Thursday, 15 June 2017

Two thirds there

In an attempt to squeeze my target 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 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?

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

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

This and that

Grinding through low numbers at the moment with a bigger day probably only to be had when the rain and wind allow a bit of moth-bothering.

Here's some bits of this and that though. Austrolimnophila ochracea is a species I thought was going to be new to Fife, as it isn't on the 2006 species list. However NBN now has a bunch of records from Alan Stubbs in 1977.

Austrolimnophila ochracea

Austrolimnophila ochracea
 This is one I already recorded, but this is a better picture. This was new for Fife when recorded - Epiphragma ocellare

And the last is a psocid, Mesopsocus immunis, also apparently new to the county, but then I don't think there are many psocid records (could be wrong)

Apart from that not much has been happening. Holiday time approaches and I may or may not make my hoped-for 2/3 marker by then. Still a couple of days though, and probably enough with a following wind.

656 Austrolimnophila ochracea A Cranefly
657 Mesopsocus immunis A bark-louse
658 Grypocoris stysi A plant bug

Monday, 12 June 2017

Tree Bumblebee

Not the best pic in the world as I couldn't see the screen for glare. Tree Bumblebee is a recent colonist and not many records in Fife - no records apparent on NBN, though I know it has been recorded from at least two friends' gardens.

Most of the other stuff isn't very interesting photo-wise, but here are the latest numbers:
646 Senecio jacobaea Common Ragwort
647 Vicia cracca Tufted Vetch
648 Tenthredo livida A sawfly
649 Enoplognatha ovata A spider
650 Dolichopus ungulatus A long-legged fly
651 Platycheirus angustatus A Hoverfly
652 Phaonia angelicae A muscid fly
653 Blastobasis lacticolella A micromoth
654 Coenosia tigrina A muscid fly
655 Bombus hypnorum Tree Bumblebee

Friday, 9 June 2017

Milkshake brings no boys to the yard

So the weather wasn't ideal, it's a bit early, and the target species would be a range extension and new for the county. I still tried a pheromone lure anyway. The instructions say it can bring other species in. Not so much, as it turns out.

I have no doubt that I didn't use this in ideal conditions or prepare it the ideal way, so no complaints and I'll chill it again for an attempt in glorious sunshine on a still day at the end of June.

I did find Micropterix calthella, which is a lovely little thing, and some other bits and bobs to be going on with (including the blackthorn specialist Argyresthia spinosella)

I couldn't photograph it - too small and jumpy - but here's one from last weekend

Thursday, 8 June 2017

NIght Prowlings

Who needs a moth trap when you have a head torch, a net, and warm still weather? The missus went to sleep early so I went for an impromptu half hour walk around the square, which turned out a cracking list of lovely creatures. Bizarrely the addition of Foxglove Pug prompted me to notice I hadn't recorded Foxglove, which has been in flower for a good while now!

The list additions:

631 Psallus ambiguus A bug
632 Campaea margaritaria Light Emerald
633 Pseudoips prasinana Green Silver-lines
634 Hypena proboscidalis Snout
635 Eupithecia pulchellata Foxglove Pug
636 Digitalis purpurea Foxglove
637 Camptogramma bilineata Yellow Shell
638 Tinea trinotella A micromoth
639 Crambus perlella A micromoth
640 Idaea biselata Small Fan-footed Wave

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Stopped rain starts play

Finally out from bioblitz material (one new beetle for VC85 and one expanded range for Araniella opisthographa) and it has finally stopped  pis  raining.

Nice couple of things today, though it was still windy, and some more potted so finally getting things moving again after a very slow first week

Miris striatus

Timothy Tortrix

Friday, 2 June 2017

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new flie

fo-o-or meeeee.Sadly it turns out not new for county as I discovered this morning it's been recorded since the great reports of 2006.

Still nice to have a new canfely - Limonia flavipes. I have pics of its thumbprint marks too but somehow haven't got them off my phone

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

End of May roundup

As usual it's actually one day early but what the hell. A 7-spot ladybird larva at lunchtime became the 49th beetle. Would be nice to round it off tonight but I am socially engaged and chances are I won't add anything this evening (unless my visitor can be persuaded to go moth hunting - a possibility).

All-in I this year have added 945 records to iRecord of 739 species. Obviously not all are from the square or my total would be transformed! However, here are the numbers as they stand right now. Possibly to be slightly updated tomorrow.

Going into June I am looking at some reduced time - I'll be grinding through pitfall trap contents for St.Andrews bioblitz (we do process them after the 24 hour period for an overall total) and then I'll be going on holiday. Still, June ought to be productive enough that I can more or less make good. I kind of expect to reach 1000 during August-September so it will include the start of the vismig calendar and include exotica like Tree Pipit and Long-tailed Skua (bird gods willing). On the other hand those months could be so profligate in their affections that 1k comes and goes before the skuas appear (but not the Tripits which pass in July). The the big decision - declare or bat on? Only time will tell.

The numbers by "gross" taxonomic grouping

Jan Feb Mar Apr May
Algae 8 13 16 17 17
Lichens 37 41 43 44 46
Fungi 28 31 44 49 53
Vert - Birds 38 50 56 62 64
Vert - Other 2 4 8 9 9
Lepidoptera 1 2 9 14 29
Diptera 4 7 12 41 68
Arachnida 4 13 20 25 32
Coleoptera 6 17 17 21 49
Mollusc 9 24 27 33 33
Collembola 8 10 12 12 12
Invert - Other 22 33 51 62 78
Plants - Vascular 47 63 74 92 107
Plants - Bryo 22 29 30 30 30

236 337 419 511 627

The numbers by, erm, numbers

31-Jan 28-Feb 31-Mar 30-Apr 31-May
days remaining 334 306 275 245 214
species so far 236 337 419 511 627
species/day period 7.61 3.61 2.65 3.07 3.74
spec/day so far 7.61 5.71 4.66 4.26 4.15
species remaining 764 663 581 489 373
spec/day rqd 2.29 2.17 2.11 2.00 1.74
spec/week rqd 16.01 15.17 14.79 13.97 12.20

Count compared with previous reserve year counts

Bullseye cranefly

About five minutes after I hit the woods yesterday lunchtime it started raining, which didn't do my sweeping activities any favours. I did manage to score a couple of craneflies though. The first, a big orange lout, was Tipula lunata, a more-or-less routine species but nice to have on my growing cranefly list. The second, as I peered into my net, was a thing the likes of which I had never seen before. Things the likes of which I've never seen before often turn out to be ubiquitous, so I was prepared for that. Back at work I googled "eye wing cranfely" or something and up came Epiphragma. Looked good. And it's on the Fife list of course ... oh, no - it isn't. Maybe it's something else then (but surely not...)

Back at home and it turns out it really was Epiphragma (ocellare - the only one), so not only a cracking fly, but a new county record.I checked the distribution of it on NBN this morning. Very weird! A ubiquitous fly in England and Wales and one record per county in Scotland. Clearly recorder distribution at play but a severe case!

A link to some nicer pictures as it was in the field: link

That distribution:

Only two additions:
625 Tipula lunata A Cranefly
626 Epiphragma ocellare A Cranefly

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Dock larvae number 1 pupates

Oh, it's so exciting ... I picked up some more mature larvae in a dock leaf but if it turns out to be the species I expect it will be new for Fife. The leaf in the first two are a new leaf gathered at the weekend just in case. The pupa was gathered in a similar state about a week ago (2 weeks?). fingers crossed.

Hard to pick a highlight over a weekend which was not huge on numbers but had a nice run of quality. A lot of weevils went under the lens! Probably most pleased with my second sarcophagid in two days - Sarcophaga subvicina.

Weevil roll call: Ceutorhynchus obstrictus, Otiorhynchus arcticus, Pachyrhynus lethierryi and Otiorhynchus singularis (edit: and Phyllobius virideaeris!). Also a couple of new Soldier Beetles beaten from gorse: Cantharis cryptica and nigricans.

Probably the biggest relief was finally getting to grips with the tachinid Ramonda spathulata, which somehow I kept slipping through the keys on before. Worst of it is I already recorded it here in September!

Ramonda spathulata

Ceutorhynchus obstrictus - crucifer lover

Otiorhynchus singularis

612 Sarcophaga subvicina A Flesh Fly
613 Ceutorhynchus obstrictus A weevil
614 Otiorhynchus arcticus A Broad-nosed Weevil
615 Cantharis nigricans A Soldier Beetle
616 Cantharis cryptica A Soldier Beetle
617 Silene latifolia White Campion
618 Eupterix urticae A bug on nettles
619 Pachyrhynus lethierryi A Broad-nosed Weevil
620 Phyllobius virideaeris A Broad-nosed Weevil
621 Pollenia rudis A Blowfly
622 Ornithogalum angustifolium Star-of-Bethlehem
623 Otiorhynchus singularis A Broad-nosed Weevil
624 Ramonda spathulata A tachinid fly

Friday, 26 May 2017


Not often I get to enjoy a tachinid before I've pulled it out of a pot, but today I revisited the small woodland where I added Panzeria rudis. I had thought that I was chasing the same fly until I finally caught it. Today I discovered that I had caught one of only many as they surrounded the sunny, ferny glade making fly-catchery swoops from the top of foliage. They were so reliable and not shy that I even managed a mobile phone shot!

I have a fair collection of things frmo today that I may get to work through tonight, but this will be enough to be going on with...
607 Denticollis linearis A Click Beetle
608 Tipula vernalis A cranefly
609 Peltigera membranacea A lichen
610 Vicia sepium Bush Vetch
611 Sarcophaga carnaria A Flesh Fly

Sarcophaga unblocked

So I found a female Sarcophaga the other day and I don't have enough literature for that, but yesterday a male was captured, and sadly had to be dismembered as it had dried to a bone in the hot car. On a happier note it came out S.carnaria as expected with the help of the amazing Sarcophagid pictures online (see link below)

And here's the link. Sarcophagid books are pretty expensive! Here's the fantastic S.carnaria page:

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Hedya headyache

Two species of Hedya almost identical both on blackthorn!

Either speciate properly or let me catch you!


Much ado about mothing

Yesterday's Steeple Clump tour also produced a nice big tachinid - Panzeria rudis (taking me up to 16/29 of the county tachinid fauna).

Last night a brief stroll with headtorch produced some of the usual suspects and a couple of additions


Clouded-bordered Brindle

Clouded-bordered Brindle

604 Panzeria rudis A tachinid fly
605 Apamea crenata Clouded-bordered Brindle
606 Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Steeple Clump

Investigated one of the un-visited pieces of woodland at lunchtime (c.NT152829), and what a beauty. That's going to be a great site to mix up with the coastal fun.

I barely ventured into it but it was enough for a flavour with damp woodland floor, plenty ferns and carpets of pine needles in places between sycamore and other broadleaf trees.

Plenty of invert life was buzzing about, including a flushed Clouded Border.I did the only thing I could do. I started a list ...

Six hundred up!

Beaten from gorse this morning ...

At first I thought robberfly but going through the back of my mind was Therevidae ... too much browsing of the Soldierfly book. Thereva nobilitata it appears to be - and would be thus declared as species number 600!

596 Pegomya solennis A Flower Fly
597 Aphidecta obliterata Larch Ladybird
598 Psilolechia lucida A lichen
599 Palloptera quinquemaculata A Pallopterid fly
600 Thereva nobilitata A Stiletto Fly

Unvisited woods and one step closer ...

There are two entire woods in my square which I haven't even visited! In the top left and middle of the west side. I suppose I should go there sometime before the end of the year. Or maybe I'll leave them until I'm working on the next 1000 ...

Palloptera quinquemaculata ... 599 ...

Today will be the day!

The 600 will be breached today unless something major happens. A nice run around the taxa yesterday made for an interesting push towards the May target of 600. Fortunately looks like I'll get a few in the bag over target since June will be a tricky one of holidays and competing obligations.

Finally, Orange-tip

Pegomyia blotch mine - will try to rear on

Pegomyia larva

Perapion violaceum from dock

Psilolechia hiding in plain sight

Larch ladybird from beating spruce

The numbers since yesterday ...
23/05/2017 589 Anthocharis cardamines Orange-tip
23/05/2017 590 Anthophila fabriciana Nettle-Tap
23/05/2017 591 Dalopius marginatus A Click Beetle
23/05/2017 592 Perapion violaceum A weevil
23/05/2017 593 Erisyphe heraclei A fungus
23/05/2017 594 Celypha lacunana A tortricid moth
23/05/2017 595 Pardosa nigriceps A Wolf spider
24/05/2017 596 Pegomya solennis A Flower Fly
24/05/2017 597 Aphidecta obliterata Larch Ladybird
24/05/2017 598 Psilolechia lucida A lichen

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

A new beetle for Fife (and for me, naturally) - Otiorhynchus armadillo

I decided to spend the time to identify some weevils (as it turned out A weevil) because it's more rewarding, or rewarding in a different way, than racking up numbers. Not that I had an alternate way to do that - grasses? Ehhhhh ... let me look at those weevils ...

First a lovely creeping thistle tephritid. An easy one to find and the RES has free tephritid keys (in which you can look at the pictures!). Smashing.

Tephritis hyoscyami
Now the lovely Otiorhynchus armadillo, a county first and a big lump of thing to drop out of beaten ivy. I thought it was another Liophloeus tessulatus at first, but when I pulled it from the pot I could see immediately that it wasn't. Well, I say "immediately" - I did pull the Liophloeus from the box to check.

Another sunny day today and finally Nettle-tap moths and Orange-tips were flitting around. I started to think they had become extinct. They certainly took their time.

Anyway, with a few more pots gathered if I stayed up all night I might make 600 before morning. That's not going to happen. I may score a moth or two if I venture out after dark, mind you.

584 Tephritis hyoscyami A Tephritid fly
585 Anaspis maculata A Tumbling Flower Beetle
586 Ixodes ricinus Sheep Tick
587 Rubus idaeus Raspberry
588 Othiorhynchus armadillo A Broad-nosed Weevil
589 Anthocharis cardamines Orange-tip
590 Anthophila fabriciana Nettle-Tap

Oh! And here's my new desk. So the beetle is the first first-for-county to Christen my new desk. Yay.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Scraps and wascally weevils

Grinding my way through scraps of this and that, and making heavy work of the last mile of the 500s. I created myself a weevil workshop on Sunday morning when everything I swept had a new weevil in it! Banged my head off one last night briefly before realising I wasn't in a sufficiently weevil frame of mind. I have no doubt I'll get them - it's just a question of when!

I also have an ever growing collection of jars with leaves which I may turn into records at some point and another gall mite leaf from which I will try (again) to extract some living thing from. I'm still recording them - just not counting them! Phyllocoptes goniothorax rolled hawthorn leaf edges are the latest.

I'll continue to scratch around and see if I can throw something else on the pile from the comfort of my chair. It's raining outside and lunchtime looks like an opportune moment to prioritise my expanding waistline over my expanding list!
Bibio marci was out in force

A "medium" sized weevil with a pointy pronotum

Anaspis maculata

Limonia phragmitidis

Phyllocoptes goniothorax


581 Stenodema laevigata A mirid bug
582 Limonia phragmitidis A cranefly
583 Athous haemorrhoidalis A click beetle
584 Tephritis hyoscyami A tephritid fly
585 Anaspis maculata A Tumbling Flower Beetle

An appeal for help:
I only noticed late in the day this plant which looks sort of onion-y and smells sort of garlicky when you break a leaf. Yet I have no name for it. It's scattered on the woodland floor especially on the edges and I never noticed it (or did I and now I can't id it?). It also has a rust. So I'm two species in the hole here. All assistance gratefully appreciated!

A correction:
Once out of the pot this clearly wasn't a Criorhina. It's a Merodon equestris, which from its location among the daffs isn't a huge surprise. A disappointment, maybe, but not a surprise.