Posts Tagged ‘Moths’

Latest Publications

September 28, 2017

The note written by myself and Seth concerning his discovery of Mitella ovalis (Bishop’s-cap) at Uig has now been published in BSBI News. It is available via a link here. My contribution to the October Raasay Community Newsletter concerns violets and pansies and will be available from the same page next week. Later: Now available.

Meanwhile here is a Small Wainscot from last night’s trap:

Moth 6 Small Wainscot

Small Wainscot

Caol Rona

September 3, 2017

We walked to the north end of Raasay on Friday – about 4 miles from Arnish.  The weather was good – that was why we chose Friday – and we had encounters with Red Deer, Common Dolphins and a flypast by a fine Golden Eagle.

Some plant recording refreshed records from NG65; ideally more should be done before the Atlas 2020 cut-off in two years’ time.

Curiously, there were quite a lot of Chevron moths flying, though these are not noted daytime fliers.  Also a fine Knot Grass caterpillar:

Moth Trap

August 27, 2017

Last night’s moth trap yielded 33 moths, not counting the two that got away, including this little micro, Depressaria badiella (“Brown Flat-body“):

Moth 19d

Depressaria badiella

and a Pine Carpet for which there are very few Skye/Raasay records:

The pectinated antennae of the male distinguish it from the Grey Pine Carpet. Thank you for i.d. Nigel!

Insect News

August 21, 2017

Following up yesterday’s Heather Flies on Fladday, some joined me today in the garden while I cut the grass. My “lawn” contains a wide variety of plant species, but not heather.

Three beetles drowned themselves in the paddling pool a few weeks ago and it is now clear that they are Brown Chafers (Serica brunnea), recorded previously on Raasay by Richard Moore.

A few weeks ago Nancy spotted a Cinnabar Moth at Arduish on Raasay – there are previous Raasay records from  Holoman House and Dun Caan, but it is surprisingly rare locally.

Flies I have caught in the past three months and recently determined by Murdo included the blowfly Calliphora subalpina, one of the rarer ones, though I had it once before here, four years ago. Also, Merodon equestris (Narcissus Bulb Fly) a hairy bumblebee mimic that I have had once before, and probably Panzeria laevigata, a rare tachanid that has been sent on to a tachanid expert.

Last night’s moth trap produced some pretty things such as

and this micro-moth was attracted enough to sit on the adjacent wall, if not to enter the moth trap:

Moth 11

Eudonia angustea (Narrow-winged Grey)

Moth Trap

July 23, 2017

Last night’s moth trap had some fine specimens:

Light Emerald

Light Emerald

Coxcomb Prominent

Coxcomb Prominent

and quite a few more.

Skye Botany Group’s July Excursion

July 4, 2017

We went to Tusdale (west of Eynort) yesterday and recorded 189 vascular plants and charophytes plus 119 bryophytes from tetrad NG32M for which there were no previous plant records.

Nitella flexilis sens. lat. (Smooth Stonewort) was new to the ten-kilometre square NG32. Just as we were running out of time we found an excellent gorge which could do with a revisit.

I accidentally left my camera in the car but Terry has sent loads of excellent images. Here are a few plants:

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and a few non-plants:

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Macleod’s Maidens and Beyond

June 30, 2017
Macleod's Maidens LR

Macleod’s Maidens

It is a fair old walk out to Macleod’s Maidens but Joanna and Julian were determined to get to tetrad NG23I which lies beyond this impressive group of sea stacks. Nick and I joined them on Thursday on what turned out to be the best weather of the week.

Previously there was a single record in the database for NG23I – Silene acaulis (Moss Campion) in 1990.  There was plenty of that:

Silene acaulis LR

Silene acaulis

but also we spotted nearly 50 specimens of Orobanche alba (Thyme Broomrape) and a few Carlina vulgaris (Carline Thistle):

Overall we recorded 132 taxa which was pretty good going given we could not get down to the shore and there is no woodland or body of fresh water.  Nick recorded over 80 bryophytes, which is unexciting but again pretty good considering the range of habitats.

On the way I spotted Juncus foliosus (Leafy Rush), a first for Skye, though known on Raasay, Rona and Rum.

Juncus foliosus

Juncus foliosus (Leafy Rush)

 

 

As well as broader leaves compared with J. bufonius (Toad Rush), J. foliosus has tepals with dark lines either side of the midrib.

It was a great day for insects, with many butterflies and moths

Chminey Sweepers

Chimney Sweepers on Trifolium repens

and I found the rust Melampsora lini growing on Linum catharticum (Fairy Flax).

Melampsora lini

Melampsora lini on Linum catharticum

There was also Nicrophorus vespilloides, the Sexton Beetle with black clubs on its antennae.

Nicrophorus vespilloides

Nicrophorus vespilloides – with added mites

On Friday morning Joanna and Julian joined me for a quick look at the tiny bit of land on Harlosh Point in NG24Q. We found 48 taxa in this tiny coastal strip including Carex distans (Distant Sedge), Cerastium diffusum (Sea Mouse-ear) and Galium verum (Lady’s Bedstraw).

Miscellany

June 27, 2017

Near East Suisnish on Raasay there is a little bit of land in NG5533. I chose not to record this separately for The Flora of Raasay. However, there is a slightly bigger area on the Moll peninsula of Skye that falls in the same tetrad and that is a different habitat, making a visit to the Raasay bit worthwhile in order to achieve a more complete picture of the tetrad. On Sunday I went to NG5535 and added 21 taxa to the tetrad. I also had a look in early April when I added five.

New things this time included Acaena inermis (Spineless Acaena), well-known nearby, and the always-nice-to-see Pinguicula lusitanica (Pale Butterwort).

I have found a lot of different rusts and leaf-mines recently but they do not generally make for interesting images.  However, the moth trap yielded 15 moths of 12 species the other night.

Nearby this ichneumon was on the wall, perhaps attracted by the light.

Ophionid parasitic wasp 1 LR

The moth trap had also attracted large numbers of non-biting midges and yesterday the garden was full of insects including Red Admirals and this Yarrow Plume Moth:

Yarrow Plume

Yarrow Plume

Curiously there are Flame Carpets everywhere at the moment but none ventured into the trap – or if they did, they got out again.

A Week on Muck

June 18, 2017

I have just spent a rather wet and windy week on Muck with the Inverness Botany Group. I decided to record on a monad (1 km square) basis as there are only 13 and none has 100% land. However, it spreads over four 10km squares, three of which have no other land in VC 104. We made over 1,800 records and as well as re-finding old records of many species, we added Carex extensa (Long-bracted Sedge), Carex limosa (Bog-sedge), Carlina vulgaris (Carline Thistle) and Valeriana officinalis (Common Valerian) to the Muck list.

Fumaria bastardii (Tall Ramping-fumitory), distinguished by its large flowers but small stipules, was a good find with only two previous sites (on Muck and Eigg) in VC104 and no record since 1999.

Fumaria bastardii Muck

Fumaria bastardii (Tall Ramping-fumitory)

Some Myriophyllum in  brackish pools led me to hope for M. spicatum for which there are no accepted records for VC 104, as this is the habitat in which it is found on Coll and Tiree and the Outer Isles.

However, the inflorescence being <3cm and the tip drooping in bud plus the basal whorl of flowers being in leaf-like pinnatisect bracts then others in pectinate bracts, tells me that it is the locally frequent M. alterniflorum.

Muck Myriophyllum 3

We also recorded a number of insects, mammals…..

The Belted Beauty has yet to be recorded on Skye.

Also fungi, some of which are awaiting identification….

Later: Bruce tells me the fungus on Silene flos-cuculi is Septoria lychnidis, or as NBN has it Caryophylloseptoria lychnidis, and that it is found on other members of the genus too.

More from Skye’s East Coast

June 8, 2017

The day before last Saturday’s Skye Botany Group outing, Ro went up Ben Tianavaig and added 45 taxa to the tetrad. I had been there at the beginning of April 2013 – see here and here hoping to re-find Saxifraga oppositifolia (Purple Saxifrage) and Dryas octopetala (Mountain Avens). I succeeded in the first but failed in the second. Ro also failed to find Dryas – maybe it has been lost in a rockfall. However, she did find a single plant of Arabidopsis petraea (Northern Rock-cress), previously recorded from this tetrad in 1967 by John & Hilary Birks.

Arabis petraea Ro Ben Tianavaig

Arabidopsis petraea Photo: R Scott

Yesterday, I visited the bits I failed to get to last week, NG54J and NG55F. They now have 105 and 135 taxa recorded respectively, and I added a few to NG55A and B while passing through. There was lots of Equisetum telmateia (Great Horsetail), Eupatorium cannabinum (Hemp-agrimony) and Hypericum tetrapterum (Square-stalked St John’s-wort) all of which have limited and essentially coastal distributions on Skye.

Some of the trees were covered in lichens and bryophytes. like this Goat Willow:

Salix caprea epiphytes

Salix caprea – epiphytic flora

Not that I am getting seriously into micromoths but I managed two yesterday that have been confirmed by Keith and Nigel:

The given vernacular names are Nettle Tap and Plain Gold.

This rust on Hypochaeris radicata (Cat’s-ear) is Puccinia hieracii var. hypochaeridis:

Coincidentally Steve sent me this image from Suisnish which is of a similar thing on Pilosella officinarum (Mouse-ear-hawkweed), Puccinia hieracii var. piloselloidarum:

Puccinia hieracii var. piloselloidarum

He also sent me a picture of Botrychium lunaria (Moonwort) that appears to have a fungus on it but that has yet to be identified:
IMG_3780a