Wednesday, 23 April 2014


I've already picked up about 100 pieces of litter just from the car park. This is what the woods looks like where they fish for who-knows-what on the back pond. Thanks.

iRecord taxon breakdown

I have now revised my targets thanks to a handy taxon breakdown in iRecord. It looks like this:

Taxon Group Recs Taxa Target % targ
amphibian 2 2 3 67
bird 76 68 90 76
centipede 1 1 1 100
conifer 1 1 1 100
crustacean 2 2 2 100
fern 1 1 3 33
flowering plant 76 65 200 33
fungus 26 23 50 46
horsetail 2 2 2 100
insect - Coleoptera 2 2 5 40
insect - butterfly 5 3 15 20
insect - moth 0 0 70 0
insect - Hymenoptera 3 3 10 30
insect - Hemiptera 2 2 5 40
insect - Diptera 9 7 15 47
lichen 3 3 5 60
liverwort 19 13 5 260
millipede 2 2 5 40
mollusc 3 3 5 60
moss 98 67 45 149
spider (Araneae) 3 2 10 20
terr. mammal 3 1 5 20

273 552

The synopsis of that, with target as 500:

31/12/2014 end yr
23/04/2014 today
252 days left
227 spp left
0.90 spp/day


A few species added in recent days. Confirmed the hoveerfly Platycheirus albimanus from the leg diagram in Falk and Stubbs (but forgot my camera, so no images today!). Also added a cherry tree but not to species. From the 16th so it moved everything up one.

Here's a recap.

No Preferred Name Common Name Date
273 Potentilla anserina Silverweed 22/04/2014
272 Aglais urticae Small Tortoiseshell 21/04/2014
271 Dactylorhiza fuchsii Common Spotted-orchid 21/04/2014
270 Equisetum fluviatile Water Horsetail 21/04/2014
269 Glyceria fluitans Floating Sweet-grass 21/04/2014
268 Luzula campestris Field Wood-rush 21/04/2014
267 Platycheirus albimanus a hoverfly 21/04/2014
266 Ribes sanguineum Flowering Currant 21/04/2014
265 Syrphus torvus a hoverfly 21/04/2014
264 Vicia cracca Tufted Vetch 21/04/2014

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Silverweed and Common Spotted Orchid

Should be in full flow when I get back from holiday

Melangyna now confirmed

Stubbs and Falk keying

1. Humeri bare - Syrphinae
14. Face yellow @ sides
15. Not Paragini

Syrphinae - p.81

S1. Thoracic pleura no yellow markings
S5. Squama
S6. R4+5 gently dpped only
(S9). Eyes only slightly hairy
S15. Not E.balteatus
S16. Hairs pale
S17. Tergites 3-4 markings equal
S18. Tergites 3-4 spots
S23,S24,S25 Face knob dark
S26 Spots not terminating in upper corners
Melangyna lasiophthalma!

Easter Weekend

No eggs, but a brood of Mallard chicks was being led through the shadows at the edge of the pond.

On Friday I managed to snag a hover which I believe to be Melangyna lasiophthalma.

Singing Siskin below the pines and feeding on Salix catkins

Easter Monday was the most productive day with a number of vascular plants added and a couple of hovers snagged. Eristalis pertinax were active in wind-sheltered spots. Another Cheliosia fraterna was also captured. A Syrphus was picked up for a final identification but not done yet and another small hover is refusing to be keyed out so far. Hopefully a night in shining armour will come to the rescue on that one.

The 'flower meadow' is now covered with Field Wood-rush, and many other things become apparent when you get down closer to the ground, including emergent Tufted Vetch and some orchid leaves.

Field Wood-rush

Friday, 18 April 2014

It's a lot less bovver wiv an 'ovver

Eristalis pertinax sunning itself at lunchtime. you can't see the yellowish tarsi on the front two pairs of legs, but they're there. 'Onest guvv.

Diary 17th-22nd April

17th April

Picked up a couple of corticioid fungi for a meet in Edinburghand they came out as Hypholoma definitum and Paniophora lycii. The first Blackcap of the year was singing and a hoverfly caught was identified as Cheilosia fraterna.

18th April
A morning visit recorded Hogweed, with leaves cropping up everywhere. Also King Cup/Marsh Marigold is in flower on the burn below the old pumping station. Lunchtime saw Swallow and hoverfly Eristalis pertinax making the list.

Totals so far looking good, especially in  fungi, which is probably way ahead of schedule. Invert other is doing Ok for mid-April, and vascular plants are ticking along nicely.

2014 2014 Target % of
Target Actual left target
Birds 90 68 22 75
Vert other 5 3 2 60
Lepidoptera 75 2 73 2
Invert other 50 21 31 41
Vascular 200 60 140 30
Bryophytes 50 80 -30 160
Fungi 50 23 27 46
Lichens 5 4 1 80
525 259 266 49

19-21 April - Easter weekend
A sunny and dry weekend which was quite productive in terms of inverts and vascular plants

No Preferred Name Common Name Date
268 Glyceria fluitans Floating Sweet-grass 21/04/2014
267 Luzula campestris Field Wood-rush 21/04/2014
266 Ribes sanguineum Flowering Currant 21/04/2014
265 Vicia cracca Tufted Vetch 21/04/2014
264 Equisetum fluviatile Water Horsetail 21/04/2014
263 Aglais urticae Small Tortoiseshell 21/04/2014
262 Melangyna lasiophthalma a hoverfly 19/04/2014

... and Peniophora lycii

From another piece of dead wood in the woodland

And from mycobank again:

From the sublime to the ridiculous - Hyphoderma definitum

After posting a mammal I went to an evening of microscopy with some fungus-bothering friends and we keyed out this rather splendid Hyphoderma definitium. Found on the underside of rotting wood ("corticioid country") this nice soft material was a pleasure to work with. It gets more beautiful the closer you look. Nice chubby sausage spores, oil bodies everywhere, lanky basidia and cystidia that look like they'll club you in the face.



Spores close-up

Oily basidium

The cystidium that ate Manhattan

Stolen from mycobank, a species page I think which belongs to "Corticiacae of Northern Europe"

Thursday, 17 April 2014


Just in from Alex Erskine - a Stoat that he photographed yesterday while I was about 20m behind trying to catch hoverflies!

Hoverfly ID, Key question 1

Is it a hoverfly? Does it have a Vena spuria? Yes! Here it is:

Next question later ...

Quickie Blackcap

Just a quickie his morning - a Blackcap singing in the usual area for a Blackcap to be singing, in the area between the two ponds (adjusted for hoverfly ID)

253 Rhizocarpon sp. a lichen 16/04/2014
254 Haematopus ostralegus Oystercatcher 16/04/2014
255 Cheilosia fraterna a hoverfly 16/04/2014
256 Sylvia atricapilla Blackcap 17/04/2014

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Boxing Day Marsh Harrier

Just received some nice pics courtesy of Alex Erskine of the Marsh Harrier which was present at Cullaloe over the festive period - a noteworthy record. These shots were from Boxing Day

Plug (and aide memoire) for Turkish botanical artist isik Guner

Don't stay here. Go there:

Awesome work
A lightning tour of Cullaloe this morning added Oystercatcher and a Lichen Rhizocarpon sp. (gleaned from Philips book on Grasses, Ferns, Mosses, Lichens). I have recorded to genus only because I have some doubt over which it is. I have a tree in bloom also, which I think may be apple, but I will have to do some keying to feel more sue about it. It feels like the kind of thing you could easily get wrong.

Three pairs of Tufties were dotted around the pond. I also finally added a pic of a magpie for the bird gallery. No idea why I didn't have one in there. Total species photographed is now about 340, although I haven't checked the totals for a while. Could be more.

Inverkeithing had Swallows and Blackcaps this morning, so they will be on the list shortly no doubt.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Green-veined white

First Green-veined White of the year at sunny Cullaloe this lunchtime. I also just discovered that a plant I've been contemplating is Garlic Mustard. Ironic combination given I was hoping for my first Orange Tip today!

Grey Wag pair

Beautiful clear blue morning with frost on the leaves. Not much sign of migrants though, with a couple of Mipits and a Sand Martin the only real contenders. A pair of Grey Wagtails were feeding on the spillway - real contenders for most beautiful species (with apologies to Swallow-tailed Kite, which is the most beautiful!)

None of my photo attempts did justice to that Wagtail. There was also a not bad looking, at least charismatic, bird in the shape of Reed Bunting

Monday, 14 April 2014

Spiders again

Caught a couple of spiders on the reserve - one by accident while trying to net a bee! It turned out to be a male of the previously found Metellina mengei. You can see the dark band in front of the fold here on the male too. Hope I posted the female previously or that will make no sense!

And here's the detail with the picture from Roberts' spider book showing the structure of the adult male palp.

The other spider was an immature male - swollen palps but no structure. From the eye formation it seems to be in the family Lycosidae, genus Pardosa. For some prey this would be the last thing they ever saw!

Friday, 11 April 2014

Large Red-tailed Bumblee - sounds about right!

248 Bombus lapidarius Large Red Tailed Bumble Bee 11/04/2014

Yellow Dung Fly, Scathophaga stercoria

Quite a nice looking fly, showing on 1 in 10 daisies along the path at the moment. Doing a pretty valuable job too!

Yellow Dung Fly, Scathophaga stercoria

Diary 10th-16th April

More spring signs with emerging plants and inverts and a couple of birdy arrivals.

244 Anthocoris nemorum Common Flower Bug 10/04/2014
245 Phylloscopus trochilus Willow Warbler 11/04/2014
246 Riparia riparia Sand Martin 11/04/2014

15th April
So, the middle of April and a couple of additions have taken us to 250. Not quite though as a spider of Pardosa sp. (wolf spider) isn't down to species level. There may be another like that, but it's close enough to half way.

249 Hypoxylon fragiforme Beech Woodwart 11/04/2014
250 Pardosa sp. A wolf spider 11/04/2014

A sunny start to this morning saw frosty leaves but warming quickly. A spider which attached itself to my face in the woodland will be keyed out later, and hopefully there can be some butter/hoverfly action at lunchtime (there was - one GVW!)

251 Pieris napi Green-veined White 15/04/2014
252 Alliaria petiolata Garlic Mustard 15/04/2014

Back pond looking happier

Anemones abound

Even the path is drying out

Barren Strawbs flowering everywhere

Willow Warbler return!

Hooray! Heard the sweet, descending call this morning, but only one that I could detect. It did finally give itself up to the lens on a day when I happily decided to take the zoom out to play. A Sand Martin also showed up, but evaded photography by flying over.

Some other signs of spring here in the sticky buds of Horse Chestnut:

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Caught me a bug (Anthocoris nemorum)

A true bug, not a generic sort. Damned if I can find out what it is though. The lovely gallery over at British Bugs is a nice browse but I've missed it if it's there - not surprising if you ever saw me trying to find stuff at the supermarket. I have put out a general alert to the super-mind that is the PSL* facebook page. Fingers crossed.

* Pan-species Listers

Wow - about five minutes. That's  how long it took, and as expected it really was on british bugs at here

More micro pics showing other features, e.g. black pronotum, orange legs

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Equisetum arvense, Field Horsetail

Proving that to be bizarre you don't have to also be rare - the Field Horsetail

Wood Anemone

Appeared on the banking in last couple of days. some on top, but many on the south facing part. This species was not on the reserve's list as I have it.

Wood anemone, Anemone nemorosa