Poor old Gilbert is getting restless. Despite the fact that there is more interest in wildlife than ever before, it seems that most of the so-called conservation organisations are losing interest in species. Instead they prefer to babble on about landscape scale conservation and ecosystem services (whatever they are). Could this be because most of their staff don't have any knowledge about species if they don't have four legs?
This is my attempt to encourage an interest in good old-fashioned natural history.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

In search of spring

So what do you do when you're fed up with this cold, late spring and you really want to get out and do some fieldwork. You go to the north of Skye because it's bound to be better up there right?

Never mind though because I was heading for Uig; world famous home of Seth, chief finder of things under rocks, micro-fungi the size of pinheads and other things that you can still find in arctic weather.

After 17 hours on the road with little more than two hours sleep, I was pretty wasted when I arrived but we went out for a couple of hours in Uig Woods anyway. I forgot to take my camera with me but I was awake enough to get 24 new species. The highlight for me was undoubtedly the Water Cricket Velia caprai, probably the species I most wanted to see in advance of the trip.

Velia caprai (Photo: S. Rae - Wikipedia Commons)
The Tree Lungwort Lobaria pulmonaria wasn't new for me but was impressive in its almost weed-like abundance on trees and anything else that stood still for long enough. I reckon if you sat sea-watching for long enough it would grow on your wellies.

Lobaria pulmonaria
We wandered down to the beach and amongst other things, found the ground beetle Aepus marinus. This has a bizarre lifestyle in that it lives under rocks on the beach that are submerged by the sea for several hours at high tide.

Aepus marinus (Photo: U. Schmidt - Wikipedia Commons)

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