Sunday, 14 October 2018


A couple of days spent going birding a fair bit and taking a load of photos. Autumn has arrived, the trickle of Redwing from Wednesday turned into a rush on Saturday and continued today. Louise had two Hawfinches in the garden on Friday, I dipped. However, a Yellow-browed Warbler on both Saturday and Sunday made up for it and a nice Med Gull at Palace was a reward for scanning through the gulls. NFY in the garden was Blackcap, sadly dead at Northside was a Storm Petrel.

 Eider feeding close inshore.

 Part of the mass of gulls, also feeding on the kelp and other seaweeds blown inshore.

 In the end I decided that this Med Gull was a 1cy, it is suggested that the lesser and median coverts are hidden by the scapulars.

Old hoose, Northside.

Sunday morning before the cloud cleared.

Bosquoy sheds

 Sycamore leaves with a little Rhytisma acerinum.

Sycamore trunk with Nectria cinnabarina.

 Redwing, no pictures of the Yellow-browed Warbler, autofocus refused to get it sharp and I was too slow with the manual focus.

Yesnaby, Sunday p.m.

Sunday evening.

The actinic is out, it is a tad cool but a single Brindled Ochre early evening might promise better things (like the probable Chestnut that I allowed to escape the other evening).

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Rain all day

I managed to wake up at 5:30 just as the rain began and rescue the two actinic traps, total four moths, all Brindled Ochre, but the temperature was down to 1-2C overnight. Also Vine Weevil and Nebria brevicollis (well I didn't check the tarsi but every one I have checked from the garden has been brevicollis). All the moths were from the front trap, the one at the back in the trees caught a lot of diptera, I chose to ignore them.

The day was spent catching up on insect data, sorting through a pile of moths that have been returned to me, many thanks KB and SG. There were some interesting things in there, quite a few I got right, rather a lot I didn't, although I'm definitely improving with the micros, those from this year were mostly correct or nearly so.

I've been looking through the photos from yesterday. I went to Marwick and mooched around the cliffs beyond the fishermans' huts. Generally grumpy because there were no insects that were indentifiable that I could find. In the end I took some photos.

Wild Angelica

Wild Angelica is an amazing plant, brilliant for insects in the summer and early autumn, and then its skeletons are delicate and robust at the same time. I've messed about with the colour, I think I prefer these in grey-scale.

I wandered around and found this eye driven in to the rock. I wondered how long it had been there, an ideal spot to land fish or take on crew. It must have been a bloody hard life. Huge skill would have been required to take a boat in and out of this spot.

The bird situation is poor with very little migration going on. Blackbirds are arriving though, signaled by the berries on our Swedish Whitebeam disappearing this week and the apples I put out now being eaten. Seven Whoopers flew east yesterday and the Goldfinch flock has now increased to four. There was a wee Mepit surge yesterday too, and Reed Buntings are in the bird crop and around and about away from the lower fields.

Syrphus torvus

You can just about make out some eye hairs on this male Syrphus that I collected at Northside last weekend, quite possibly the last Syrphid of the year. In any case the 2nd basal cell of the wing was clearly covered in microtrichia.

At the end of today the horse dentist arrived, awful light and the use of flash would not have been wise. The news was good for our 28 year old pony, no immediate work required and the previous extractions have stablised his mouth and he can now eat more easily. I did feel for old Blue though, not especially enjoying the dentist myself (and due to lose a tooth shortly). The skill of the dentist was impressive.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Not seawatching, not really...

Leach's Petrel is a lovely bird that I don't see very often but one flew quite close past Northside on Sunday afternoon. I sat in a sheltered spot on the cliff, just west of the buildings at Whitaloo Pt photographing anything that came close. Scanning occassionally.

My favourite photo of this session was of a 1cy Common Gull.

 Common Gull

 Great Black-backed Gull

This is my favourite I think.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Evening sunshine

Pretty good evening around the garden and with a wander down the hill. Enjoying a beer and scoping across the lochs when an interesting looking chat popped up so I temporarily abandonned the Hopopotamus and wandered down the hill. The chat turned out to be a Wheatear but the goose scarer went off and flushed the last two of the 22 Blackwits and a Green Sand that I had missed earlier. Good views and pix were then obtained of the two juv Goldeneye that had been feeding on The Shunan all day. Quite pleased with myself the dog and I returned to the beer. Picking out a Ruff amongst the Lapwing on Loch of Bosquoy and seeing the wagtail roost of about 40 birds scoping again from the garden an Osprey flew in to view and proceeded to spend the next 20 minutes or so fishing Loch of Bosquoy and the northern shore of Loch of Harray.

Plus a Red Admiral and Nebria brevicollis.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Marwick Head

Brilliant afternoon at Marwick Head with loads of insects up near the monument on Spear Thistle, thanks to AL for the heads up. Moths - Hummingbird Hawk, 2; Silver Y, 20; Agriphila straminiella, lots; Twin-spot Carpet, 2; White Ermine (cat) 1. Butterflies - Peacock, 1; Red Admiral, 2; Painted Lady, 12; Common Blue, 1. Bees - Great Yellow Bumblebee, huge number! Common Carder, and various black, white and yellow beasts which I might try to identify later (Bombus lucorum agg photo below).

Hummingbird Hawk was a county tick and only the second Peacock I've seen since we've been here.