Announcements

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NBN Atlas  Ross-shire fungi   Five bugs  Tree Bumblebee  Sawfly   House-fly
Whisky Fungus   Capturing our Coast  TRY!

We are glad to be able to say that EasyMaps has been replaced.  Our thanks to Duncan Rowland of NBN for rapid remediation of a problem that threatened much of our site.

It has become obvious that the database underlying the infant NBN Atlas has been seriously corrupted, many records having been transferred with inappropriate dates and species codes.  At least some of the species code problems seem to have been corrected, but vague dates are still showing errors.  As far as we know, most of the maps shown in
TRY!, Focus on Highland Wildlife, and the bumblebee atlas update are valid.  However, it would be prudent to apply independent checks before drawing fixed conclusions.  If blank maps appear, suspect some error or malfunction at NBN, and try again later.

It has just become apparent, thanks to the vigilance of one of our members, that some records properly exported and sent to NBN are not displaying because of a problem at their end.  Blanks on maps never imply an absence of the species, but now an unknown number of records - even though they exist - are not being mapped.  This adds yet another serious problem to those already identified (but not fixed), and to the persistent inconsistency and malfunction in the Atlas site.

Our 'Access NBN data' page has now been re-designed to allow quick and direct access to Atlas maps for selected species, but recently problems at NBN have rendered the facility intermittently useless.  We have asked for the problem to be solved, but can do no more than that, I'm afraid.

Help with the Ross-shire fungus survey.

Since 2004 Bruce Ing has been compiling records of fungi from Ross-shire, vice-counties 105 and 106. An amazing 91 of the 98 10km squares have been satisfactorily covered, but the remaining 7 are difficult of access and help is required.  Read more ...   Back to the top.



Amanita muscaria
Photo © Michael Maggs, source.

Five little-known bugs.
We have the opportunity to add significantly to the known range of five seriously under-recorded bugs.  Four are easy to identify, the fifth will need examination with a technical key and microscope.  All are specific to particular easily-recognised and common plants.

Pachypappa tremulae nest

Pachypappa tremulae aphid leaf-nest.

Photo © Murdo Macdonald.
On Rose-bay Willow-herb look for the psyllid bug Craspedolepta nebulosa.  You will find it at the base of the soft new leaves, and with a lens (it is only a few mm long) you can see the characteristic pattern on the wings.  The developing map Map (correct to 13 July 2017) had no dots at all a few weeks ago, but it is now clear that it occurs right across our area and beyond, and there is still much scope to fill in gaps.  Thanks to Seth Gibson in Skye for alerting us to this one. 

On Beech, if you see a folded leaf densely white below, check for the Woolly Beech Aphid Phyllaphis fagi.

On Aspen, several leaves formed into a 'nest' (left) may be the Aspen-Spruce Aphid Pachypappa tremulae.  Look carefully inside to see the waxy insects.

On oaks, the attractive bug  Dryophilocoris flavoquadrimaculatus has appeared in numbers in our area and may have recently expanded its range.  It was found at its most northerly site on the Black Isle by Margaret Scott.

These four should be easily and confidently identifiable by comparison with the pictures on the linked pages, but if in doubt take a photograph and send it in for confirmation.

The difficult one lives on Red Campion, two species of tiny black aphids that live on the upper parts of the plant.  For this we will need bodies for microscopic examination, so collect a few and notify the .   If you don't like taking samples, and you can determine that they are aphids with a pale grey waxy ring at the tip of the body (see the image in the linked page), then we can still record them as the genus
Brachycaudus.  Derek Mayes in Orkney started us off with this.  Back to the top.

The Tree Bumblebee heads north.

The Tree Bumblebee
Bombus hypnorum arrived in S England and spread rapidly up to the Central Belt, where it is well established.  In May 2017 it was discovered in Aberlour, near Elgin, and just outside our area.  We now must be aware of its possible arrival in Highland.  Read more ...   Back to the top.


Bombus hypnorum.

Photo © Andre Karwath, source.


Phymatocera aterrima larvae

Photo © Murdo Macdonald.
The Solomon's Seal Sawfly.

If you grow Solomon's Seal in your garden and wonder why it turns skeletal in mid-summer, this is the culprit - the Solomon's Seal Sawfly
Phymatocera aterrima.

The adults have just appeared (24 May), and to find out what happens next, read more ...   Back to the top.

The Summer Challenge - find a House-fly.

Time to think of our summer challenge, and to start, here is a reminder of the need to discover more about the House-fly
Musca domestica.  The past two years have produced several records across our area, but it is clearly a very scarce fly in the country as a whole.  Read more ...   Back to the top.



Musca domestica

Photo © Alvegaspar, source.


Baudoinia

Photo © James Scott, CC0 1.0, source.
The Whisky Fungus.

A very interesting fungus which thrives on alcohol vapours - the Whisky Fungus
Baudoinia compniacensis - has slipped under the radar of mycologists for a long time. As the name suggests, we should have a proprietary interest here in Highland, and we are putting some effort into determining its distribution.

The developing map Map shows what we know so far (correct to 13 July 2017).

Read more ...   Back to the top.

Capturing our Coast.

If you have ever wanted to know more about the fascinating wildlife of our seashores, here is a big opportunity to learn from experts and help to expend our knowledge.  Read more ...   Back to the top.




Quadrat

Photo © Derek Mayes

TRY chart TRY! - The Recorder's Year.

If the seashore is not your thing, there is plenty to look out for on dry land with our TRY! feature.  This is designed to encourage recording of easy-to-recognise, but largely under-recorded species in Highland, with something to find with little effort in most months of the year.

Read more ...   Back to the top.

NBN Atlas  Ross-shire fungi   Five bugs  Tree Bumblebee  Sawfly   House-fly
Whisky Fungus   Capturing our Coast  TRY!
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