Dytiscus semisulcatus (marginalis - the great diving beetle is orange/yellow beneagth)
As hoverfly recorder for the county I'm supposed to be good at identifying hovers, but I often find them a challenge. So I needed some help identifying this which was perplexing me for a couple of hours (many thanks to Roger Morris). I don't tend to find many unusual hovers either, perhaps I'm not very good at looking for them. Anyway, I seem to have managed a second for the county with this Xanthandrus comptus which was in my actinic trap last night (Harray). My favourite 40W trap in its corner under the trees scored again (nearly all my exciting moths this year have come to this trap in this position) and in the past it has accounted for the occasional slightly more interesting hover. This species has a very southern distribution in the UK and until relatively recently was considered quite a rarity even in southern England. The map doesn't show the Shetland records, there were ten in a few days in 2000 and the single previous Orkney record in August 2017. In the UK this species is strongly associated with migratory influxes, this fits well with the occurrence of a range of uncommon migrant birds in the county over the last few days.
Xanthandrus comptus female
Distribution map for Xanthandrus comptus.
Some nice moths recently with Small Autumnal and Red-green Carpet new for the site. Seasonal Brick, Small Wainscot and Setaceous Hebrew Character.
Hoverfly recording scheme map for Xanthandrus comptus.
Red-green Carpet NFS
Setaceous Hebrew Character
Craneflies are still a tad challenging, pretty sure this is Tipula confusa.
Birds have been less than too exciting, I've so far dipped on the glut of Yellow-browed Warblers, although a Phyllos shot past me as I was working on the moths this morning and promptly vapourised.
Best was the day with four Black-tailed Godwits, a Merlin and a few Redwings, but there have been hundreds of Swallows and thousands of Common Gulls.
Whilst walking back up the track in the dark on Saturday evening at about 10:15, having fallen over on the way down.... I was following moths and other larger insects with the torch beam. Getting near the house something flew and I tracked it in the beam, a caddis it looked like. There was some wing sound and a click as something, which could only have been a small bat, snatched the insect. Bats are very uncommon here, I've never seen one around the house before and there are just a few regular sites in the county. In the last few days a Parti-coloured Bat and a Nathusius Pipistrelle were found within 10 miles of us, good chance that this was an interesting migrant. With luck I may have a second chance as I've been offered a bat detector to use this weekend.