Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Over the third

The lovely conidial stage of Botryobasidium aureum, which is in reality far more orange(gold) than my camera is prepared to give it credit for.

Botryobasidium aureum (conidial stage)
The Mycena below is the kind of thing you think you have no chance of identifying. It's the Dewdrop Bonnet and on its stipe it has tortuose cystidia. These hold onto water droplets and so are responsible for both its English and scientific names. I've already recorded it but it's a lovely thing.

Hemimycena tortuosa

Birch leaf specials - on a high proportion of birch leaves in the early part of the year, and poorly photographed here.

Birch leaf Gnomonia and Venturia

This globular springtail Dicyrtomina fusca was an interesting leaf litter/twig find in Crow Hill wood

Dicyrtomina fusca

The searched for but thus far missed Vertebrata lanosa, in typical epiphyte location

Better red and dead, Red Dead-nettle

326 * fungus Botryobasidium aureum A corticioid fungus
327 * collembola Dicyrtomina fusca A springtail
328 fungus Merismodes anomala A fungus
329 fungus Gnomonia alni-viridis a pyrenomycete
330 fungus Venturia ditricha a pyrenomycete
331 flowering plant Lamium purpureum Red Dead-nettle
332 flowering plant Reseda luteola Weld
333 alga Vertebrata lanosa A seaweed
334 moss Scleropodium purum Neat Feather-moss
335 moss Campylopus flexuosus Rusty Swan-neck Moss
336 flowering plant Trifolium repens White Clover
337 flowering plant Primula vulgaris Primrose
338 flowering plant Vicia sativa Common Vetch
339 fungus Cymadothea trifolii A fungus

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

A third of a thousand

Two days to go until January closes and on the way to a third of the 1000. An empty moth trap last night (no by-catch) on a cold and breezy evening.

I surpassed last year's millipede tally, which was the highlight of the evening.

One of the things I experienced yesterday was that whereas last year I could turn over most logs and stones on my square in a lunchtime, and I knew where they were, this square has a much greater collection of deadwood and stones both and so there's no way I can cover them all, even in one woodland. Bodes well for the rest of the year. This collection is from Ross Plantation.

Eutypella scoparia

310 flowering plant Lonicera periclymenum Honeysuckle
311 crustacean Philoscia muscorum Common Striped Woodlouse
312 fungus Tubaria furfuracea A mushroom
313 spider Kaestneria pullata A linyphiid spider
314 flowering plant Viola riviniana Common Dog-violet
315 millipede Brachysdesmus superus A millipede
316 fungus Exidia glandulosa A fungus
317 fungus Eutypella scoparia A fungus
318 fungus Hypoxylon multiforme A fungus
319 lichen Lecidella elaeochroma A lichen

Monday, 29 January 2018

NT1683 - over 300 species for 2018

A good weekend, especially for myriapods, took me comfortably over the 300 target for 2018 year list in NT1683. Partly this was a fortunate run of good luck and partly this was due to Seth setting a rip-roaring pace which encouraged me to try to keep up! It doesn't hurt that many of the species I met as new last year can be easily confirmed this year instead of labouring for hours over them.

The bryophyte total of last year (for NT1582) has already been passed. The myriapod total is now equalled and with some easily encountered species not listed yet I fully expect to beat that too. It took me until March to count this many fungi last year! Probably over the next three days I'll major on microfungi. Since my wife's away I'll focus on gathering material for those long nights in.

A bonus species not on the numbers below is Cryptocoryneum condensatum, a coelomycete found in Ross Plantation:

298 diptera Lonchoptera lutea A fly
299 coleoptera Nebria brevicollis A ground beetle
300 * spider Monocephalus fuscipes A linyphiid spider
301 mollusc Lauria cylindracea Common Chrysalis Snail
302 bird Columba livia Feral Pigeon
303 mollusc Lehmannia marginata Tree Slug
304 collembola Tomoceros longicornis A springtail
305 millipede Ommatoiulus sabulosus Striped Millipede
306 * millipede Cylindroiulus brittanicus A millipede
307 millipede Julus scandinavius A millipede
308 moss Platyhypnidium riparioides A moss

Friday, 26 January 2018

Myriopod magic

Another new millipide (to me) is the apparently common Ophyiulus pilosus, a male if which I pulled off the bottom of a rock near St.Bridget's. The little "hook" behind the head is a modified first pair of legs which enabled relatively easy identification

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Another centipede - Strigia maritima

From the same family as the previous one (Geophilidae) this species likes to live under rocks at the top of beaches - just above high tide. Dalgety Bay is ideal


Geophilus truncorum

With a maximum length of 12mm this very small centipede required good lenses to unlock. Found underneath a stone in Ross Plantation. It's less than 1mm wide. As the Myriopod group advice says, don't assume everything that's tiny is juvenile!

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Stegonosporium pyriforme - a coelomycete fungus on Sycamore bark

A coelomycete that likes Acers, growing on bark of trunk or branches.

Roadside tree

Stegonosporium on the trunk

massed conidia

E&E description

E&E figure

sheathing of conidia not illustrated

Monday, 22 January 2018

Gorse weevils

From gorse on the edge of the bay

Along with the abundant Micrambe ulicis that live on gorse, a pair of nice weevils also like it a lot -  Adrion regensteinense and Exapion ulicis.

Exapion ulicis

Andrion regensteinense

Monday, 15 January 2018

Filthy scum!

Nothing could be more delightful than coming across a fast running stream with a catchpoint full of filthy, frothy scum!

That is, when you have Ingold in your library...

Ingold treats the delightful creatures that are aquatic hyphomycetes and aquatic hyphomycete spores are nothing if not weird and wonderful. They grow on submerged leaves and release their spores downstream. These spores then get caught up in the bubbles of the scum and wait for me to scoop them into a pot and stick them under a microscope (that's what they're doing, right?). Do it quick, though, because if they settle on anything - like the bottom of the pot - they will start to grow and you won't get them under the lens. Best to put the bubbles straight onto the microscope slide. You can fix them by adding alcohol to the mix, which stops them from growing, but I haven't tried this. Here are some of these beauties...

Tetracladium setigerum - my fave, but not from this square

Alatospora acuminata - "flapping bird" - the most common

Tetracladium marchalianum - note family resemblace

Not sure yet, but we live in hope ...
Apart from that fun and frolics (two drops, half an hour, 5 species) the weekend went swimmingly with more exploration of the marshy, boggy wonder that is Ross Plantation and a good helping of routine birds finally getting on board.

One thing's for certain - I'm benefitting from last year's exercise as I can quickly check species that were new to me last year. Including this coastal Halorates reprobus I found under a rock at the edge of the bay.

So here we are at 242, and the last ten ...

232 fungus Xylaria polymorpha Dead Man's Fingers
233 lichen Lecanora chlarotera A lichen
234 moss Plagiothecium undulatum Waved Silk-moss
235 liverwort Pelia epiphylla Overleaf Pellia
236 coleoptera Leistus rufomarginatus A ground beetle
237 fungus Brachysporium masonii A hyphomycete
238 diptera Crumomyia nitida A lesser dung fly
239 diptera Thoracochaeta zosterae A lesser dung fly
240 bird Sturnus vulgaris Starling
241 lichen Candelariella vitellina A lichen
242 fungus Stereum gausapatum A fungus

Friday, 12 January 2018

Plantains plus

Lunchtime visit produces two species of Plantago, Barren Strawberry, Common Stork's-bill and Sea Slaters. Plus a couple of flies - first Brachycera of the year with Calliphora vicina at St.Bridget's and what looks like an Azelia from Crow Hill Wood.

Buck's Horn Plantain

Sea Plantain

Thursday, 11 January 2018

NT1683 - over 200 for 2018!

View to the distant yacht club at the other end of NT1683

Added few more species which are more or less routine to go over the 200 species mark for this year. With a fair list of mundane and relatively common birds still unrecorded things are ticking along relatively smoothly. I picked up three species of millipede yesterday but they just kill me. Two I couldn't identify and the other was a juvenile Polydesmus. No idea why I have such a hard time with them. I end up in couplets where I know both answers are nonsense. Maybe I need a different key.

Here are a couple of pics of things that I could identify.

Coleroa robertiani, very common on Herb Robert

Leaf mining Phytomyza chaerophylli larva

The starry Homolathecium sericeum - a common wall dweller

Equipment feature - a £2 craft box for mosses and small fungi and a pot for catching non-flying inverts courtesy of my local takeaway. Both invaluable!

I also just noticed that today's additions bring the bryophyte total up to the year total for 2017! Still a bit of fishing left in that pond though.

And some numbers ...
191 moss Homalothecium sericeum Silky Wall Feather-moss
192 moss Mnium hornum Swan's-neck Thyme-Moss
193 mollusc Aegopinella nitidula Smooth Glass Snail
194 diptera Phytomyza chaerophylli Cow parsley Leaf Miner
195 bird Carduelis carduelis Goldfinch
196 bird Fringilla coelebs  Chaffinch
197 bird Larus fuscus Lesser Black-backed Gull
198 bird Podiceps cristatus Great Crested Grebe
199 fern Asplenium ruta-muraria Wall-rue
200 moss Schistidium apocarpum Sessile Grimmia
201 bird Larus canus Common Gull

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Crab Salad

Still working through some weekend woodland material, but yesterday I spent lunchtime on the shore hoping for Little Auks and Long-tailed Ducks. I had neither but I did jam into Ringed Plovers, which I've only seen once before in the Bay in some 20 years. Tide was low so I did some boulder turning and wandered out into the bay to see what rock pools may be available. It's mostly sandy but there are some pools. Like my previous square the major rocks that have pools have little by way of rocks so I may have to make my own refuges to later find things in (traps?).

Find of the day was undoubtedly a new crab for me - the Long-clawed Porcelain Crab (Pisidia longicornis), which is apparently common in exactly such situations. My crab radar is set for too large, and this species has a max size of about 10mm. I probably overlooked it. This one was the worse for wear as I suspect I had damaged it while turning the rock.

A book I coveted for ages before caving in to desire

Another nice find from the weekend was Schistidium maritimum; a new moss for me. I knew of past records in the Bay but didn't know exactly where from. This is the first time I have ever measured a moss spore to confirm ID! (though I have checked liverwort spores on Fossombronia)

Red "boobs" of Schistidium and no hair points

spores 20-28u

One more that I wanted to share is a fly I found end of December but went back to re-record in January. It's a lovely dolichopodid, Liancalus virens, which wasn't previously recorded in Fife.

156 alga Hildenbrandia rubra An alga
157 lichen Verrucaria maura A lichen
158 lichen Verrucaria mucosa A lichen
159 moss Schistidium maritimum Seaside Grimmia
160 moss Ulota bruchii A moss
161 mollusc Anomia ephippium Saddle Oyster
162 mollusc Discus rotundatus Rounded Snail
163 mollusc Gibbula cineraria Grey Top Shell
164 mollusc Nucella lapillus Dog Whelk
165 mollusc Patella vulgata Common Limpet
166 bryozoan Membranipora membranacea Sea Mat
167 crustacean Austrominius modestus A barnacle
168 crustacean Carcinus maenas Green Shore Crab
169 crustacean Gammarus locusta A crustacean
170 crustacean Orchestia gammarellus Sand Hopper
171 crustacean Pisidia longicornis Long-clawed Porcelain Crab
172 coleoptera Philonthus decorus A rove beetle
173 bird Anas crecca Teal
174 bird Charadrius hiaticula Ringed Plover

Monday, 8 January 2018

2018 -NT1683 1000 species in a 1k square . Opening moves ...

It's been nice working some different habitat and it looks like I'll do slightly better on bryophytes this year. Last year was a very dull year in that respect. The wet area in ross Plantation especially offer hope of some very different fare and comparison between last year and this will be very revealing.

Cylindrobasidium laeve and its teardrop spores

Don't see that every day - Calathus rotundicollis toothed claw

Riccardia chamaedryfolia 

Fissidens taxifolius

Orthotrichum diaphanum - only one with white hairpoints

152 flowering plant Typha latifolia Bulrush
153 flowering plant Urtica dioica Common Nettle
154 bird Vanellus vanellus Lapwing
155 bird Turdus philomelos Song Thrush

2018 targets for NT1683:

Category 2018 Target
alga 2 15
protist other 0 0
slime mould 0 1
lichen 9 50
fungus 23 150
liverwort 8 10
moss 15 40
flowering plant 40 150
conifer 1 3
fern 2 3
cnidarian 0 2
mollusc 3 30
bryozoan 0 2
annelid 0 5
flatworm 1 1
harvestman 0 5
pseudoscorpion 0 1
spider 0 30
gall mite 0 2
Tick 0 1
millipede 0 5
centipede 1 3
crustacean 2 10
collembola 2 10
bristletails 0 1
odonata 0 1
dermaptera 0 1
orthoptera 0 0
hemiptera 1 25
coleoptera 1 50
diptera 5 200
lep-moth 1 150
lep-butterfly 0 5
hymenoptera 1 30
insect-other 0 5
tunicate 0 1
echinoderm 0 1
invert-other 0 1
fish 0 5
reptile 0 0
amphibian 0 1
bird 35 100
mammal 2 5
155 1111