Saturday, March 9, 2013

TQ6410 ..... Night shift

The Challenge continues to push me out of my birds, butterflies, odenata & wild flowers comfort zone(s). Why else was I rumaging around the plot just before midnight, armed only with a torch? The main wild flower bank was heaving with slugs & snails - mostly Field Slugs it has to be said - but there were one or two other things that looked vaguely interesting ......

289 - White-lipped Banded Snail Cepaea hortensis 
- Thames Door Snail   Balea biplicata

291 - Violet Ground Beetle Carabus violaceus 
The beetle had to be rescued as I found it swimming in a bucket of water inside the workshop. Took a dozen photos of it in a marg tub but every one came out blurred - just wouldn't co-operate. Ungrateful if you ask me .....

Thought there were at least two more species here .... but nope?

Banded Snail again?  I don't 'get' snails ..... 

 ..... or slugs?

292 - Common Garden Slug  Arion distinctus

or is it a juvenile big black slimey thing?

OK  .... so it's not a Field Slug? Then it's a Lemon Slug? Orange Slug? Apple Slug? Slugs are fast becoming my new lichens  .....

??? -  The Nondescript. 

Not much luck with the moth trap either. This was my first macro of 2013 .... and rescued from the kitchen sink. It's a rather drab, quakery, chestnutty sort of thing. If I ever get to 999 species, I don't really want one of these to ID. I phoned a moth expert friend (or rather sent him this pic) but he hadn't a clue either. Probably explains why I'm only an occasional 'moth-er' ......

293 - Large Yellow Underwing (larva) Noctua pronuba .... he says semi-confidently (also found by torchlight). OK - just the TWO macros then but only one ID .....

There was also a huge mozzy in the workshop kitchen yesterday.  Scary ....
294 - Banded Mosquito  Culiseta annulata

Actually, there was another useful addition to the TQ6410 bird list ..... almost forgot it during yesterday morning's walk in the rain: 

295  - Greenfinch .... at last. In the conifers near the farm. 
Just arrived back from ....??  Where DO they all go to in the winter? Suburban leylandii Land?

STOP PRESS  ....  from this (Saturday) morning's early walk:

296 - Wood Sorrel Oxalis acetosella
297 - Cut-leaved Cranesbill Geranium dissectum
298 - Grey Squirrel  Sciurus carolinensis  .... Eureka!!! It's taken me a while ....
299 - Skylark .....  and then .... 
300 - Cetti’s Warbler  ....... sooo close for 300  ..... it was calling just 50m SW of the square this morning. Damn.

So on to 299 species  ..... But I've borrowed a bat-detector for this evening .....  and the Castle grounds are beckoning for later next week (thanks Tim).


  1. Think your moth is probably The Chestnut. Tatty though, certainly!

  2. Thanks to both for that ID - will add it at the next post .... he say's hoping for something truly spectacular for a Sunday morning 300 up? Obviously wasn't meant to be a bat! Must cover the moth trap next time I bring it into the workshop - for the record, the kitchen sink was empty at the time .....

  3. Balea biplicata!!! Only occurs at a few sites in London along the Thames, and even there it can take some finding. Have you ruled out the other clausiliids?

  4. Thanks Mark - saw your comment late last night and went to bed with clausiliids on my brain. By the looks of things, my ID defies any obvious logic apart from some dodgy internet browsing well after midnight (for molluscs I hasten to add). The torch will be out tonight and I'll round up a few more of these little things to photograph and come up with a much more rational ID. Common Door Snail possibly? Perhaps I need to steer well away from molluscs .... and spiders and beetles and flies and bugs and lichens and just about everything else .... apart from maybe birds and butterflies .... and hopefully plants!