Tuesday, 25 July 2017

No fly zone

Went yesterday lunchtime to look for flies on a sunny day and came back with a moth and a plant. No dipteran additions! Last night a brief headtorch foray produced only two additions (so far - could go up), maybe because of a clear sky and a breeze. I found quite a few repeats so it wasn't as bad as suggested by the relatively low additions. Normally I would count a decent night walk as five new species, so slightly underwhelming. Should take me onto the 80 mark for moths though, and a couple of baby steps closer to the 800 mark.

Silver Y swept from coastal plants


Purple Bar


Earwig nectaring (?)

Monday, 24 July 2017

Sedum solved

Finally got around to checking out my third Sedum on the rocky Downing Point. It turned out to be Sedum anglicum, with clasping leaf bases - a very odd looking thing for a succulent. This will extend its known range for the new atlas by ... about 5 miles!

Also last night when I went out to pick up a grass specimen I luckily took my bincoulars so lucked into two Artcic Skuas harassing the local ternage. About freaking time too.

787 Sedum anglicum English Stonecrop
788 Festuca ovina Sheep's Fescue
789 Alopecurus geniculatus Marsh foxtail
790 Stercorarius parasiticus Arctic Skua

Friday, 21 July 2017

Bee, line

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

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Agaricus macrosporus

AKA A.urinascens

... not only a nice addition to the list but to my omelette this morning

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Guerilla mothing

More guerilla mothing on a one hour romp along the coastal path last night brought another handful of additions. Rather than just note the additions, here's a total list to show what size of list a typical hour will turn up. 

White-shouldered House Moth Endrosis sarcitrella
A micro Blastobasis adustella
Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla
Bee Moth Aphomia sociella
A micro Udea lutealis *
Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis *
A micro Scoparia ambigualis
Small Fan-footed Wave Idaea biselata
Yellow Shell Camptogramma bilineata
Twin-spot Carpet Mesotype didymata
Rivulet Perizoma affinitata
Sandy Carpet Perizoma flavofasciata
Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata
Swallow-tailed Moth Ourapteryx sambucaria
Mottled Beauty Alcis repandata
Snout Hypena proboscidalis
Dark Arches Apamea monoglypha *
Light Arches Apamea lithoxylaea *
Smoky Wainscot Mythimna impura
Clay Mythimna ferrago *
Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba

The beautiful Mother of Pearl


Love is in the air

Light Arches

Brown Chafer

Another nice find yesterday was the conopid fly Sicus ferrugineus, which I forgot to photogrqaph, though I will. The 100th fly species of the list and sneaking in before last night turned up Culex pipiens.

770 Holcus lanatus Yorkshire-fog
771 Sicus ferrugineus  A conopid fly
772 Udea lutealis A pyralid moth
773 Pleuroptya ruralis Mother of Pearl
774 Apamea monoglypha Dark Arches
775 Apamea lithoxylaea Light Arches
776 Mythimna ferrago Clay
777 Culex pipiens A mosquito

Monday, 17 July 2017

Hairy Tare plus

A quickie update featuring Hairy Tare from downing Point, a new plant for me. Others are a random selection across taxa, though it's nice to nail my 9th tachinid and promising to sneak into double figures for the year.

761 Eristalis arbustorum A hoverfly
762 Vicia hirsuta Hairy Tare
763 Agrostis stolonifera Creeping Bent
764 Chlorophyllum rachodes Shaggy parasol
765 Maniola jurtina Meadow Brown
766 Hemicrepidius hirtus A Click Beetle
767 Chrysopilus cristatus Black Snipe Fly
768 Dexiosoma caninum  A tachinid fly

Friday, 14 July 2017

Much ado about mothing

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.


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 tarsipennalis The Fan-foot
755 Scoparia subfusca A micromoth
756 Mesoligia furuncula Cloaked Minor

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

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 hand 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

Monday, 10 July 2017

Lichenological interlude

I've ignored lichens since spring and didn't erally intend to go back to them until q4. However I may be over the 1000 by then so I wanted to see if I could add one or two here and there. This rather fetching Riniodina sophodes was crying out to be sampled on the trunk of a tree on a path between the houses, so I sampled it.

Sawtooth saga

So I gave up two hours of my morning in an attempt to catch some early birdy migrants in action.

Wanted list: Sand Martin, Swift, Cuckoo, Hobby, Manx Shear,Tree Pipit, LT Skua.
Achieved: Sand Martin! (ok - also Grey Wag)

I've had all the wanted list here and through Jul/Aug I hope to see some of them, though all of them would be a stretch. Arctic/Pom/Great Skua ought to be a given as Tree Pipit, but the others are hit and miss at best. You have to be there at the right time.

I did come across the cordon of Goosander again though and with a scope this time, though they came very close. They were undoubtedly Goosander. Not sure what trick of the light or brain-fadery happened lat week. I half think I saw some RB Merganser after the Goosander which threw me. Everything about the head is different - crest, bill shape, white gape mark, neck "cut" - so it's not like it's an easy mistake to make with reasonable views. Anyway, I took a picture. They hung around and probably will for a while. The males all head off somewhere else, though I don't recall where.

A bit of sweeping turned up another dolly in the form of Sciapus platypterus

Friday's Sphegina turned out to be sibirica - the determination of this may change after verification on iRecord, as I have already handed over my previous voucher of sibirica to NMS so I can't compare. I think it's right though.

A Gorse Shieldbug also finally came out of the gorse with some "gentle" persuasion.

So all in all a mixed weekend. I may have recorded more no the sunny Saturday before the rain came down on Sunday but this happened instead:

Mojito, Tom Collins

736 Sphegina sibirica A hoverfly
737 Sciapus platypterus A long-legged Fly
738 Piezodorus lituratus Gorse Shieldbug
739 Riparia riparia Sand Martin
740 Mergus merganser Goosander
741 Lophiostoma angustilabrum A fungus
742 Clepsis consimilana  A tortricid moth

Friday, 7 July 2017

Is this is real flie, is this just fantasy ...

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

Smells like teen spirit

A few nice things identified with the assistance of my monthly microscope posse, all of whom are more knowledgeable than I am, in some cases as much as is possible!

Gymnopus peronatus - smells like salt & vinegar crisps

Mycena pura - smells like radishes

Lylea tetracoila - smells like teen spirit

Xerula radicata - tutti rutti

726 Trechispora farinacea A corticioid fungus
727 Collybia peronata A mushroom
728 Lylea tetracoila A hyphomycete
729 Xerula radicata A mushroom

Thursday, 6 July 2017

And who the cap fit

...let them wear it ...

Strobilurus - Pinecone Cap. More fungal goodies in tubs and setting spores, hopefully bearing more fruit on the list later!

722 Mycena pura Lilac Bonnet
723 Strobilurus tenacellus Pinecone Cap
724 Byssomerulius corium Netted Crust

This and that

Gradually pieced together a few hard-won species yesterday with fungi, beetles, flies, moths ... still some on deck for ID too. Since I've misplaced my list from last night there may be other additions I've just forgotten about! Can't be too far away.

Favourite was this Udea prunalis:


718 Udea prunalis A micromoth
719 Myathropa florea A hoverfly
720 Panaeolus olivaceus A fungus
721 Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

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

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

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The sea, the sky, the sea, the sky ...

... the title's from a Peppa Pig episode (link), a hidden gem of Brian Blessed's work.

So for the most part I haven't even carried binoculars recently, never mind a telescope. Lunchtime's mild rain encouraged me to (go to the gym, but I didn't...) veer away from inverts and look at the sea, where a nice collection of seabirds was milling around: a variety of gulls, auks, terns, eiders, fulmars ... not much new but some nice Puffins. Definitely overdue a session looking up.

Looking down I focussed on green things and fungi and picked up a couple of small things. Viper's Bugloss not exactly small but nice. A mushroom I was actually looking for delighted by showing up - Coprinus plicatilis. Also some little dung roundheads (Panaeolinus types) that I'll microscope check for final determination.

The Marchantia was looking cool but it's already recorded. Also I picked up a Myosotis which I suppose should have been easy but I'll grill it properly anyway. And then there are all those grasses...

I have now seen that there are two types of Sedum on the point. I'll have to look and see what that means. I recorded S.album but there's a yellow-flowered one which I take to be Biting Stonecrop, Sedum acre. I'll also have to check that album, especially since I've recorded it close by on the coast. And then there are potatoes in Bathing House Wood. I did notice end of last year a few potatoes lying around, but apparently they're doing well! Naturalised?

Welsh Poppy


Marasmius rotula

Sedum - album?

706 Blastobasis adustella A micromoth
707 Fratercula arctica Puffin
708 Echium vulgare Viper's Bugloss
709 Coprinus plicatilis A fungus
710 Sedum acre Biting Stonecrop
711 Meconopsis cambrica Welsh Poppy