As I mentioned last post I've been re-reading and perusing Ian Lorimer's two small books. Ian was the Orkney County Moth Recorder before his death. At that point Sydney Gauld, who by all accounts began his own moth journey due to Ian, became the recorder. Sydney moved away from Orkney in the last year and unsurprisingly recently resigned as the CMR (actually the CLR as he did the butterflies as well). There's no obvious successor to the crown, and so it will be Moth Team Orkney. A group of local moth enthusiasts have been corralled to support Helen Aiton, the new Orkney Lepidoptera Recorder. Orkney moth and butterfly records should now be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org - please request a recording sheet, it makes the data management a bit easier. Butterfly Conservation were very supportive of a moth team, rather than one individual taking on the whole responsibility, that seems not only sensible, but entirely practical as even in a small county the job is quite a bit of work.
I've been having a bit more of a go at dissections. It is the only way I'm going to see a Lesser Common Rustic, Mesapamea didyma, but also it's much more satisfying to identify things under my own steam. So far I've confirmed a couple or three Mesapamea secalis (Common Rustic) and I managed to successfully dissect a male and a female Cnephasia, rather small micros. The male turned out to be the expected Cnephasia asseclana but the female might just be, C. stephensiana, might be.
I had hopes for this one, quite small, dark, with well marked stigmata. And at first I thought it might be ok, the clavi didn't seem very sclerotised, however the vesica was still hidden in the aedegus.
|Clavi are the pair of bits either side of that open V at the front.
|Aedegus, but the vesica is not everted, so the shape can't be seen.
This afternoon I dissected the vesica out of the aedegus.
|Unfortunately this is exactly right for Mesapamea secalis, back to the drawing board.
At least the dissection of the male Cnephasia asseclana proved that species beyond all doubt. Female criteria are apparently still a little unclear, it's a harder dissection as well.
|Male bits with the long, drooped at the end sacculus.
|Female dissection, the piece just above the signum looks as if it could be notched on the top edge, a bit inconclusive.
I could do with a better method for taking the pictures possibly. A dedicated camera for the third tube of the microscope would be best. At the moment I hold the EM5 with the 30mm lens to an eyepiece of the stereo microscope. I just don't know how much money to spend to get the results I want. I need some advice.
Today was a field day. I'd got an invitation for BH and I to visit Berstane, many thanks to the owner NC. We arrived in time to go through the two traps with NC. Follows the highlights.
|Green Arches, NFM.
|Light Arches, NFM.
|Straw Dot, I might have seen once before in the county.
BH and I then went for a wander about. Further treats were in store.
|Myathropa florea, NFM, not common in the county.
|Scaeva selenitica, I'd seen my first only a few days previously.
There were plenty of the common species of hoverfly as well.
NC had told us to look on the Alder trees for a tiny micro moth Argyresthia goedartella. I was very keen to see this, and it took a bit of searching for, but when we did find them there were quite a few.
|Argyresthia goedartella, a bit of a gem.
Various other things were found and collected, I even got a liverwort tick, thanks BH.
It's been while since my last report on birds on the patch. The Pintail still has her nine chicks, the Red-throated Diver chick is big, a good few Tufted Duck broods and a Shoveller with nine or ten quite small chicks. The Bosquoy Arctic Terns probably got their young off before the rain flooded the nest site. Hundreds of Jackdaws are coming in to the roost each evening, around 300+. So all in all quite positive, with Robins, Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Wrens all proven to breed in the garden and likely Dunnock, Greenfinch and Goldfinch here or nearby.