Saturday 30 July 2022

Yesnaby afternoon.

Perhaps my favourite place in Orkney is Yesnaby. It doesn't look much, and often the car park is quite full. There's an offroad motorcycle circuit, it doesn't look promising. But walk either north or south and within minutes you're away from the people and into a truly wild world, battered and controlled by the wind, the sea, the Sun.

Going south it takes a little time to clear the people, folk walk to the sea stacks. It's quickly not busy though.

Not far to the Primula scotica, and lots of identity defying Euphrasia (I've kind of given up on these, they're too hard, it's almost impossible to be sure of the identification due to the hybrid issue, pocket barcode kit required). 

Euphrasia sp.

Common Blue.

Usually Yesnaby is good for micro moths, but the day was slow for those. I went to one of my favourite little spots and found Ancistrocerus scoticus and its parasitoid, one of the ruby-tailed wasps.

Ancistrocerus scoticus.

And not the best image of the parasitoid.

Chrysis sp (probably in the region of ignita).

I wandered on, south. Two Large Heath at their usual spot.

Large Heath.

I was intending to search for Frog Orchid. I've not seen one previously, they're tiny and I don't really know what habo they live in. There are burns that run down to the sea, I started searching around them.

First this micro, rather a good one:

Lobesia littoralis, a seaside specialist and not especially common NFM anyway.

Primula scotica way south of where I've found it before.

I was pleased with the Primula scotica, I'd not seen it in this area before.

Down on my hands and knees, not an unusual posture these days this small Diptera caught my eye.

Herina frondescentia, another NFM.

And then I realised I didn't recognise the plant it was on, I've still not managed to identify it.

Unknown.....  Bog Pimpernel, Anagallis tenella, thanks JT (NFM).

I continued along the burn, sometimes on hands and knees. I've since discovered this is not really the right habo for Frog Orchid. However, I did find this fly.

Most likely Tetanocera ferruginea, a common Sciomyzid. The larvae develop inside water snails.

Six adult Arctic Skuas were present most of the afternoon, chasing around and calling, but not a Bonxie was to be seen.

Thursday 21 July 2022


No posts as we've been away. Partly holiday, partly offspring duties. Moving elder daughter out of her flat and attending her graduation was the main event. Somewhere in there it was my birthday too, I've officially been a pensioner for a year now, that's really a bit odd. I don't feel any older, or wiser; just a tad more knackered sometimes. (Lugging boxes and stuff up and down four flights of stairs on Sauciehall Street was an activity I try to avoid these days, unsuccessfully on this occasion.) The girls gave me a rather wonderful cake stand. One of my other activities, not previously mentioned on this blog, is baking which I enjoy munchly, and over the last year I've extended my repertoire to cakes, thus the cake stand. 


Various ID keys and Buglife T-shirts also came my way. Whilst in Glasgow we went for a couple of meals out, not something we do here very often as it's expensive and apart from a couple of places we're not served anything I can't cook myself, usually cook better at that. The standard of food and service was a revelation, in a very good way. On the way home we stayed in the noisiest hotel I've had the misfortune to attempt to sleep in, but also enjoyed a brilliant pub with excellent food and beer (6 degrees North in Stonehaven, well worth a diversion to sample).


The 365 challenge has suffered, being away from here in a key month. I'll be surprised if I can see 365 new species in the county this year, however, I may, if I widen my horizons to the whole of Scotland, still be on track. I took a light trap with me and where we stayed in The Trossachs was ideal so I recorded a good number of new moths. I'll post these on a seperate page shortly.  I'd much appreciate some checking of some of the IDs, SS, AC? I realised after a couple of days that I was making mistakes with the Beauties - Peribatodes, Hypomecis and Alcis spp - I have seen some of these in the last few years in Arran but they don't occur in Orkney and they are not especially easy.

Mottled Beauty, thanks SS and BS.

Mottled Beauty, again.

Anyway, I'll try and write more about the trip away on a page, indeed this page -

Back at the ranch in the last few days Dunlin and Ringed Plover moving through and an excellent dark phase Arctic Skua low through the garden. The Shelduck still have their eight offspring and a Teal duck was seen with  seven small chicks.

A bit of trapping has produced this Crambus ericella pascuella (thanks BH and M which might be new.

This week I also attempted a dissection, it didn't go too badly. I picked a possible candidate for Mesapamea didyma (Lesser Common Rustic) and followed the instructions in Sterling and Parsons, I'd bought the chemicals a while back. 

Teeth on the clavi proove this to be M. secalis, still a result as I'd not proven that species previously.

Male genitalia, sans aedegus, M. secalis (Common Rustic).