Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Dalgety Bay - Desmid Island Discs

Nothing could be more fun that taking a drop of water and sticking it under the microscope. If it's from an algal mat then all the better. This beauty is Closterium monoliferum, which is one of the few things I managed to identify from the myriad species present (actually so far it's the only one!)

The granules in the tip dance about, and the following link says of them that ... "vacuolar granules in Closterium moniliferum have been analyzed to consist mainly of barium sulphate crystals". See the link below. Also the further link from that link which talks about how this little guy could clean up nuclear material!

Fascinating page on the species

Also leaving this here for future reference - superb desmid galleries

Closterium in Desmid Gallery

Besides that the inverts have started to kick off with some muscoid flies starting to appear on sunny surfaces. Soon I'll have a box full of undetermined flies! Part of the reason I wanted to get off to a flier this year is because up to the point I decided to do this daft thing again I was intending to dedicate more time to the calypterate flies. Pretty sure I've banked enough species now to allow for some time outside the square though.

511 bird Fulmarus glacialis Fulmar
512 * insect-other Riccardoella oudemansi Slug Mite
513 diptera Phaonia tuguriorum A muscid fly
514 lep-moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella Brown House Moth
515 flowering plant Tussilago farfara Coltsfoot
516 hemiptera Anthocoris nemoralis A plant bug
517 * alga Closterium moniliferum A desmid

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Another freeze up in TG4523

Wind, frost and snow has resulted in no additions to the square for the last six days. All getting a bit tedious. For the sake of completeness here are the last 10 additions, so now up to 419 for the square, including 340 from the garden:

410 Harpalus tardus Coleoptera Carabidae 12/03/2018
411 Veronica hederifolia Vascular Plants Ivy-leaved Speedwell 12/03/2018
412 Notiophilus rufipes Coleoptera Carabidae 12/03/2018
413 Eurysa lineata Hemipteroids Delphacidae (Planthopper) 12/03/2018
414 Drusilla canaliculata Coleoptera Staphylinidae - Aleocharinae 13/03/2018
415 Lispocephala brachialis Diptera Muscidae: Coenosiinae 14/03/2018
416 Arion distinctus Molluscs Common Garden Slug 14/03/2018
417 Aleochara bipustulata Coleoptera Staphylinidae 14/03/2018
418 Scydmaenus tarsatus Coleoptera Scydmaeninae (Staphylinidae) 14/03/2018
419 Luffia ferchaultella Lepidoptera:moths Virgin Bagworm 15/02/2018

One side benefit has been a bit of extra time to clear my backlog of sawflies. I also attended a very useful BENHS sawfly workshop with Andy Musgrove on Saturday. The additional sawfly species have pushed my 1 km square list to 2196 species, including 1788 from the garden.

Looks like it's going to get a bit milder, so hope to start getting a few more insects and birds soon.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Dalgety Bay ... new species loading ... please wait ...

A weekend of bad weather and domestic activity means not much happening. I did do this leaf section of the moss Campylopus introflexus, though. Pretty pleased with it. Shame it's already on the list!

Easterly winds continue. Lots of nice Kittiwakes and finally a Fulmar. Anther roll of the dice at lunchtime. Let's see. Everybody all together ... Gannet, LT Duck, Scoter ....

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Skye - Seashore Fun

Took myself down to the beach today (stayed well away from The Ravine of Death, see my blog detailing yesterday's antics here) and managed to pick up a handful of additions for the tally. 

Drinker Moth caterpillar - waiting for some sunshine
Ruby Tiger caterpillar - off in search of some sunshine
Collemopsidium foveolatum - a lichen found on barnacle plates, would you believe!
Talking of barnacles....

Throw in a couple more lichens and bryophytes and my running tally stands at 440 species. I have samples in pots awaiting inspection, maybe I could bump it up a bit nearer to 450 by tomorrow. This time last year I'd just hit 400. 

Here's one from last week that I inadvertently missed off the list

Water Cricket Velia caprai in a pool by the river

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Dalgey Bay - half way! (502)

Can't believe I'm half way there with no leaves on the trees yet and snowdrops still in full bloom!

Half way point last year was 26th of April so just over a month ahead of the previous pace. Across almost all groups I'm on the same or better tally, although lichens are a bit off the pace. This isn't unexpected because I had a lovely (and well surveyed) piece of coastal outcrop which provided most species. Bryophytes, algae and fungi have been star performers, with the first two exceeding last year's total early on and the latter already matching 2017's August tally. Coleoptera continue to underwhelm, but then I've had little from leaf litter and I haven't placed any pitfalls this year yet. A nice surprise was having three echinoderms on the list already (or at all).

59 species have been lifers - 13%. Last year's overall lifers ratio was about 25%  but some of that would have been routine coastal/marine species which I'm finding again this year as not new.

Before the numbers, here's a lovely Polytrichum juniperinum I found this morning while out for a stroll. Growing on an old rope at the sailing club!

Category Jan Feb Mar
alga 6 15 23
Protist other 0 0 0
slime mould 0 0 0
lichen 27 31 34
fungus 60 83 83
liverwort 9 9 9
moss 37 43 44
flowering plant 60 72 73
conifer 2 2 2
fern 3 3 4
cnidarian 0 1 5
mollusc 12 17 24
bryozoan 1 2 2
annelid 0 8 10
flatworm 1 1 1
harvestman 1 2 2
pseudoscorpion 0 0 0
spider 6 10 12
gall mite 0 0 0
Tick 0 0 0
millipede 6 7 7
centipede 4 5 5
crustacean 10 12 13
collembola 5 8 8
bristletail 0 1 1
odonata 0 0 0
dermaptera 0 1 1
orthoptera 0 0 0
hemiptera 4 5 6
coleoptera 8 13 14
diptera 15 24 25
lep-moth 4 8 10
lep-butterfly 0 0 0
hymenoptera 3 4 4
insect-other 0 0 0
tunicate 0 0 0
echinoderm 0 2 3
invert-other 0 1 2
fish 0 1 1
reptile 0 0 0
amphibian 0 0 0
bird 54 62 70
mammal 3 4 4
341 457 502

Monday, March 12, 2018

Dalgety Bay - Guillemots in the mist

A misty day and easterlies meant some Guillemots were feeding off the small harbour wall but still no gannets, no fulmar, no Little Auk, no LT Duck, no Phalaropes ... this wish list should be getting 2nd nature by now!

I have managed to get a few things and I surely have enough in the store cupboard to clearly leap the halfway point. a few things I thought were bankers turned out to be not what I thought, including my first slug dissection. Is it Deroceras reticulatum or D.agreste? Oh, it;s exciting ... oh, it looks like it's D.invadens. I think. That one to be referred but not clearly what I thought it was anyway.

At the third time of asking I found my favourite "ground" beetle, the arboreal Dromius quadromaculatus, with a session of head-torching. The usual things were on trunks but there are far less isopods and no isopod hunting spiders (so far). This square also seems to have no pill bugs, which makes me think the other square is more calcareous or something of that nature.

Anyway, I had hoped this lot would be enough to go over 500 but it's not! 499! It'll be today though unless something bizarre happens.

492 flowering plant Mercurialis perennis Dog's Mercury
493 coleoptera Dromius quadromaculatus A ground beetle
494 * annelid Eiseniella tetraedra An earthworm
495 mollusc Tandonia sowerbyi Sowerby's Keeled Slug
496 spider Nuctenea umbratica Walnut Orb-weaver
497 spider Zygiella x-notata A spider
498 lep-moth Agonopterix heracliana A micro moth
499 lep-moth Orthosia gothica Hebrew Character

Moths trickling in...

Nice to see just a few moths trickling in over the last couple of nights. Best has been another Mottled Grey, but Oak Beauty, Satellite, March Moth, Chestnut, Early Moth and Dotted Border have all put in appearances, along with another couple of Great Diving Beetles.

Up to 409 now, including three lifers from the garden (asterisked).

401 Eupsilia transversa Lepidoptera:moths The Satellite 10/03/2018
402 Biston strataria Lepidoptera:moths Oak Beauty 10/03/2018
403 * Paradelia intersecta Diptera Anthomyiidae 10/03/2018
404 Alsophila aescularia Lepidoptera:moths March Moth 10/03/2018
405 * Triphleba lugubris Diptera Phoridae 10/03/2018
406 * Cacopsylla melanoneura Hemipteroids Psylliade 10/03/2018
407 Emmelina monodactyla Lepidoptera:moths Common Plume 11/03/2018
408 Clubiona subtilis Arachnids Clubionidae 11/03/2018
409 Ganoderma australe Fungi Southern Bracket 11/03/2018

Saturday, March 10, 2018

400 up in Norfolk now...

Added a few more over the last couple of days, so have also reached the dizzy heights of 400 species. Still rather quiet here, and may well be so for the next few weeks. Here's a summary of my last few species:

388 Alcedo atthis Birds Kingfisher 08/03/2018
389 Hylemya nigrimana Diptera Anthomyid sp. 09/03/2018
390 Lyonetia clerkella Lepidoptera:moths Striped Bent-wing 09/03/2018
391 Copromyza stercoraria Diptera Sphaeroceridae 09/03/2018
392 Agriopis marginaria Lepidoptera:moths Dotted Border 09/03/2018
393 Andricus kollari Hymenoptera Oak Marble Gall 10/03/2018
394 Potamopyrgus antipodarum Molluscs Jenkin's Spire Shell 10/03/2018
395 Brachythecium rutabulum Bryophytes Rough-stalked Feather-moss 10/03/2018
396 Meligethes aeneus Coleoptera Pollen Beetle 10/03/2018
397 Coccinella septempunctata Coleoptera 7-spot Ladybird 10/03/2018
398 Ixodes ricinus Arachnids Deer/Sheep Tick 10/03/2018
399 Pollenia pediculata Diptera Calliphoridae 10/03/2018
400 Epuraea biguttata Coleoptera Nitidulidae 10/03/2018

I'm told by Phil Brighton that Hylemya nigrimana is the first for VC27 and almost the earliest ever date for this species, although I wouldn't be surprised if there are other Norfolk records which haven't yet reached the Anthomyid database.

Of the 400 species, no fewer than 322 have been from my garden.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Dalgety Bay - creeping towards half way

Well things have certainly slowed down a bit. After the excitement of last weekend I've been adding  species onto the list with a dropper, but at least they've been pretty interesting.

After browsing "Marine Fauna" I was flabbergasted at how many ubiquitous/frequent/common species I am supposedly missing and so I determined I was going to get at least one or two of them! So it was that I scored a new mollusc yesterday with the massive Onoba semicostata. This entailed picking up every rock and peering over my specs until I found it something.

Your browser settings may determine how many times life size this appears. They are 2x1 mm typically, and indeed mine were. There are a number of other such snails, and tiny crabs (and tiny everything). With so many of our fauna being very small I'm slowly adjusting to the fact that making my scan image much smaller is an important field skill. As is grilling every square mm of substrate.

I had a Jaera before but "Fish & Fish" wasn't particularly helpful. When I realised the Fauna had much more info I braved it and found that taking into account characters, habitat and distribution I could be fairly confident that these are Jaera albifrons.

Tricky situation today. From yesterday's tide I know that it will be very low at lunchtime today. It's also sunny. I need clones to catch flies and flip rocks. With a bit of luck I'll find flies on rocks, though I'll need several nets. I look more and more like Inspector Gadget.

479 * alga Cladophora rupestris A marine alga
480 * cnidarian Clytia hemisphaerica A hydroid
481 alga Polysiphonia fucoides A seaweed
482 lichen Collemopsidium foveolatum A lichen
483 mollusc Littorina obtusata Flat Periwinkle
484 * cnidarian Phialella quadrata A hydroid
485 * mollusc Onoba semicostata A marine snail
486 * crustacean Jaera albifrons A marine isopod

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Skye - 400th species, finally!

I say "finally", but actually 400 is a bloody fine tally for early March. If it wasn't for Ali's (frankly quite ridiculous) surge into the record breaker's book, I'd be very pleased with attaining 400 in March. 

Anyway, lovely weather today (no wind, no rain, no sleet, no snow, no midges - that's pretty much as good as it ever gets up here) so I took the day off work and hit the square big time. I added over 50 species today, Floating Sweet-grass Glyceria fluitans being a 1KSQ addition even for the BSBI. 

Doesn't come much sexier than this, huh? (umm...)
I found this wee sweetie sunning itself on a tree trunk. Coz yeah, we even had sunshine today!

Megabunus diadema (aka the Mascara Harvestman)
I managed a few bryophytes and lichens whilst checking the trees for 'proper' species (oh no I di'int!) 

Sticta canariensis with Mycobilimbia pilularis in the background
Sticta fuliginosa with a big, fat fingernail in the foreground
My fave shot of the day was of a rarely recorded bird for my square. I heard them calling, looked up, nailed them in the bins and only then reached for the camera. If nothing else, this shows that even Skye enjoys the blue stuff from time to time. Next lot due in May...

Rooks - not at all common over Uig, though you get them regularly in Portree (less than 20 miles away)
I won't add a full list, though I could maybe link to my 1KSQ 2018 Spreadsheet? Nah, you aren't really that interested! Total after today's efforts is 401 species with several more in pots on my desk. 

And I'm taking tomorrow off work too.....