Friday, 30 May 2014

Butterfly Friday

Did my butterfly transect today, disturbing this little Small Copper from its sunning on the path

Silver-ground Carpet and Common Carpet were again to be seen on the walk as well as a couple of already seen micros.

I'll have to have a closer look at ID on this orchid. Has a long lower lobe, but I'm not even sure of my terminology for describing orchids

Moth-y day

To complete a mothy 24 hours I put the trap out last night. Returns were pitiful, although the two moths (not two species - two moths!) which I managed to catch were at least nice - Poplar Hawk-moth and Clouded Border.

I caught another two on the way to and from the car, so half my catch could have been done without trapping. One of the ones netted was a Rivulet, but the other in the bottom I haven't ID'd yet. Don't be afraid to shout out the answer! (Common Wave, thanks to Bill's Birding)

Incidental moths

Unexpected at lunchtime, but a couple of moths hanging around yesterday (29th) in the spillway.The first is a Silver-ground Carpet and the second a Common Carpet. Also picked up was a micro, Crambus lathoniellus

Thursday, 29 May 2014

More flowers

(Moth pictures posted earlier withdrawn for verification!)

First Ragged Robin of the year found today in the spillway, along with flowering Water Cress. Holly was also in flower - something I don't ever remember seeing before, though it surely happens!

Flowering forward

Another one I forgot to add to the list from yesterday's vascular finds was Oxeye Daisy, which has finally begun to flower.

Also while tracking down Bush Vetch in Rose I noticed that while Common Vetch (Vicia sativa) is an annual Bush Vetch (Vicia sepium) is a perennial. It does look different, with a more muted purplish flower rather than the garish pink of V.sativa. Structurally the noteworthy point for keying is that the lower calyx is extended in V.sepium. With yesterday's haul I scooped 20% of my remaining target for vascular plants, and I'm still contemplating the possibility that the target of 500 is achievable within the first six months. It will be interesting to see what I end up with.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Diary 28 May - 3rd June

28th May - Fungal foray continues
Since the weather was overcast and I still forgot to bring a net anyway I decided to do a round of the woods to see if anything fungal had popped up. I managed to locate a little crop of Sulphur Tuft, and the rust on Meadowsweet that I had just last night looked up from my Dumfries and Galloway trip, as well as another which went into the box for later determination. As I returned to the car I noticed a soldier beetle with black elytrae. I failed to get a decent photo, but it looks like they're not so easy to determine to species anyway, so I'm not at all upset that I missed it. Once the umbellifers are out I'm sure I'll have another shot at some if I want.

350 Triphragmium ulmariae A rust on Meadowsweet veins 28/05/2014
349 Hypholoma fasciculare var. fasciculare Sulphur Tuft 28/05/2014

Hypholoma fasciculare

Triphragmium ulmariae

Tubaria furfuracea again?
29th May
Last night added a couple more from yesterday's vascular plant roundup. Also got a couple of moth IDs in from DD for earlier in the month, so those will push the numbers up of everything. A monster day saw 10 spp. added to the totals, with one moth, one hoverfly, one fungus and one flower species still with ID outstanding. Moths were added literally morning, noon and night!

Lychnis flos-cuculi Ragged-Robin 29/05/2014
Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum Water-cress 29/05/2014
Trifolium pratense Red Clover 29/05/2014
Vicia sepium Bush Vetch 29/05/2014
Enallagma cyathigerum Common Blue Damselfly 29/05/2014
Crambus lathoniellus Hook-streak Grass-veneer 29/05/2014
Lomaspilis marginata Clouded Border 29/05/2014
Perizoma affinitata Rivulet 29/05/2014
Xanthorhoe fluctuata Garden Carpet 29/05/2014
Xanthorhoe montanata Silver-ground Carpet 29/05/2014

Gymnopus finally unlocked

Last thing before I went yomping around hills looking for bryophytes I finally managed (I hope) to resolve the identity of a fungus I picked up while moth trapping last week - Gymnopilus dryophilus/Collybia dryophila - Russet Toughshank. I hope anyway. I will put it out for consultation to see if this ID flies or gets shot down. Still lots to learn about fungus ID. (edit: thumbs up! phew)


The fruit body, c.7x5.5cm on grass beside willows

Spores - white and quite little, c.6x3.5um, inamyloid


Coralloid cystidia

More coralloid cystidia

Basidium with 4 sterigmata

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Back to Cullaloe

After a long weekend surveying bryophytes in VC72 (link), it's back to business at Cullaloe with Small Copper butterfly and Marsh Thistle. There was also a damsel fly of some sort but I couldn't get close enough to it and without net or pots it escaped identification. It will take me a day to restore my normal pattern of field tools apparently!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Cygnets and Snipe-flies

Made an effort to snap the family portrait of the Mute Swans this morning, and there they were dabbling around in a summer morning idyll

A Downlooker Snipe-fly was very obligingly looking down near the car park

And another obliging species was Whitethroat, of which there are a few in their traditional positions (on edges - Hawthorn especially). Warblers seem to be quite numerous this year, except perhaps Willow Warbler, which are far less numerous than they used to be I'm sure.

On the recording front Aspen, Broad-leaved Dock, Thyme-leaved Speedwell, Cock's-foot, Changing Forget-me-not and House Martin were the latest additions over the last 24 hours, and I'm slowly wrestling a Gymnopus species of mushroom to the ground.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Key stupidity continued

My favourite piece of key stpidity so far. Roger's Mushrooms, which is the online Philips, is a nice website, but this key cracked me up ...

This is part of the KEY. I'm not sure whether in order to establish the identity you should eat the mushroom or whether you should feed it to somebody you're not that keen on to watch the results.

"How's the omelette? Tasty?"
"How are you feeling? Bit woozy? Seeing anything peculiar? Hello! Hello!!"
"Yes! I knew it was a Death Cap all along!!"

What are people thinking when they are making these keys? I can't get my head around it to be honest.

Diary 21-27 May

21st May
The Vascular plant ball keeps rolling along with the additon of 5 vascular plants -

337 Hydrocotyle vulgaris Marsh Pennywort 21/05/2014
336 Listera ovata Common Twayblade 21/05/2014
335 Lotus Bird's-Foot-Trefoil 21/05/2014
334 Medicago lupulina Black Medick 21/05/2014
333 Sorbus aucuparia Rowan 21/05/2014

22nd May
Aspen added to the list. Maybe there are other species I deliberately didn't add earlier in the year. I'll have to check. I may be missing other equally obvious species (like yesterday's Rowan). The reserve is looking green all over now,and I will have to also visit some of the remoter corners to cover odd individual plants (and fungi) that hide in secluded spits, like the Flowering Currant I found hidden away in cpt 2. I'd like to track down a Marsh Violet, and also extend the search for pond-edge plants I'm sure to be missing.

With 338 species in the bag, the new targets, with some allowance for some of the list that may be reviewed (deleted!) or are only identified to genus, the targets now look like this:

Bird 18

Vascular plant 46
Fungus 26

Lepidoptera 70
Diptera 5

Invert other 5

Total 170

Aspen added, photo milestone

Added Aspen to the list this morning, having realised I didn't record it yet. Also added picture of Black Medick to the gallery. I see now from my records that I have photographed over 400 species from the reserve. With the current total running at 921 species it's almost half, and as each species is now photographed when found it probably will be half by the end of the year. The good thing about photography is that it means I can put the pictures out into the world and it has the twin benefit of making the record more 'secure' while opening it up to scrutiny by people who know better than me. Throwing records on the pile is good. Removing bad records from the pile is equally, if not more, valuable.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


Potentilla anserina

Can't believe I didn't record it this year (I did - entered wrong name in iRecord). Was I waiting for it to flower? Been making up a good percentage of the greenery around the place for months now. On a yellow flower theme I also added Bird's-foot Trefoil and Black Medick which are now beginning to flower. Tormentil is also starting to show up in more and more places. Soon the 'meadow' will be a riot of flowers and insect buzzing!

The Swans have emerged! I thought that a lonely male was milling around pining for a mate but apparently she was there hiding all the time. 5 cygnets out today, but no long lens to capture their debut.

Bat follow-up

Based on discussion re: bat identification with people who know better (i.e. almost everybody), I have removed both bat species records from the list. It's much more complicated than I had imagined/been led to believe.

Hopefully in time I can get them properly, but not now.

On another review I discovered the identity of a plant I found - Common Twayblade. Looking forward to photographing that one when it's all grown up

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Bat 18/05

Just remembered I didn't upload bat calls recorded on the 18th. Ranged up and down a bit around 20 kHz. I had thought they were Daubenton's but I'm a newbie and it seems this frequency is too low for Daubenton's


2/3 of the way there!

333 species up today, with a couple of them only identified to genus, but in the ball park anyway. One of the highlights of the year so far was turning over an egg carton this morning to find this beauty - a Poplar Hawk-moth

This is the first time I've ever seen one. It's the first time I've ever seen Brown Silver-line too, but it didn't pack quite the same impact!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Pics - insects - Hoverflies

Cheilosia albitarsis s.l.


Cheilosia grossa


Cheilosia fraterna


Chrysogaster solstitialis


Episyrphus balteatus, Marmalade Hoverfly

Eupeodes luniger


Eristalis pertinax


Helophilus pendulus


Leucozona leucorum


Melangyna lasiophthalma


Melanostoma scalare


Rhingia campestris


Syrphus ribesii