Friday, 29 August 2014

On the fly

So I took this fly from Cullaloe which I now have figured out down to family at least. I wonder how many of the family look like this in general - I have a feeling there's a resemblance.

You can see from the face that it has a ptilinal suture, it has a bent vein 4, oblong antennae and it has also a thoracic suture - it's a calyptrate fly. This makes it one of Tachinidae; Rhinophoridae, Calliphoridae, Sarcohagidae, Anthomyidae, Muscidae, Faniidae and Scathophagidae. The second half of those are chopped off the list when you see it has Hynopleural bristles.

Lacking a strong post-scutellum, it isn't a Tachinid, and the lower squama doesn't diverge from the scutellum edge so it isn't a Rhinophorid. I wasn't sure if it might be a Callophorid but it seems the hair on the thorax doesn't meet the description of long and wavy and golden, which makes it a Sarcophagid. Looks about right. Wing pattern is right and the other members of the family are at home with that stripes and spots patterning too. 16 genera, 61 species at the time of the AIDGAP family key. Unless I find out there's an easy path I think I'll leave that one there for now!

Fungus 47 - Russula farinipes

Floury-foot Russula - what a cute litttle mushroom it is indeed. I think I don't have any photos from the field since I was pushed for time and already overwhelmed by samples of other things. It likes to live with deciduous trees, so in this case Beech will be its buddy.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Bugs and bees

Lest it appear that I am only looking at mushrooms, today's additions included Gorse Shieldbug and Honey Bee (which I have seen but not recorded previously) as well as a small bug called Eracanthus interruptus (see here). Quite a smart looking little thing, and since it's apparently "unmistakable" that's always good news!

Target in sight

So many targets already reached and now the target of 50 fungi seems to be comfortably in sight. 46th species of the year is the Brown Rollrim, Paxillus involutus, which has appeared on the verge next to the disabled parking bay. I already have a Russula I'm optimistic about and the final tally should be well above 50, even with my less than perfect ID rate (well, less than 75%. Well, less than ...)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Beech Milkcap

Another one unpicked last night - a species I may have recorded before actually - Lactarius blennius, my first milkcap of the year at Cullaloe. I only recently fond out that the milkcaps were related to the Russulas, something which is obvious when you see what their spores look like! (they also share structural features not common with other fungi, but the spores are very obvious)

spore at x1000

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


In early autumnal/late summer sunshine I headed for Cullaloe at lunchtime in hopes of snagging another species of hover to add to the list. I did, however, plan a detour into the woodland to increase my chances and to cast an eye over the woodland floor. Hovers? Well, there were some, but nothing new, and another nice Conops to keep the ball rolling. However, the woods were alive with fungi - I had to be selective about what I took as I am already two species 'in the hole' on fungus ID.

Beech Sickeners were everywhere, in their usual half chomped state. There was another Russula which is more of a tan brown, and it too was abundant. Beechwood knights were everywhere. Stump Puffballs were coming up - just an early outburst and not the profusion that will presumably come later on the upright trunk. There was also this richly-featured bolete with a saffron glaze and a lovely cracked cap. wish I had seen it in its prime!

Monday, 25 August 2014


On the down side it must have been raining over the weekend again I guess as the water is still too high for any wader appearance - complete disaster for the bird year list. A Stock Dove showed up on Friday which is at least something.

Angelica - insect magnet!

It will be years before I can identify everything one of these can attract in ten minutes! Also some interesting behaviour to note as to where things land and how they behave. It's a world in itself

Friday Hovers

A couple of nice hovers from a sunny Friday morning

Eristalis tenax

Sericomyia silentis and Episyrphus balteatus

Sericomyia silentis solo

Also present was this nice Conops quadrifasciatus:

Red admiral

Additions of late may have been a bit composed of something for the connoisseur. This isn't a new addition for the year, but it is the first one I've photographed - a nice collection of at least 3 Red Admirals were present on Friday 22nd. Devil's-bit Scabious is a fantastic flower for all sorts of insects!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The accidental dipterist

I seem to have wandered into flies ... took delivery of a lovely stereo zoom microscope last night and spent a good hour perusing some voucher specimens. Good times. Here's a shot (not from the microscope) of the new addition to the reserve, NT18, Fife and VC85 list from yesterday (there are probably records not on NBN of course. ..)

In additon to the great finds of this and the Conops yesterday I also keyed out Platycheirus scutatus (s.l - it was a female) from the same day. That takes me to 41 species for the year, with another Cheilosia which is of the variabilis group and therefore also new. If not this year, then next year my target will certainly be 50, as well as trying to record more good data on host etc.

Funny, I never really took to beetles, but I'm loving the flies!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Fife's First For Flies!

Checking out some Devils-bit Scabious at lunchtime when my eye was caught by a rather flashy hoverfly (I thought). Once in the net I knew I had it wrong, but it was an interesting beast anyway, so I potted it. On the same patch of DBS I then noticed a rather robust hover which I also potted.

It could turn out, as things stand, that these are both first for Fife! Conops quadrifasciatus (the first fly - a Conopid) seems to have no entries for VC85 in NBN and nor does the hover - Xanthandrus comtus

Time will tell. Both good records anyway!


Cold this morning - under 10 degrees. Yesterday was still a bit summery at least though, with this ladybird hanging around. On another fungal note I was delighted to take delivery of a 100x oil immerson lens for my microscope yesterday - see the Inocybe spores at x1000 - exciting times!

Last throes of summer?

Inocybe spores

Monday, 18 August 2014

Non fungus addition - hoorah! Hoverfly Chrysotoxum arcuatum

"Dropped in" to Cullaloe car park to check out the water mint, of which there is sadly only a small patch. First swept the hover Syritta pipiens from the flowers, but while doing so I caught the strap of my binoculars on the hand rail, snapping the strap and causing my bins to "drop in" to the water - Oh No! Fortunately there's so much vegetation that I was able to fish them out and check out a couple of overhead Ravens that were slowly drifting past south.

Syritta pipiens wasn't a new addition, of course, but Chrysotoxum arcuatum was - my first hover with porrect antennae, and probably my only one give the range of its congenitors. Pics to follow.

Blackening Waxcap

Water still too high for waders, and wind too much for hovers (bar a couple - episyrphus and Sericomyia silentis) it was down to fungi again to keep up the pace.This lovely Blackening Waxcap was picked up beside the path next to the paddock. It wasn't long before the cap and most of the gills had turned to a greyish black

Friday, 15 August 2014

Lord of the Flies

Best plant this yar so far for hovers and other diptera has to be Angelica.Haven't seen huge amounts of Water Mint, but that too is supposed to have mystical powers. Knapweed and Meadsweet continue to do reasonably though.

Birch Bolete

Another of the expected species has come up en masse at Cullaloe - Birch Bolete. Most booletes are edible, but somehow fending off the maggots and slugs doesn't make for a hearty appetite

Amazingly it turns out I haven't recorded Rhytisma acerinum yet either, so fungal records now at 39 for the year

Fungal foraging forging forward

Three new species for the year list added - Clustered Toughshank (Gymnopus confluens), Peniophorella praetermissa and Elder Whitewash (Hyphodontia sambuci). This takes the year list to 37, closing in on the target of 50. Probably I can think of 10 species off the top of my head that I fully expect to see, so the final tally should be comfortably over 50, fingers crossed

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Cortinarius species

Picked up a mushrrom the other night which I worked through yesterday. On discovering it was a Cortinarius I decided discretion was the better part of valour and backed away - too many species in that genera! Itm ay ultimately have been 'do-able' but life's too short


These ones are from Cullaloe - Common Puffballs which spring up beside the road every year. Also on the edge of the woods, but they're a bit harder to find/see there.

Looooooooooooooong legged harvestman

Not at Cullaloe, although I'll check the walls at lunchtime, there has been an emergence of the harvestman Dicranopalpus ramosus. Fantastic looking creatures. Apparently if you disturb them they go back to 'normal' harvestman mode when walking, although I didn't try it.
Dicranopalpus ramosus

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Fungal theme continues - Beech Knight, Tricholoma sciodes

With the rain that's been swamping everything the water levels are back up where they started so no wader action! On the other hand there's a surge in fungal fruiting with some Mycena captured and some Gymnopus sp. which I supposed was G.erythropus but which might not be. What is for sure is a lovely Beech Knight fungus which sadly seems mostly to have been chomped by something

Working data-sheet

Munched Beech Knight

Small selection

Blackening gill edges

Stipe fibrils

Pileus - lack of abundant clamps noted in the keys

Radially fibrillose silver-grey cap,

Quickie aqueduct section
From NBN this seems to be a species which has no VC85/Fife records: