Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dalgety Bay - Emmesomyia grisea, new to Scotland (probably)

So I finally took a spade to the beach last night to dig up some lugworms. New species are proving a slog at the moment. Birds aren't playing ball though the flies and fungi are sort of ticking along. Two easy ones yesterday though (in ID terms - digging sand is still work!). However the third from yesterday was more interesting.

I decided the other night to give the proper respect to an anthomyiid that I netted at the weekend. Very happy I did too as it's the most northerly record for the species and more than likely new to Scotland - Emmesomyia grisea. As I've been making progress with calypterates it's been bugging me that I've sort of ignored the Anthomyiidae as difficult. Don't get me wrong - they ARE difficult, but they are getting easier. The difficulty lies in their similarity and the consequent nuances of setae organisation (and naming!) that you have to understand to work the keys. Females are still off the list, for the moment at least.

957 Helophilus pendulus A hoverfly
958 Arenicola marina Blow Lugworm
959 Emmesomyia grisea An anthomyid fly

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sand Point VC6

Well I've pulled my finger out and been doing some recording on the patch for a change. Been quite productive with three from the list below being new to me. Still not much in the way of macro fungi. Nice to have a couple of Odonata on the list finally. I saw one in spring that was probably Southern Hawker but not able to get enough on it to be sure. I didn't get much birding in during the spring so maybe the autumn could be productive for this group as lots of commmon birds are missing from the list.
849. Arctic Tern
850. Hedge Parsley
851. Lesser Burdock
852. Common Knotweed
853. Lycoperdon pratense
854. Migrant Hawker
855. Purple Glasswort
856. Common Fleabane
857. Sea Rocket
858. Common Mallow
859. Coal Tit
860. Marssonina punctiformis
861. Leiobunum blackwalli
862. Opilio canestrini
863. Phyllonorycter corylifoliella
864. Lyonetia clerkella
865. Coenosia pumila
866. Hydrophorus oceanus
867. Coenosia agromyzina
868. Stomoxys calcitrans
869. Common Darter
870. Firecrest
871. Spotted Flycatcher
872. Colletes hederae
873. Aceria macrochela
874. Sargus bipunctatus
875. Uncinula bicornis
876. Chrysolina banksi

Chrysolina banksi

Sargus bipunctatus

Monday, September 18, 2017

Dalgety Bay - Fly by Night

After Friday's new Fife fly while searching for moss I found another new Fife fly while searching for moths. This is a cracking little thing and my first in the Keroplatidae. It's only Fife's 2nd recorded one as far s I can see though there must be lots more. Fortunately it did me the honour of attending my MV trap and even more fortunately (for a change) wasn't in the Mycetophilinae so I actually had a key for it!

I bagged some water cress also on Friday and was pleased to confirm the species which I had suspected was really the more common (in the county at least) hybrid.

Sunday turned up some nice mushrooms and all-in-all not a bad weekend, though a September finish seems to be drifting away

Macrocera (no kidding!) vittata

oficinale water cress

Lovely little Entoloma

Blackening Waxcap

946 Macrocera vittata A fungus gnat
947 Hygrocybe coccinea A Waxcap
948 Hygrocybe conica Blackening Waxcap
949 Claviceps purpurea Ergot
950 Polietes lardarius A muscid fly
951 Russula ochroleauca A mushroom
952 Scolopostethus thomsonii A mirid bug
953 Entoloma serrulatum Blue-edged Pinkgill

Friday, September 15, 2017

Dalgety Bay - Two steps forward ...

... one step back.

The two steps forward are a nice new county-first soldierfly Sargus bipunctatus and the more routine Spruce Carpet moth. Yesterday lunchtime, having added one moss species to the list, I decided to target another. Not long ago I discovered that a small stream ran through someone's garden and exited at the coast. This wasn't apparent until the house owner cleared the garden of all the overgrown vegetation and exposed a couple of small "pools" (Belfast sinks embedded in the ground!) . So I went to the bottom of it, outside his garden, to see if there were mosses on a couple of exposed rocks. Short answer is yes, but my first guess at ID (a Hygroamblystegium) looks wrong so we'll come back to that.

I did, though, consider that this different piece of habitat might make it worth carrying a net - good call! Settled on a leaf beside a small seepage-type area was the female Sargus.

A somewhat subdued moth-trapping session last night produced only Spruce Carpet. So far. I may have another once I figure out what it is!

On the "step back" the discovery of Lepista flaccida has rolled out to engulf the previously claimed Clitocybe gibba. Examples of the latter proved to be the former under close examination! This means some record revision must be done, probably including for last year. Dammit.

As I approach 1000 I want to be as critical as i can in reviewing the records so that the total is as solid as it can be. Chances of error are still > 0 of course, but that's just a fact of life.

Sargus bipunctatus


Sprucey bonus
Los numeros:
942 Sargus bipunctatus A Soldier Fly
943 Thera britannica Spruce Carpet

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sand Point VC6

A sea watch yesterday got me my first patch Balearic Shearwater but it was a mile out to sea so couldn't have it for the 1kmsq but today a juvenile Sabine's Gull drifted right into the square after spending 10mins on the tideline just outside the recording area. The flies are from my visit on 28th Aug which includes a very impressive hymenoptera Heteroplema amictum. Really ought to start pulling my socks up now, getting left behind.
838. Orygma luctuosum
839. Coenosia testacea
840. Thoracochaeta zostera
841. Lispe caesia
842. Pherbellia cinerella
843. Minettia rivosa
844. Delia echinata
845. Heteropelma amictum
846. Sabine's Gull
847. Black-tailed Godwit
848. Autumn Ladies Tresses

Sabine's Gull

Heteropelma amictum

Dalgety Bay - The Great Slowing

After a hell-for-leather rush over the 900 barrier it seems that the next slow cycle is here. Material is on pins and in pots but the wheels of identification grind exceeding slow. Fungi especially I can spend a lot of time on without a satisfactory answer.

Last night I managed to key out both of the things I attempted, only to discover that I already had recorded one of them. Well, it was an anthomyiid and I felt pretty pleased about it anyway, especially since of 47 couplets in the genus key it keyed out on the 47th!

The nice shiny new list addition is the solitary wasp Mellinus arvensis. This is the 4th one I've keyed out in my new solitary wasp book and takes me to 33 for hymenptera - about 23 more than I expected I think.

Birds are just .. let's not talk about birds ... have a wasp

Mellinus arvensis
Also since I have a photo here's Hygrocybe acutoconica, which used to be called H.persistens. The latter (former) name was much better because this is one tough Hygrocybe - with a gracile stipe and not discouloring it will hang around for weeks.

933 Erigone dentipalpis A Linyphiid spider
934 Coenosia mollicula A muscid fly
935 Hygrocybe acuticonica Persistent Waxcap
936 Tephritis vespertina A tephritid fly
937 Mellinus arvensis A solitary wasp

Friday, September 8, 2017

Dalgety Bay - Flogging Molle

First of all congrats to Seth for sneaking past 900 in stealth mode (hopefully we might hear about it soon!)

Last night I visited the usual haunts with little success - hoping to connect with a Black Tern or perhaps some lovely full-spooned Pomarine Skuas ... anyway ... that didn't happen. So I took an unusual route home along the roadside. I haven't invested much time on that area, which is probably a mistake. It's better to cover diverse habitats obviously. Anyway, it came up trumps with a garden Birch producing a single Brown Birch Bolete, a short grass verge yielding Lesser Trefoil, which must have been there forever, and some nice Short-spined Puffballs (Lycoperdon molle). Really "spined" is a bit of an overstatement.

birch bolete

Lycoperdon molle

Lesser Trefoil

930 Lycoperdon molle Soft-Spined Puffball
931 Leccinum scabrum Brown Birch Bolete
932 Trifolium dubium Lesser Trefoil

More details here: link

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Dalgety Bay - Myco Mayhem!

Faced with an evening of microscopy and a wet lunchtime what should one do? Ordinarily I would have worked a small backlog of flies but since I worked three inverts last night and only got repeats I decided instead to poke around in the woods. Keying fungi can require patience but since I was home alone with the manchild I thought I'd have lots of time after he was off to bed. Still there was some easy pickings to be had. The post bedtime headbanging produced only one redetermination and one solid ID, although to be fair it was mixed in with work on some off-topic material from the weekend.

Xerocom(ell)us sp. with Pinus

Box set

Common Rustgill

Deer Shield (not new)

Gymnopus peronatus - Wood Woollyfoot (not new)

Melanoleuca sp.

Gymnopus erythropus

Russula sanguinaria

922 Gymnopus erythropus Red-legged Toughshank
923 Gymnopilus penetrans Common Rustgill
924 Melanoleuca melaleuca Bald Knight
925 Russula sanguinaria Bloody Brittlegill

Friday, September 1, 2017

Yeovil end of August update

Finished the month on 564. This was quite pleasing really as, at the beginning of the year I had estimated, that - given my knowledge of the habitats and access in the square, my knowledge of which groups I can identify, literature available and the biological recording equipment I posses - 560 would be a reasonable expectation of what I might record in the year. Cleary hope to press on to above 600. And perhaps 700 if I can start confidentially identifying a higher percentage of all the fungi I am seeing. To this end I have recently joined the Dorset Fungi Group and on the first excursion of the year one of the main identifiers of the group made the mistake (!) of giving me his email address and saying 'sure I will be happy to confirm any identifications of photos of fungi that you send'

Anyway enough about my month of recording, the burning national question of the moment is who is going to get to 1000 first this year?!


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Dalgety Bay - Moff Magick

So last night I decided that I would blow the dust off the moth trap and stick it in the woods. I drove round to the woods and duly set up everything except the cable that connects the battery, which I had apparently left at home. Doh!

Leaving the trap set up and trusting that any passerby in the dark would not bother the trap I rushed back home (2 mins) to grab the cable. Rummaging around in the garage I couldn't find the damn thing so I did what anybody would do in the circumstances - I grabbed the generator re-borrowed recently for a bioblitz and the mains MV trap top end and bolted back to the woods.

Naturally the first thing I found on my return was the missing cable that I had put inside the moth trap. It only helps to be clever when you can do it at both ends! Anyway, the long and short of it is that I ended up running an actinic in the woods for 1.5 hours and an MV with no bottom end on the coast, where the generator noise would be less likely to bother anybody. If I'd done this through the year I'd be "finished" by now! I'll do it again after a suitable break now that I know it's possible to use the generator without the police showing up. There should still be a few moth species left in the tanks.

 I did hope I would get an Aphodius rufipes, which is a frequent light trap visitor in the garden, but I have no complaints. No boost to my horrible beetle tally though. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was wandering along the path looking at something in a pot and getting tripped up by a hedgehog. Sorry, buddy!

I should also credit here one of my neighbours, Blair, who caught the Tipula while we were chatting next to the MV and successfully transferred it from hand to pot. It won't be the last T.paludosa, but it was the first!

(insert: just spent half of lunchtime watching a cracking white wag feeding on the beach. no chance I can get a half point?)

Hedgehog football

Copper underwing

Riband Wave

Parsnip Moth

909 Idaea aversata Riband Wave
910 Amphipyra pyramidea Copper underwing
911 Tipula paludosa A cranefly
912 Luperina testacea Flounced Rustic
913 Depressaria radiella Parsnip Moth

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Dalgety Bay - pipunculid at last!

It would have been a shame to see out the year without finding at least one penis-headed fly, and so I was a happy camper yesterday to find this nice Tomosvaryella on the edge of the woodland near the shore. I am pretty sure it is T.littoralis but I need a better look at the tergite hairs now I've read the RES key (the only other two species recorded in Scotland all have dark femorae anyway).

Pipunculidae have a lot going for them in terms of value. First, lets get it out of the way,  they look like little peni. It's childish but it's true. Second they are unbelievable fliers. Pipunculidae when netted will happily (?) hover in a space inside the net no problem - absolutely fixed on one point in space. They share with Syrphidae a vena spuria and maybe this is an adaptation for hovering. Thirdly, they are endoparasites, and everyone loves a good endoparasite, don't they? Their chosen host group is homoptera and they have been used for pest control for this reason. You can see from the pic below that this girl has a very nasty surprise for some poor bug!

Pipunculidae - the big headed flies



Another mushroom made its way onto the list too, meaning I've made my target of 90 spp. by end of August. 910 by end of the month and I'll be happy enough with that.

907 Inocybe fraudans A mushroom
908 Tomosvaryella littoralis A pipunculid fly

Sand Point VC6

For once it was nice weather on the Bank Holiday so I thought I'd spend a couple of hours on the patch. Despite sharing the site with many grockles I still managed to collect some potentially interesting stuff. Everyone who asks thinks I'm collecting butterflies when they see the net, they've never heard of a dipterist (not sure I could get a butterfly in the pooter). Anyway the results are from a previous visit plus an overlooked springtail which were hopping about on the edge of the saltmarsh. It turned out to be Anurida maritima a common marine springtail around all our coasts. Looking back I can see that Seth recorded it in March on Skye.

830. Meromyza pratorum
831. Adia cinerella
832. Melanostoma mellinum
833. Pollenia pediculata
834. Dicranomyia chorea
835. Fannia fuscula
836. Medetera truncorum
837. Anurida maritima

Anurida maritima with inset showing vesicles in PAO

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Skye - 1am update!

I know I only posted yesterday but progress has been made - so here I am back again already! 

Still no images for you, though I've taken plenty today. The weather behaved quite well so I zipped down to the beach road and swung my net at anything that looked interesting. Most of them are still in pots, but I managed to ID a few this evening.

But first, a dung beetle fell onto my book as I was reading in bed last night. I hadn't realised my bedding needed washing already (I only washed it in February so it should be good for months yet) but if it's attracting dung beetles... 

I added a few new plants and watched a Stoat bounding along the road, hunting through the verges before bounding off a bit further. Plenty of Rabbits in the area, so it won't stay hungry for long. Stoat is my 11th mammal in the square so far this year. I had hoped to hit 10, so I'm happy with that. Even though I seem to be the only person in the village not to have seen a Hedgehog in the local woods and Red Foxes wander within 200 metres of my boundary, hence 13 is entirely feasible. 

Moffs are currently hurling themselves at my lit window. The midge mesh is keeping them out, but a few new additions have been gleaned. I think I need a Tipula key next, the craneflies are positively swarming at the moment. 

I pulled a big, fat green psyllid off an Alder leaf this afternoon. Not too many on Alder and, it being a female, I quickly narrowed it down to Baeopelma foersteri with the toothed edge to the mahoosive terminalia. Managed a cool pic too, but you'll have to just take my word on that (for now). 

Also noticed a microfungus speckling some dead Yew needles. Under the microscope the spores clinched it as Guignardia philoprina, one I've seen before.  Right, here's ze numbers showing today's additions - 

870 - Aphodius rufipes (a dung beetle) - Lifer
871 - Musk-mallow (plant)
872 - Sun Spurge (plant)
873 - Wild Teasel (rare up here!)
874 - Stoat (mammal)
875 - Dilophus febrilis (fly with swanky leg spines) - Lifer
876 - Guignardia philoprina (microfungus on Yew)
877 - Pterostichus madidus (beetle)
878 - Lime-speck Pug (moth larva on Sea Mayweed)
879 - Foxglove Pug (moth - forgot to add this from coupla weeks back)
880 - The Sallow (moth of unmarked ab flavescens form)
881 - Square-spot Rustic (moth)
882 - Baeopelma foersteri (pyllid on Alder leaf) - Lifer
883 - Rosy Rustic (moth) - Lifer

17 to go by the end of the week and I'm suddenly feeling a bit more optimistic about attaining the 900 species mark before the end of August. Right, one last look at all the mystery craneflies on my midge mesh and I'm off to kip. Without any more dung beetles, hopefully....

Friday, August 25, 2017

Dalgety Bay - Cracking Bolete, Grommit!

I had seen boletes in a bad state of repair on the way to my son's school before but finally got hold of one in good enough shape to identify (no doubt correction will follow now!) as the Red Cracking Bolete, Xerocomellus chrysenteron

So this lovely fungus will become the official 900th species, no matter what happens to the list after I put it through a heavily critical review.

The rest of the recent additions, which could be read about on my own blog ...
891 Stercorarius skua Great Skua
892 Gavia stellata Red-throated Diver
893 Syritta pipiens A hoverfly
894 Anthomyia pluvialis An anthomyid fly
895 Eristalis nemorum A hoverfly
896 Alchemilla mollis Garden Lady's-mantle
897 Apis mellifera Honey Bee
898 Crossocerus annulipes A digger wasp
899 Corvus frugilegus Rook
900 Xerocomellus chrysenteron Cracking Bolete

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Skye - Tasty Kellogg's

Apologies for the lack of updates of late. I rather cleverly broke my laptop and it's taken me a wee while to source another. Now I'm on a shitty Chromebook that won't do what I want it to do - which includes uploading images. I'll suss it soon enough, no doubt. Anyway, can't complain too much, I only paid £20 for it!

I haven't added very much to the tally the past coupla weeks, the one day of good weather I went to sea in my boss's RIB where we played with dolphins, saw a MInke and passed through swarms of Blue, Moon and Lion's Mane Jellyfish. None of them were in my square though, meh.

Finally added a few ridiculously overlooked species (don't laugh, please...) and a handful of lifers too. Not looking too likely to hit the 900-mark by month's end though, which is what I was hoping for. 

So, without images, here are the latest additions. Hopefully it'll be normal services resumed before too much longer.

856 - Guignardia aesculi (fungus on Horse-chestnut leaves - dead common, go check in your square)
857 - Melinda gentilis (blowfly) - Lifer
858 - Hofmannophila pseudospretella (moth)
859 - Dascillus cervinus (beetle) - Lifer
860 - Dark Marbled Carpet (moth)
861 - Phiaenus spumarius (really, really common froghopper everywhere)
862 - Orthops campestre (Mirid bug) - Lifer
863 - Agromyza alnivora (leafmining fly in Alder leaves) - Lifer
864 - Chirosia histricina (leafmining fly in Bracken pinnules)
865 - Annual Meadow-grass (umm...)
866 - Perennial Rye-grass (whoops...)
867 - Nicrophorus investigator (beetle) - Lifer, oddly enough
868 - Hawthorn Shieldbug (bug, obvs)
869 - Pteroxanium kelloggi (an amazing 3mm psocid) - Lifer

The psocid, according to NBN, is the third record for Scotland. It was probably the easiest bit of keying through ever! And my images (that you can't see) match those online. Sweet! Highland Recorder has been notified, I have the body in alcohol, should he need that too. Click here to see what Kellogg's Barkfly looks like, it's such a wee cutey! :) 

Still got loads of stuff in pots or on pins. Maybe I can hit 900 before the week is out after all? Hmmm...

Monday, August 21, 2017

Dalgety Bay - Soldiering on

A weekend heavily dominated by a wonderful 3 hour session patrolling mayweed on the shore. Every slow trek along the stretch turned up something new, including two fantastic flies. The first, which I thought was a Gonia, I now realise isn't - it's Tachina fera. Since both are things I have really wanted to see for a long time I somehow transposed them. What a bizarre mistake to make. Ironically the less scarce Tachina is new for VC85 whereas the Gonia wouldn't have been.

Anyway ... the second , which is new for the county at least, and possibly new to Scotland, is the soldierfly Chorisops nagatomii. Both species of the genus are southerly in distribution but nagatomii is a late summer species and in all references consulted so far has no Scottish records. Once I establish the species ID is good I'll cross check to see if someone else has pipped me to the post. (An aside on this is that I didn't realise it was anything interesting until I got it under the microscope. No voucher, no record!)

yellow humeri and posterior calli are key to the, erm, key

And how about something truly beautiful? Coniophora puteana. Lovely.

869 Tipula fulvipennis A cranefly
870 Hebeloma crustuliniforme A fungus
871 Diarsia dahlii Barred Chestnut
872 Chorisops nagatomii A Soldier Fly
873 Sericomyia silentis A hoverfly
874 Vanessa atalanta Red admiral
875 Erisyphe cichoracearum A fungus
876 Pipiza noctiluca A hoverfly
877 Pteridium aquilinum Bracken
878 Rhagoletis alternata A tephritid fly
879 Coniophora puteana A fungus
880 Eristalis arbustorum A hoverfly
881 Kaestneria pullata A Linyphiid spider
882 Dilophus femorata A Bibionid fly
883 Tachina fera A tachinid fly

Friday, August 18, 2017

Dalgety Bay - Skool Daze

With the first day of school (my son's first day ever at school) summer is now officially over. Fortunately August's usually a good month for flies and I'm looking forward to the ivy bursting into flower.

A couple of days of picking up the pace has seen a spread of additions. Nothing spectacular but a lovely new wasp for me yesterday and a couple of missing hovers. Some things in pots too so should be able to creep over the 870 mark.

Ectemnius cavifrons

Eristalis horticola


860 Lycoperdon pyriforme Stump Puffball
861 Anthus trivialis Tree Pipit
862 Plagiognathus arbustorum A mirid bug
863 Argyresthia semitestacella Large Beech Argent
864 Lycaena phlaeas Small Copper
865 Eristalis pertinax A hoverfly
866 Ectemnius cavifrons A digger wasp
867 Dasysyrphus albostriatus A hoverfly
868 Noctua janthe Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing