Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Skye - Insects!

Been slacking with my updates this week. Weather has been glorious most days with flies finally starting to appear, sunning themselves on fenceposts or busily nectaring at Lesser Celandine/Daffodil flowerheads. Here's a stunner that was new for me, kindly identified online by an expert

The wonderfully patterned Macropelopia nebulosa, a midge
And plenty of these emerging from the river, often landing on me (always a bad idea if you're an invert and I have my pots with me)

Protonemura meyeri, a stonefly that is seemingly common here
Also out sunning itself on a fencepost was my first ladybird of the year. How nice for it not to be a Harlequin. Hopefully it will be many years until they reach Skye. Anyway, this is Larch Ladybird and the first one I've seen for several years

With the amazing scientific name Aphidecta obliterata
Back at the river I spied three water crickets on a quiet backwater pool but they evaded capture. Unlike their tiny tiny cousin which I at first took to be either a very young pondskater or a springtail clambering/paddling its way across the water surface. Turns out it was a Minute Water Cricket, I took it back for closer inspection and keyed it to Microvelia reticulata, a lifer for me

Drying off after being rescued from the meniscus in the lid of a collecting tube!
Last invert of note was this furry fella that I saved from wandering into the road outside the hotel where I live. Apparently the first record from northern half of Skye according to the local moff recorder, coolness! 

Why did the Ruby Tiger caterpillar cross the road.....
But enough of the inverts, I had a MEGA in the square on 23rd March. A Raven called overhed, no big deal as they are always calling overhead. But this one was calling an insistent soft 'prukk-prukk, prukk-prukk, prukk-prukk..' which I hadn't heard before. Looking directly upwards I saw the Raven straight away. Above and ahead of it was the target of it's attention - a full adult GOLDEN EAGLE soaring majestically over my head!!!! Fuckaduck! A fkkn Golden Eagle! In my square! Wow! I watched it through my binoculars for however long it took for it to disappear over the crest of hills to the north. I just stood there with a sloppy, smirky grin on my face. Fkkn Golden Eagle hell yeah! Some things in life just make you stand there with a smile on your mush and there could be a lorry beeping at you to get out of the way, or a dog pissing up your leg and you just wouldn't notice or care. It was about then that I noticed the car beeping at me as I stood in the middle of the road...

I didn't get a photo, but here's one I saw several weeks back in the adjacent square
Ok, so last update I was on 413 species. Here's the recent additions

414 - Flowering Currant (plant)
415 - Scathophaga stercoraria (dungfly)
416 - Milesina dieteliana (microfungus on Polypody) - Lifer
417 - Macropelopia nebulosa (midge) - Lifer
418 - Parmelia sulcata (lichen)
419 - Xanthoriicola physciae (lichenicolous fungus)
420 - Golden Eagle (bird and a half)
421 - Skylark (bird)
422 - Lichenomphalia umbellifera (Basidiolichen) - Lifer
423 - Tachyporus dispar (beetle) - Lifer
424 - Larch Ladybird (beetle)
425 - Xylaria carpophila (fungus)
426 - Bilberry (plant)
427 - Melangyna lasiopthalma (hoverfly) - Lifer
428 - Bombus cryptorum (bumblebee) (note, this is the early-flying 'white-tail' on Skye) - Lifer
429 - Anthocorus nemorum (flowerbug)
430 - Rosebay Willowherb (plant)
431 - Microvelia reticulata (water cricket) - Lifer
432 - Calliphora vomitoria (blowfly) - Lifer (yeah, really - keyed at last)
433 - Ruby Tiger (moth)
434 - Biatropsis usnearum (lichenicolous fungus) - Lifer
435 - Lecanora argentata (lichen) - Lifer
436 - Arthonia radiata (lichen) - Lifer
437 - Ramalina farinacea (lichen)
438 - Arbothallus suecicus (lichenicolous fungus) - Lifer 
439 - Pertusaria leioplaca (lichen) - Lifer

There are crazy low tides here the next few days, I'm gonna be spending time down on the shore searching for the next dozen species to bump me over the 450 mark by the end of the month. Fingers crossed!


  1. Excellent. Golden Eagle, now thats a bit better than a non-flowering shoot of Couch grass.

  2. Loving that water cricket! Eagles ... pfffft

  3. Very nice! :)

    No more than an hour ago i was talking water crickets with someone, mentioned I've yet to find a Microvelia. Jealous as f...

  4. According to Billy Connolly that's the deadliest creature in Australia - "I've just been bitten by a f..." as they drop down dead ;)

  5. ...unnel web spider is the rest of it, in caseyou're not a big Billy fan.