Sunday, 28 January 2018

Life and Death on a Hill

Managed another couple of hours out on the hills before scurrying back to work again, my quest to attain 334 (or 337) species this month draws to a close, but I still have my work cut out. No more spare time during daylight hours until February, currently I'm on 315 species with a small backlog of stuff (mosses, mainly) in pots. It's gonna be tight...very tight indeed!

The weather forecast was for torrential rains and wind all day today, so it was a pleasant surprise to see the forecast had changed overnight to moderate breezes and no rain until mid-afternoon. Right, back to it, I headed up the hill and to the highest point of the square to see what I could find.

It's a sad time of year, in one respect. Spring is just around the corner yet the old, weak or diseased animals often just can't survive the remainder of the lean months, even though the worst is over. Today I found this once fine fella, crumpled in an undignified heap at the foot of a slope. It may have been blown over by the winds, it may have quietly headed off to die out of sight from the rest of the flock. We'll never know, but without fail old sheep succumb at this time of year. 

Ex- woolly maggot
The carcass is situated right at the very edge of the open hillside, beneath the trees that mark the outer boundary of Uig Wood. I'm not sure scavenging Ravens will feel particularly secure feeding that close to cover, hence this carcass could be here for a long time yet. The eyes have gone and something has managed to pull out a small length of what looks like stomach lining through a hole, other than that it seems intact. Could be rich hunting grounds for blowflies and the various beetles associated with dead animals once the weather warms up a bit.

I've been looking at the birches up here in search of Pseudovalsa lanciformisa fungus that is supposedly ubiquitous on birch twigs. No luck for me so far, but I did manage to find another fungus of interest

Exidia repanda - a birch specialist
I recognised it as an Exidia, but had to wait until back indoors to discover which one. Happily, it's a new one for me and quite a decent find too. Exidia repanda (aka Birch Butter or Birch Jelly) is, in a British context, almost exclusively found in the Scottish Highlands. Fort William northwards, plus a smattering of sites in northern England down towards the Midlands. There's a nice webpage that explains a bit about it here and the NBN distribution map can be viewed by clicking here.  As can be seen, I found it growing on a slender birch twig, which happened to be laying on the ground. Precisely the habitat as mentioned in the link. 

Finally for today, Hazel catkins are very much in evidence at the top of Uig Wood. Still no sign of any poxy Hazel Gloves Lichen Fungus (thanks, Steve!), despite the presence of Glue Crust Fungus with which it is apparently associated. I'll find it one day!

And so the cycle of life, death and rebirth continues.
It struck me that I've been a bit remiss with the ol' songs of late. So, for no particular reason other than I haven't played it for a while, here are The Toadies with Possum Kingdom. Love this track!!!

And here you go, in keeping with the hairy mammals theme *ahem*... have a bonus track on me. No worries, you'd do the same for me, I'm sure   :) 

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Mystery Gnats & Aquatic Hypho-thingies...

Managed to dodge the worst of the weather today, a quick couple of hours out and about resulted in a mere three minutes or so of stinging rain, hurled into my face by the strong winds just as I reached the house again. Could have been a lot worse.

But first up, I need to go back to last night. A scan of the laundry shed ceiling and walls after dark revealed a number of "gnats" buzzing around the all-night security light. I potted a couple, wondering how do-able (or not) they would prove to be. I haven't attempted keying them yet, other than to the point of saying that I think they belong somewhere in Mycetophilidae (fungus gnats). Both specimens are currently languishing on pins in a storebox. Here's a bunch of pics, any pointers appreciated! Length approx 6mm or so. I was quite taken by the funky legs, why are the femur and tibia so very enlarged?

EDIT: the fungus gnat Mycetophila ornata has been suggested - looks good, but there are quite a few in that genus. Need a key! 

[Blogger says "you may upload multiple files at once" which I just misread as "you may upload multiple flies at once"... oh dear, is there any hope for me?]

Back to today's antics. We've had a lot of rain recently, hence the river is running high. I spied a pile of scummy froth caught up in a small eddy and was instantly reminded of Ali's post on the 1000 in 1KSQ blog from a couple of weeks back. I have to say, I've potted up some pretty weird and wonderful stuff in my time, but this was a first! 

And some went inside the pot too! 
Back indoors I gleefully whacked it on a slide and immediately started scanning for signs of aquatic hyphomycetes, something I'd never even heard of until Ali's post. Rather surprisingly, I found some! Firstly, you should know that they are microscopic and secondly, my microscopic photography technique is something I need to refine. Basically, what I'm saying is that the following pics are shite. But hey, you're used to that by now - right? I also have no idea what they are, but they look kinda cool. If you squint.

It's the thing with long, pointy 'arms' - possibly Alatospora acuminata. Possibly...
Another example of the same sort of thing. Maybe...
Ooh look - it's a cactus with wings! Could be Tetracladium setigerum? Potentially...
And a fork with wings, with a slightly different version alongside. Both Tetracladium spp???
I've never seen these things before, I'm a complete aquatic hyphomycete virgin (hmmm....never been called that before!) and I'm not sure I can do much with them either. If I bump up the mag to the next setting on my compound microscope, everything goes dark and the working depth of field reduces to about zilch. These things are just too damned small. But it's a small bit of knowledge that I didn't have beforehand and I can hopefully find them again in the future. 

Despite the weather being an arse, day length is steadily increasing and spring really is just around the corner. There are snowdrops flowering in the hotel grounds (untickable for my square, but there should be some in the woods too, with luck) and I saw a crocus in bud on somebody's lawn. Daffodils are thrusting forth and Opposite-leaved Saxifrage is just about to burst into flower too

Daffs emerging in a sheltered suntrap. I couldn't find the Daffodil Fly last year, maybe this year?
Slender Speedwell with Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus and a mystery photobombing invert
Talking of Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus, I'm well aware that January is supposed to be my Bryophytes Month. I've not really done very well with The Plan so far, so I have had a wee think about it and have come up with a minor adjustment. March was meant to be Springtails Month. I'm not going to bother with that any longer. Mainly because I think I need a proper 1000x oil immersion lens and a graticule for the eyepiece before attempting the collembolans. I just don't have that kit.

So, I've renamed January as List Building Month, February will now be my Bryophytes Month, March will be my Lichens Month (instead of February). March will still be when the light trapping begins, April onwards will be as originally planned. Hopefully. I think I was fooling myself that January would be anything other than getting the 2018 PSL off to a flying start. I crossed the 300 mark a couple of days ago and would really like to finish January with 334 species on the tally, fully a third of the way towards the  1000 in a 1KSQ target. On the other hand, 337 is quarter of the way towards my own 1350 species target for this years NG3963 tally, so maybe I ought to be aiming for that. It needs a very big push on my part, and I'm still pretty darn busy with work at the moment, but it's definitely possible. Just. 

An immature Iceland Gull was back amongst the loafing gull flock today, the first immature I've seen here in 16 days. The wind was buffeting me too hard and the distance too great for me to say whether it was a first or second winter individual, I simply reported it as "immature" to Skye Birds, I'll let Bob pick the bones out of that. 

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Birthday Mega...almost

Yep, today is my birthday, as seems to happen pretty much every year. I thought I'd gotten away with it this time but no, I was found out. Anyway, birthday lunch in an hour so just a quick blog for y'all today. 

Whizzed off down to the beach in search of yesterday's White-billed Diver. No luck, a single Great Northern Diver being the sole bird of interest in the bay. (As an aside, I later wandered out of the square and down to the pier in case the WBD was hiding on the seaward side - no luck there either). A quick scan through the handful of gulls present revealed a distinct lack of white-wingers, though I did wonder if I'd hit the jackpot when I first saw this beast

The kind of face only a partially-sighted mother could love...
Whoa...Great Black-backs have pale pink legs, this thing had pale yellow legs!!! Must be a Kelp Gull was my immediate (and, frankly, rather ridiculous) thought process. The bill looked pretty damned hefty, it looked butt ugly with that beady eye, prominent white trailing edge....except it was HUGE! Way too huge, in fact. It quickly swam into the sea before flying off. I managed a further handful of images

Absolutely flippin' massive! 
I've seen Kelp Gulls in New Zealand, and this didn't strike me as anything other than a GBBG with odd coloured legs. Back home afterwards I consulted the books, finding many useful hints and tips in the brilliant Helm Guide to Gulls. Seems that there are a small number of Great Black Backs that exhibit pale yellowish legs. Judging by the monstrous size of this beast, it must surely be a male bird. Nice, I've learned something new about a species I see on a daily basis. 

Anyway, no joy to sea so I headed up the hill and cut across the sheep pastures. It was just a tad blowy and quite bitter in the wind. Horizontal snow stung my face whilst a distant Golden Eagle refused to come closer than half a mile from my square's airspace. 

Namby pamby woolly maggots, sheltering from the wind
Anyway, I made it through another year and I've dindins with the bosses in an hour's time from now. Woodpigeon was the only yeartick for me today, so that's me on 298 for the square this year. Cool. 

I was gonna add a metal version of Happy Birthday, but they're all far too awful to endure. Metal just isn't meant for such dross. So here's a fave of mine from me to you. Enjoy! 

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Bananabill in the Square!!!

I'd just finished work for the morning and was halfway through my lunch (a Pot Noodle, food of the gods...) when my boss rang, saying that my 'fanclub' was on site and asking for me. My fanclub consists of Nick and Martin, both local naturalists. Anyway, turns out it was Martin. He shouted up to me from the car park, "Grab your bins and camera and come with me!" Needless to say, I ran. I didn't even finish the Pot Noodle, this better be good!

Jumping into his car I threw a barrage of questions at him - what, where, when, in my square type stuff. "You haven't found another Ivory Gull have you?" I asked. "Um no, but not far off" was the exciting reply. We drove down Cuil Road and pulled up at a layby. Shit, it WAS in my square - whatever it was. I scanned, finding the usual suspects, a few divers, Eider and Black Guillemots and turned to Martin for a clue. "White-billed Diver, was with a couple of Great Northerns earlier. I'd been watching it for half an hour and thought I ought to come and get you" Shit a brick!!! Fkkn right he ought to come get me! I immediately resumed scanning and soon found a likely culprit, though we needed Martin's scope to confirm things. Yup, I was looking at a winter plumaged White-billed Diver, slowly motoring around the bay and gradually coming closer and closer. Excellent!!! I tried taking pics through Martin's scope but it was too shaky and I couldn't get anything in focus. So I sped off, found a fencepost and rested my bins on that, hand-holding the camera to the eyepiece. 

Just to warn you, the distance was too great to result in anything other than massively cropped, out of focus images. These are, believe it or not, the best out of (very many) bad ones. Maybe pop a headache pill before squinting at this lot. 

HUGELY cropped final image, but just look at the banana on that! 
Pretty duff set of images, I agree. But hopefully good enough to satisfy the Highland Bird Recorder. I looked up to see an adult Iceland Gull flying across the bay, we watched it settle in the river mouth where it quickly started to wash and preen. Sweet, it's the very first adult I've seen here. 

Martin had to shoot off again, I thanked him once more for coming to fetch me. One final scan, all divers had disappeared with the arrival of the incoming ferry, and I quit the scene. 

This is the second White-billed Diver in Uig Bay that Martin has found (he also found the Ivory Gull) and the first one hung around for a couple of weeks. The theory is that they move into the waters around the Western Isles to moult, then head north during April and May. Be amazing to think they may be regular migrants to Uig Bay. Must get a boat out there sometime soon and have a proper exploration.

White-billed Diver is species number 297 for the square so far this year. I've only ever seen three of them before from Skigersta, Lewis (two breeding plumage adults, self-found at a known location whist pissing off a clifftop (!), April 2006) and an immature bird in Cornwall (twitched, March 2007) so it's been a good while since I last clapped eyes on one!

There was only ever going to be one song to follow up today's star bird. Please, enjoy.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

What's in a Name?

Things have slowed down quite dramatically this past week, though I have slipped out and about a few times. The arrival of a new housemate has kind of messed up my routine somewhat. Instead of holing myself away in the man cave, listening to music and drinking wine whilst identifying specimens (which is what I usually do), I've been spending seemingly every spare moment being talked at by the new guy, pretty much everything and anything that pops into his mind it seems. The level of detail is intense, and usually irrelevant, it's quite endless. He watches tv a lot too, which is about the only time he stops talking. For that one small luxury alone, I have found myself watching more tv this past week than I've watched for months. He's a lovely fella though, I simply can't fault him otherwise. Apart maybe from his farting. But bloody hell...I've even started hearing myself think in his voice (like I don't have enough crazy voices in my head as it is!) But anyway.

The Iceland Gull was in amongst the gull flock again, it's now been four weeks since the first sighting and it has been reported on the Skye Birds site a total of ten times in that period, plus an adult bird on one occasion, as reported by another observer. The Glauc was seen on 3rd, 4th and 6th January but not since. 

I hit the beach on 11th Jan for a bit of marine exploration. The tides this month are pretty crap, the lowest low is still relatively high. Not sure when the real lows are this year, I shall have to find a 2018 tide table. Turning rocks seemed the most productive means of finding species new for the year. A Common Eel was a fine surprise, just the second one I've ever seen here. One large rock held seven Shore Rocklings beneath, they quickly churned the water to froth, thrashing their way out of their suddenly exposed hideaway before disappearing beneath adjacent rocks

Shore Rockling - this is of about average size for the ones I find here
I headed into the woods (this is Bryophyte Month, remember) and found a few bits n bobs of interest

The grey spots are Ramularia gei, a fungal parasite found only on the leaves of Wood Avens
Overhead were several eye-catching clumps of Yellow Brain Fungus

Tremella mesenterica - aka Yellow Brain Fungus
On a much smaller scale were these small greyish asco's. I spent rather a long time trying to figure out what they were. Back home again, I kicked myself for not collecting a sample. Then I read THIS AMAZING thread and am kinda glad I left them alone now! Here they are, found on the underside of a fallen branch

I think these are probably Mollisia, but which species?
After reading the amazing thread, I think there are several procedures to follow. Firstly I need to go back and grab a sample so that I can photograph the spores. I also need to make detailed notes of the substrate and habitat. I shall probably have to name it something like "Mollisia c.f. cinerea", but is this good enough to record? I guess it is, assuming it is actually a Mollisia, of course. And assuming it's a species currently known to science, Skye IS the unknown world, after all. Not good enough to make it onto my PSL though. Hmmm, this opens an interesting can of worms.

I have a millipede on my PSL that has yet to be named - it's completely new to science, you see. Similarly, I have a land nemertean new to science and a Sorbus tree that also has yet to be named. They're all on my PSL though. The millipede is awaiting naming, it will happen soon. I know the guy who found it, specimens are at the museums already. It'll happen, I'm ok with this - it just means I have to keep my eye on BMIG's notifications and change "Typhlopsychromosa (sp)" to the 'new' name when it arrives. The land nemertean is seemingly quite widespread in the far south-west of England, likewise it'll be described and given a name that sits better than "Argonemertes sp. (c.f. Argonemertes australiensis)", hopefully sometime soon! The Sorbus I'm not sure what will happen. It's on a nature reserve, there are at least three specimens of the species. For now I've dubbed it Grangelands Whitebeam Sorbus x.

Talking of millipedes, this was new for the year

Proteroiulus fuscus - rocking in at a whopping 5mm
I find millipede names very difficult to remember, there are generally almost as many vowels as they have legs. The big black one I call 'Tachy niger', the little pale one with red spots is 'Blanny guts', probably bad practice but there you go.  The worst shortening I ever heard was uttered by none other than Mark Telfer himself, father of PSL - "Porc scab" - yuck!!!

January. Bryophytes. Fuckit. Soon, I promise you, soon! I did manage a quite pleasing shot of these gemmae clustered in the halfmoon cup of Lunularia cruciata. They're just too cute!

Lunularia cruciata gemmae just awaiting that big fat raindrop to splash them out into the big wide world
Also spotted a bit of rust fungus on a bramble leaf, whacking it under the microscope allowed me to name it

Phragmidium violaceum - each spore is of 3 or 4 septate
Bryophytes. Next time. Almost certainly, yup...

Saturday, 6 January 2018

What Dwells Beneath

As anybody who knows me will testify, take me out into the field and sooner or later I'll inevitably start lifting rocks, logs and bits of debris in search of whatever dwells beneath. I've been like it since childhood, I don't know why, but it's found me a lot of good stuff. Geo-caches on occasion. Apparently it's severely frowned upon to move them...oops, my bad.

I ambled down to the beach, the gulls were just arriving as the tide started to fall. Found the first winter Iceland Gull almost straight away, but was positively thrilled to see the first winter Glaucous Gull in the flock too! No pics, unfortunately - too busy chatting with a couple of the locals. Poor timing, the Glauc had flown by the time I stopped rabbiting away, I didn't even see it depart. A pair of Great Northern Divers were in the bay along with three Red-throated Divers and a Black Guillemot which is already transitioning into its breeding splendour. 

It was hardly low-tide, more like three quarters in, but I took myself down across the cobbles in search of seashore life. No fish, but a few Green Shore Crabs, masses of Orchestia gammarellus and a single Beadlet Anemone. I'll just have to wait for a low tide and try again properly. 

The top of the beach is littered with small boulders and large cobbles, embedded in the coarse grey volcanic sand. Despite being well below the high water line there are plenty of air-breathing invertebrates to be found on the underside of these rocks, surviving in air pockets until the next low tide. Incredible really. 

Strigamia maritima being photobombed by an Aepus marinus
Aepus marinus - a 2.5mm long beetle found under rocks on the beach
You won't find either of these species anywhere apart from along the upper reaches of beaches (below or near the HWM), an incredibly specialised niche for land animals, but they both occur here in great numbers, so it's obviously a productive zone for them. 

Next I turned my attention to the boulders embedded in the woodland floor of Shore Woods. Usually pretty reliable for stuff like millipedes, woodlice, flatworms, slugs etc. Today was no exception

Kontikia andersoni - another two today, currently the commonest flatworm I'm finding!
A couple of Microplana terrestris - this is a native species of terrestrial flatworm
Microplana scharffi - another native species of terrestrial flatworm
I had hopes of completing the entire Uig Woods set with a Marionfyfea adventor, but it eluded me. Not surprising really, it's only ever been discovered a handful of times in Britain (my single example from here is the northernmost record in the world!)

Geophilus alpinus (insculptus) - still the only geophilomorph I ever find in these woods
Lithobius melanops - a split second before it burst into action. Gotta be quick with these guys!
Cylindroiulus punctatus - far more obliging than the centipedes!
Those of you on the ball will be wondering why I'm not busily keying through mosses and liverworts, what with this being my Bryophyte Month. Umm, yeah. Just let me finish this mad list-building phase (it's the start of a new year, I just have to get the list going!) and then I'll knuckle down to some proper bryologising. Fo sho....

Not that it matters, but I'm on 244 species out of my hoped for 1350. Only another 26 species and I'll be 20% there. Then I'll start with those mosses, honest guv!

Music time. I was going to entitle this blog Rocky Horror Show, except it wasn't at all horrific so it seemed a bit stupid. That got me thinking about Rocky (the films) music, but they've been played to death. Instead, here's the theme to Sylvester Stallone's First Blood. I absolutely love the film, though the book is, of course, far better. It's not as ridiculously over-the-top, gung-ho as the sequals either, it's actually a very good film. And I love the theme, here goes!

In keeping with the lonely lyrics of It's a Long Road (aka the First Blood theme, c'mon - keep up!) here's tonight's second choice. The guy in this video is just brilliant, the whole thing must have cost under $5 to make. Watch out for the head peeking through the office window - blink and you'll miss it!

Blogger is telling me that this is my 100th post of Skye's the Limit, whoop whoop! Guess I ought to celebrate, maybe I'll open a bottle of red, by way of a change (...ahem!) Thanks to all who read this nonsense, here's looking forward to the next 100

Friday, 5 January 2018

Colourless Times

Had a couple of hours spare early in the day, so I nipped out a-hunting species new for the year. I wandered down through the woods and emerged at the top of the beach. No dogs today. Scanning through the gulls I found myself eye-balling a first winter Iceland Gull, sweet! I seem to be pretty much the only birder on Skye who hadn't seen it this year, so it was rather nice to claw back my own bird at last...

One day it'll be a Kumlien's....
I was almost as excited to note a pair of Black-headed Gulls in the flock, an adult and a first winter bird. BHGs are less regular than Iceland Gulls of late!

In the woods I found quite a lot of these white jelly-like blobs on Sycamore twigs

Exidia thuretiana - White Brain Fungus
 And nearby was a small quantity of its near relative

Exidia nucleata - Crystal Brain. Note the two calcium oxalate crystals showing through the membrane
Whilst mooching about the Sycamores I spied a dead branch with what looked like tar painted across it. I've seen this before, in England, but this was the first time I'd found it on Skye. 

Cryptostroma corticale - Sooty Bark Disease of Sycamore
So far, nothing has been particularly eye-catching or brightly coloured. A pretty drab post, in fact. All I can say is that I've saved the very best for last. Ladies and gents, behold!

Pass me my sunglasses...
Talking of Iceland Gals (tenuous, I know) here's my all time fave Björk track. She's undoubtedly a complete nutter, but I bet she's a good laugh at a party

And my completely random choice tonight is....

No Goshawk feeding frenzy, just damn good (if slightly quirky) music. Enjoy, please.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Hazel Waxy Crust

A few days back I spotted a thick Hazel branch that appeared to have a section of bark ripped away. The exposed wood beneath was covered in a smooth, waxy fungus. I figured I'd never be able to name it and moved on. Last night, whilst flicking through one of my fungus guides I saw a photo of the mystery fungus, clear as day. Wow, what a jam! The book said it was a Vuilleminia, a genus I'm not familiar with. Today I had to go back and see about finding that particular Hazel branch. I skipped out of work early and headed off in search of the fungus, yearlisting as I went. Nothing dreadfully exciting, though I grabbed a handful of moss samples which I'll tackle later tonight. 

Somehow I managed to relocate the exact Hazel branch in question, and it was with a small degree of excitement that I checked off the various Vuilleminia features, No doubt about it - this was the real deal and my first lifer of 2018 

Note the pale lilac coloured coating where the bark is missing
Feels smooth and waxy, though is completely dry to the touch
This is Vuilleminia coryli, the only one in the genus to occur on Hazel. The genus is known as Waxy Crust, so I'm dubbing this Hazel Waxy Crust. Looking around, I spotted several other patches including some on quite slender twigs. It's the fungus itself that causes the bark to peel back (probably the easiest way to spot it in the first place), rather than colonising a wound, as I at first suspected to be the case.

Totally diagnostic "peeled" look with the waxy crust on the exposed wood beneath
Seems to be quite a common species in the southern part of Britain, but only a handful of records from up here in Scotland - and none from Skye. Here's the NBN Map

I suspect the Scottish records are all from HBRG, they're pretty hot on their fungi.
Pleased with that, I wandered down to the beach in search of the recently elusive Iceland Gull. The gulls were pretty distant, all down at the water's edge and the tide was quite a way out. Plus the light was poor, which didn't help. Anyway, I'd only just started my first scan when I did a massive double-take - Whoaaaa!!!!

Can you see it yet?
I managed a miserable four shots before the flock were spooked by a certain spaniel that I know quite well. These are all MASSIVELY cropped and pretty shoddy anyway, but it's the best I could do. Glad I didn't turn up two minutes later, else I'd have missed seeing this brute of a bird.

Heads up as they catch sight of the dog running at them.......
For the non-larophiles out there, the left hand bird is a first winter Glaucous Gull, it would have been born last summer in the very far north, right up in the Arctic Circle. If ever you see wildlife documentaries that show big, white gulls at Polar Bear kills, there's a good chance that it'll be this species. However, they do turn up each year in British waters. Some years there are just a handful, usually restricted to the northernmost parts of Britain. In exceptional years there may be a few hundred scattered around the coastline, even along the south coast of England. They are rare away from the coast, but do sometimes turn up at inland rubbish dumps. Glaucous Gulls are like oversized Iceland Gulls, though proportionally deeper chested, stronger billed, bigger headed and shorter winged. Together, the pair are known as white-wingers, thanks to a lack of grey or black at the wingtips or across the mantle. Technically, Mediterranean Gulls are also white-wingers (as is the mega rare Ivory Gull), but I'm not sure Med Gull is very likely in Uig - though they are seen on Skye from time to time. Ivory Gull is hugely unlikely, being a gross rarity anywhere in Britain. One did turn up here three years ago, spent most of its time at the pier but did enter NG3963 on occasion. Unfortunately, the chances of lightning striking twice are exceedingly slim, probably zilch in fact. Oh, and Ross' Gull, I forgot about that. I've seen a three of those, but never on a beach. Still, something to bear in mind. Probably.

Right, I guess I better go check out the mosses I collected this afternoon and throw you some more random tunes. Apparently my taste in music is "the equivalent of a Goshawk ripping apart prey in a frenzy" so tonight I'm toning it down. Not that I ever really felt it was "up", so to speak...  

I only discovered these guys a few months back, introduced to me by a guy who used to work here (he also managed to get me into Jack White, so I guess I owe him a beer or two if ever I see him again). First song is just so darn catchy, if it doesn't get you tapping your feet and bobbing your head there's clearly something wrong with you.

Andrew, it's just dawned on me that you're missing out somewhat. I'll see what I can come up with, buddy.

Oh, I crawled across the 200 species mark today. Whoop whoop!