Latest news

with any items for inclusion, or other comments on the website.

Some snippets of interest
  • Following a BBC request to film the Wood-ant Spider (Dipoena torva) for Springwatch, Stewart Taylor decided to try and see how common or otherwise the spider is.  He found it quite regularly despite its small size, and it would be helpful to know more about its distribution in Highland.  Details and photos are available here to help with identification.  Currently, there are only 9 records on NBN Atlas, all in Highland.
  • An item from the BBC website features the rediscovery of Coralroot Orchid - a fascinating little plant - in W Ross.
  • Another TRY! target is ripe for recording, the Honeysuckle Rash fungus Lasiobotrys lonicerae.  This seems to be a very rare fungus over the UK, but we have a lot in Highland.  If you have Honeysuckle near you just check it for the bumpy round black spots and preferably report a 10-figure grid reference if you can manage it.
  • We are getting in to 'high season' for recording, and today provided the first House-fly of the year. The common view is that these are very common, but they are not at all. Some years we have no records, and they are never numerous here.  Check the TRY! page, and if you think you have found one please photograph it or keep a specimen for confirmation.  One of the best pointers is its seriously irritating manner of invading one's personal space in a way few other flies indoors will do.
  • The first Bee-beetles of the year have just been reported.  All details are here, and you can download a paper analysing our records from our website (.pdf, 1.2MB).
  • Another TRY! target is becoming apparent now.  The gall on Bird Cherry fruits caused by the fungus Taphrina padi is a whitish banana-shaped growth, very obvious if it is there.  Details are here.
  • Butterwort is now in flower, so check the flowers for the anther smut fungus Microbotryum pinguiculae which only came on our radar last year.  The paper describing what to look for is available on our website (.pdf, 2.4MB).  It has proved to be widespread across Highland and it was in evidence on Lismore at the end of May.

The HBRG Social Wasp Atlas project

Please assist with our continuing atlas project, mapping the distribution of our social wasps.

All the information you need is here.

Anyone can help with this, whether just collecting dead wasps from your house or garden,
or becoming competent at identifying the different species.

Please look out for the Tree Bumblebee Bombus hypnorum which has this spring at last become established around the Inverness / East-Ross area with several reports already this year, including nesting in Inverness.  Details are here, and the map opposite shows how it has colonised Scotland since 2013. B. hypnorum in Scotland
B. hypnorum 
© Jan Ove Gjershaug.

The first adult Solomon's Seal Sawflies of the year have appeared in my garden.  This is one of our TRY! targets - all the details are here.  It must be more widely distributed in Highland than the map (R) suggests.  Give it a couple of months and even if you miss the adults all doubt will be removed once the voracious larvae get chomping (below). SSSmap
© Murdo Macdonald

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