Monday, January 30, 2017

NT1582, Dalgety Bay - springtail Gastranurida denisi

A springtail described by Bagnall in 1939, not seen since 1940 in Britain, and never seen by anyone else except Bagnall (per Hopkin, FSC "A Key to the Collembola")

Until yesterday morning anyway ... now it's been seen in Fife. By me. Get in!

A small group were found grazing on a whelk shell below the tideline and potted, presumed to be the more common maritime one whose name I couldn't remember. Only problem is when keying it out it didn't have quite enough eyes.

Try as I might I couldn't get it to be anything else, so I sent off some pics this morning and received confirmation back pretty quickly. Happy days!

Value in my 1k square count: 1

a la Damien Hirst

The keying

The knockout punch photo

the ocelli/PAO diagram in Hopkin

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Am I weevil? Yes I am

Dalgety Bay, NT1582

First weevil of the year was beaten from gorse on the 22nd and appeared to be a Sitona. It did key out as that in the Broad-nosed Weevils book but when cross checking Duff I see it has moved out and become an Andrion with its own key exit in the Sitonininini genus key. Andrion regensteinense to be precise. It has a peculiar (for Sitoninini) way of the front of the abdomen meeting the back of the thorax as both dip down to form a "V".

Other notable features are the long, inflated front femorae and the upright setae on the elytrae.

Like other family members it has even more picky food preferences than my 4-year old. It likes a bit of gorse.

Monday, January 23, 2017

When it's spring again - NT1582, Dalgety Bay, Fife

Dawn over Downing Point
The picturesque Braefoot point oil terminal

 Numbers ticking along at a healthy rate over the weekend with an unexpected leap in springtail progress. They kept falling out of bushes and kept being identifiable, bless 'em. Long may it continue! Pogonognathellus longicornis, not pictured here, came from under a log on Friday. Most of the other additions could be considered "routine" which is fine, and the beetle list got a bit of a start with Micrambe ulicis and Pterostichus strenuus on the board. Plenty of plants only in leaf haven't been added - no rush.

Orchesella cincta

Entomobrya nivalis (redet. E.intermedia)

(edit: On submitting the record of E.nivalis it was noted that the species which keys out as nivalis in Hopkins 2007 is more than one species and the above is actually E.intermedia)

Link here:

Category Total
annelid 1
bird 32
bryozoan 2
centipede 2
chromist 6
cnidarian 1
coleoptera 3
collembola 4
conifer 1
crustacean 7
dermaptera 1
diptera 4
fern 2
flowering plant 32
fungus 23
harvestman 1
hemiptera 1
hymenoptera 1
lepidoptera 1
lichen 31
liverwort 1
mammal 1
millipede 2
mollusc 5
moss 10
spider 3


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Skye - 250 Up!

It's my birthday today, so it was an especially nice treat to hit the 250 species mark whilst out and about this afternoon.  The past few days I've been pottering about, adding the odd lichen or liverwort to the tally/my PSL. Additions today include Greenfinch, Map Lichen Rhizocarpon geographicum, Field Vole, Ramalina calicaris and Wych Elm. 

I'm not going to list the 254 species seen so far, that would be a bit boring (although you can see them on my blog here)

Here are a couple of pics to brighten up a dull blogpost

Rhizocarpon geographicum - my first sighting in NG3963
Salpingus ruficollis - 6th record for Scotland apparenty!

My 2017 Breakdown for NG3963 is as follows -

Algae - 6
Lichens -  38 (7 = Lifers)
Fungi - 20 (2 = Lifers)
Bryophytes - 26 (7 = Lifers)
Plants - 64
Cnidarians - 2
Molluscs - 20 (4 = Lifers)
Annelids - 5 (4 = Lifers)
Platyhelminths - 2 (1 = Lifer)
Arachnids -1
Myriapods - 4
Crustaceans - 5
Springtails - 1
Orthopteroids - 1
Hemipteroids - 1
Coleoptera - 5 (2 = Lifers)
Moths - 4
Fish -2
Birds -  44
Mammals - 3


Friday, January 20, 2017

NT1582: All stars, no stripes

A very nice find this morning was Collared Earthstar (Geastrum triplex). I found them on a nearby square at the end of last year but these are the first I've found in The Square.

Also confirmed this morning was my record from the 7th of Amandinea lecideina. I was pretty confident but it's nice to have a grown up give it the thumbs up.

Other than that some odds and sods saw the total creep over 150.

Category Jan-20
annelid 1
bird 30
bryozoan 2
centipede 2
chromist 6
cnidarian 1
coleoptera 1
collembola 2
conifer 1
crustacean 6
dermaptera 1
diptera 1
fern 2
flowering plant 26
fungus 21
hymenoptera 1
lepidoptera 0
lichen 30
liverwort 1
mammal 1
mollusc 5
moss 7
spider 3

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Night moves

Having seen Tree Slug in my garden a couple of squares away I headed off with head torch to nail it down in the Golden Square, which duly happened - hurrah!

While I was there I thought it was worthwhile poking about a bit on tree bark. One of my neighbours who was walking his dog with a torch enthusiastically joined in and so racked up an "assist" on Common Earwig. I think I'll also record him as a human. I'm more or less sure he is.

It was nice to get some spiders on the board finally. Of course I also came away with a small number of brain teasers to sort out (micro moth, uncertain slug, 2 or possibly 3 lichens)

Amaurobius similis, male

Labulla thoracica, female

Species additions 17/01/2017:
116 Labulla thoracica A spider
117 Amaurobius similis A spider
118 Arthonia radiata A lichen
119 Tenuiphantes tenuis A Linyphiid spider
120 Porcellio scaber Common Rough Woodlouse
121 Lehmannia marginata Tree Slug
122 Forficula auricularia Common Earwig
123 Dynamena pumila A hydrozoan
124 Limacus maculatus Green Cellar Slug
125 Homo sapiens human

Monday, January 16, 2017

Skye - Moffs n stuff

Just had my first macro moth of the year arrive, a lovely male Mottled Umber. He (females are wingless) was sat on the wall inside the laundry shed, I potted it up and shook him onto the window sill outside. This is how it landed

"I meant to land like this...honest"

Spent yesterday afternoon digging up worms and bivalves on the beach (really low tides here at the moment) and was handsomely rewarded with a large Sand Gaper and several new worms. It was nicer than it sounds! Here are a couple of pics

Blow Lug (Arenicola marina)
Butterfish (Pholis gunnellus) - well, almost looks like a worm!
Species List as of 16th January 2017 stands at 231. I'll give a breakdown soon.

My Square

The KSQ I'll be attempting to record 1000 species from this year is SW7633, near Penryn in West Cornwall (VC1). This will be especially challenging as I'm only living in Cornwall during university terms.  I'll be spending April and mid-June to mid-September back home in Cambridgeshire!
Here is my square:
The square contains most of a local reservoir and its surrounding woodland area, as well as some surrounding farmland/hedgerows, and some of the village of Mabe Burnthouse. I will be tree beating, sweep netting, pond dipping, log turning, botanising, bryologising, lichenising, birding and hopefully pitfalling and moth trapping!
I'll be getting an up to date species list together in the next few days.

Lunchtime booster pack

A beautiful day on the Forth, though the sun was too bright to take a better picture of the bridges.

Still mostly sticking to low hanging fruit, another 20-odd on a lunchtime stroll around the Point. Nothing too tricky ... except the ones still in my pockets. If I knew what they were they'd be here already!

94 Lecanora sulphurea a lichen
95 Candelariella vitellina a lichen
96 Lichina confinis a lichen
97 Parmelia saxatilis a lichen
98 Chamerion angustifolium Rosebay Willowherb
99 Polytrichum juniperinum Juniper Haircap
100 Armeria maritima Thrift
101 Corvus corone Carrion Crow
102 Xanthoria aureola a lichen
103 Fucus serratus Toothed Wrack
104 Rhizocarpon richardii a lichen
105 Tephromela atra Black Shields
106 Periparus ater Coal Tit
107 Bucephala clangula Goldeneye
108 Turdus philomelos Song Thrush
109 Cladonia portentosa a lichen
110 Cladonia rangiferina a lichen
111 Xanthoparmelia loxodes a lichen
112 Anaptychia runcinata a lichen
113 Plantago major Greater Plantain
114 Plantago coronopus Buck's-horn Plantain

NT1582 - The Kingdom o' Fife

A nice square in the Kingdom of Fife - Dalgety Bay. Sadly just near my house rather than containing it, so all my MV trapping counts for nowt. I am hopeful some trapping still may be done, though. Three woodlands, a beach, a rocky point and a bunch of houses as well as potential seabirdy action all suggests 1000 species shouldn't be a stretch. It will require some focus to do it in a year though. Since October I've recorded 300 species and that includes barely any invert action. It doesn't hurt that there's lots of lichen substrate and all the lichens found last year will pretty much be in exactly the same place they were in December. I just have to go and write them all down again!

It would be nice to record four Skuas and to see another otter. Also a couple of species of whale please!

edit: species a measly 93 at 16/01/17. Species List

Friday, January 13, 2017

Skye - Welcome to NG3963

Welcome to the Mighty NG3963

I moved to Uig at the start of December 2016 after gaining work here. Bit of a contrast from the Isles of Scilly where I spent the summer time and from South London/Southampton where I've spent the past few decades.

In my square I have lots of very gently sloping beach (lots of wracks and rocky debris on the sands but tragically no actual rockpools). Judging by the empty shells strewn across the sands there are a large quantity of buried bivalves awaiting discovery. A gull flock is usually present at the river mouth and I live in hope of finding something good amongst them. Ivory Gull was found here a few years back! 

There are two rivers that spill into Uig Bay, The Rha and The Conon. The latter runs through the largest chunk of deciduous woodland to be found in the northern half of Skye - the imaginatively named Uig Woods. It is owned by the Woodland Trust and the section east of the A87 is a fine example of Celtic Rainforest with remnant Atlantic Hazelwoods on one slope. The valleysides here are ridiculously steep (sheep fall off and get swept out to sea!) and help create a humid valley where lichens and bryophytes abound. I expect invertebrate interest will be quite high here in the warmer months. Unfortunately this may be largely composed of biting midges, but needs must.  

Most of the land east of the A87 comprises open hillsides used for grazing sheep with limited access. I suspect the local farmers are of the shoot first and ask questions later type. A small cemetery adds interest by way of its lichen/moss covered walls.   

I live pretty much slap bang in the centre of NG3963 so can merrily count anything attracted to the windows/security lights at night. I don't currently have a MVL trap, but that may well change. I have a microscope, I have some literature and keys. I have enthusiasm and I have my own blog (check out ) Looking forward to seeing if 1000 species is achievable this far north.

So far (13th Jan) my total for NG3963 stands at 215 species. 

Best of luck for 2017 everybody!