Friday, March 31, 2017

Skye - End of March

So the lowest tides of the spring were pretty much wasted on me. First attempt was rained off, second attempt I had to quit early to start a workshift. I managed a few bits but it was nothing like the crazy tickfest I was hoping for. 

The "rockpooling" habbo - it's all just boulders with wet bits underneath
I did manage to find some fish though, 3 Shore Rocklings and 37 Butterfish. 40 fish under rocks! Pity the diversity wasn't a tad higher though. Here's a pic of one of the Shore Rocklings

12x less common here than Butterfish. Scientific FACT!!!
A flock of 40 or so Common Gulls had formed a long skirmish line across the beach and were following the receding tide across the sands. I could see them picking things from the water. Every once in a while a Herring Gull would fly off with something in its beak. Eventually I flushed them off in order to have any kind of a chance of finding something myself! It's a big enough beach, they settled a hundred metres away and continued their work. In all, I managed a rather pathetic two species new for the year including this young Common Starfish

Asterias rubens - One that the skirmish line of gulls missed!
Quitting the beach I wandered into Uig Woods via Cuil Road. On the way I noticed a clump of Londonpride growing from the middle of a pile of dumped boulders

Very common in gardens around here, must have been thrown out with the boulders
And then growing out of a big mound of vegetated road planings were the newly-emerged fertile shoots of Field Horsetail

Always makes me think of giant sauropods grazing 30ft tall Horsetails!
In the woods I finally got around to ticking off Milesina carpatorum on manky brown Male-fern pinnules. The underside of a rotten log revealed my next lifer in the form of an intricate looking slime mould 

Ceratiomyza fruticulosa - a very commonly encountered species, apparently.
That was it until I finished my shift at 10pm. It had started to rain at about 9pm, reducing to a drizzle by 11pm. I went out checking the security lights on site and, amongst absolutely masses of the black millipede Tachypodoiulus niger, managed to find a single Hebrew Character on a doorframe, a male of The Engrailed in the laundry shed (that's a good moth here on Skye) and a couple of the rather smart craneflies Tipula rufina also in the laundry shed. I captured an Amaurobius that was wandering around - they seem to have suddenly become very common in the outbuildings and corridors here - and it checked out as Amaurobius similis, rather unsurprisingly. 

Tipula rufina - patterned wings and a big black line across the thorax to under the wings
The Engrailed - I may have to paint the walls a more photogenic colour...
I was really hoping to hit 450 by the end of March, pretty much a full month ahead of when I hit 450 in 2013. But did I manage it? Yes, yes I did. And I'm pretty bloody chuffed with it too. 45% of the way into the 1000 in the first quarter of the year, fkk yeah I'm happy with that!

440 - Common Starfish Asteria rubens (echinoderm)
441 - Marine Springtail Anurida maritima (springtail)
442 - Common Whitlowgrass Erophila verna (plant)
443 - Londonpride Saxifraga umbrosa x spathularis = S. x urbium (plant)
444 - Field Horsetail Equisetum arvense (plant)
445 - Creeping Thistle Cirsium arvense (plant)
446 - Hedge Woundwort Stachys sylvatica (plant)
447 - Male-fern Dryopteris filix-mas (plant)
448 - Male-fern Rust Milesina carpatorum (fungus) - Lifer
449 - Coral Slime Mould Ceratiomyza fruticulosa (slime) - Lifer
450 - The Engrailed Ectropis crepuscularia (moth)
451 - Tipula rufina (cranefly) - Lifer
452 - Amaurobius similis (spider)
453 - Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica (moth)

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