Field Bindweed
696. Nemotelus uliginosus
697. Slender St John's Wort
698. Oliarus leporinus

Nemotelus uliginosus

Lipara lucens

Melieria cana

Amblyjoppa fuscipennis

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dalgety Bay - Two thirds of the way

In an attempt to squeeze my target of 667 before heading off for a week or so I went for a brisk one hour romp through the coastal path with a headtorch. Last gasp n the way home I scored a surprise mammal. I was expecting it - just not yet. Also nice that it was alive!

I haven't mentioned it (because the pain is too fresh?) but this year a roe deer was BORN in my square, which I saw photos of later, and I failed to see dolphins which I heard about over the weekend. Gah! Still, there's plenty of year left and I have a low mammal target. Maybe a school of pilot whales will come to visit (again). Or even a humpback (again). Who knows?

Now at 48 species of moth, none of which have been caught in a moth trap. I have run a moth trap but it hasn't caught any species I didn't catch with a headtorch anyway. 

659 Eulithis prunata Phoenix
660 Korscheltellus fusconebulosa Map-winged Swift
661 Aphomia sociella Bee Moth
662 Perizoma flavofasciata Sandy Carpet
663 Xanthorhoe fluctuata Garden Carpet
664 Perizoma affinitata Rivulet
665 Dysstroma truncata Common Marbled Carpet
666 Erinaceus europaeus West European Hedgehog
667 Dolichopus claviger A long-legged fly

Edit: Colour Supplement!

668 Epistrophe grossulariae A Hoverfly
669 Argyresthia conjugella Apple Fruit Moth
670 Galium verum lady's bedstraw
671 Iris foetidissima Stinking Iris

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Past the 700 mark - a nice surprise

I was asked a few weeks ago to lead a Durham Wildlife Trust Botany Group outing on Waldridge Fell today,  so yesterday,  I did a little reconnaissance and today the group and myself spent a good 3 hours in a small bit of the square. We all seemed to enjoy it but it was only was I added them all up tonight I realised I had gone past the 700 mark - a nice surprise.

No moth trapping tonight and out of the square doing my National Plant Monitoring Scheme plots tomorrow and with some survey work on Thursday I'll not be adding any more to the totals for a few days.

Keith Robson
Waldridge (VC66)

Skye - Remotely Interesting

Bang! 700 has been passed.

Had a quick bimble into Uig Woods between shifts and bumped into one of the house-keeping staff wandering through on her way towards the shop. "What's that pretty tree called?" she asked. Turning around I was amazed to see a large Laburnum in full blossom - just kinda standing there looking all obvious and stuff. How the heck have I missed seeing THAT? No leafmines on it (though hardly any leafmines on anything up here yet, apart from various flies in Rumex/Ranunculus/Urtica, most of which I'm unsure of) but it's new to the tally.

Subtle as a brick - yet I've missed it until now!
Number 700 was Shepherd's Purse in an overgrown layby with Corn-spurrey all around. Finally, on my way back out of the woods, I spotted this very distinctive looking sedge

Looks distinctive enough even for me to ID
This is Remote Sedge and a lifer for me. Checking the BSBI map it isn't known from the top end of Skye so I've emailed the local recorder the details.

699 - Laburnum (possibly planted?)
700 - Shepherd's Purse
701 - Corn Spurrey
702 - Remote Sedge - Lifer

Monday, June 12, 2017

Dalgety Bay, Fife

Not the best pic in the world as I couldn't see the screen for glare. Tree Bumblebee is a recent colonist and not many records in Fife - no records apparent on NBN, though I know it's in a friend's nestbox in his garden and is not uncommon in the town.

Most of the other stuff isn't very interesting photo-wise, but here are the latest numbers:
646 Senecio jacobaea Common Ragwort
647 Vicia cracca Tufted Vetch
648 Tenthredo livida A sawfly
649 Enoplognatha ovata A spider
650 Dolichopus ungulatus A long-legged fly
651 Platycheirus angustatus A Hoverfly
652 Phaonia angelicae A muscid fly
653 Blastobasis lacticolella A micromoth
654 Coenosia tigrina A muscid fly
655 Bombus hypnorum Tree Bumblebee

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Skye - 24hr Mega Bash

As part of the madness that is PSL, yesterday I took part in Graeme Lyons' daft idea of a 24 hour megablitz event. Despite some fairly crappy weather (I never even swung my net once. Not once!) I managed to record 462 species. Then I realised I'd misread my own handwriting and skipped from 240 straight to 247 (my 0 in 240 looked like a 6, what can I say..) so the revised tally for the 24 hour period is 456. I also managed to record Flid Vole, whatever that is. I still have loads of dead stuff to key through so the tally will eventually rise, though Graeme's Rules state that any ID work needs to be completed on the day so they won't make it onto the tally even when I do identify them. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before all that I added 30 species from my last update on 30th May. Lifers were a couple of Cantharis soldier beetles, three flies (a Doli, a feverfly and a leaf-mining larva), an exciting Psyllid and Spear Thistle Lacebug which was noted whilst strimming. I always carry pots now, no matter where I may be. 

Dolichopus popularis. I'd be popularis too with a genital package as large as that
Craspedolepta nebulosa - a Psyllid new to Scotland!!!
Excited with my 'new to Scotland' psyllid I contacted the local recorder who went out and also found it on Rosebay Willowherb. He told his hemiptera chap who said it's all over the place now, just that the maps haven't been updated in a while. Buggerit. 

Back to 10th June, the Big Day. I won't list all the new additions coz it'll be a long, long list. Essentially I added plenty of plants, a few moths, a few beetles, Noctule Bat, Blue Jellyfish, a coupla flies and other assorted oddities. Managed a grand total of ELEVEN lifers which was very pleasing. 

10th June at 0000hrs - time to start....
Species Number 2 (0003hrs) - Pale-shouldered Brocade - Lifer!
Dawn at 0430 with a rainbow overhead
Flid Vole, if the rain-splattered scrawl in my notebook is to be believed
Number 456 of the day: Map-winged Swift on the wall at 2354hrs.
All of that puts me up to 698 species, a tidy jump. Hoping to be 3/4 of the way there by month's end.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Dalgety Bay, Fife - Moth try harder

Who needs a moth trap when you have a head torch, a net, and warm still weather? The missus went to sleep early so I went for an impromptu half hour walk around the square, which turned out a cracking list of lovely creatures. Bizarrely the addition of Foxglove Pug prompted me to notice I hadn't recorded Foxglove, which has been in flower for a good while now!

Still, it looks like I'm back into the tight tete-de-la-course. Until Christian declares 1000 next week, that is ...

The list additions:

631 Psallus ambiguus A bug
632 Campaea margaritaria Light Emerald
633 Pseudoips prasinana Green Silver-lines
634 Hypena proboscidalis Snout
635 Eupithecia pulchellata Foxglove Pug
636 Digitalis purpurea Foxglove
637 Camptogramma bilineata Yellow Shell
638 Tinea trinotella A micromoth
639 Crambus perlella A micromoth
640 Idaea biselata Small Fan-footed Wave
641 Byturus tomentosus A beetle
642 Eupeodes luniger A Hoverfly

Bee Orchids, Stonechats and Hoverating

After several days of wind and rain the list continues. Even the moth trap would have been a waste of time.

The highlight, nothing mega, only Bee Orchid. But the two puny specimens are a first for the monad and in a small area I regularly check for Dingy Skippers so there's no way I will have overlooked them in previous years. Also the, (my) pair of Stonechats have fledged two young

One of two pathetic specimens of Bee Orchid - but a first for the square


A pleasant day despite the wind and armed with my pooter I did my first real  bit of 'hoverating'  on the Hogweed. 

The list to date

Keith Robson
Waldridge (VC66)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Sand Point VC6

Been back out on the patch and again concentrating mainly on the flies. It's starting to be a diptera patch year list at the moment with total of 131 as of today. This mornings highlights were Lipara lucens and an interesting Melieria which might turn out to be M.cana. Earlier this week I had two lifers from the car park puddle; Canace nasica and Parydra coarctata and a very nice Tachinid that was in fact a Sarcophagid Pierretia nigriventris.
Butterflies are on the up with Painted Lady the most recent addition. Last years unauthorised re-introduction of Glanville Fritillary looks to have been unsuccessful so far. Even if some do emerge I don't think I will count them.
Still not run the moth trap but numbers are racking up slowly but surely. I potted an interesting micro that could be Chrysoesthia sexguttella. Waiting for the guru David Agassiz to get back to me on that one. Be a nice lifer for me if it is.

613. Eristalinus aeneus
614. Chrysotoxum elegans
615. Coriomeris denticulatus
615. Sitona lineatus
616. Thecophora atra
617. Hedgerow Cranesbill
618. Coriomeris denticulatus
619. Macrophya ribis
620. Nomada flava
621. Hedge Woundwort
622. Scathophaga furcata
623. Chlorops pumilionis
624. Dasysyrphus albostriatus
625. Urophora solstitialis
626. Anaspis maculata
627. Closterotomus norwegicus
628. Cixius nervosus
629. Microplontus campestris
630. Parydra coarctata
631. Canace nasica
632. Pierretia nigriventris
633. Painted Lady
634. Red Twin-spot Carpet
635. Bactra lancealana
636. Yellow-tail
637. Cheddar Pink
638. Corizus hyoscyami
639. Melieria picta
640. Meadow Brown
641. Homoeosoma sinuella
642. Capsus ater
643. Psychoides filicivora
644. Cantharis nigra
645. Neocoenorrhinus aequatus
646. Chrysoesthia sexguttella
647. Lipara lucens

Canace nasica - note the upturned seta a feature for this group

Parydra coarctata

Pierretia nigriventris

Just about caught up

I was hoping to break the 600 barrier for the square by the end of May but missed out by just a few. It's been very busy since I got back (as May and June usually is) and with botanising outside the square quite a bit, I've have had little time to do updates but I think I've just about caught up.

 It's nice that the invertebrates are beginning to show and I need to put an effort in this month to get some more and hopefully some new ones. The same goes to get the 130 or so more plants that I still need and know they should be around if I look hard enough.

The moth trap is beginning to come into its own now and looking at the overnight catch (which I haven't checked yet and just covered it over as it's stotting down) I reckon I should have hit the 600 mark. I can see two new ones for the year just looking through the funnel.

So here's where I am /was at the end of May

So let flaming June begin ....  once it's stopped raining. I'm off now going to make a cuppa and check a few pots of creepy-crawlies thats in the fridge.

Keith Robson
Waldridge VC66

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Yeovil end of May, update

Been slowly bumbling along and very happy to have reached over 400 by the end of May. At the start of the year I thought that, for me, 500 would be quite a good year end total. Now perhaps I can get past that.
I know I don't post much but have been enjoying (and often learning) from all your posts. Got to feel empathy for Seth, talk about Manic (First for Britain) and Depression (slightly major error) all in the space of a couple of weeks! (And I hope that comment does not appear too strong - we have all been there)

Anyway it appears that I finish May on 408 species made up as follows

Plants 187, Bryophytes 3, Fungi 7, Lichens 13, Annelids 3, Crustacea 1, Spiders 8, Molluscs 9, Myriopods 2, Odonata 4, Orthoptera 2, Hemiptera 9, Butterflies 12, Moths 29, Coleoptera 14, Hymenoptera 18, Diptera 18, Insect - other groups 3, Fish 1, Amphibians 3, Birds 55 and Mammals 7


Dalgety Bay, Fife - end of May roundup

As usual it's actually one day early but what the hell. A 7-spot ladybird larva at lunchtime became the 49th beetle. Would be nice to round it off tonight but I am socially engaged and chances are I won't add anything this evening (unless my visitor can be persuaded to go moth hunting - a possibility).

All-in I this year have added 945 records to iRecord of 739 species. Obviously not all are from the square or my total would be transformed! However, here are the numbers as they stand right now. Possibly to be slightly updated tomorrow.

Going into June I am looking at some reduced time - I'll be grinding through pitfall trap contents for St.Andrews bioblitz (we do process them after the 24 hour period for an overall total) and then I'll be going on holiday. Still, June ought to be productive enough that I can more or less make good. I kind of expect to reach 1000 during August-September so it will include the start of the vismig calendar and include exotica like Tree Pipit and Long-tailed Skua (bird gods willing). On the other hand those months could be so profligate in their affections that 1k comes and goes before the skuas appear (but not the Tripits which pass in July). The big decision - declare or bat on? Only time will tell.

(edit. I'd like my 1000th to be a Hobby. That'd be nice)(2nd Edit. Tree Pipits August. Dunno what I was thinking)

The numbers by "gross" taxonomic grouping

Jan Feb Mar Apr May
Algae 8 13 16 17 17
Lichens 37 41 43 44 46
Fungi 28 31 44 49 53
Vert - Birds 38 50 56 62 64
Vert - Other 2 4 8 9 9
Lepidoptera 1 2 9 14 29
Diptera 4 7 12 41 68
Arachnida 4 13 20 25 32
Coleoptera 6 17 17 21 49
Mollusc 9 24 27 33 33
Collembola 8 10 12 12 12
Invert - Other 22 33 51 62 78
Plants - Vascular 47 63 74 92 107
Plants - Bryo 22 29 30 30 30

236 337 419 511 627

The numbers by, erm, numbers

31-Jan 28-Feb 31-Mar 30-Apr 31-May
days remaining 334 306 275 245 214
species so far 236 337 419 511 627
species/day period 7.61 3.61 2.65 3.07 3.74
spec/day so far 7.61 5.71 4.66 4.26 4.15
species remaining 764 663 581 489 373
spec/day rqd 2.29 2.17 2.11 2.00 1.74
spec/week rqd 16.01 15.17 14.79 13.97 12.20

Count compared with previous reserve year counts

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Skye - New plant for VC104

Yesterday I spied a wee plant growing in an abandoned patch of grassland which keyed through to Bronze Pirri-pirri-burr Acaena anserinifolia. Happily the BSBI Recorder agrees and tells me it's new for the vice county! Read my blogpage for the full story, here's a pic of the brute to whet your appetite.

Bronze Pirri-pirri-burr Acaena anserinifolia
 Also, the mystery leaves from a few weeks ago have metamorphosed into things of stunning beauty

Hybrid Monkeyflower Mimulus x robertsii
Microfungi continue to provide me with a ready supply of additions for the square, recent days have included Meadowsweet Rust Triphragmium ulmariae, Raspberry Rust Phragmidium rubi-idaei and Campion Anther Smut Microbotryum violaceum

Meadowsweet Rust Triphragmium ulmariae
Gotta love a bit of smut...
I realised that I'd somehow accidentally skipped Red Clover and Creeping Buttercup from the tally. Genuine 'new' additions include Sea Plantain, Babington's Orache, Wood Speedwell, Kidney Vetch and the utterly gorgeous Sea Milkwort

Sea Plantain - still looking a bit floppy at the moment
Sea Milkwort - such a little stunner!
Also slowly moving stuff from the fridge to the storebox but not really sat down to work with them yet. New insects for me this week include Tipula maxima, Chrysolina staphylaea and Agonopterix ciliella

Tipula maxima - 2nd record from Skye apparently

Additions since last update - 

606 - Agonopterix ciliella (microlep) - Lifer
607 - Tipula maxima (cranefly) - Lifer
608 - Grey Pug (moth)
609 - Mitopus morio (harvestman)
610 - Chrysolina staphylaea (leaf beetle) - Lifer
611 - Meadowsweet Rust (microfungus) - Lifer
612 - Bronze Pirri-pirri-burr (plant) - Lifer
613 - Campion Anther Smut (microfungus)
614 - Red Clover (plant)
615 - Raspberry Rust (microfungus)
616 - Creeping Buttercup (plant)
617 - Wood Speedwell (plant)
618 - Kittiwake (bird)
619 - Babington's Orache (plant)
620 - Sea Milkwort (plant)
621 - Sea Plantain (plant)
622 - Kidney Vetch (plant)
623 - Hybrid Monkeyflower (plant) - Lifer

Dalgety Bay, Fife - keeping the ball rolling

Hard to pick a highlight over a weekend which was not huge on numbers but had a nice run of quality. Seemed like a lot of weevils went under the lens! Probably most pleased with my second sarcophagid in two days - Sarcophaga subvicina.

Weevil roll call: Ceutorhynchus obstrictus, Otiorhynchus arcticus, Pachyrhynus lethierryi, Otiorhynchus singularis and Phyllobius virideaeris. You might recognise the Ceutorhynchus from an earlier post. It has a "spiny" pronotum, which apparently is common (though not ubiquitous) in the genus. Also a couple of new Soldier Beetles were beaten from gorse: Canthares cryptica and nigricans.

Probably the biggest relief was finally getting to grips with the tachinid Ramonda spathulata, which somehow I kept slipping through the keys on before. Worst of it is I already recorded it here in September!

Ramonda spathulata

Ceutorhynchus obstrictus - crucifer lover

Otiorhynchus singularis

612 Sarcophaga subvicina A Flesh Fly
613 Ceutorhynchus obstrictus A weevil
614 Otiorhynchus arcticus A Broad-nosed Weevil
615 Cantharis nigricans A Soldier Beetle
616 Cantharis cryptica A Soldier Beetle
617 Silene latifolia White Campion
618 Eupterix urticae A bug on nettles
619 Pachyrhynus lethierryi A Broad-nosed Weevil
620 Phyllobius virideaeris A Broad-nosed Weevil
621 Pollenia rudis A Blowfly
622 Ornithogalum angustifolium Star-of-Bethlehem
623 Otiorhynchus singularis A Broad-nosed Weevil
624 Ramonda spathulata A tachinid fly

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Here come the moths

Back from Greece and an awful lot of listing to do. Way behind on my blog and a fridge full of wee things to id sometime.
With me bringing the warm weather back from holiday the moths have eventually woken up (it had been a very slow season until the last few days),  as have the Butteflies and the first Odonata. From way behind, three days of 20C+ sunny days have brought me back on track.

Here's where I'm at and I could well get to 600 before the end of the month if the weather holds,  courtesy of a round box with a 125 watt Mercury vapour lamp on top,

Keith Robson
Waldridge (VC66)

Skye - Joining the UK600 Club

Made it over 600 at last! First up were a bunch of hoverflies from woodland and a couple of gall-causing mites on the 23rd May

Eriophyes laevis - common on Alder leaves
Rhingia campestris with fully extended proboscis
Also a couple of microfungi that were both lifers for me

Puccinia heraclei on the underside of Hogweed leaflets and petioles
Colonies of Plasmopara nivea on the underside of Cow Parsley leaves
And again - looking utterly bizarre under the microscope!
I built myself a light trap yesterday evening, absolutely nothing in it this morning so will have to jig around with the set-up a bit. Did find these a few days back though

Micropterix calthella - a familiar sight at this time of year
Just need some moffs n stuff now...
No idea about this though - Fungal? Bacterial? Just fancied a change?

Strangely blanched Hogweed leaves, quite a few plants like this in Uig Woods

Additions since the last update -

591 again (after deleting Microvelia...) - Myathropa florea (hoverfly, new for Skye I think)
592 - Rhingia campestris (hoverfly)
593 - Aceria pseudoplatani (mite on Sycamore)
594 - Eriophyes laevis (mite on Alder)
595 - Puccinia heraclei (microfungus on Hogweed) - Lifer
596 - Eared Willow (plant)
597 - Micropterix calthella (microlep)
598 - Helophilus pendulus (hoverfly)
599 - Melanostoma scalare (hoverfly)
600 - Plasmopara nivea (microfungus on Cow Paesley) - Lifer
601 - Wild Angelica (plant)
602 - Common Ragwort (plant)
603 - Barynotus moerens (weevil) - Lifer
604 - Common Milkwort (plant)
605 - Welsh Poppy (naturalised plant)

Also a STACK of stuff on pins awaiting identification whenever I manage to get back to my books. Massively frustrating not being able to identify so many hoverflies any further than genus!

Sand Point VC6

Back on the patch yesterday with 5 to go for the 600. The weather was good but still not that many insects on the wing. Maybe the time of day or perhaps a sign of the times?  Despite this, a bit of sweep netting and pocket full of pots was soon acquired. I have some leaf mine rearing to do also and it would be nice to see the fly come out rather than a hymenoptera for a change.
Here's the list of the most recent additions:

595. Dun-bar
596. Depressaria daucella
597. Cockchafer
598. Celypha lacunana
599. Pseudargyrotoza conwagana
600. Rhagio tringarius
601. Common Poppy
602. Melanophora roralis
603. White Campion
604. Epiphyas postvittana
605. Hedgerow Cranesbill
606. Tephritis vespertina - lifer
607. Platycheirus angustatus - lifer
608. Gastrophysa polygoni - lifer
609. Hilara lundbecki - lifer
610. Aedes rustica - lifer
611. Empis caudatula - lifer
612. Stenodema laevigata

Tephritis vespertina as far as I can tell.

Dun-bar larva on Rose

Keys to Aedes rustica