Saturday, March 30, 2013


We're almost into April and this means a potential stalling of the 1KSQ list. We are now well into bird migration time, so when I have a couple of hours spare, I am less likely to trawl the lanes around home but will be drawn to the coast to search for rarities. This morning I have a few free hours but I'm gonna hit the cliffs and look for rares.

Eristalis pertinax - a brief sunny period brought one or two insects to the garden.

I have managed a couple of walks in the last week and have found a few new little spots which look good (albeit private). Best bird was a Firecrest feeding in a garden along the road. It's a species which I should have seen in the square before but I haven't previously walked around it a lot. One night seemed fine enough to put the moth trap out which seemed a bit pointless as the temp dropped, but in the morning there was an Oak Beauty sat on the side which was a new species for the garden list - one of only 5 individual moths though.

Oak Beauty

The other night I spent a few frustrating hours with a beetle and my new carabid beetle book. I took me quite a while to understand and get used to the key and at various points decided to give up, but in the end I managed to identify the beast as Amara lunicollis. (I won't post a photo because if someone says I got it wrong it might make me cry!)

273 - Marchantia polymorpha (Common Liverwort)
274 - Cochlicella acuta (snail)
275 - Netted Slug
276 - Firecrest
277 - Sheep's Sorrel
278 - Sun Spurge
279 - Squirrel-tail Fescue
280 - Oak Beauty
281 - Common Quaker
282 - Amara lunicollis (beetle)

Found some of these scale insects on Polypody along the roadside near home. It looks like pictures of Soft Brown Scale but I presume there are a few similar species.

I was looking at some old local maps and found one from 1787 which shows that the northern part of my square used to be saltmarsh!


  1. Amara identification has reduced many people to tears Mark. In fact, the generic name is believed to derive from the Latin for bitter, describing the typical emotion of someone attempting to identify one!
    I have tried to sweeten the experience here:

  2. Glad that it is a tricky ID problem as I did find it very tricky.

    My main difficulty was in misunderstanding a feature in the key. It said "Antennae with one to three pale basal segments..." which I thought meant segments 1, 2 and 3 were all paler. The specimen was dark and had just the first segment paler.

    That's a superb guide to the group Mark, nice one.

  3. Hi Mark, I think Soft Brown Scale is a fairly safe tick, mine were originally identified from pictures in 2010:-

    The guy who identified them now has this website which may be of interest to fellow 1sqK'rs:-

    Eventually they will probably turn out to be a species aggregate, but until then..


  4. Thanks Matt.

    I shall provisionally add it to the list then, unless further information comes to light. The rest of the scale insects shown on that website do not match the photo at least.

    cheers, Mark