Sunday, December 31, 2017

Yeovil end of year summary

One last update for 2017 for the Yeovil ST52 17  square. The following table shows my targets for the square (set in January, these were on the safe-side and I mostly made all of them), the actual result (which gives 634 as the final tally) and my targets for 2018. So if I can attain most of the targets I should actually get to 1000 for the square in 2018. We shall see!

Secondly I hope that a few more people will give the challenge a go next year. Its not about topping the table (ask a Rochdale fan - longest non-winning streak in the football league, 107 years and counting!) but it really does challenge you to look harder and to try and understand more about wildlife. This year I added 522 species to my total UK Pan Species List of which 94 came from this square. (that is, nearly a fifth of all my total UK lifers for the year came from one very ordinary 1km square - amazing!)

Finally I plan to continue with this square, which is near where I work, next year. I also plan to do a different square nearer to where I live but plan to post details about that square later.

Happy New Year to all who took part

2017 target
2017 result
2018 target
Annelid worms
Other insects


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Skye - Slimy Velvet

There's a whole week left of the year, so I'm just going to keep on and see how far I get. I'm working throughout, even on xmas day itself but will have my usual couple of random days off before the year is up. 

These stunners have suddenly started appearing on logs and fallen branches, seems quite incongruous after seeing nothing but micro-fungi, candlesnuff, crusts and the odd bit of Yellow Brain for the past few weeks. Then BANG these big beauties appear, seemingly out of nowhere and in late December too!

Flammulina velutipes - Velvet Shank
I didn't have a clue as to what they were (not very good with macro fungi...) but I had help from a reader of my blog who named them for me. Turns out they're common up here, common everywhere really, I just haven't noticed them before.

So, that's 1001 for the Challenge with hopefully a few more to come too.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

1000 for Skye!

Well, I took my own sweet time but have finally managed to arrive at the thousand species mark. Phew! In the end it came down to two moths that I'd somehow neglected to add to the list (realised that just yesterday) and the 1000th species being a freshwater snail that I found today, hiding amongst a water-weed sample that I'd brought indoors to inspect for micro-algae. It's a pretty grim pic, but please may I present to you Species 1000.... Jenkin's Spire Shell!!!!

Potamopyrgus antipodarum aka Jenkin's Spire Shell
Here's the breakdown as per PSL categories, with the totals alongside the numbers I projected at the start of the year. As can be seen, I was pretty close on some but a long way off the mark with others!

Algae - 45 species (25 predicted) 33 lifers!
Slime Moulds - 2 species (2 predicted) 1 lifer
Protists - 1 species (5 predicted) 1 lifer, it being my very first protist
Lichens - 55 species (60 predicted) 16 lifers
Fungi - 96 species (50 predicted) 37 lifers
Bryophytes - 55 species (60 predicted) 22 lifers
Vascular plants - 273 species (140 predicted) 19 lifers
Sponges - 1 species (2 predicted)
Cnidarians - 3 species (5 predicted)
Molluscs - 40 species (50 predicted) 8 lifers
Bryozoans - 8 species (8 predicted) 2 lifers
Annelids - 9 species (15 predicted) 4 lifers
Platyhelminths - 6 species (7 predicted) 2 lifers
Arachnids - 26 species (20 predicted) 4 lifers
Myriapods - 12 species (15 predicted) 2 lifers
Crustaceans - 10 species (20 predicted) 1 lifer
Springtails - 4 species (4 predicted) 1 lifer
Bristletails - 1 species (1 predicted)
Odonata - 1 species (3 predicted)
Orthoptera - 1 species (4 predicted)
Hemiptera - 22 species (45 predicted) 11 lifers
Hymenoptera - 12 species (40 predicted) 10 lifers
Coleoptera - 37 species (70 predicted) 19 lifers
Diptera - 62 species (60 predicted) 32 lifers
Butterflies - 5 species (6 predicted)
Moths - 93 species (140 predicted - assuming use of a light-trap, which I didn't have) 12 lifers
Other Insects - eg Lacewings 1, Stoneflies 3, Caddisflies 1 = 5 species (20 predicted) 4 lifers
Echinoderms - 1 species (4 predicted)
Tunicates - 0 species (4 predicted)
Fish - 7 species (10 predicted) 2 lifers
Amphibians - 1 species (2 predicted)
Reptiles - 0 species (2 predicted)
Birds - 94 species (90 predicted)
Mammals - 10 species (10 predicted)
Others (Nemerteans) - 1 species (1 predicted)

Biggest gains have been algae and plants, largest losses have been seashore stuff and hemiptera, hymenoptera and coleoptera. I find it quite staggering that one solitary Common Frog sums up the entire herp activity that I've encountered this year, just one species of dragonfly seen and absolutely no grasshoppers/crickets whatsoever! The sole orthopteroid encountered was Common Earwig. However, I have had some truly blinding species up here. I'm really not complaining at all, just remarking.

Of the 1000 species recorded up to 19th December, 243 have been lifers. One in every four, roughly. That too I find quite staggering, though in a very pleasing way.

Anyway, the year ain't over yet folks. Ali, you better pull yer finger out or I'll leave you behind before New Years' arrives!

I've resumed blogging again, check out my Skye's the Limit blog for fuller details of recent sightings and shenanigans. It looks likely that I'll be doing this craziness again in 2018, should anybody care to join me............. :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Dalgety Bay, fife - gnats

A couple of fungus gnats I pulled off their pins (and, sadly, apart) which had been languishing since September. Both came up trumps - Boletina nitida (which I misidentified and was corrected!) and Mycetophila unitotata. Both, it goes without saying, are new to me.

I'll keep on at this site and see whether it can make 2000. I already have a bunch from last year, including another fungus gnat which is probably new to Scotland but was taken in 2016 (Megophthalmidia crassicornis).

Only 9 to go for Seth now. Come on!

Boletina nitida

Mycetophila unitotata

Mycetophila unitotata - ID features!

1016 Boletina nitida A fungus gnat
1017 Mycetophila uninotata A fungus gnat

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thats Durham done

Well I reckon that's me finished now. 1047, pretty much as was planned though I should have put a lot more effort in looking for invertebrates.

Only a few addtions, though the Brown Hare I had given up on as it's been a couple of years since I had one here.

1042. Peziza badia (Bay Cup fungus)
1043. Palustriella commutata (Curled Hook-moss)
1044. Lepus europaeus (Brown Hare)
1045. Poecilocampa populi (December Moth)
1046. Erannis defoliaria (Mottled Umber)
1047. Melampsora euphorbiae (Spurge Rust)

I dont think it was much a challenge doing the same square a second time and I didn't have it in me nor possibly the time,  to try and beat the previous attempt.

I still need a challenge however and to move out of my square/comfort zone,  so I think  I'll do something on the lines that Seth suggested and hit the coast. I need to get my overall pan-list up which is sorely lacking things with marina, maritima etc in the vernacular. Want to here a confession? - I have NEVER done any rockpooling, anywhere! After some thought I'm going to try for 2,000 species but all within VC66 and all within 100m  of the high water mark and not venturing more than 100m inland at the Tyne/Wear/Tees estuaries. It could get a bit frustrating not being able to count many of seabirds or cetaceans that are too far out but I've seen most of them I could expect to see so it will not be a big problem. I have no idea whatsoever if it's its possible to get 2,000 or if in fact it will be dead easy but certainly different from what I'm used to.

That's me sorted for 2018

Keith Robson
NZ2549 - VC66 (Waldridge)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Dalgety Bay - Schoenomyza litorella, a muscid fly

A very peculiar member of the Muscidae and a bizarre coincidence. Looking at the Muscidae list of most commonly recorded species I hadn't seen I googled some of the "gaps", once of which was this fly. Friday evening I pull a square of plastazote from the shelf and there it is! Sat there ignominiously bypassed by many others since September

Sehr shoen indeed :)

1015 diptera Shoenomyza litorella A muscid fly

Friday, December 1, 2017

Dalgety Bay, Fife - the smallest update

Went vismigging for Waxwings. No Waxwings. Did get a Buzzard finally though!

Had a quick think to see if I could come up with 10 bird species that are still possible. It was shockingly easy!

Long-tailed Duck winter visitor small numbers
Little Auk easterlies
GN Diver winter visitor small numbers
Waxwing winter visitor small numbers
Crossbill passage migrant
Peregrine Falcon resident wader hunter
Reed Bunting late year passage migrant small numbers
Treecreeper had in adjacent square
Slav Grebe winter visitor small numbers
Barnacle Goose occasional

01/12/2017 1014 Buteo buteo Common Buzzard

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Dalgety Bay, Fife - Fossombronia pusilla

Found one of my favourite liverworts yesterday in NT1683 (349 spp.). Not in my 1km square but hopefully can inspire Seth to get that last 20-odd species sorted out ;)

Look at those spores and elaters - fantastic!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Dalgety Bay, Fife - a few additions

Keeping the ball slowly rolling I've been picking up bits of this and that.

A Cladonia found on the edge of a lawn turned out to be C.chlorophaea. Suspected Phaonia pallida from a water trap in Bathing House Wood was confirmed by its underwing setae, and a couple of female Anthomyia turned out to be festiva. All these were preceded by a Field Blewit which was found in the grassy triangle behind Lumsdaine Drive.

Waxwings still not here and no sign of the Hawfinch invasion here yet, though I haven't been out much in the mornings due to other commitments. You never know!

P+ red

1010 Lepista nuda Field Blewit
1011 Cladonia chlorophaea A lichen
1012 Phaonia pallida A muscid fly
1013 Anthomyia festiva A flower fly

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Who's been lazy? - Co. Durham update

Its good to see everyone has continued with the challenge and the 1K has been or is ready to be passed by several pan-listers.
Its been several months since I have updated anything partly, to be honest, because I got bored but also, I  took on a job of surveying the magnesium limestone flora on sections of the A19.... and its a *£$%ing long road. Plus, I've been doing some birding etc in Cyprus. Now I've finished all that and I've got the time,  it's gale force winds and not much in the way of daylight but at least it allowed me to start totalling everything up. I've had the moth trap running a couple of times a week but it's been a rush to just id the moths never mind anything else in it. That's the excuses out of the way.

So here is where I'm at and I doubt I'll get more than another 20 by year end. My plan at the start of this was to look at groups I don't normally bother with but it hasn't worked out like that and I think its partly because I did this challenge in 2014. I've been lazy and as I knew where most of the birds, flora and bryophytes were, together with checking the moth trap on a regular basis, it's been too easy.
If I had to do it again, and it will n
ot be in the near future, I would pick a different square, preferably one I'm not at all familiar with.
Meanwhile, I'll continue this year and then concentrate on my UK (well mainly Durham) Pan-list next year. I've got a whole coastline I've hardly explored.

Keith Robson
Waldridge, Co. Durham (VC66)

Friday, October 27, 2017

Sand Point VC6

Well done Ali on your 1,000. I've not been to my patch for weeks so can't see me getting to 1,000 this year. The list below is from an unpublished draft from my last visit. May try and get to 900 before the year end. A few more moth trapping sessions and I'd have reached 1,000 quite comfortably. Oh well, next time....

877. Aphodius foetidus
878. Field Grasshopper
879. Poecilus cupreus
880. Bembidion minimum
881. Ectemnius rubicola
882. Crepidodera aurea
883. Mydaea ancilla
884. Eudasyphora cyanella
885. Culex pipiens
886. Setisquamalonchaea fumosa
887. Schoenomyza litorella
888. Opomyza germinationis

Monday, October 23, 2017

Dalgety Bay, fife - The 1000 : breakdown

So after a two week recovery period in Turkey here's a breakdown of how the total was reached. I'll have to think about my favourites later.

It's been fun. Sometimes exciting, sometimes trying. Sometimes amazingly easy, sometimes very difficult. There were plenty surprises and a full quarter of the final tally were species new to me. That might be worth breaking down too.

I'm looking forward to looking at some neglected places and groups to be honest, but it's been a very rewarding exercise. I'll continue to record a few "extra" species for when species on the list prove to be bulls.. erroneous. Now I'm taking it a bit easier birds are starting to finally trickle in, though with winter thrushes being the latest additions maybe that pool is drying up.

Here's how the numbers grew compared with previous annual listing on my local nature reserve

You can see the benefit of working a square close to home/work that's always accessible. The other one is too, to be fair, but I never visited it as consistently.

Here's how the numbers grew by category,

It's not so easy to see how the inverts broke down from this but flies came on strong latterly as moths died away. Moths were severely under-represented really as I only was able to take a serious moth trap on site in the final month. Let's not talk about beetles ... the surge of autumn fungi is pretty obvious though.

The way the numbers moved can be seen reasonably well on here:

Class Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep 23-Oct
Verts 40 54 64 71 73 74 85 92 95 99
Inverts 54 106 148 208 301 365 411 467 499 505
Plants 69 92 104 122 137 147 188 201 203 203
Fungi 65 72 87 93 99 102 119 139 176 181
Algae 8 13 16 17 17 17 17 17 17 17
Total 236 337 419 511 627 705 820 916 990 1005

And the final breakdown of today's tally of 1005 ...

Category Oct-23
alga 17
Protist other 0
slime mould 2
lichen 48
fungus 131
liverwort 5
moss 27
flowering plant 165
conifer 2
fern 4
cnidarian 4
mollusc 33
bryozoan 2
annelid 7
flatworm 1
harvestman 5
pseudoscorpion 1
spider 29
gall mite 0
tick 1
millipede 6
centipede 3
crustacean 15
collembola 13
bristletails 1
odonata 0
dermaptera 1
orthoptera 0
hemiptera 29
coleoptera 58
diptera 154
lep-moth 92
lep-butterfly 9
hymenoptera 34
insect-other 4
tunicate 1
echinoderm 1
invert-other 1
fish 4
reptile 0
amphibian 2
bird 88
mammal 5

Just for luck, some more numbers:
1001 Pyrrhula pyrrhula Bullfinch
1002 Eudasyphora cyanella A muscid fly
1003 Lactarius pubescens A mushroom
1004 Turdus iliacus Redwing
1005 Turdus pilaris Fieldfare

Lactarius pubescens

Winter thrushes

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Dalgety Bay - Four digits!

On Thursday a small  patch of Nitschkia collapsa was found on (probably) ash, which left only one species to find. I had hoped it might be a passing flock of barnacle geese or a sea eagle or something but in the end it turned out to be another mushroom (fungus 130)!

This morning at 8:13 in in Chapel Wood I came across a few fruit bodies (mushrooms to "normal people"!) of  Laccaria laccata, which is the official species #1000!

Because I'm not at work and have no tools, here it is in all its unfocussed, uncropped glory

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Dalgety Bay - a new dawn, a new day, a new fly ... again

Sorry about the repetitive theme but this is what we're working with now! Maybe another bird will show up at lunchtime today. Why not? (edit: another bird did not show up at lunchtime. hella windy too!)

Having found myself briefly locked out as I waited for the missus yesterday night I stumbled into this lovely Lactarius deterrimus on the edge of a garden. It has orange milk, which narrows it down very swiftly!

The fly, Suillia pallida, was only finally sorted out this morning though I had keyed the family and guessed the genus yesterday.

Lactarius deterrimus

Suillia pallida

The creeping count
988 Chloroclysta siterata Red-green Carpet
989 Ocydromia glabricula A fly
990 Lucilia silvarum A fly
991 Phaonia rufiventris A fly
992 Anser anser Greylag Goose
993 Lactarius deterrimus A milkcap
994 Suillia pallida A fly

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Yeovil end of September update

Managed to push on to over 600 for the square by the end of September. Now on 606 species made up of ;
Plants 227, Bryophytes 4, Fungi 24, Lichens 14, Annelids 3, Crustacea 2, Spiders 13, Molluscs 10, Myriapods 2, Diptera 32, Hymenoptera 27, Coleoptera 25, Moths 100, Butterflies 17, Hemiptera 16, Orthoptera 5, Odonata 12, Insects - other groups 3, Fish 1, Amphibia 3, Birds 59 and Mammals 8.

Strangest sighting of the month was, while innocently walking with bins along a country lane in the square, was to be asked by a car driver if I was Pete Forrest! In fact it was Pete Akers who very nearly did this challenge in the adjacent square. Shame he didn't in fact as the coincidence of only c8 participants over the whole of the UK but with 2 of them in adjacent squares would be amazing.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dalgety Bay - Spring(tail) again!

A reprise of springtails with the common Ceratophysella bengtssoni found in the cap of a Mycena, maybe munching on spores. Also a not particularly exciting Oyster Gall on oak.

The springtail ID has been confirmed and only two prior records for Scotland - one from Dalgety Bay in 1934! Two prior Scottish records is about par for the course for a common springtail

Fungal foray



Inflatable antennal section. But why?!

984 Ceratophysella bengtssoni A springtail
985 Andricus anthracina  Oyster Gall Causer

Monday, September 25, 2017

Dalgety Bay - Forging forward with fungi

I knew that this part of the year was always going to be a time when fungi would come to the fore and as luck would have it I was able to time a meeting of fungi-bothering friends to coincide with a time of decent fungal diversity starting to emerge. I always hoped to have these guys involved at some point, and it would have been nice if I could have moved the piece along the board a bit more beforehand so that we could have gone over 1000 with a corticioid fungus (the main focus of the study group).

As it was I've moved considerably closer to the goal, with just over 20 species left to grab. It won't happen before end of September now, but it might yet happen before I go on holiday in October.


Clouded Funnel

The alien-looking Stinkhorn "egg"


Fairy Inkcap (already recorded)

Botryobasidium vagum (aka botryosum)

B.vagum's short and wide hyphae

Additions to the list:
965 Phallus impudicus Stinkhorn
966 Alauda arvensis Skylark
967 Rhodocollybia butyracea Butter Cap
968 Postia subcaesia Blueing Bracket
969 Pholiota squarrosa Shaggy Scalycap
970 Tomentella sublilacina A corticioid fungus
971 Skeletocutis nivea Hazel Bracket
972 Hyphodontia alutacea A corticioid fungus
973 Stereum sanguinolentum Bleeding Conifer Crust
974 Agaricus arvensis Horse Mushroom
975 Agaricus sylvaticus A mushroom
976 Marasmius oreades Fairy Ring Champignon
977 Clitocybe nebularis Clouded Funnel
978 Amphinema byssoides Cratered Duster
979 Botryobasidium vagum A corticioid fungus

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dalgety Bay - Emmesomyia grisea, new to Scotland (probably)

So I finally took a spade to the beach last night to dig up some lugworms. New species are proving a slog at the moment. Birds aren't playing ball though the flies and fungi are sort of ticking along. Two easy ones yesterday though (in ID terms - digging sand is still work!). However the third from yesterday was more interesting.

I decided the other night to give the proper respect to an anthomyiid that I netted at the weekend. Very happy I did too as it's the most northerly record for the species and more than likely new to Scotland - Emmesomyia grisea. As I've been making progress with calypterates it's been bugging me that I've sort of ignored the Anthomyiidae as difficult. Don't get me wrong - they ARE difficult, but they are getting easier. The difficulty lies in their similarity and the consequent nuances of setae organisation (and naming!) that you have to understand to work the keys. Females are still off the list, for the moment at least.

957 Helophilus pendulus A hoverfly
958 Arenicola marina Blow Lugworm
959 Emmesomyia grisea An anthomyid fly