Tuesday, 7 February 2017

300 for the square

Spent this morning wandering the square instead of working (my boss is cool with flexi-hours... honest...) and found a couple of lifers in the process. First was the rather swanky looking moss Dicranium rufescens hiding in a clod of liverwort that I peeled off an earthen bank (Calypogeia fissa once again), followed by this Shrek-coloured stunner which turned out to be Peltigera leucophlebia. Excellent, that's one you won't see down in the south! 

Network of veins on the underside differentiate this from the similar P.britannica
Turning rocks and boulders is a great passion of mine. Today I added the flatworm Microplana terrestris, the Worm Slug Boettgerilla pallens, my first Geophilus insculptus of the year (which is the second record of this centipede from Skye following the one I found last year!) and a female millipede which, after a check of its naughty bits, keyed through to Ophyiulus pilosus.

Female Ophyiulus pilosus with her modesty intact
Caught here flashing her naughty bits to the camera!
New plants for the year (and indeed NG3963) included Tormentil, Square-stemmed St John's-wort and this lovely wee Pignut. I've only ever dug up two Pignuts, they are meant to be pretty good eating, though I didn't bother. Here's one for all you foragers out there - all you need are a handful of Pignuts, some Hogweed leaves, Ground Elder, Wild Garlic and some chickweed. Oh, and pasta! Click on this link for a (potentially) delicious recipe.

Could come in handy if I get peckish later in the year. Where's me pasta...
I wandered my way up to the cemetery and found a whole new habitat - a rill. This is within four or five metres of lying outside of NG3963, I ought to scrutinise the maps just to be certain. Not sure what lives in it, probably not much, but possibly still worth popping a trap or two in it at some point.

This 'flows' from the cemetery down to Uig Woods. Literally at the very edge of my square!
I had another quick search for Petrobius maritimus in the cemetery walls, no joy yet this year despite finding them regularly in December. I did however manage to find several individuals of Balea perversa and Lauria cylindracea in the drystone wall. This is the only site I know of in the square where I can find these two species of snail.

The cemetery lies high above the bay and offers a fantastic view across the sea. It also offers you an utter battering when storms roll in, which is why the sheep here descend into Uig Woods whenever the weather turns especially inclement. Or get washed off the hill, into the river and are swept out to sea as recently happened (see my xmas special blogpost here). Anyway, the view is lovely on a calm day

I saw two Black Guillemots and an Otter in that bay today!
Yep that's right, saw the Otter again! Not as close as last time but still great to watch it swimming in shallow water. Plus 12 Eiders, 2 Black Guillemots, a few Shags and Red-breasted Mergansers but no Ivory Gull or White-billed Diver. Yet.

I had a quick look at mosses. I can just about get my head around some of the liverworts but I find mosses a complete and utter frikkin 'mare! Despite this I know I'm massively missing out by ignoring them. I have decent literature now, I just need to use it. Bleurgh. Here's a couple from today that I think I got right.

Isothecium myosuroides all over tree boles. Probably.
Hypnum jutlandicum on rocks at ground level. Hopefully.
As you may already know, I'm taking part in a madcap challenge - to see 1000 species in a 1km square during 2017. Obviously I chose NG3963 seeing as I spend 99% of my time in it. So far there are only three of us on the scoresheet, but I'm certain a few more are about to sign up. If you want to get involved it most definitely isn't too late (though you may have missed out on Waxwings if they've passed through your area already - maybe they'll be back in December?) Read all about it here.

My totals follow the PSL Categories as defined on the PSL Website.
Algae 8
Lichens 43 (inc 9 lifers)
Fungi 24 (inc 3 lifers)
Bryophytes 36 (inc 12 lifers)
Vascular Plants 71
Cnidarians 2
Molluscs 23 (inc 4 lifers)
Bryozoans 2
Annelids 5 (inc 4 lifers)
Platyhelminths 3 (inc 1 lifer)
Arachnids 2 (need to pull me finger out!)
Myriapods 9 (inc 1 lifer)
Crustaceans 8
Springtails 1
Orthopteroids 1
Coleoptera 6 (inc 2 lifers)
Diptera 1 (inc 1 lifer)
Moths 5
Fish 2
Birds 47
Mammals 4 (yep, that really does include 'Human')
Hoping for a bit of action regards flies, bees, bugs, beetles, spiders etc before too much longer. Just waiting, waiting, waiting for Spring to arrive!
All of which adds up to 301 species in NG3963 this year. 

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