Monday, April 30, 2018

Weather stops play

Have hardly been out for the last three days, today is particularly vile with gales, rain and cold. Did manage to see a bit before the latest bout of awful weather. It is meant to improve from tomorrow onwards, but things are way behind. A very unscientific analysis of data compared to 2014 shows 43 species of moth so far (454 in the whole of 2014), whereas beetles and flies are already ahead of my whole of 2014 totals (119/104 and 111/100 respectively). But that's mainly because I can now identify far more of the latter groups, of course. Anyway, here's what I've seen recently:

657 Betulapion simile Coleoptera Apionidae
658 Diaphora mendica Lepidoptera:moths Muslin Moth
659 Potentilla anserina Vascular Plants Silverweed
660 Muscari armeniacum Vascular Plants Garden Grape-hyacinth
661 Lamium maculatum Vascular Plants Spotted Dead-nettle
662 Cepaea hortensis Molluscs White-lipped Snail
663 * Phorbia fumigata Diptera Anthomyiidae
664 Puccinia urticata Fungi Nettle Rust
665 Elytrigia repens Vascular Plants Common Couch
666 Syrphus torvus Diptera Syrphidae
667 * Melangyna cincta Diptera Syrphidae
668 Atomaria basalis Coleoptera Cryptohagidae
669 Hypomma bituberculatum Arachnids Linyphiidae: Marsh Nob-head spider
670 Myrmica ruginodis Hymenoptera Ant
671 Fannia lepida Diptera Fanniidae
672 * Nematus lucidus Hymenoptera Symphyta
673 Nomada flava Hymenoptera Flavous Nomad Bee
674 * Hebecnema umbratica Diptera Muscidae
675 * Tephrochlamys tarsalis Diptera Heleomyzidae
676 * Nematus leucotrochus Hymenoptera Symphyta

Dalgety Bay - 2/3 of the way

So after a sunny day and two half hour sessions swishing a net at my cypresses I tipped over the month target of 667 with some room to spare. Most species were expected and even long overdue, but there was a nice new anthomyiid fly for Fife. Well, I say nice ... it looks a lot like a lot of the other ones. It's nothing spectacular range-wise as it seems this just fills in a gap in the middle. See more here.

I did a quick scan of the fly families I would need to record to make 200 this year and it will stretch me a bit, which is as intended. I've recorded 3 more spp of anthomyiid already than I did in the whole of last year!

Anyway, here's the lovely nettle-lover Nedyus quadromaculatus


660 diptera Anthomyia procellaris A flower fly
661 diptera Melanostoma mellinum A hoverfly
662 diptera Meliscaeva auricollis A hoverfly
663 diptera Mycophaga testacea A flower fly
664 * diptera Paradelia intersecta A flower fly
665 diptera Parasyrphus punctulatus A hoverfly
666 diptera Syrphus ribesii A hoverfly
667 hymenoptera Bombus lapidarius Large Red-tailed Bumblebee
668 bird Phasianus colchicus Pheasant
669 coleoptera Nedyus quadrimaculatus A weevil
670 hemiptera Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale Hawthorn Shieldbug
671 lep-moth Chloroclysta siterata Red-green Carpet
672 fungus Coprinus plicatilis A mushroom

Thursday, April 26, 2018

It's a fly thing....

There may be a theme developing here.

649 * Hydrellia griseola Diptera Ephydridae
650 Syntormon pallipes Diptera Dolichopodidae
651 Rhamphomyia sulcata Diptera Empididae
652 Epistrophe eligans Diptera Syrphidae
653 * Pegomya bicolor Diptera Anthomyiidae
654 Mesembrina meridiana Diptera Muscidae
655 * Ormosia hederae Diptera Limoniidae
656 * Agromyza nigrociliata Diptera Agromyzidae

300 up at Eype

With the recent improvement in the weather numbers of species have finally started to take off at Eype. (I expect this square to be significantly better than Thorne over the whole year - but it has been very slow getting started!) Anyway now on 308 for the year.
Lots of posts of photos of diptera recently so thought I would add another.
Mesembrina meridiana taken at Thorne earlier today.

For the record Thorne now on 351.

Skye - 600

Managed to hit 600 before month end, which was my goal for April. After a couple of nice warm days the weather has turned crap again with cold winds and lots of wet (and occasionally frozen) stuff dominating both days and nights of late. The moth trap filled with rain twice but defied being blown away again after I moved it to a slightly more sheltered spot. But I have snuck out and about a few times, usually with a woolly hat on my head - definitely no swishing of my butterfly or sweep nets just yet! The Glaucous Gull was on the beach again today, looking slightly odd with a small flock of Sand Martins wheeling over the waves just behind it.

This trunk is a fly magnet (when the sun shines....)
Cheilosia pagana from that very tree trunk - note the zygoma, common to all Cheilosia

A stonefly on!
That big plate thing over-reaching the 8th sternite makes it a female Nemoura cinerea
Puccinia tumida on Pignut - I'm seeing quite a bit of this lately
The light trap has only been run twice in the last week, still a handful of Ophion scutellaris and Ophion obscuratus to be found, moths have pretty much dwindled to just a few Noctuid species with Common Quaker, Hebrew Character and Clouded Drab making up the bulk of the catch. Red Chestnut is seemingly almost over, Early Grey too. Did manage this smart fella though

Early Tooth-striped - just had two of these so far
Up at the Sphagnum bog I came across several of these hairy beasties

This is what my beard looks like nowadays - which is why I've started shaving again
Also, it just wouldn't be spring on the croft without these guys!

Scathophaga stercoraria busy making more Scathophaga stercoraria
So that's me up to 604 species and I've still to see a butterfly this year. Cuckoo song can be heard wafting down from the hill above the house, though I've yet to clap eyes on it yet. Corncrake is back on Skye, one was heard a few days back on another part of the island. Will this be the year I have one in the square? Oh - almost forgot, had my 100th bird species for the square earlier this week. Twite, four of them drinking at a puddle just 30ft away. Lovely, it's not often I get to use the expression "flocking Twite" in context :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Dalgety Bay - no drama

Ticking along with nothing dramatic happening. A lot of greenery is coming up and some very promising patches of Ground Elder are emerging. Most people hate the plant as a pernicious weed but since flies love it I also love it. I spent a happy month a couple of years back visiting a small patch of this on a regular basis.

A nice find was Hydrotaea dentipes. Not because of rarity - it's apparently the most widespread holarctic muscid! It's just a nice fly with some fun features. More about that here

Some expected species are finally creeping on, and about the same time as last year too. Water Carpet was new for my garden, but that's about it.

(How remiss of me! Here's a picture)

647 * diptera Hydrotaea dentipes A muscid fly
648 lep-moth Orthosia cruda Small Quaker
649 diptera Scathophaga stercoraria A fly
650 diptera Botanophila fugax  A flower fly
651 hymenoptera Andrena scotica Chocolate mining bee
652 lep-moth Lampropteryx suffumata Water Carpet
653 lep-moth Earophila badiata Shoulder Stripe

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

I take it back

Well, it seems you do get Fannia down here as I caught a Fannia mollissima in the garden today. Quite a few other new flies as well, plus a few new moths and birds, including 6 lifers from the garden. Plus Mick Saunt's piccies of the Pallid Harrier. If I had been standing in my garden at the right time I could have seen it, although to the best of my knowledge it hasn't come into the 1 km square yet.

627 Numenius arquata Birds Curlew 21/04/2018
628 Syrphus vitripennis Diptera Syrphidae 21/04/2018
629 Perapion hydrolapathi Coleoptera Apionidae 21/04/2018
630 Rhamphomyia subcinerascens Diptera Empididae 21/04/2018
631 Syrphus ribesii Diptera Syrphidae 21/04/2018
632 Phaonia errans Diptera Muscidae 21/04/2018
633 * Cheilosia urbana Diptera Syrphidae 21/04/2018
634 Motacilla flava Birds Yellow Wagtail 22/04/2018
635 Sylvia communis Birds Whitethroat 22/04/2018
636 Anthobium atrocephalum Coleoptera Staph. 21/04/2018
637 Nomada ruficornis Hymenoptera Fork-jawed Nomad Bee 22/04/2018
638 Calliphora vomitoria Diptera Calliphoridae 22/04/2018
639 Elachista rufocinerea Lepidoptera:moths Red-brindled Dwarf 22/04/2018
640 Pheosia tremula Lepidoptera:moths Swallow Prominent 22/04/2018
641 Limnephilus marmoratus RSO Caddis Fly 22/04/2018
642 Cryptomyzus ribis Hemipteroids Aphid gall on red currant 23/04/2018
643 * Nomada panzeri Hymenoptera Panzer's Nomad Bee 23/04/2018
644 Ribes sanguineum Vascular Plants Flowering Currant 23/04/2018
645 * Azelia nebulosa Diptera Muscidae 23/04/2018
646 * Phytomyza ranunculi Diptera Agromyzidae 23/04/2018
647 * Lophosceles cinereiventris Diptera Muscidae 24/04/2018
648 * Fannia mollissima Diptera Fanniidae 24/04/2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

Dalgety Bay - Fannia by gaslight

A very busy weekend with family activities, off-square naturebothering and grass cutting, but I did manage to squeeze in enough time to stay on track. A lovely Streamer was new for me (Satellite added same day)

Fannia mollissima is a very common fly here at this time of year. At least it was last year. Its abdominal shape is distinctive, though not absolutely unique.

Fannia mollissima

In January I grabbed a couple of teaspoonfuls of putrified grass clippings from my garden rubbish bin. It was heaving with larvae. A lot of Fannia were present. I checked the jar in the garage which had now started buzzing. Inside I found about 10 Fannia scalaris. The male here with its curious leg "processes". Apart from one other fly I already took from this collection there were a couple of smaller ones I didn't do.

I found some Few-flowered Garlic, which was new to me - an amazingly large patch of it in flower which I had somehow contrived to not notice before, and also some Green Alkanet - another common species I'd never run into. So all in all still on target for 667 by month end, and with the weather distinctly better no reason why not (famous last words...)

(edit note: my Cream-spot Ladybirds were redetermined to Orange Ladybird by someone who knows better. New species to me, so a nice surprise and a reminder to double check things you think are obvious!)

633 diptera Syrphus torvus A hoverfly
634 flowering plant Ligusticum scoticum  Scottish Lovage
635 diptera Helina evecta A muscid fly
636 hymenoptera Bombus hortorum Garden Bumblee
637 diptera Fannia mollissima A lesser house fly
638 diptera Sepsis punctum A sepsid fly
639 lep-moth Eupsilia transversa Satellite
640 * lep-moth Anticlea derivata Streamer
641 * flowering plant Pentaglottis sempervirens Green Alkanet
642 * flowering plant Allium paradoxum Few-flowered Garlic
643 mammal Capreolus capreolus Roe Deer
644 bird Phylloscopus trochila Willow Warbler
645 * diptera Fannia scalaris A lesser house fly
646 flowering plant Cochlearia danica Danish Scurvy-grass

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Spring clean your conservatory!

I cleaned out part of our small conservatory yesterday to enable our tomato plants to be put in place, both for their fruit and for the shade they provide when the sun shines in the summer. Lurking in the dusty corners were Steatoda nobilis and Scotophaeus blackwalli, whilst Steatoda bipunctata made an appearance this morning, three nice additions to the year list. A close range flyover Red Kite was also good value, plus there are a few signs that the mothing is starting to pick up, with a Streamer and 2 Nut-tree Tussocks amongst a few new for the year.

606 Pardosa amentata Arachnids Lycosidae 19/04/2018
607 Dicranomyia mitis Diptera Cranefly 19/04/2018
608 Anthocoris confusus Hemipteroids Anthocoridae 19/04/2018
609 Epuraea melanocephala Coleoptera Nitidulidae 19/04/2018
610 Scolopostethus thomsoni Hemipteroids Lygaeidae 19/04/2018
611 Anotylus complanatus Coleoptera Staph. 19/04/2018
612 Endrosis sarcitrella Lepidoptera:moths White-shouldered House Moth 19/04/2018
613 Agonopterix arenella Lepidoptera:moths Brindled Flat-body 19/04/2018
614 Anticlea derivata Lepidoptera:moths The Streamer 19/04/2018
615 Colocasia coryli Lepidoptera:moths Nut-tree Tussock 19/04/2018
616 Gymnoscelis rufifasciata Lepidoptera:moths Double-striped Pug 19/04/2018
617 Oenanthe oenanthe Birds Northern Wheatear 20/04/2018
618 Steatoda nobilis Arachnids Theridiidae 20/04/2018
619 Milvus milvus Birds Red Kite 20/04/2018
620 Epuraea aestiva Coleoptera Nitidulidae 19/04/2018
621 Nomada goodeniana Hymenoptera Gooden's Nomad Bee 20/04/2018
622 Scotophaeus blackwalli Arachnids Mouse Spider 20/04/2018
623 Steatoda bipunctata Arachnids Theridiidae 21/04/2018
624 Riparia riparia Birds Sand Martin 21/04/2018
625 Thlaspi arvense Vascular Plants Field Penny-cress 21/04/2018
626 Equisetum arvense Vascular Plants Field Horsetail 21/04/2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Green things...

Pleased to get a Green Tiger Beetle in the garden today but as usual wasn't possible to get very near it. But this tachinid, Gymnocheta viridis, (first seen a couple of days ago) was far more obliging and rather attractive too.

A few other additions:

598 Lipara lucens Diptera Chloropidae 19/04/2018
599 Nomada marshamella Hymenoptera Marsham's Nomad Bee 19/04/2018
600 Paradromius linearis Coleoptera Carabidae 19/04/2018
601 Bembidion mannerheimii Coleoptera Carabidae 19/04/2018
602 Sylvia curruca Birds Lesser Whitethroat 19/04/2018
603 Pieris brassicae Lepidoptera:butterflies Large White 19/04/2018
604 Amara eurynota Coleoptera Carabidae 19/04/2018
605 Cicindela campestris Coleoptera Green Tiger Beetle 19/04/2018

When I last did this marlarky in 2014 I recorded 104 species of beetle in the whole year, so 112 species already is not to be sneezed at as the main beetle season is only just starting really.

Dalgety Bay - curious winged insect encounter

What is this thing? It seems vaguely familiar. There were a few of them flying around on the shore edge

Another nice find this morning was this group of ladybirds. I'd spent some time looking for them in bark cracks earlier in the year but by chance I ended up in the right place while looking for flies on sunny tree trunks this morning.

Probably my last post before Tim overtakes me! 631 species before the first butterfly. Insane.

629 lep-moth Alucita hexadactyla Twenty-plume Moth
630 lep-moth Diurnea fagella A micromoth
631 coleoptera Calvia quattuordecimguttata Cream-spot Ladybird
632 lep-butterfly Aglais io Peacock

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Steady increase including a few birds

Nice to get Ring Ouzel, Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit from the garden today, although it doesn't feel that bird migration is in full swing yet. Moths still very slow although Agonopterix ocellana was new for the garden last night, species 1813 in the garden. Approaching the 600 mark and with a good forecast should continue to make reasonable progress.

574 Chaetocnema hortensis Coleoptera Chrysomelidae 16/04/2018
575 Eupithecia abbreviata Lepidoptera:moths Brindled Pug 16/04/2018
576 Selenia dentaria Lepidoptera:moths Early Thorn 16/04/2018
577 Orthosia gracilis Lepidoptera:moths Powdered Quaker 16/04/2018
578 Ceutorhynchus pallidactylus Coleoptera Curculionidae 16/04/2018
579 Polyploca ridens Lepidoptera:moths Frosted Green 17/04/2018
580 Agonopterix ocellana Lepidoptera:moths Red-letter Flat-body 17/04/2018
581 Badister bullatus Coleoptera Carabidae 17/04/2018
582 Turdus torquatus Birds Ring Ouzel 18/04/2018
583 Numenius phaeopus Birds Whimbrel 18/04/2018
584 Bembidion tetracolum Coleoptera Carabidae 18/04/2018
585 Anthomyia procellaris Diptera Anthomyiidae 18/04/2018
586 Liocoris tripustulatus Hemipteroids Mirid Bug 18/04/2018
587 Gymnocheta viridis Diptera Tachinidae 18/04/2018
588 Limosa lapponica Birds Bar-tailed Godwit 18/04/2018
589 Alopecurus pratensis Vascular Plants Meadow Foxtail 18/04/2018
590 Polygonia c-album Lepidoptera:butterflies The Comma 18/04/2018
591 Eristalis pertinax Diptera Syrphidae 18/04/2018
592 Stenodema calcarata Hemipteroids Miridae 18/04/2018
593 Fumaria officinalis Vascular Plants Common Fumitory 18/04/2018
594 Vicia tetrasperma Vascular Plants Smooth Tare 18/04/2018
595 Zyginidia scutellaris Hemipteroids Leafhopper 18/04/2018
596 Kleidocerys resedae Hemipteroids Lygaeidae, Birch Catkin Bug 18/04/2018
597 Bibio lanigerus Diptera Bibionidae 18/04/2018

300 up at Thorne

A gloriously hot and sunny day really boosted insect activity.
With 4 new butterflies and both Bee Flies plus a few other species today the Thorne year list is now on 304.
As I only recorded 285 species by the end of April last year I am pleased with the progress being made.

Photo below of  Dark-edged Bee Fly

Dalgety Bay - Daily Digest

More signs of spring. A lunchtime stroll revealed a lot of Bibio johannis on the coastal path. This morning there were at least three Blackcaps singing. Yesterday I heard a very nice blackbird song that briefly had me thinking about Golden Orioles. That would be nice. Or a Garganey (which I've seen here befoer). Or a nice couple of avocets...

Some species that were around yesterday:

Bibio johannis, male

Cornu aspersum

Red-breasted Flycatcher ... I wish! (from Turkey)

Nicrophors humator - a burying beetle

Pale Pinion moth
Species added to NT1683 list
623 diptera Bibio johannis A Bibionid fly
624 diptera Egle rhinotmeta A flower fly
625 lep-moth Lithophane socia Pale Pinion
626 coleoptera Nicrophorus humator A burying beetle
627 flowering plant Aegopodium podagraria  Ground Elder
628 bird Sylvia atricapilla Blackcap

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Dalgety Bay - Wot, no lugworms?

A double-digit day yesterday was a reminder of how generous the first flush of spring can be. Of course it's grey and damp today and a winter-plumaged RT Diver served as a reminder that we're not there yet. The Dunlin seem to have gone but Redshanks are still around.

This nice Alchemilla xanthochlora had formed under my nose (like many other things, probably) and is said in the county "Flora" to be common in grassy places.

I've set myself a target of 667 by month end, and after yesterday that's less than 3.5 spp/day - much slower than the current rate for April of 4.06 spp/day (I have a spreadsheet still set up from last year so I only have to read it off. Perils/benefits of working on a computer all day!)

One thing I don't think I;ve mentioned yet is the reason there won't be any lugworms on this year's list...

Beautiful Bay, but ...

Oh dear!

This is from the time when the Bay was an airfield and clock dials with radium were dumped in the bay at the end of the WWII. Hot particles have been found and SEPA/MOD are currently undergoing works to remedy this (how exactly I'm not sure). As yet, no new species or superheros with the powers of molluscs/marine worms are known to have emerged as a result.


617 flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana Thale Cress
618 flowering plant Veronica persica Common Field-Speedwell
619 flowering plant Alchemilla xanthochlora Intermediate Lady's-mantle
620 lichen Porpidia macrocarpa A lichen
621 lep-moth Orthosia cruda Small Quaker
622 coleoptera Phaedon tumidulus A Leaf Beetle