Thursday, 19 April 2018


With 45mins to kill before staff dinner (5pm is feeding time at the zoo up here) I ambled down to the shop, bought some munchies and settled down on a nice flat rock at the edge of the river, supping from a can of Relentless. Perfect r 'n r. 

As is my wont, I soon found myself staring into the depths for signs of life. 'Depths' in this instance being about eight inches... It wasn't long before I noticed several very small water beetles scurrying back and forth across the algal mat that blankets most of the rocks at this spot. Tiny things, maybe about 3mm long, but I could see that they were patterned across the elytra. Only one thing for it - dunk the camera and get some pics! 

These images are straight off the card, they're all a bit 'yellowed' which is probably because I forgot to switch to Underwater Mode, duh. 

It wasn't until I was back indoors and checking the images properly that I noticed that this beetle had too many heads and legs. Ooh, looks as though I've captured a pair of Oreodytes sanmarkii in cop

My first Blackcap of the year was singing from the understorey behind me and a glint of green at the base of a tree trunk soon found me looking at this fine chap

Gymnocheta viridis - a gorgeous fly with a truly disgusting lifestyle
My 1000 in a 1KSQ attempt is bumbling along quite nicely. After a couple of weeks with essentially no real additions to the tally, this past week has seen a huge improvement. I can thank the sudden warmth combined with a renewed interest in birds for this.

Bird highlights this week include a White-tailed Eagle at near-stratospheric height which went directly over the house (picked up whilst scanning the sky for hirundines - four Sand Martins being the reward), a Razorbill in the bay, an adult Gannet (very rare in the square, they normally stay miles out) plunge diving a mere 20 metres offshore (I heard the splash!) and the first returning Common Sandpiper of the year. Noisy bugger, I'd forgotten about their endless calling. 

Gannet departing NG3963 approx 30 seconds after its arrival
Common Sandpiper - noisy blighter. There were four pairs here last year
Also found this beast, new for the square and only my second ever, following my first with Tony and Stephen a few weeks back

NZ Flatworm - and I didn't even jump around waving my arms in the air this time!
Added a meagre selection of insects to the tally including the rather widespread Parasyrphus punctulatus (a hoverfly), Paranchus albipes (a ground beetle), Bibio johannis (a St Marks fly) and Othiorhychus sulcatus (the Vine Weevil) all of which were lifers for me. Shameful regards the weevil, I know. I've seen them before but this was the first time I've actually keyed one through. It was clambering up a wall which I had recently finished painting bright white. The boss thinks I've done this to help weatherproof the hotel, but in reality it's so that I can spot inverts more easily - shhhhhh! I'm on 568 species for the 1KSQ Challenge, ordinarily that'd put me way ahead of the field, but Ali and Tim are in it this year. Hence my astounding tally has me sitting at 3rd place. Meh. Time to pull me finger out....


  1. Nice beetle but I reckon I did better on the aquatics front today, and at least I remember to turn the underwater mode on you muppet :)

    1. I'm not falling for that lamprey tosh, clearly you're now in on it too. They ARE mythical else I'd have seen one by now. Simple. I note with some amusement that you seem to be blogging more frequently than I am, Gilbert really is getting restless of late :)

  2. Loving those beetle shots - I've acquired a tg-4. Now I just need to find something underwater to play with! And the confidence to shove a camera in a rockpool, which I imagine will be a strange moment

    1. Just remember to wash it in clean water afterwards or the salt will make a mess of the lens!