Monday 21 May 2018


A walk at Northside on Saturday. The mission was to check on the Arctic Terns on Skiba Geo. Maybe twenty pairs looked to be on the rocks, we'll see what happens. Several Bonxies went by but not much else of avian interest.

 Tystie love


 Thrift, scurvy grass and The Brough

 Dandelions and waves

 Lesser Celandine and silverweed

 Shiny woodlouse (Oniscus asellus)

 A Trombidium sp mite (thanks LJ for id), a big very bright thing.

 Eider display

 Eider pair


The moth trap had added a couple of new species for the year, White Ermine and Silver Y.

 White Ermine

 Lady's Smock

 Lady's Smock

 Silver Y

 Eristalis pertinax

Gastrophysa viridula the green dock beetle, found all over the place at the weekend.

Saturday 19 May 2018

New camera

Some initial pix with the new Canon G3. My worries of not getting the magnification on birds etc were unfounded. Lack of an eye piece has so far not been too much of a disadvantage (and one is available, for a price). It is heavy and it doesn't fit in the bag I ordered for it, oops. I took some pictures yesterday in the evening light so I was pushing it.

Sycamore flowers with Fever Fly (Dilophus febrilis)

Mealy Redpolls

I need to reorganise the redpoll page which I will do shortly.

Thursday 10 May 2018


I do like a film where not much happens. I can really recommend this French film from 2014 (no, not the American survivalist tosh) which is about the rave culture and the garage music that went with it. It is a beautiful, poignant story of a life, perhaps (and certainly) wasted. The music is essential and brilliant, the filming is original, and (spoiler alert) the characters age. A further spoiler, the film ends with a poem, The Rhythm by the American poet Robert Creeley, more reason to enjoy.

Give life back to music - Daft Punk

I had a bit of Steely Dan splurge this evening listening to The Royal Scam and Aja, in quick succession and subjecting older daughter to this music from 42 and 41 years ago. Every note, every drum beat and every word carefully considered. I especially like the chorus to Deacon Blues,

They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose

Home at last condenses the essence of Homer's Odyssey to twelve lines and a four line chorus.

Some insect success - the Emperor Moth pheromone lure I purchased works rather well, the only problem is they keep flying, not especially good for photography. I have had one in the garden and one down by The Shunan as well as in more familiar moorland locations. So far this year nine species of moth, dominated by Hebrew Character.

A new beetle for me was located in a puddle at Hobbister, when we were unsuccessfully looking for Orcas. After a bit of a struggle with my ancient beetle summary book and the Mike Hackston key I was happy to come to the confident conclusion that it was the Chrysomelid beetle Lochmaea suturalis. It is a tad tricky from L.caprea but I got there in the end, thanks LJ for some help to leap the final hurdle. No checking further anyway as the wee blighter escaped.

The slightly shiny pronotum and the pale spot on the head seem to nail it, I couldn't see the abdominal feature as this is a female I think, but I don't think you can tell just by looking at the beetle.

Another success was this tiny Dipteran found whilst taking photographs of flowers under the hawthorn (Cretagus monogyna)  hedge. 

Molophilus ater

This was first found in Orkney in 2016 on South Ronaldsay and has been recorded but once since I think. A first record for Mainland. Thanks again to LJ, this time I just asked, a lot of time can be spent trying to id Dips, our county recorder is most helpful.

Marsh Marigold


Rather like our cars, owning three but having one working (or at least available to me), I'm down to the Olympus Tough at the moment (and the occasional borrow of Louise's Sony) (Mollie has the Nikon after her one had a bit of an accident). My Canon SX60 has caught the deadly Lens error a fatal condition. This is the second of this series of cameras, SX50 previously, that have succumbed to dirt in the lens system, in the last two years. I have decided that despite the very good results and ease of use of these models they are just not really suited to the use I'm putting them to. They have now gone up in price to just under £400 ish and Canon wanted the best part of £200 to repair my one, with a 90 day guarantee that would not cover the dust issue it's not an economic proposition. At least I don't need to worry about the Tough in this regard, and it does work digiscoping, but I've always found that a bit clumsy. Something new is required.

A trip or two to Yesnaby finally resuted in finding the target species:

 Chrysolina latecincta

A nationally rare beast indeed.

 Primula scotica

... and we did eventually catch up with the Orcas, distant views from The Foveran footpath.

Saturday 5 May 2018

Redpoll, not sure what this is....

Opinions (preferably with reasoning) greatly appreciated.

Well, no comments and who can blame you. The likely id is a pale Icelandic Redpoll, which species you ascribe that to is your business!

 More pix, digiscoped this time.