Thursday, 14 October 2021


I struggled to decide where to post these images of Warbeth. I went there to look for debris and perhaps a By-The-Wind-Sailor from the recent blow, perhaps I didn't look well enough, Goose Barnacles and BTWSs have been seen elsewhere this week. I didn't find either unfortunately. The light was lovely and I took a pile of shots with the Pen and the 17mm lens.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Batting, mothing.

Back in mid-September I detected a bat here, a rare occurrence. We then went away, but the local bat crew came and checked it out for me. I have a heterodyne bat detector which I've rarely used and had the bat(s) down as Common Pip. However, opinion was that the signal was stronger and deeper at 55kHz so most likely Soprano Pip. We got back late the same evening as the crew had been here and I was fortunate enough to find the bat again and check it out at 55. That helped me figure out how they'd come to that conclusion. Anyway bad weather then followed and the Soprano Pip disappeared.

Now the bat detector is kept in a handy to grab spot and recently I've taken to using it when I go for a wander outside when the moth lights are on, or even when they're not. Another bat. This time I know how to use the detector a bit better (I went to an online course) I've also linked the detector to the digital sound recorder I bought for nocmig (which to be honest I can't really be bothered with, too much computer time for too little payback, it's noisy here at night, if its not the Greylags, the Rooks and Jackdaws are a rowdy, restless crew.). The recorder works pretty well with the detector, although I have a few wee problems I'd like to resolve, like how do you keep the background noise to a minimum? Anyway, another bat is about the garden and this time it is Common Pip, nice strong, deep signals at 45 - 47kHz, weak and high pitched at 55. 

At this point I would like to post some of the recordings here. But I'm struggling to figure out how to do that. One of the issues is that both the audio software (Audacity) and my video editing software (Videostudio Pro) have a bit of a learning curve, and my resistence to spending time with the tutorials (see above)  means I'm flailing about in the dark (ha-ha) somewhat. I will sort it eventually. In the meantime I might see if I can post on FB.

It's warm and there are lots of insects about. I've been catching some nice moths and beetles. The repositioned Robinson with actinic next to the newly white wall section at the back of the house is scoring highly. The synergetic in the trees is also doing ok. Mid-October in Orkney and catching quite a few moths, that's a bit mad. The last couple of evenings the wall has been covered in the cranefly Limonia nubecolosa, c50 - 100 of them with at least four other species.

Brindled Ochre.

NFY have been the above Brindled Ochre and Acleris hyemana (which escaped so no photo). 

Acleris sparsana - here's looking at you, kid.

Blastobasis adustella.

Red Green Carpet.

I think I've only ever caught Red Green Carpet here once before, dead chuffed.

Angleshades, still plenty of these.

Large Wainscot, probably a female.

Large Wainscot, perhaps a male (not the best image, good of feet).

I thought this last one was something different, I reckoned Common Wainscot. However, a bit of twittering and FBM put me right (thank you all). Common Wainscot, here at this time of year would be an exceptional record. This is also Large Wainscot, perhaps a male, being smaller.

Along with the moths and afore-mentioned craneflies there are a pile of intruders with beetles and molluscs leading the charge.

Arion subfuscus.

Cepaea hortensis.

Deroceras invadens.

Dytiscus semisulcatus.

Necrophorus humator.

Nicrophorus investigator.

At the moment I'm working through the Lewis material and entering the data into iRecord, I'll post about a few things when I'm done i should think.

On the bird front Redwings are at a trickle. Goldcrest, Brambling and Chaffinch have been in the garden and the Ring-necked Duck is still at Loch of Bosquoy, but I continue to fail to see it from the garden.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

The Many Days

 The Many Days is a new project. It is currently embrionic and finding its direction. There is a new post today, here -

Kiwi fruit.

It is likely that I will move the still under-construction 104 page, and the Ivor Cutler page to The Many Days at some point in the near future so that this blog, and that, maintain clearer perspectives.

Sunday, 3 October 2021


 Yesterday and Louise needed a letter posting and I fancied a look at The Shunan. A message on the What's App from AL gvae the gen of a Med Gull at Marwick, so I volunteered for the post run. Met the postie half way down our road which messed up looking at The Shunan, so went straight to Marwick. As forewarned there were a lot of gulls there but eventually I dug out the Med Gull, distantly and awkward to photo, I failed. Amongst the reported 700 Common Gulls were a couple of Kittiwakes and a 1cy Lesser Black-backed Gull, getting late for those here, and they can look more interesting than they are.

Spot the Leeb.

I spent far too long going through the gulls, but that was fortunate as about to leave I checked the phone and AL had also relocated Thursday's Surf Scoter. I'd not expected that to still be around, close inshore just up the road at Skaill Bay.

The light was excellent, the bird was helpful, and I didn't even get wet feet.

Drake Surf Scoter.

Having spent hours searching for and watching very distant Surfies in Kirkwall Bay over recent years, on one occasion going out on a boat to try to get pictures, this was such a great opportunity.

The bird was feeding close inshore just behind the breakers. I could wait until the bird dived then go down the beach into the waves take a few pictures and then retreat. It didn't seem to mind this behaviour and kept feeding. The images are pretty heavily cropped mind.

Friday, 1 October 2021

Red-line Quaker.

Having painted a bit of the back wall white, it all needs painting, however, I had a shuffle around with the moth traps and put the Robinson with the blacklight by the wall and put the synergetic Heath trap where the actinic Heath had been. They're a bit close together really but having had a couple of goes I seem to be getting a result. First try produced a NFS and maybe NFM, Red-line Quaker.

Red-line Quaker.

Small Square-spot.

Also a nice, fresh Small Square-spot, presumably from a second generation. Along with these there were Depressaria radiella and Acleris sparsana.

A second go last night and I caught and managed to photograph the Agonopterix heracliana more successfully than last time. Also in there LYU, Blastobasis adustella and a Silver Y on the wall. The intruders included loads of craneflies on the wall, mostly Limonia nubeculosa, but Rhipidia maculata and Tipula confusa also found. Other intruders have included Dryomyza anilis, twice and Melanostoma scalare twice. I like it when weird stuff gets in the trap, like the slug Arion fasciatus, also a couple of tiny Arions but I've ignored them for now...

Agonopterix heracliana.

Blastobasis adustella.

Silver Y.

Strangely I quite like trapping at this time of year when I don't catch so much, however, the potential for new things is quite high. There's more time to look at the intruders as well and sort through them a bit more carefully. Today I found the rather small Psocopteran, Chilenocaecilius ornatipennis. This is a creature I've caught and written about before  but I've not recorded it as an intruder previously.

Chilenocaecilius ornatipennis.

Some of the other intruders from these outings:

Arion fasciatus, clear slime and quite small.

Nicrophorus humator and phorid mites.

Limonia nubecolosa with the banded legs.

Female, Melanostoma scalare.

Male Rhipidia maculata with fancy antennae (and a new fancy English name that it doesn't need).

Tipula confusa.

On the bird front the Ring-necked Duck is still on Loch of Bosquoy (but no further wonderful photos) and was joined by a Goosander and a Ruff today. Little Grebes have done their usual thing and appeared on The Shunan where there are varying numbers of duck, of a variety of species. Swallows are becoming intermittent but still plenty of Mepits going through and the usual Skylark movements. No warblers, no surprise. First Chaffinch of the autumn today.

No further definite bat sightings, the odd, maybe, distant blip on the detector, need something better than that.


The cultural stuff is probably going to be posted on my new The Many Days site, which I'm still sorting out. No time of late with the painting project in order to get the new conservatory/lean-to up next week (with luck).

Here we are putting the weather proofing on, several coats of it.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

House stuff.

 How I ever had time to go to work I do not know. I think I keep saying that, with good reason. 

Yesterday it pissed it down all day. It had started in the evening and despite various moth trap reorganising I decided not to run traps, probably a mistake. Today is windy, sunny and warmish so maybe tonight if it calms. But, anyway, yesterday was taken up painting the frame of the new conservatory/lean-to. A storm damaged the old one two years ago and ever since we've been trying to decide what to do with it. We've now had a bespoke frame made and it will be installed next week, but before that it needs weather proofing, I'll have a couple more days of this during the week.

Anyway, the moth trapping I have done produced two nice Large Wainscot's a species I didn't see last year and the micro Agonopterix heracliana amongst a reduced cast of other more frequently captured things.

Large Wainscot, the pictures of the Agonopterix are rubbish so I'll not post them.

There are a few likely migrant species around, Angleshades and the dark morph of Silver Y, so perhaps when I can get the traps running there might be something else of interest. Pleased enough with the Large Wainscot anyway.

Having painted the back wall white, then placing a light trap next to it I found 50 or 60 craneflies. I think most were  Rhipidia maculata but amongst those there were some Tipula paludosa, Tipula confusa and Trichocera regelationis as well as Limonia nubeculosa.

Limonia nubeculosa with its distinctive banded legs.

I have a few cranefly specimens to look through when I get a minute.

TD and BR came and checked out the bat(s) they thought it could well be Soprano Pip'. I really haven't used my bat detector much, and I don't read instructions. But the recorded wavelength should be the deepest, something I hadn't understood. Indeed, I tried the following evening and then realised why 55kHz was more likely the reading. So a tick, most likely, but no bats since the wind blew, but maybe they'll reappear.

I've not really been properly birding much but I did find a Little Stint on the beach at Warbeth a week or more back. The day before yesterday I noticed there were huge numbers of duck on Bosquoy so I tootled off down there, especially as the Atlantic winds had been blowing. A rather awkward to see drake Ring-necked Duck was a fair return.

Ring-necked Duck, red line, Scaup, there were 23 of them, green line.

R-nD. The flank patch is quite a distinctive shape I find.

Cross Mute, Bosquoy.

Nothing much else on the birding front, Buzzard and Kestrel have been around a bit, not espcially frequent on the patch of late. A bit of early Pink-foot movement the other day with three flocks through, heading south.

The odd trip to Birsay hasn't turned up much other than a Brent Goose which I failed to photograph, so this Cormorant will have to do instead.


Whilst we were away in Dundee there was a fair bit of whale action off Northside. We managed to catch the tail-end of it with three Minke on the Sunday, not the best views and nothing like the views that folk had had the day before.

I've found this Dipteran again recently, and I couldn't remember what it was called, fortunately it's illustrated in the Brock books so I tracked it down. Then entering the record in iRecord it wouldn't go in as the genus has changed or not been changed or something, always irritating. Anyway there were eight or nine on the fruit/sugar pile.

Dryomyza (Neuroctena) anilis. I rather like the rather threatening looking audience to the mating.

As well as painting I've been mending things, one of our downstairs windows has a bit of rot so I've been sanding and cleaning it up, during the operation I disturbed this huge spider.

Amaurobius similis I think.

And lastly, during one of my checks of The Shunan a Brown Hare finally just stayed still.

Brown Hare.