Tuesday 31 December 2019

Year end

Christmas Eve was brightened up by a new bird for the patch, Snow Goose. It hung around for part of Christmas Day too before heading off up Durkadale and then to Shapinsay apparently.

Also on Christmas Eve the final moth of the year, Depressaria radiella on Louise's jumper in the house, it could have come in on the bought flowers.

I haven't worked out the final tally of things for the pan-listing 1km sq but I've certainly enjoyed it and learned a lot. Nowhere near 1,000 species for the year, I might guess at 350 maybe. This total included at least two species new for the county and several that have only occasionally been recorded in the past. I've learned that adult caddis can be identified and with online help I've started to make progress identifying them. The new FBA guide that I got for Christmas will help me take these further.

Agrypnia varia 

I've rekindled my interest in beetles, found a good number of nice new species for me and again obtained some excellent support from the main online forum the FB UK Beetles group. I've discovered that the Staphylinidae are possible and now I have the keys I hope to take these further (I might need a better microscope). I've had a go at a few more Diptera, tricky beasts but some very helpful support both locally and online.

Ctenicera cuprea

New birds for the old Shunan patch, Gannet - a sadly injured bird on the North Biggin Rd that had likely flown into a fence; Jack Snipe - long overdue and found elsewhere on the Patchwork area; White-tailed Eagle - again overdue but this one almost got on the "in the garden" list as it flew low across the fields, nabbed just as I sat down outside on my return from work late one afternoon; Long-tailed Duck - one on The Shunan for a couple of days; Snow Goose - see above.

One new mammal as I recorded Common Pipestrelle this October. Missing was Otter which despite Louise seeing just outside the recording area and my seeing water tracks of a presumed female with kits on the track I failed to see. All other mammals present and correct although Brown Rat and Pygmy Shrew were only recorded as corpses.

An amphibian, Common Frog recorded three times, on the second occasion one crawled up my trouser leg as I lay in the grass looking for water beetles. In ten years not recorded here previously.

Several new moths for the patch this year including Dun-bar and Catoptria falsella which was new for the county.

Catoptria falsella

Targets for 2020 are - to do better with plants, and keep up-to-date with my notes and photos a bit better. Happy New Year.

Monday 23 December 2019

Christmas shopping

First day of the holiday and an early start as our migrant from Cornwall needed to catch the plane out to Papay. On the way in to Kirkwall good views of a drake Surf Scoter were obtained. And Louise found a heating engineer who solved the oil flow problem with the Aga, so we will now, hopefully, have an oven for the cooking business in two days time.

A few photos from the last few days including a non-rocking Arion from Yesnaby, so theiretically not A. ater.

 Arion sp Yesnaby

Loch of Harray this morning.

Stromness at night


Dusk from home or thereabouts.

Sunday 1 December 2019

Apples Pt 2

A couple of interesting bits of behaviour. So yesterday afternoon when it was sunny (not warm tho) the Waxwing left the apples for a while and started flycatching, sitting in the top of Sycamores and even on the house roof once, using these vantage points to launch itself at flying insects. These will most likely have been the Winter Gnat Trichocera regelationis which would seem to be the only thing of any size on the wing at the moment (not a confirmed ID),

The other thing this bird has been doing is being very possessive of the apples. There is a Blackcap here at the moment which is also partial to an apple, but despite there being three on sticks the Waxwing is inclined to chase it off, in the end the Blackcap resorted to feeding on the apples on the ground.