Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Lemke's Gold Spot I hope....

Whilst I was on my hols in Arran a NFM moth was Lemke's Gold Spot, I was really delighted to see this species and to be able to work out the ID for myself. Trapping the other night, first run with my new LED light in the Robinson and on the very last egg tray...

I'm pretty sure this ticks all the boxes but I have sent it to the CR for final judgement.

All the traps are out tonight, here's the LED in action, it is amazingly dim so would be good in a built up area but seems pretty effective.

The Hoy High lighthouse (actually on Graemsay) is the light in the distance.

Also new for the year was Barred Yellow, a lovely moth (but it flew off too sharpish) and Rosy Rustic.

Rosy Rustic

Numbers of Square-spot Rustic are starting to build up now and Small Square-spot and Ingrailed Clay declining.

Square-spot Rustic

I've been catching a lot of these Eudonia alpina recently, an attractive micro, and a little tricky sometimes from E. angusta (CR has been very helpful with these).

Eudonia alpina

A 1cy male Crossbill has appeared in the garden and like last year's is very tame and likes Niger seed. It uses its tongue to extract the seeds from the tiny hole in the feeder.

Also recently a Greenshank at Evie but not much else doing.

The fridge is again full of tubes as I've been sweep netting through our meadow again... insects = 15 minutes in the field and three days trying to identify the blighters.

Exam results day has passed and elder daughter is largely very happy. Far too stressful the whole malarkey if you ask me, and that's just for the parents, let alone the students.

The Honda's mystery ailment may well have been diagnosed, although I'll be towing briefly tomorrow with  still a possibility of stop/go behaviour. It's days may be numbered, I think our patience is wearing thin, to say nothing of the bank balance, 102,000 miles though. It is the annual Dounby Show and the day will be spent encouraging younger daughter and ponies. I somehow think I may avoid the Stereo Lobsters in the evening though, it tends to be an alcohol fueled event.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Buddlia nectaring

Loads of moths on the Buddlia tonight including: Large Yellow Underwing (100+), Silver-Y (probably worn Beautiful Golden Y(4), Dotted Clay, Square-spot Rustic, Snout, Dark Arches, Eudonia alpina and possibly another Eudonia (in a pot). Also Scoparia subfusca buzzing around the actinic and a likely Agriphila tristella around this computer screen (got away).

 Large Yellow Underwing

 Square-spot Rustic

Silver-Y  Most likely a worn Beautiful Golden Y, see comments below.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Shapinsay day

Popped over to Shapinsay on Wednesday and walked about; it would be better by bike. However, we had a nice tramp round, a bit of insecting and a decent late lunch in the cafe.

 Grey Heron.

 Black tangles (Tangles = Orkney word for seaweed).

 Tree Wasp, I was especially pleased with these, a county tick at least.


 Back in Kirkwall at the car park by the police station, nectaring Starling.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Inverness in a day

I went to Inverness on Tuesday to pick up a car (no the Fiesta is still going strong, but it is about to be handed over to elder daughter). An interesting journey, bus from end of track, bus to Burwick, JOG ferry to John O' Groats, bus to Inverness, all for free thanks to my Old Scot card and my ferry vouchers. Thankfully it all worked and the connections were smooth. The bus along the coast from JOG was fascinating, any number of huge castle-houses along the coast. We usually cut out that bit of coast going from Scrabster south. Managed to get stuck in to another Magnus Mills' All Quiet on the Orient Express during the journey, annoyed that I'd forgotten to charge the iPod, so only got about 45 mins of tunes, at least the head phones cut out most of the bus radio-babble. (All Quiet... is a nicely bizarre tale.)

Coming back I put the new (to me) vehicle on the Scrabster ferry. The week before when we'd come back from Arran on that ferry there had been about 12 Common Dolphin around the Old Man, I'd been really pleased with these as I rarely see any cetaceans from that boat. I was disappointed on the JOG as there were no cetaceans and it should be a better route for them (loads of Puffins though). However, the sea was almost glassy, perfect conditions as we headed out at 7pm. Immediately there were a few brief but likely Porpoise sightings, then 20 minutes out two Orcas, one of which breached, a bit distant but good enough. There are two males hanging out in this area and although the views were brief I was pretty sure the one I saw the back of was a male, the breaching one twisted sideways and I saw its belly. A little later two definite Harbour Porpoise were nice. Then an hour out and still south of the Old Man a huge pod of well dispersed dolphin. These were bigger than the Commons from the previous week and there was no bow riding and only one breach, dorsal fins were larger and I saw white on the back so White-beaked they were, I reckon at least 20, possibly 30, very neat. Another observer saw a Minke on the same trip as well and other counts of porpoise were four sightings.

 The Old Man of Hoy from the north.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Autumn has arrived

There was a Greenshank over the other day but today produced a juvvy Crossbill (nearly collided with me whilst I was doing the moths), a Siskin, and a Whimbrel over (and more Whimbrel later), mind you the Snipe was still drumming from the Shunan.

On the moth front nothing much new, the Pinion-streaked Snout from the other day was the best of the bunch recently although the two plumes that I've asked for help with may yet turn up trumps.

I've caught and photographed a few hemipterans recently and with help have a couple of identifications, this one is the Potato Capsid, Closterotomus norwegicus.

I've just finished reading The Forensic Record Society by Magnus Mills. For anyone unfamiliar with Magnus there is an interview with him here:
Very funny and very clever. I got a hardback copy, wonderfully produced as well.

Product Details

You can tell I'm on holiday, I find it very hard to read for pleasure during term time. Now embarking on a playscript All My Sons as daughter No1 has to read it for her Advanced Higher English, anyway Arthur Miller has always been one of my favourite playwrights.

Thursday, 27 July 2017


 Drama at the bottom of the track, if I'd looked up I would have seen it happen.

The farm soon sorted it out though.

 Cheilosia illustrata

 Hemipteran to be identified - Leptopterna ferrugata (see comments below, thanks Gibster)
Female, (part-winged) so 2nd antennal segment broader than base of front tibia, which seems correct.

After midnight looking north

Wednesday, 26 July 2017


Home from the Arran hols and mothing straight away. (A decision to post on here what may, a month is a long break.) This is a bit of a disjointed post already.

 Some for a crumble and some for the freezer.

Herbs and salad, the herbs went into herb baps to go with lasagne.

Quite likely a Brown Plume, getting it checked.

A favourite of mine, Gothic.

Eucosma campoliliana, a smart wee micro.

Arran was excellent for insects, quite a few NFM moths, hopefully I will get around to posting some things on here. Great views of Badger, Otter and Red Squirrel - one Pine Marten on the Scottish mainland, sadly a road casualty, I must make the effort to see a live one. A Weasel whilst we were broken down for nearly three hours on the way north again (many thanks to the technician from Stag Garage who finally got to us, via a traffic accident down the road, and provided a patch up which just about survived all the way home) and a brilliantly acrobatic pod of Common Dolphin by the Old Man of Hoy as we finally got here again.

All sorts of Arran photos to post, perhaps I'll make an Arran page....

 From the garden this evening.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017


There have been numerous posts I should have made, I will try and back-date some shortly as there have been interesting invert' events.

Louise and I went to Westray for the weekend, well for Saturday night anyway. The weather was dire the boat trip somewhat bouncy. The plan had been to take our bikes but that idea was wisely abandoned and we managed to squeeze the car on the ferry.  It blew all night but stopped raining on Sunday and so we went off to Noup Head, having a brief look for the Snowy Owl and then to look at the seabird cliffs. We possibly briefly and distantly saw the Snowy Owl, it was a bad decision to move the car to get a better and safer viewing point, as in the moments that took it was gone.

However, a brilliant spectacle awaited us at Noup Head.

Later on we visited the Puffins at the south end and went for a bit of a tramp there.

A few insects were found, more of them later.

Sunday, 11 June 2017


Cotton grass, sea, cloud.

M and I walked, and just escaped the rain, more later but a lovely NFM moth Pyrausta despicata.