Saturday, January 6, 2018

Skye - Under Rocks

Managed to add new species every day of the year so far. Highlights have been regular sightings of an Iceland Gull at the beach, joined a couple of days ago by a Glaucous Gull - both self-found and sucessfully twitched by several Skye birders. There's a Black Guillemot that is already in quite an advanced state of moult. No sign of any mammals at all yet, apart from human. Buzzard has gone from being almost always in sight to remarkably elusive in the space of a week. I've had just a single sighting so far, a dusk flyby. 

Today I went to the beach, spun quite a few boulders and cobbles and found a few nice bits

Strigamia maritima being photobombed by an Aepus marinus
Both of these air-breathing animals are to be found beneath rocks that are entirely submerged at high tide, surviving in tiny air pockets until the water recedes once more. Quite an incredible niche! 

I headed into the woods and continued turning over boulders, finding a really nice selection of inverts

Kontikia andersoni - a non-native terrestrial flatworm
Microplana terrestris - this terrestrial flatworm is a native species
Microplana scharffi - another native terrestrial flatworm, with Anurida springtails, maybe???
Geophilus alpinus (insculptus) - Uig Wood is still the only known site on Skye for these!
Cylindroiulus punctatus - I think I disturbed its beauty sleep
I have another six species to find by end of play tomorrow, then I'll be quarter of the way to the 1000 in the opening week. Not that it's a race, but that'd be really rather satisfying on a purely personal level.


  1. I'd bet on Protaphorura armata for the springtails, but I don't know how many other possibilities there are. Nice going

    1. Yeah, that looks likely, but then again so might several others. Do you do all of your springtail IDs via the FSC Key or do you have other guides too?

    2. Two phases. (1) FSC key (2) Send pics to Peter Shaw! That acts as both record and confirmation