Monday 27 January 2020

...mostly spending a long time identifying things

Last weekend's star bird was this Cormorant which went fishing on The Shunan, I can't recall seeing one on there before, the few records for the patch each year are flyovers.


Lat weekend I tidied the greenhouse and extracted some litter.

Tidy greenhouse.

Of course beasts were found in the greenhouse, like this huge Lumbricus terrestris.

Also in there Pterostichus melanarius and the centipede Lithobius melanops.

 Can't do these with certainty without killing them unfortunately.

But I could let the Pterostichus go.

From litter Tachinus rufipes I think, common here, but I should really key it out to be 100%

More litter extraction this weekend and I only managed to ID two of the things I caught. This rather nice but tiny Staphylinidae is Tachyporus chrysomelinus dispar (following discussion elsewhere) which was a complete sod to ID and involved mapping the elytral setae which with my cheap optical microscope was a challenge. (Tachyporus dispar has four apical setae, like this animal, chrysomelinus has three.)

However, the ID was confirmed so job done!

This centipede was a bit challenging and I've not really attempted the Geophilomorpha before. Fortunately it came out as a common one. 

Geophilus insculptus, now confirmed.

G. insculptus is a common centipede across the UK but not many miles to the north of here, on Unst, Shetland, the single UK record of G. proximus was found, so it is maybe important to be thorough and cautious with identifications. Splitting the two species is subtle, but my middle photo here shows a single isolated pore on the coxa, and this is immediately the most straightforward character for eliminating proximus (there are two other less easy characters).

Photo is rubbish (so not posted) but second moth species of the year, White-shouldered House Moth, captured by younger daughter in her bedroom.

Another day, another visit to the Ring, another photo...

Saturday 18 January 2020


Sea today

 Dawn Monday

Stuff from last weekend and the first few days of the year.

A tiny Yellow Brain on Gorse.

Coriolus versicolor on Sycamore

 Calathus melanocephalus

 Nebria brevicollis

 Pterostichus niger

 Pterostichus nigrita/rheaticus - can't always split these with gen det so didn't bother, it's probably nigrita though.

Pterostichus strenuus

 Ulota phyllantha

Lechenora carpinea

Another day, another storm - back a couple of weeks.

Thursday 2 January 2020

New Year

Winter Moth

Twenty minutes after midnight the moth was on an eggbox around the outside of the trap. And a delve around in the veggie patch produced four species of slug, but I can (at the moment) only identify two.

 Arion distinctus

Netted Field Slug - Derocerus reticulatum

We went to the Ring of Brodgar.