Friday, July 21, 2017

Dalgety Bay, Fife - Bee, lines

A mixed day of this and that yesterday with more effort on autumn moving birds not being rewarded much. Hopefully a renewed effort on grasses will reap some rewards, at least in an improved understanding of them.

If you had asked me in January at what point Roe Deer would appear on the list I would never have guessed species #782! Still, it's only July I suppose and I may have been more surprised to be at this advanced number. Comparison of number with previous numbers from Cullaloe is interesting. I seem to be at a steady state of what I can identify. The numbers are so constant as to look artificial but despite variations day by day and week by week the overall rate is remarkably constant.

A nice bee yesterday is one of the county's only two Colletes - C.succinctus

782 Capreolus capreolus Roe Deer
783 Colletes succinctus Heather Colletes
784 Hypochaeris radicata Cat's ear

Friday, July 14, 2017

Dalgety Bay, fife - Much ado about mothing

Finally the 3/4 is breached with a final spurt after a bit of a crawl.

But first some nice flies. The second of the county's three Rhinophoridae species, and the only other one I've seen, was swept from grass yesterday lunchtime - Paykullia maculata. This was accompanied by the lovely tachinid Eriothrix rufomaculata, a new and long-anticipated addition to my tachinid list.

Ariothrix rufomaculata

A late evening rain cleared in time for me to head out at dusk (and then it rained a bit more but not too bad).

A few moth additions were made, along with a whole bunch of non-new species. I also stumbled into the discovery that I had probably misidentifed Smoky Wainscot previously - an error which I'll correct inline 1984 style. That will leave the impression that I never screwed it up in the first place, unless someone discovers this confession ...

Also netted on a flypast was a Brown Chafer, whose distribution displays the usual characters for a scarcely recorded species - an east coast distribution on NBN and in Brock and a Nature of fife inventory which says the species is abundant coastally. Seems to be as I also had one in my garden last week.

Small Fan-foot
Brown Chafer and mothy ick

750 Paykullia maculata Picture-winged Woodlouse-fly
751 Eriothrix rufomaculata A tachinid fly
752 Serica brunnea Brown Chafer
753 Xestia triangulum Double Square-spot
754 Herminia grisealis Small Fan-foot
755 Scoparia subfusca A micromoth
756 Mesoligia furuncula Cloaked Minor

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Skye - limping past the 3/4 stage

Finally put paid to the slowest 50 species EVER and have now made it across the 750 species mark. It's taken me precisely a month to scrape those fifty species together but, as of a couple of days back, I'm once again back in the frame of mind for square-bashing action! 

So what happened? Well I think I needed a break from a lack of inverts, a lack of good weather and a break from enjoying too many bottles of vino and cans of beer. So I took myself out and joined a botany outing up a mountainside and jumped on a boat and went plundering across the bay which helped re-ignite my passion for wildlife recording. Combine that with a couple of stunningly gorgeous days this week and BOOM!, I'm alive again. 

Last update (a month ago!) I was at 702 species. Now I'm at 755 species. The intervening 53 species include a healthy 21 lifers including the first record of Mompha propinquella for Skye, swept from my back garden yesterday. Also swept in that same 5 or 6 minutes were Marsh Damselbug Nabis limbatus and Potato Capsid Closterotomus norwegicus, both lifers for me. I should probably start paying more attention to my own back garden...

Mompha propinquella - new for me and new for VC104
A personal highlight was discovering a large mat of Bog Stitchwort whilst changing the filter of a water tank up the hill. I've been looking for Bog Stitchwort for maybe ten years without success, usually along dark, wooded streams. Yet this was in a huge open patch of grassland growing in the wet channel next to the water tanks, unexpected but totally brilliant! 

Bog Stitchwort - nailed!
Insects have slowly begun to show themselves at long last. I mean, it is only July after all...

The Tephrtitid Xyphosia miliaria on its larval foodplant
The large click Hemicrepidius hirtus - locally becoming quite common now
Depressaria daucella on Hemlock Water-dropwort
Monosoma pulverata on an Alder leaf today
I've a million and one things on pins which I can start going through next week...yep, I'm finally making the trip back down to Southampton to collect the rest of my worldly belongings. So I'll be reunited with my books and keys once more. Damn but it's been a long time. Eight months, in fact! Eight months since I've set foot off of Skye, seen a set of traffic lights or dual carriageway. Eight months since I've seen a Tesco, McDonalds or Pizza Hut. Eight months since I've seen a highrise building, seen a Magpie, Mute Swan or Coot.'s been fkkn great!!!! 

The numbers bit - 

703 - bird - Spotted Flycatcher (nesting by the river)
704 - fungus - Sycamore White Spot (on living sycamore leaves)
705 - fly - Agromyza idaeiana (larva seen in mine) - Lifer
706 - plant - Hollyberry Cotoneaster (birdsown all over the place)
707 - fungus - Erysiphe ulmariae (all over Meadowsweet plants) - Lifer
708 - plant - Pineappleweed (common along tracks)
709 - plant - Redshank (common along a few tracks)
710 - plant - Marsh Cudweed (scattered along one track edge)
711 - hoverfly - Sericomyia silentis (at Hogweed)
712 - microlep - Bactra lanceolana (1 swiped as it flew past my nose)
713 - bug - Leptoterna dolabrata (common in long grasses)
714 - blowfly - Lucilia caesar (common in woodland edge) - Lifer
715 -  hprsefly - Notch-horned Cleg (common whenever I'm mowing at 3km per hour grrrrr...)
716 - aphid - Eriosoma ulmi (many galled Wych Elm leaves with these inside) - Lifer
717 - plant - Bog Stitchwort (party in my pants!) - Lifer
718 - plant - Eyebright (Euphrasia arctica if my keying out is any good)
719 - gall midge - Iteomyia capraea (larva extracted from gall on Salix) - Lifer
720 - macrolep - Common Wave (frequently day-disturbed in UigWoods)
721 - gall midge - Chirosia betuleti (many galled tips to Dryopteris fronds)
722 - beetle - Hemicrepidius hirtis (common hairy black click) - Lifer
723 - fly - Xyphosia miliaria (a common tephritid on Marsh Thistles) - Lifer
724 - macrolep - Chimney Sweeper (one seen flying along Cuil Road verge)
725 - plant - Heath Fragrant Orchid (common in this area) - Lifer
726 - plant - Tufted Vetch (sparingly in verges)
727 - Hedgerow Cranesbill (sparingly in overgrown verges)
728 - beetle - Malthodes marginatus (swept from umbellifer heads)
729 - beetle - Otiorhynchus singularis (ace weevil, commonly seen) - Lifer
730 - gall midge - Dasineura rosae (several larvae in a puckered leaf) - Lifer
731 - fungus - Puccinia arenaria (many Red Campion leaves show this) - Lifer
732 - sawfly - Scolioneura betuleti (larva seen in mine on Downy Birch) - Lifer
733 - sawfly - Fenusa ulmi - (larva seen within mine on Wych Elm) - Lifer
734 - macrolep - Large Yellow Underwing (flushed whilst mowing)
735 - fly - Chromatomyia primulae (larva seen within mine on Primrose) - Lifer
736 - microlep - Depressaria daucella (many larva in Hemlock Water-dropwort patch)
737 - macrolep - Magpie Moth (common up here)
738 - microlep - Pseudargyrotoza conwagana (swept in woodland)
739 - harvestman - Leiobunum rotundum (one on a wall)
740 - mammal - Common (Bandit/45khz) Pipistrelle (several in the house!)
741 - mammal - Common Shrew (1 watched hunting in a tree stump, Uig Woods)
742 - microlep - Phyllonorycter rajella (mines on Alder in Uig Woods)
743 - beetle - Rhagonycha fulva (getting commoner by the day on umbels...)
744 - macrolep - Mottled Beauty (disturbed by day)
745 - plant - Smooth Hawk's-beard (suddenly quite common)
746 - plant - Common Cat's-ear (realised I'd overlooked this thus far!)
747 - microlep - Mompha propinquella (swept from my back garden) - Lifer
748  - bug - Nabis limbatus (swept from my back garden) - Lifer
749 - bug - Closterotomus norwegicus (swept from my back garden) - Lifer
750 - plant - Common Lime (planted tree with self-seeded ones nearby)
751 - fungus - Asteroma impressum (infecting leaves of Coltsfoot) - Lifer
752 - plant - Upland Enchanter's Nightshade (small patches in the woods)
753 - sawfly - Monosoma pulverata (a larva on Alder leaf today) - Lifer
754 - fly - Leucozona glaucia (stunning hoverfly swept from Hogweed) - Lifer
755 - bug - Capsus ater (swept from rank herbage)

Looking forward to the next 245 species, I have the bit between my teeth again!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Dalgety Bay, Fife - Set Phasias to stun!

Flies definitely stole the limelight yesterday with my first female Phasia hemiptera - what a corker! The male I found a couple of years back and that was a good day too. Both of them were on hogweed.

A few minutes later, above a rotten log on a mayweed flower, where these things like to hang about, was the louse fly Rhinophora lepida. The only other louse fly I've seen was also above a rotten log on the shore edge - plenty of victims to be had! On NBN this species is southern only, but the draft key intriguingly says distribution is "north to Fife".

A bonus from yesterday was a grass, pre-identified by the local woodland group, which I just had to go and see. I need to hook up with whoever ID'd it so they can show me the 20 others I don't have yet.

Phasia hemiptera female


Rhinophora lepida

743 Rinodina sophodes A lichen
744 Phasia hemiptera A tachinid fly
745 Rhinophora lepida A louse fly
746 Campanula rotundifolia Harebell
747 Phleum bertolonii Smaller Cat's-tail

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Waldridge - Good old moths

 Still cursing the weather. All the good days and I'm out of the square doing things, and of course whenever I'm back at home it raining. As I always knew (and planned) I am heavily reliant on vascular plants and moths to get to the 1000 species. In fact with a bit of concentrated effort I think I could get 700 species on these two groups alone. I have the advantage of doing the 1000 species in a 1km square before, and in this square, so its easier for me than others, but I would be stuffed if I had to do it elsewhere.

Despite the rain, the moths in particular have been quite decent, pushing me over the 800 mark. A Painted Lady, got me to 20 butterflies with just two hairstreaks to go. Should really have had both by now.

The total to date

Keith Robson
Waldridge VC66

Friday, July 7, 2017

Dalgety Bay, fife - Is this the real flie ...

Another dipteran county first at lunchtime with the tephritid Anomoia purmunda swept from the shore-side vegetation. Only two other Scottish records exist on NBN but with larvae feeding in all kinds of berries from Hawthorn to Berberus it surely must be all over the area if it's here.

It was a good session with (finally!) Mesembrina meridiana and Scathophaga furcata putting in an appearance, along with a Sphegina which will need further examination to get to species.

A bit of focus on fungi produced only Gymnopus confluens, but with that the tenth fungal addition this month I'm not complaining.


730 Mesembrina meridiana A muscid fly
731 Collybia confluens A mushroom
732 Scathophaga furcata A Scathophagid fly
733 Aethes cnicana Thistle Conch
734 Anomoia purmunda A tephritid fly

(a complete account, but often the same stuff cut and pasted, can be found at:

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Dalgety Bay, Fife - Back in the Saddle

After a couple of days of rain I thought it would be worth looking for some mushrooms and I wasn't disappointed - though the small collection will take some time to work through. One that won't take much is the big polypore Dryad's Saddle, which was in fine fettle.

Other than my mycological homework bits of this and that were picked up, including things that really ought to have been recorded earlier. A half hour river watching produced little of interest, unless you count the cordon of female RB Mergansers that I tried to string into Goosanders until they came too close for plausible deniability. Bit early for the Goosanders, though they will come almost certainly.

712 Myosotis arvensis Common Forget-Me-Not
713 Trifolium pratense Red Clover
714 Plantago maritima Sea Plantain
715 Polyporus squamosus Dryad's Saddle
716 Lolium perenne Perennial ryegrass
717 Rhagonycha fulva Common Red Soldier Beetle

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Waldridge end of June update

I'm beginning to be weather obsessed.
It's stopped raining after 4 days of dark skies and virtually non-stop peeing down. 6pm on Thursday and had to put the lights on in the house so we could see! It's only a few days past the longest day for Pete's sake.

Anyway the total stands at 778 (summary below), well ahead of 2013 (I was on 601 on 23rd June)   - and if the weather holds, with my sweep net and pooter,  I could get 800 by next weekend. Should even be able to get the moth trap out again

Keith Robson
Waldridge (VC66)

Friday, June 30, 2017

Yeovil end of June, update

Finished the month on 488 made up of ;
Plants 205, Bryophytes 3, Fungi 8, Lichens 14, Annelids 3, Crustacea 2, Spiders 9, Molluscs 9, Myriapods 2, Diptera 21, Hymenoptera 22, Coleoptera 22, Moths 58, Butterflies 16, Hemiptera 12, Orthoptera 3, Stoneflies 1, Odonata 9, Insects - other groups 2, Fish 1, Amphibians 3, Birds 56 and Mammals 7.

Highlights were White Wood-louse (excellent and never even knew it existed until started following PSL/1000 for 1ksq websites) and Hummingbird Hawkmoth which are always good to see.

Dalgety Bay, Fife - finally breaching 700!

Finally reached June target last night with one night to spare. Because of the rain it was a case of pulling out items from stock and working them through, though the Muscina took little time as I know the species and I obviously hadn't looked at it properly before. The Staph was a bit more tricky and I had to bite the bullet and accept that I just disagree with the key  on one couplet! (I cannot see the pronotum as "bending" under no matter how much I look).

Afterwards, when I realised that the rain had stopped, a quick walk added another couple of easy ones in the moth department. Probably two other moths to come too, but better nail down the ID first.

Muscina levida

Barred Straw

Marbled Minor agg. - not listed

698 Nephrotoma appendiculata A cranefly
699 Muscina levida A muscid fly
700 Bisnius fumitarius A rove beetle
701 Gandaritis pyraliata   Barred Straw
702 Scoparia ambigualis A micromoth

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sand Point VC6 - 800

Last night produced ideal conditions for moth trapping. At half light the temptation proved too much so I packed my gear up and ran a single MV on the patch until 1am. Highlights were: Shore Wainscot, 2 Acleris umbrana, European Corn-borer, 2 Ypsolopha sequella, Catoptria pinella.

Algae 7
Slime Mould 1
Lichen 49
Fungi 13
Bryophytes 64
Vascular Plants 157
Cnidarians 1
Molluscs 7
Arachnids 4
Myriapods 2
Crustaceans 3
Springtails 3
Orthopteroids 2
Hemipteroids 21
Hymenoptera 26
Coleoptera 51
Diptera 149
Butterflies 15
Moths 153
Remaining small orders 2
Birds 63
Mammals 5
Others 2
Total 800

Acleris umbrana

Catoptria pinella

European Corn-borer

Dalgety Bay, Fife - Crowded House

A lot of people showed up to watch me catch moths last night. Then a big boat went past and they suddenly all went away. Very odd.

Nice moth collection though

Bird-cherry Ermine

Bird-cherry Ermine

Twin-spot Carpet

Barred Yellow - very nice

Yellow Shell - not new

Angle Shades

Mottled Beauty

Striped Hawk-moth (just kidding!)

682 Cidaria fulvata Barred Yellow
683 Phlogophora meticulosa Angle Shades
684 Ourapteryx sambucaria Swallow-tailed Moth
685 Yponomeuta evonymella Bird-cherry ermine
686 Alcis repandata Mottled Beauty
687 Leucania comma Shoulder-striped Wainscot
688 Evergestis forficalis Garden Pebble

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sand Point VC6

Eventually dragged myself onto the patch this morning. One of the things I was hoping to find were some gone over Bee Orchids but couldn't find a single one. No matter, there was still plenty to keep me occupied. My only lifer this morning was Amblyjoppa fuscipennis nectaring on Umbellifers. Not often I can ID a hymenoptera but this one was in the Pisces Insects of Britain and Europe Book. Here's the list from the last post up to today:

648. Heliophanus cupreus
649. Helina impuncta
650. Empis caudatula
651. Dolichopus plumipes
652. Trixa conspersa
653. Speckled Bush Cricket
654. Common Froghopper
655. Sandy Carpet
656. Paederus littoralis
657. Greater Burdock
658. Phytomyza lappae
659. Volucella bombylans
660. Neria cibaria
661. Xysticus cristatus
662. Lucilia sericata
663. Sea Aster
664. Valerian
665. Greater Burdock
666. Puccinia dioicae
667. Bishops Mitre Shieldbug
668. Eurygaster testudinaria
669. Phaonia valida
670. Pherbina coryleti
671. Neomyia viridescens
672. Phyto melanocephala
673. Dolichopus ungulatus
674. Hydrophorus praecox
675. Mother of Pearl
676. Eucosma campoliliana
677. Bright-line Brown-eye
678. White Plume
679. Lady's Bedstraw
680. Thyme
681. Pyramidal Orchid
682. Biting Stonecrop
683. Sea Lavendar
684. Common Emerald
685. Marbled White
686. Chrysoteuchia culmella
687. Meadow Barley
688. Calameuta filiformis
689. Haematopota crassicornis
690. Common Centaury
691. Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea
692. Hemp Agrimony
693. Amblyjoppa fuscipennis
694. Coptotriche marginea
695. Field Bindweed
696. Nemotelus uliginosus
697. Slender St John's Wort
698. Oliarus leporinus

Nemotelus uliginosus

Lipara lucens

Melieria cana

Amblyjoppa fuscipennis

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dalgety Bay - Two thirds of the way

In an attempt to squeeze my target of 667 before heading off for a week or so I went for a brisk one hour romp through the coastal path with a headtorch. Last gasp n the way home I scored a surprise mammal. I was expecting it - just not yet. Also nice that it was alive!

I haven't mentioned it (because the pain is too fresh?) but this year a roe deer was BORN in my square, which I saw photos of later, and I failed to see dolphins which I heard about over the weekend. Gah! Still, there's plenty of year left and I have a low mammal target. Maybe a school of pilot whales will come to visit (again). Or even a humpback (again). Who knows?

Now at 48 species of moth, none of which have been caught in a moth trap. I have run a moth trap but it hasn't caught any species I didn't catch with a headtorch anyway. 

659 Eulithis prunata Phoenix
660 Korscheltellus fusconebulosa Map-winged Swift
661 Aphomia sociella Bee Moth
662 Perizoma flavofasciata Sandy Carpet
663 Xanthorhoe fluctuata Garden Carpet
664 Perizoma affinitata Rivulet
665 Dysstroma truncata Common Marbled Carpet
666 Erinaceus europaeus West European Hedgehog
667 Dolichopus claviger A long-legged fly

Edit: Colour Supplement!

668 Epistrophe grossulariae A Hoverfly
669 Argyresthia conjugella Apple Fruit Moth
670 Galium verum lady's bedstraw
671 Iris foetidissima Stinking Iris

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Past the 700 mark - a nice surprise

I was asked a few weeks ago to lead a Durham Wildlife Trust Botany Group outing on Waldridge Fell today,  so yesterday,  I did a little reconnaissance and today the group and myself spent a good 3 hours in a small bit of the square. We all seemed to enjoy it but it was only was I added them all up tonight I realised I had gone past the 700 mark - a nice surprise.

No moth trapping tonight and out of the square doing my National Plant Monitoring Scheme plots tomorrow and with some survey work on Thursday I'll not be adding any more to the totals for a few days.

Keith Robson
Waldridge (VC66)

Skye - Remotely Interesting

Bang! 700 has been passed.

Had a quick bimble into Uig Woods between shifts and bumped into one of the house-keeping staff wandering through on her way towards the shop. "What's that pretty tree called?" she asked. Turning around I was amazed to see a large Laburnum in full blossom - just kinda standing there looking all obvious and stuff. How the heck have I missed seeing THAT? No leafmines on it (though hardly any leafmines on anything up here yet, apart from various flies in Rumex/Ranunculus/Urtica, most of which I'm unsure of) but it's new to the tally.

Subtle as a brick - yet I've missed it until now!
Number 700 was Shepherd's Purse in an overgrown layby with Corn-spurrey all around. Finally, on my way back out of the woods, I spotted this very distinctive looking sedge

Looks distinctive enough even for me to ID
This is Remote Sedge and a lifer for me. Checking the BSBI map it isn't known from the top end of Skye so I've emailed the local recorder the details.

699 - Laburnum (possibly planted?)
700 - Shepherd's Purse
701 - Corn Spurrey
702 - Remote Sedge - Lifer