Sunday, 7 May 2017


I went over to the north end of Hoy on Saturday morning. I needed to check the rookeries and see if they were occupied, and I thought I would see if I could find a Coal Tit. Before I set off I checked the moth traps, now running a new 40w actinic as well as the 15w (doesn't seem worth running the mv currently), and caught these two awkward customers amongst the Hebrew Characters..

 Rather pale, Clouded Drab

 Worn, Common Quaker

I sent the images to the county recorder as I was a bit unsure, but I did get them right :-)

 On Hoy it was dull and grey to start with, ideal for birding. Sedge Warbler and Willow Warbler were in song, there was a White Wagtail on the beach and best of all Whitethroat in one of the gardens. The tramp across the moor to the plantations did not produce the hoped for Emperor Moth, nor did a thorough search of the plantations result in a Coal Tit, but there was enough to hold the interest. Up at Sandy Loch there was a Grey Wagtail, a pair of Common Sands and the usual horde of Bonxies. Coming back down the road to Moaness though I started to see insects, the sun had been scorchio for a couple of hours by then. A really nice selection of hover flies included Platycheirus albimanus x2, Eristalis intricaria x3, Eristalis pertinax several, and good numbers of Eristalis arbustorum/abusivus (photos need to be checked carefully). Strangely enough it was a couple of beetles that stole the show, this very smart rove beetle -

Staphylinus erythropterus

is common enough. But this wee leaf beetle is not, and what's more the nearest it's been to here until very recently was the Solway. It was a bit of a one to identify but I got there, with a fair bit of help, although I was pleased not to have been far adrift. It is doable from these photos. Depth of field isn't great as I was struggling to get it to stay still.

It is Hydrothassa hannoveriana which is quite uncommon across the UK. Small, a few mms long and associated with Marsh Marigold, which it was just by. On inquiring I've found that it has only just been found in Orkney in the last few weeks by two other folk, still my record is first for Hoy.

Down on the beach the hound found this:

Somewhat deceased Iceland Gull

I probably should have delved through the corpse for more beetles but I didn't really fancy that.

Today it should have been ok for rares, but, there weren't any. I spent the whole day gardening, fixing up a new rabbit proof bed for peas and beans was the main task.

I did empty the moth traps first thing. Nice, Dark sword-grass, a migrant, amongst the HCs and one Clouded Drab.

The new trap contained two of these, which could be Nebria salina, or it may be that I just don't have the definition in the photos (despite having RAW files) to see the pale hairs on the surface of the hind tarsi. Of course it is N.salina that doesn't have the hairs, absence always being the harder thing when looking to get definition from photos.

Oh, and the Rook count was zero. Rumours that the colony had been reinvigorated were found to be false, just loads of Hoodies (and one hybrid) hanging out there.


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Blimey down here it still feels too cold for many moths

Alastair said...

It's freezing here, well warmed up today, though raining.