Thursday, 16 November 2017

Dixa nebulosa, 15/11/2017

Species: Dixa nebulosa, male
Location: Cullaloe LNR
Gridref: NT1887
Date: 15/11/2017
Notes: On wooden deck beside filter beds

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Update 09/11/2017

Another new fly ID'd last night was Thricops diaphanus, two females of which were taken on the previous muscid outing (22/10?).

Lunchtime visit revealed a Lycoperdon molle beside the spillway, but also that a major branch has come down in the woods. Photos of both below. The branch falling means another route has to be taken into the woods. It's heavy!

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Calypterates continued

Morellia simplex added to the previous list

White sign attracts flies!

Calypterate catnip

Morellia simplex

Morellia simplex

Monday, 23 October 2017

Sunny calypterates

An hour spent catching flies from the sunlit wood of the hide was well rewarded with a number of calypterate additions as well as some old friends. What looks like Polietes hirticrus would be new for the county, though the RES handbook notes it as common in Scotland. "Biology of Muscidae"notes it as easier to find as larva in cow dung where it is a predator of Mesembrina larvae. It has a discontinuous distribution in the Palearctic with Britain isolated in against an eastern range.

Delia platura from the information board was also new to the reserve

Eudasyphora cyanella

Eudasyphora cyanella

Phanoia valida

P.hirticrus with yellow calyters and dark haltere

Delia platura

Monday, 10 April 2017

Moth trapping, 07/04/2017

A rare visit to Cullaloe this year for the first of two "public" moth trapping events. A good time to visit as April has been underdone moth-wise. As a result three new additions on the moth front and one new wasp, in addition to a spider that wasn't recorded for 15 years.

Three traps were run, each adding one species to the list. Small Quakers were numerous at the pines while a second MV at the spillway produced one Twin-spotted Quaker. The third addition came from an actinic heath trap at the filter beds - Double-striped Pug. Only 7 species of moth were found on the night so that's a pretty good hit rate!

Also at the pines were two Ophion obscuratus wasps. A female wolf spider - Trochosa terricola - was caught pathside as its eyes reflected the torchlight.

Small Quaker

Monday, 19 December 2016

2016 - top ten

My favourite species encountered this year - not all are rare, but maybe my first or maybe the circumstance makes them special

10. Geastrum triplex
The most common of the earthstars in Britain, these are included because they are my first and because, amazingly, I found them 2 metres behind the fence of my new house after looking forward to seeing some (any earthstar) for a while.

9. Hydrophorus nebulosus
Not recorded in the Lothians for 100 years and last recorded by Percy Grimshaw, I spotted this pair on the mud from the boardwalk over Red Moss SWT reserve and was delighted when I managed to pot them. Even more delighted for them to go and live in NMS with so much of Percy's other material.

8. Triarthria setipennis
Not a particularly special species but this is the first fly I raised from a found pupa (in a Typha stem). I only had to wait three weeks but looking back it seemed like much longer!

7. Deporaus betulae
This one was a first for county, but I had to wait a while to see the fantastic curled leaves that makes this one so nice. When it happened the birches in the whole area looked like they had Xmas decorations.

6. Birch sawfly (Cimbex femoratus)
Looking down from the side of the path and seeing this clinging to a grass stem is a slightly Dr.Who experience. It is a BEAST. And also a sawfly I can identify. I still have the image of its jaws opening and closing on my retinas.

5. Coeliodinus nigritarsis
This should probably be higher, and maybe would be if it had any back story. Because of the lack of that I don't really have strong feelings about it, even though it may turn out to be a first for Scotland. It was the first weevil I checked out using Duff, although I couldn't make my mind up between this and "the other" Coeliodinus (rubicundus) and eventually it was determined by someone else. I wonder if I will love it more with hindsight. It is a beautiful and tiny thing, though.(edit: not 1st, but one of less than ten records)

 4. Phebellia glauca
A fly which gave me the runaround for quite some time before I tentatively identified it. I visited NMS to try to confirm it (and hand over some other material to safer hands than mine) and got to take a tour and play with some lovely expensive optics. On top of that the determination turned out to be correct so a good experience all round. Roll on the day I have the time to make more regular visits.

3. Paracraspedothrix montivaga
The fly of the year for me, probably. After some trouble keying it out (got to right place but it wasn't in the key!) and some assistance nudging me towards the new draft Tachinidae key, I found this in three separate locations. I missed the first for Scotland, which was slightly disappointing, but the three records show presumably not only a much expanded range from that previously recorded but maybe also a decent distribution in SE Scotland.

2. Abrothallus prodiens
This lichenicolous fungus in the Lothians was a nice chance find which was the furthest south in Britain and the only British record outside of the Scottish Highlands. It also gave me an excuse to write a small article for the BLS bulletin. Found on the same day as #9 so that was a good day!

1. Yellow-ringed Carpet (Entephria flavicinctata)
While down a gulley on the Isle of Mull looking for bryophytes I encountered a moth on the rock face which I was able to net (everybody takes nets to look at bryophytes, right?) and confirm. An ironic one, because we ended up staying in a hotel so I hadn't taken a moth trap. I might have better records this year but somehow this one sticks out for me.