Managed a sneaky beaky day off work today. No wind, no rain, no sleet or snow and absolutely no midges - it simply doesn't get any better up here! I set off after breakfast and got back just before teatime. So yeah, I even missed my dinner, quite preposterous, I know.
However, the upshot was that I added over fifty species to the NG3963 yearlist including Floating Sweet-grass as a brand new addition to the square. Here it is in all of its 'stunning' beauty
|Glyceria fluitans in what could be charitably described as a 'heavily nutrient-enriched ditch'|
I checked the copious cowpats for dungflies, but if there were any present out there they eluded me. It did feel quite warm for a short while, I was utterly convinced I'd skore a Scathophaga or Calliphora within moments, though somehow I never quite did.
|Is it my imagination, or are sheep just bloody weird at times?|
For some unknown reason, these sheep decided that they wanted to follow me across the fields today. Usually they hoof it across the horizon as soon as I stick my nose above the parapet (they must know I'm keen to check them for ectoparasites - I mean, who wouldn't be, right?) This bunch followed me all the way across the field and only stopped once I'd clambered across a barbwire fence. Freaky animals. And kinda spooky when doing the whole following thing too.
The sun burst forth for a short while, which didn't help me to identify anything new, but the novelty value was high
|This'll be bursting with life in another coupla months!|
I checked tree trunks for signs of sunbathing flies (I can hardly wait to see that bronzey green sheen of the first Gymnochaeta viridis for the year) but lucked out, though I did find this wee stunner
|Megabunus diadema - or the Mascara Harvestman, as I call it|
I also managed a modest selection of lichens and bryophytes new for the year whilst scanning the tree trunks for
real invertebrate species
|Sticta canariensis - a noticeable component of the lichen flora here, with Mycobilimbia pilularis in the background|
I wandered down to the shoreline at Cuil, noting a very close Great Northern Diver and a fine male Goosander just offshore. The tide was too far in for any meaningful rockpooling, though I did manage to find a few bits and bobs beneath the cobbles
|Female Halorates reprobus beneath a beach boulder. Note how I cleverly focused on the arse, not the head, end...|
I heard my next 2018 addition whilst watching a flock of six Rock Pipits foraging along the strandline. Looking up, this is what I saw
|First person to guess/figure out what they are wins a packet of Superhero Popping Candy...|
Last thing of note from today's jaunt was a rather weird clump of Snowdrops
|Some sort of double-flowered garden variety, I guess?|
Nearby was a clump exhibiting rather more usual flowerheads
I have a few bits in pots, including a freshwater leech which I'm quite keen to put a name to. Stay tuned for tomorrow's installment!
Oh! Oh! I almost neglected to mention that the moff trap successfully managed to attract a moff tonight! After several blank nights (ie cold, freezing, windy and/or rainy nights) my duck has been broken* with this incredible beast! All of which puts me on a rather grand 401 species for the year. Sweet!
|Pale Brindled Beauty - a male (coz it has wings, the females don't)|
*I don't like cricket. It's slow. It's boring. It's crap. Just so you know....