Monday 17 February 2020

Dennis the Menace

Quite like a bit of a blow. Last night it was whipping around the house about three or fourish when I went for a pee. I could hear something, an ominous caught in the wind kindofa noise. Anyway I was tired.

Usually we've got the hatches battened etc but I think we've become a bit lackadaisical, the forecast was not too scary anyway, gusting 60+. So woke up to find the shed door somewhat detached from the shed and the conservatory (that's a flattering name for it) with bits of missing glass and broken wood. A day of repairs, I'd planned litter extraction activities.... Anyway, patched up now. At least we don't have water issues, have had that once in a previous home where disaster was just averted by manic ditch clearing.

Two good bird species in the last few days, a Water Rail was flushed by doggy persistence on Friday, well done hound! And yesterday eight Lapland Bunts were likely flushed by dogged quartering of the bird crop field.They appeared calling above my head anyway. Six seen again, briefly today.

Perplexed by lichens again. I've done the easy ones so now they're harder to find and much harder to id. Dobson is an amazing book but it takes an understanding of a whole lichen vocabulary to really be able to use it, slow learning. If you can identify any of the following please let me know...

 Another fence stave - Cladonia sp.

 Cladonia sp on a fence stave.

 Close up of the one below with barbed wire for scale. Theses are of Physcia probably adcendens but could be tenella (thanks BH),

 This to give scale to the image above.

 Parmelia sulcata in the left bottom corner but what's the one above it with soridia on the thallus? And I don't know what the one is with the apothecia spikes that look all crusty, a Cladonia?

Same as above I think.

Think I know these, Parmelia sulcata and Ramalina (maybe fraxinea).

And an interesting moss on the concrete strainer. (Barrie, help!) - Grimmia pulvinata (thanks again BH).

Managed to eventually find Leistus fulvibarbis, a favourite Carabid that is quite common here. 

Not the best pic.

Brown House Moth from the bathroom, third moth species of the year.

 Slightly mangled Sylvicola fenestralis, (could just be cinctus).

Trichocera regelationis

A couple of Staphylinidae I was working on disintegrated under my clumsy hands, there were just 3mm long, so no id there.

Here's an album recommendation - Charles Watson "Now that I'm a River"  modern hippie stuff, a bit like the very best of Jonathan Wilson.

 Hare skeleton

 Rooks to roost

 The burn.

 Reed Canary Grass

Small world.

Monday 10 February 2020

WeBS chore

These days I'm finding the WeBS a bit of a chore. It doesn't take me long, if I drive as I did this time, and it is quite interesting when I get into it, it's the having to do it and the timing. Anyway, a few nice things, Goosander still on Loch of Bosquoy.

The Shelduck have arrived on The Shunan and are disputing territory, as are the more than 40 Coot.

Oystercatchers are now plentiful at Loch of Bosquoy and Loch of Sabiston, regularly flying over the house calling in the dark as well. 

Away from the WeBS both male and female Sparrowhawks are still around, the male continuing to eye up the spuggy roost. This time photographed from younger daughter's bedroom.

 The snipe problem from last week was resolved by going back to exactly the same spot and flushing the bird again, this time it turned its head as it flew and I could see the bill:body proportions, Jack Snipe, as I had initially suspected but couldn't be sure of previously.

Litter extraction has not so far yielded any new beetles, but a search along the stone dyke produced this smart Othius punctulatus. Once I knew what it was I could key it out but I had quite a battle to get to the ID. In the end I eliminated the things I thought it was (Quedius and Philonthus) and then looked at the pictures. If I had believed what I was seeing and trusted the key in the first place I would have got there more quickly. Probably widespread but there are only two records in the county database.

Othius punctulatus.

In the same area the snail Lauria cylindracea. A very, very tiny thing, c3mm.

The litter extraction tray has produced some winter gnats, probably identifiable with a bit of effort, currently pending though.

Plecoptera were flying at the weekend, found by the drinking baths etc. I don't know how to identify these so didn't take a specimen. Pretty sure not doable from photos.


Lots of Otter spaint near the troughs but also not so far from the Wee Wood, I think an early morning outing might be called for to try and see these.

Last but not least, interest shown in a caddis I caught last spring, I thought I had kept the specimen but I couldn't find it, must have gone in the before Xmas clearout when I got rid of various mangled things I'd made a mess of dissecting, old, unsteady hands with small things these days. However, I did turn up these Limnephilus griseus that I'd forgotten about.

Photo'd this way up as that is the way the wings are portrayed in the book so it's easier to work out what they are when comparing the images.

Monday 3 February 2020

January passes

Around Point of Buckquoy, last is self-portrait.

Pterostichus niger from the Wee Wood.

Bottle/window Harray.

It seems far too early for Marsh Marigold to be flowering.

There are crocuses in flower and daffodils close to it as well.

Nice on Sunday so I went looking at lichens, not sure if I've got these right.

 I thought this was Hypogymnia physodes at first but I think it is probably Parmelia sulcata.

 Not sure what the things in the middle are but the surrounding lichen is Parmelia sulcata. And the things in the middle generally thought to be Cladonia coniocraea - thanks LJ and BH.

 Ramalina farinacea.

Ramalina fastigiata, and when I looked closer.....

 There was Physia apolia as well.

 Ramalina fraxinea

 Usnea subfloridana.

 Xanthoria parietina on top of the post...

 and on the side.

Not sure what these little orange fungi are, I don't think it is Yellow Brain.

The lichen is Parmelia sulcata though, although that apothecia to the left must be of something else. The orange fungi now identified as Common Jellyspot, Dacrymyces stillatus.

On this same walk I then went along the burn to see what the Otter situation was, loads of spaint and runs, especially under the gorse. Just as I was investigating a particularly busy looking spot I flushed a Woodcock, nice. A few seconds after that disappeared across the fields I took another couple of steps and flushed a snipe, but which species? I strongly suspected Jack Snipe as it didn't call, didn't tower and went down about 50m away. Unfortunately it didn't turn its head conveniently as it flew off. There followed half an hour of tramping around where I thought it had gone, the dog in assistance. No show. We went back to the burn and walked further along and the dog still in hunting mode flushed a snipe which again went down sharply. This time however, as I approached it put its head up and was clearly Common Snipe, it then called and flew. I decided that this must have been the same bird which had somehow done a crafty fly around when I was not looking (wrong - see next post).

The male Sparrowhawk flew and perched on the garden bench by the spuggy roost as we arrived home in the car. Not a spuggy to be seen, so it flew off. Three seconds later all the spugs moved forward from the depths of the vegetation, there were 30 or so in there.

Watched the Mary Queen of Scots film, interesting idea that there were Collared Doves in Scotland  in the 16th century - sound track.