Wednesday, 4 August 2010

'foreign' trip

I'm just back from a few days in my native Scotland, and it was very interesting to compare the wildlife in my old stamping ground with that on my local patch.

This Comma flew in front of me as I walked along Haddington Place in Edinburgh:

(Yes, my camera is to hand at all times).

I had just emerged from MacNaughton's bookshop where I bought a pristine copy of the wonderful "Things a Lady Would Like to Know": a cookbook from 1875 (although it's inscribed 1874). Here's a shot of the cover:

It has recipes for complete dinner menus for each day of the year, plus special banquets for each month, so perhaps 2000 recipes in all. Anyway.....

The place where I spent my teenage years has a very interesting set of hoverflies: perhaps more species close together than I would find at home. This is Myathropa florea, which needs older broad-leaf trees for its larvae:

Leucozona glaucia is our only hoverfly with blue patches on the abdomen:

On my patch, this would be Syrphus ribesii, but I wouldn't like to take this identification any closer than Syrphus sp. without some more detailed examination:
A decent shot of Xylota segnis. These run very quickly over leaves, picking up bits of pollen as they move:

And Cheilosia illustrata, which I have only ever found on umbellifers. This was on Hogweed:

The fungal season is about to start, and I found quite a few specimens of Sweet Vernal Grass which had been infected with the rather toxic Ergot:

This is the very common puffball Lycoperdon perlatum:

Back home, a couple of new moths came to light. First the rather handsome Rosy Minor - Mesoligia literosa, which feeds on various grasses:

And a pristine specimen of the Foxglove Pug, which feeds on......Foxgloves:


Gill said...

Some fine shots there - I've been trying to get a decent shot of that lovely blue-tailed hover for about three years! I'm surprised how pale the comma is, mine are a richer, darker orange in general.

Caroline Gill said...

Great post. Fab photos. Had no idea there was a blue-tailed hover. We have had a good show of Comma in Swansea. You might know what this is on my blog ... Wild and Wonderful - seen on holiday in Laggan, Scotland.

Stuart said...

I hadn't seen a Comma for around 12 years: they're a very rare visitor to Ireland, and I have since discovered that they've only just recently reached Scotland, too.

Paler specimens are sometimes described as var. hutchinsoni.

Caroline: Your moth is indeed a male Gold Swift.

Caroline Gill said...

P.S. Kanak from India, whose blog I follow, has lovely Blue Banded bees on her site...

Just seen your kind ID of moth... many thanks!