Ahh, relaxed after a night week ponking – recording old and ticking new species. Approaching the 5000 records submitted mark, I would imagine that within a few weeks I will be surpassing my total records submitted last year. Growth, me likey. It is a tadge of a long post, with some beetle, a bird, a few plants and a fungi. You can find me on twitter @theponker. Use the follow by email button to the right too!
This evenings post was created whilst listening to swing music on the BBC Proms. Epic. How many mistakes can you find – I did have half an ear on the swing!
24/07/2015 – Bourne South Fen, South Lincs
Mercurialis annua, annual mercury – 1165. While walking from the field to the poly tunnel for break, JL noticed something a bit different that had come up through the mulch around the young trees. It looked like dogs mercury but it wasn’t quite right. Rose (2006) in the bag, confirmation agreed – annual mercury. Not a bad looking plant albeit a bit plain.
24/07/2015 – Temple Wood, South Lincs
Prionocyphon serricornis – 1166. While walking around the woods with Charlie the county recorder and JL, this beetle flew into my hair. It was swiftly potted and identified back at JL’s as P. serricornis. When I got it back to my place to card it, I noticed it was missing most of its front two walking appendages. Presumably the legs were left behind in my dreadlocks and will remain there for sometime. So now I have a pair of beetle legs and a kingfisher feather lost in my hair, cool beans. This is a new site for the whole county of Lincs and the first record since 1999 from a nearby wood, recorded by Roger Keys. Now two woods in South Lincs, the remaining site is up in the North Lincs (them lot). The larvae are aquatic while the adults are terrestrial. As far as I can tell, all the records apart from the two records in the south have come from rot holes. Nice piece on it here by the top Pan Species Lister, Jonty Denton. He recently cleared 12,000 species of UK fauna and flora – more than an epic feat… oh, the link – here.
03/08/2015 – Sherwood Forest, Notts
Aphodius fossor – 1167. I’ve seen his before at the uni campus and remembered it was in the box of to do from a while ago, the picture is the specimen from Brackenhurst. A very handsome beetle that should have been a doddle back then to do, going forward it deffo will be. Large beetle, long scutellum compared to the elytra length.
One similar species (from what I can gather), A. rufipes, which is also large, the major difference being the short scutellum length compared to the elytra length. The below show is of A. rufipes. I’m happy for comments on other things to look out for if my description is a bit shady!
04/08/2015 – Bourne South Fen, South Lincs
Machimus atricapillus – 1168. This robber fly flew into the pol tunnel while we were sat on our break. Swiftly potted, I took it home and attempted my first robber fly ID… which didn’t go to well. Thankfully a very helpful chap on a FB group helped me out by taking me through the key showing me where I went wrong. This species is found in a variety of habitats, the adults are predators of other insects and flies.
10/08/2015 – Colwick Woods, Nottingham (near enough city centre)
Ocys harpaloides – 1169. Me and meg headed over to Colwick woods to have a poke around. The first new find was this lovely carabid. Two fell out onto the home-made tree hugger net (photos to come soon) at the foot of an oak tree toward the top of the wood. It’s a fairly common species across England and Wales found in woodland. The second species new for the day came shortly afterwards from the foot of another oak…
Siagonium quadricorne – 1170. What a beetle. What a rove beetle. It’s swung it for me. I’m into the staph beetles now, especially when after a week concentrating on them, I have dobbed off one sub family! Alright, alright, the sub family Piestinae only has one British species – its encouraging though. This little beauty didn’t take much work to identify with the key by Lott (2009), it was fairly straight forward. It’s a distinctive looking rove with mandibles that project outwards quite a bit, the male as projects on the head – both giving it a four horned look. A deadwood species, I would imagine this is the first record for the site. I’ll have to wait until my records are sent in for my thoughts to be confirmed on this. Surprising find in a woodland surrounded by the urban sprawl.
12/08/15 – Bourne South Fen
Platydracus stercorarius – 1171. I saw one of these last week but couldn’t make the capture. JL did a better job and secured one on the day before, the 11th. A cracking beetle, my first sighting was of it swishing its abdomen around from side to side before taking flight again. Its worth mentioning the scientific name – Platydracus. Platy – broad or flat, dracus – dragon. Not sure if the dragon part refers to the swishing of the tail, I expect I’ll never know.
Dicranopalpus ramosus – 1172. I beat this harvestman from the strip of birch. Since Meg is getting quite fond of harvestman, I thought I would have a go myself. When I snapped the first pic and had a look I knew what I had got as Meg had shown me one we had found in the graveyard in Notts CC. The forked pedi palps give it away, along with the long second pair of legs. I took a few shots of it then let it scamper away. It is an invasive species, that is it isn’t a native. It was first reported in Bournemouth in 1957, in 2000 it had reached Scotland. No blibs on the NBN map for Lincolnshire though, I suspect it is perhaps not yet up to date. If there was a harvest man to toast marshmallows or sausages (Linkinsheer sausages of course), it would be this one.
Later that evening… in Billingborough while looking for beetles by torch-light I found this.
Opilio canestrinii – 1173. Spurred on from the harvestman earlier in the day, I took a few shots of this while out looking for ground beetles around the village. Rather ironically, a group of young lads were sat drinking on the very bench me and my mates used to when we were that age. It was the village, we didn’t have a lot to do! I imagine that they thought of me, net in hand and pooter handing out my mouth, as I would have thought if I was in their position 11/12 years ago… whats that nutter doing!
A large and distinctive species according to many online sources, most adults show some degree of orange with almost black legs. It was found sitting on a tree just outside the doctors and was quite relaxed in front of the camera. This is another invader first seen in 1999, Essex. Two harvestmen ticked, both invaders… not good… or is it? I’m only dipping my toe into harvestmen at the minute so I’ve not got my ears to the harvestman grapevine.
13/08/2015 – A wood near Bulby, South Lincs
Mycetochara humeralis – 1174. We went of for a poggle on break around a wood nearby, my eagle eye spotted this wedged in the bark of a veteran oak. A Nationally Notable A species (recorded in 16-30 10km squares since 1980), JL was a bit surprised to find it at this time of year. It has been found in the local area at Grimsthorpe, by a few people including JL. Last recorded in the county in 2013 according to the recent atlas.
13/08/2015 – Callans Lane Wood, South Lincs
When I finished work, I decided to waste no time and go for a shonk around the woods even though the weather was dull, overcast and pants. Uleiota planata was a nice find underneath the barks on some felled oak logs.
Campanula trachelium, nettle leaved bell flower – 1175. With it’s quite large, light purplish flowers, its hard for me to resit the charm of this plant. I saw it last week with JL and CB but was far too concerned with beetles to have a good look at it, or look at it at all. It grows down the main ride through the centre of the wood. Its present more in the west of the county and frequents woodlands margins and track, hedgerows and scrub.
Euphrasia officinalis, eyebright – 1176. This plant was growing well in places along the side of the main ride. It turns out this is semi parasitic, feeding on the nutrients of nearby roots for grasses.
Mordellochroa abdominalis – 1177. I was a bit unsure what kind of insect it was when I approached it, something that hasn’t happened for quite some time. As I approached a bit of angelica, I noticed it was a bit of an odd-looking beetle. This is a new family for me, the tumbling flower beetles Mordellidae. I showed JL this while looking at a fungi growing from his old walnut (tree), naturally he named it before I could tell him to give just the family. Nevermind. Found along shady woodland rides on umbellifers, a picture can be found here.
14/08/2015 – Rippingale
JL has a large old walnut tree in his back garden, sprouting from it the day before was the beginnings of a fruiting body – a fungi.
Volvariella bombycina, silky rosegill – 1178. Just at head height, I left it a day before photographing. It has appeared the year before on the tree around this time of year. According to this (link here) source, it isn’t a common fungi in the UK, rare is the word. It is a stunning thing, the name is easily seen when you get up close to it, something I was unable to capture with the camera. Getting to work on time is a priority. From JL’s experience, probably by tomorrow morning, the slugs will have nailed it.
Later that day – Willow Tree Fen, South Lincs.
Falco vespertinus, red footed falcon – 1179. The 148th bird on the list, not a massive list but in my defence – I’m no twitcher until… Sat at work today on a break, JL checked the social media and had me playing guessing games as to what bird was on a local reserve 5 minutes drive away. Unable to make the correct punt at a bird, he chirped up knowing I was defeated, “red footed falcon”. He then turned his phone around and showed me the pic. “We are going on lunch!” I exclaimed. We shonked off over to Willow Tree Fen Nature Reserve and turned onto the main track. It had been seen all week since Wednesday sitting about on the fence posts. In my experience, if a rare bird is turns up and you go looking for it, all you have to do is look for a happy for themselves bunch of birders, grinning down the binos and scopes.
Thankfully, it didn’t take long (on lunch break remember). Half way down the track, three people were looking back the way we came. We left the car on the track and popped out. One of the people pointed it out, sat on a fence post not too far away. What a fantastic looking bird, the red footed element to the name stood out a mile off. It looked maybe a tadge smaller than a kestrel with slightly blue feather. I managed a few snaps from long distance with my camera, good enough to mark the occasion. I asked one chap there where they were from and how rare they are here (my data had run out on my phone, nothing like old skool conversation though). He said they are from East Europe and you get around 10 a year turn up across the country.
Quite a long blog, apologies again. Now time for a walk to the pub, carabid spotting as I go, Ponk on.
Lott, D.A. (2009). The Staphylinidae (rove beetles) of Britain and Ireland. Part 5: Scaphidiinae, Piestinae, Oxytelinae. Handbooks for the identification of British insects, vol. 12, part 5. St Albans: Royal Entomological Society.
Rose, F. (2006.) The Wild Flower Key: How to Identify Wild Plants, Trees and Shrubs in Britain and Ireland, Revised Edition. Rev Ed Edition. Puffin.