Thursday, July 13, 2017

Skye - limping past the 3/4 stage

Finally put paid to the slowest 50 species EVER and have now made it across the 750 species mark. It's taken me precisely a month to scrape those fifty species together but, as of a couple of days back, I'm once again back in the frame of mind for square-bashing action! 

So what happened? Well I think I needed a break from a lack of inverts, a lack of good weather and a break from enjoying too many bottles of vino and cans of beer. So I took myself out and joined a botany outing up a mountainside and jumped on a boat and went plundering across the bay which helped re-ignite my passion for wildlife recording. Combine that with a couple of stunningly gorgeous days this week and BOOM!, I'm alive again. 

Last update (a month ago!) I was at 702 species. Now I'm at 755 species. The intervening 53 species include a healthy 21 lifers including the first record of Mompha propinquella for Skye, swept from my back garden yesterday. Also swept in that same 5 or 6 minutes were Marsh Damselbug Nabis limbatus and Potato Capsid Closterotomus norwegicus, both lifers for me. I should probably start paying more attention to my own back garden...

Mompha propinquella - new for me and new for VC104
A personal highlight was discovering a large mat of Bog Stitchwort whilst changing the filter of a water tank up the hill. I've been looking for Bog Stitchwort for maybe ten years without success, usually along dark, wooded streams. Yet this was in a huge open patch of grassland growing in the wet channel next to the water tanks, unexpected but totally brilliant! 

Bog Stitchwort - nailed!
Insects have slowly begun to show themselves at long last. I mean, it is only July after all...

The Tephrtitid Xyphosia miliaria on its larval foodplant
The large click Hemicrepidius hirtus - locally becoming quite common now
Depressaria daucella on Hemlock Water-dropwort
Monosoma pulverata on an Alder leaf today
I've a million and one things on pins which I can start going through next week...yep, I'm finally making the trip back down to Southampton to collect the rest of my worldly belongings. So I'll be reunited with my books and keys once more. Damn but it's been a long time. Eight months, in fact! Eight months since I've set foot off of Skye, seen a set of traffic lights or dual carriageway. Eight months since I've seen a Tesco, McDonalds or Pizza Hut. Eight months since I've seen a highrise building, seen a Magpie, Mute Swan or Coot.'s been fkkn great!!!! 

The numbers bit - 

703 - bird - Spotted Flycatcher (nesting by the river)
704 - fungus - Sycamore White Spot (on living sycamore leaves)
705 - fly - Agromyza idaeiana (larva seen in mine) - Lifer
706 - plant - Hollyberry Cotoneaster (birdsown all over the place)
707 - fungus - Erysiphe ulmariae (all over Meadowsweet plants) - Lifer
708 - plant - Pineappleweed (common along tracks)
709 - plant - Redshank (common along a few tracks)
710 - plant - Marsh Cudweed (scattered along one track edge)
711 - hoverfly - Sericomyia silentis (at Hogweed)
712 - microlep - Bactra lanceolana (1 swiped as it flew past my nose)
713 - bug - Leptoterna dolabrata (common in long grasses)
714 - blowfly - Lucilia caesar (common in woodland edge) - Lifer
715 -  hprsefly - Notch-horned Cleg (common whenever I'm mowing at 3km per hour grrrrr...)
716 - aphid - Eriosoma ulmi (many galled Wych Elm leaves with these inside) - Lifer
717 - plant - Bog Stitchwort (party in my pants!) - Lifer
718 - plant - Eyebright (Euphrasia arctica if my keying out is any good)
719 - gall midge - Iteomyia capraea (larva extracted from gall on Salix) - Lifer
720 - macrolep - Common Wave (frequently day-disturbed in UigWoods)
721 - gall midge - Chirosia betuleti (many galled tips to Dryopteris fronds)
722 - beetle - Hemicrepidius hirtis (common hairy black click) - Lifer
723 - fly - Xyphosia miliaria (a common tephritid on Marsh Thistles) - Lifer
724 - macrolep - Chimney Sweeper (one seen flying along Cuil Road verge)
725 - plant - Heath Fragrant Orchid (common in this area) - Lifer
726 - plant - Tufted Vetch (sparingly in verges)
727 - Hedgerow Cranesbill (sparingly in overgrown verges)
728 - beetle - Malthodes marginatus (swept from umbellifer heads)
729 - beetle - Otiorhynchus singularis (ace weevil, commonly seen) - Lifer
730 - gall midge - Dasineura rosae (several larvae in a puckered leaf) - Lifer
731 - fungus - Puccinia arenaria (many Red Campion leaves show this) - Lifer
732 - sawfly - Scolioneura betuleti (larva seen in mine on Downy Birch) - Lifer
733 - sawfly - Fenusa ulmi - (larva seen within mine on Wych Elm) - Lifer
734 - macrolep - Large Yellow Underwing (flushed whilst mowing)
735 - fly - Chromatomyia primulae (larva seen within mine on Primrose) - Lifer
736 - microlep - Depressaria daucella (many larva in Hemlock Water-dropwort patch)
737 - macrolep - Magpie Moth (common up here)
738 - microlep - Pseudargyrotoza conwagana (swept in woodland)
739 - harvestman - Leiobunum rotundum (one on a wall)
740 - mammal - Common (Bandit/45khz) Pipistrelle (several in the house!)
741 - mammal - Common Shrew (1 watched hunting in a tree stump, Uig Woods)
742 - microlep - Phyllonorycter rajella (mines on Alder in Uig Woods)
743 - beetle - Rhagonycha fulva (getting commoner by the day on umbels...)
744 - macrolep - Mottled Beauty (disturbed by day)
745 - plant - Smooth Hawk's-beard (suddenly quite common)
746 - plant - Common Cat's-ear (realised I'd overlooked this thus far!)
747 - microlep - Mompha propinquella (swept from my back garden) - Lifer
748  - bug - Nabis limbatus (swept from my back garden) - Lifer
749 - bug - Closterotomus norwegicus (swept from my back garden) - Lifer
750 - plant - Common Lime (planted tree with self-seeded ones nearby)
751 - fungus - Asteroma impressum (infecting leaves of Coltsfoot) - Lifer
752 - plant - Upland Enchanter's Nightshade (small patches in the woods)
753 - sawfly - Monosoma pulverata (a larva on Alder leaf today) - Lifer
754 - fly - Leucozona glaucia (stunning hoverfly swept from Hogweed) - Lifer
755 - bug - Capsus ater (swept from rank herbage)

Looking forward to the next 245 species, I have the bit between my teeth again!


  1. Great update - and with your batteries recharged are you still planning another 24 hour session on the late tide series in July.(26th I think it was)

    1. Pete, well remembered! Not sure though, I have to work extra to make up for lost days while I'm in England so it might be pushing it for 26th. If not, I'll do it in August instead. Watch this space!

  2. Good to hear it. Maybe I can sneak a small lead while you're away to buffer against the onslaught of newly identified stock!

    1. I note that you're one ahead of me already. I'm not gone yet! :D

  3. Lots of cool stuff there, especially the Bog Stitchwort.

    1. Thanks buddy, I shall have to glean lots more cool stuff very soon before I lose sight of you over the horizon though!

  4. Welcome back and some really good stuff there. There's more than 21 would be lifers for me, and much more varied than my lists. Thats it, I've been inspired. With the moth trap emptied and only a few plants still needed, the sun shining, I'm out to get some other things on the list. Well as soon as I've had my breakfast that is.

    1. Haha, cheers buddy - so where's your inspired update? I'm just back from the Southampton run, had a Long-eared Owl sitting in the road, sadly a good few miles south of my square but great to see on a rainy midnight journey back onto Skye!