Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Trapped last night

First time for ages, the weather has been less than conducive. Well worth it, NFM Red Sword-grass.

More expected was Brindled Ochre.

A puzzling, slightly oddly coloured Bembidion was confirmed as just tetracolum. However, my continuing battle with craneflies produced this Limonia nubeculosa. Common enough but fairly distinctive, enough to get on the right track anyway with the stripey femora.

Limonia nubeculosa.

Will post my Glasgow pix shortly.

Monday, 2 September 2019


Identifying various things is certainly driving me that. I swept a nice looking Carabid beetle from vegetation on our track, not far from the house yesterday. I'm pretty confident with Carabids but this proved to be a challenge. An hour before supper I couldn't get any decent pix with the digital microscope (it doesn't work so well with shiny dark coloured things) so gave up. After supper I got the optical microscope out (it is just a cheap little thing, but ok). Using the Luff key I just went around in circles. Using online pictures I ended up with a genus that doesn't occur in the UK and is very rare. In the end after three hours effort I posted a not great picture online and of course got a result for this morning. Amara aulica; now called Curtonotus aulicus. The name change is sensible if for no other reason that this species looks nothing like a typical Amara.

Curtonotus aulicus

Equally craneflies, which are a bit of a new enterprise for me are also completely doing my head in. Several yesterday I just could not do and gave up. One I got close to but have apparently got it wrong.... These things are tricky. The trouble is to get the baseline of knowledge of the common species, the four or five or six that are most frequent at each season, but at the moment I'm failing to achieve that.

I'd thought this was Tipula confusa but apparently it is perhaps more likely to be T. obsoleta (which I had considered).

But there was a Cuckoo this morning being mobbed by Swallows and Meadow Pipits when I went to feed the pony.

 Ear Moth, most likely though Amphipoea oculea but should be recorded as Amphipoea agg as I haven't done the gen det.

 Triangle Plume, I do like plume moths.

A worn Northern Spinach I suspect.

In contrast to the craneflies I do feel I am getting to know some of the Trichoptera a bit better. They are hard to ID mostly but there are some quite distinctive ones.

 Limnophilus lunatus - note the moon shape at the end of the wing bordered dark.

Stenophylax pernistus, the confusion species apparently doesn't occur here, still catching a few of these.

 Grey Seal

Harbour Seal

Both photographed metres apart within a minute or two. Usually I only see harbour Seals at this location and Greys are usually less confiding. Nice comparison of their faces.

Five dead Hedgehogs as I cycled on Friday, all within half a mile, all road casualties. 

Gratuitous bird photo....

I went for a bit of a protest, joining 90 or so others in Kirkwall. Worrying times if you ask me. The suspension of the democratic process is an outrage. Hopefully the perpertrators will come a croppa...

I thought this sack writing could (worringly) be prescient (hopefully not).Scary.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Garden invader

I paid a visit to BH who pan-lists his Orkney garden on Burray. I managed to add at least one species to his garden list finding a nest of the ant Myrmica ruginodis. There were lots of larvae of the Devil's Coach Horse Staphylinus olens and I glimpsed but dipped on the hoverfly Cheilosia bergenstammi. A bit of bush bashing of some Downy Birch produced this interesting Psocopteran which BH had also found in the house a few days previously.

Chilenocaecilius ornatipennis  (a barkfly - not Diptera, Psocoptera) Photo Barrie Hamill.

 The species was first found in Ireland in 2015 and has subsequently been located at a few locations across the UK, most likely it is now quite widespread but (being tiny, and being of an obscure order of beasts) is rarely recorded. Anyway I quickly found two in the net. The species is native to Argentina and Chile.  
Anyway useful to find in the garden as it proves the original one didn't just come in with the shopping or escape from BH's car.

Update, a bit of bush bashing in my own garden on West Mainland has revealed the species (I think) here, need to check, but it looks good.

Found on both Ash and on Wych Elm -
Chilenocaecilius ornatipennis
We had kicked off emptying BH's Heath trap and I was very pleased to see White-line Dart, a new species for me.

 Two were in the trap.

Note orange on third attennal segement making this
Haematopota pluvialis rather than crassicornis.

We looked at various other Dipterous things and I tried my best to turn this Platycheirus manicatus into tarsalis, to no avail.

 Platycheirus manicatus

BH showed me various fungi, leaf mines and liverworts amongst other things.

And I found Nettle-tap, one of my favourite moths.

 Bashing the Downy Birch produced a lot of early instar aphids which could be Downy Birch Aphid, Euceraphis punctipennis.

 Euceraphis punctipennis maybe

Also this bug, Closterotomus norwegicus, the potato capsid.

When I got home the family proved how well trained they are, not only had Louise checked out the Rook corpse in the lower field but she'd noted Nicrophorus investigator. Younger daughter also chipped in with the site of a dead Hedgehog and reported that N. investigator had also been there.

I quickly headed off to find the two corpses. The Rook rewarded me with two Nicrophorus investigator and, a patch tick of two Thanatophilus rugosus. Now strictly I should have brought the corpse back and extracted it as I'd also glimpsed another beetle in there as well as a pile of Staphy. But I decided to leave it lie, not least because my ID backlog is intimidating.

Dead Rook

Thanatophilus rugosus

Nicrophorus investigator

Monday, 12 August 2019

Hoy Hares

We went to Hoy today to go up Ward Hill and try to find Mountain Hares. This species is introduced on Hoy but the population is long established I believe. It was not hard to find the hares and total for the walk was probably in excess of 25, they are hard to count.

Mountain Hares

Amongst other interesting finds were this blue staining Boletus and Green Tiger Beetle.

 The camera decided the grass was more interesting than the Boletus (which could well be new for the county) but at least the pictures shows the shape and colour of the cap. It is new for the county Boletus luridiformis! Well chuffed with that. I always find something good on Ward Hill.

Boletus to be identified - Boletus luridiformis (with thanks to JB and LH for their ID skills).

Green Tiger Beetle


 Bog Asphodel

Club Moss


Tuesday, 6 August 2019

The nights draw in....

Well, not really it's still about 10.00 p.m. before I put the moth lamps on. This will be the last time this year I see this though.

Primula scotica

This year has seen some interesting and different moths here. I've trapped at this site for nine years and I'm still getting new species, the latest is this lovely Mother of Pearl.

Zele albiditarsus most likely, a Braconidae. Very few UK records, those on the NBN are all (2) from Scotland. ID courtesy of JB - you can see the white tarsi clearly. There is very little info about this animal available. It's accompanied by the caddis fly Limnephilus marmoratus of which there are hundreds in my traps on each outing at the moment.