Sep 142017

27th: Another Brown-line Bright-eye caterpillar on our green manure.

25th: At least 6 Long-tailed Tits at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.

Some pretty exciting finds today, resulting in a new bee and a new hoverfly.
I was sure I’d also found either Yellow-winged or Red-veined Darter but I’ve been informed by experts that it’s most probably a Common Darter.

Common Hawkers, the lower pair copulating in the mating wheel posture

Another exciting find, a new bee species for me, Heather Colettes. (also known as Common Colletes or Girdled Colletes). There is a good information sheet from BWARS here.

That makes my total Mull bee list as follows:
Heather Colletes
Common Furrow Bee (= Slender Mining Bee)
Orange-tailed Mining Bee (= Early Mining Bee)
Gwynne’s Mining Bee (plausible)
Chocolate Mining Bee
Heath Bumblebee
[Small] Garden Bumblebee
[Large] Red-tailed Bumblebee
Buff-tailed Bumblebee
Cryptic Bumblebee
White-tailed Bumblebee
Moss Carder Bee (haven’t had definite verified separation from below but I’m sure both species are common)
Common Carder Bee
Western Honey Bee (from hives in wood)

I am quite chuffed to get my identification of the wasp I saw a few times around our house verified as Ancistrocerus scoticus.


Heath Bumblebee (verified by experts)

Cryptic Bumblebee

New hoverfly for me and a first for Mull, Dasysyrphus tricinctus

Another Eristalinus species either aeneus or sepulchralis. I think it is Eristalinus aeneus because of the lack of lower eye hairs.

Leucozona glaucia

Other hoverflies photographed: Helophilus pendulus, Meliscaeva cinctella, possible Platycheirus albimanus, Xylota segnis, Melanostoma scalare & Marmalade Fly.

Red Admiral

Parasitic wasp probably Exetastes adpressorius or a close relative

: At least 1 Swallow and 15+ Long-tailed Tits near Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.

Pretty sure this is Grey Dagger moth caterpillar. It is very pale (white upper stripe rather than yellow and yellow side spots rather than red) but can’t see what else it could be. I have only seen an adult once although Farmer’s Daughter also also seen one.

Haven’t seen this hoverfly Scaeva pyrastri for over a month and before that the early summer when it was common The large comma shaped spots are supposed to be white but I have had similarly coloured ones identified by an expert as this species, so think it’s the correct id.

Other hoverflies photographed: Melanostoma scalareMeliscaeva cinctella, prob Meliscaeva auricollis, poss Platycheirus albimanus & Marmalade Fly. Every sunny day I also photograph many Eristalis and Syrphus. I am hoping to find Eristalis tenax amongst them and I’m also spending far too much time trying to figure if all the Syrphus are the same species as some seem double the size of others.

: 1 Merlin in Black Park field.

21st: Common Hawker

At least our Cucumber plants were goof for something; the home of a Brown-line Bright-eye

This could be a new hoverfly species for me, Cheilosia bergenstammi (needs verification)

Saw the scarce (for Scotland) Xanthandrus comtus again although only briefly

and also a brief showing of Sericomyia silentis which I haven’t seen for weeks.

This looks like Eristalinus aeneus (lacks lower hair eyes).

and probably same three hours earlier

Helophilus pendulus

Other hoverflies photographed: Melanostoma scalare, Meliscaeva cinctella, possible Platycheirus albimanus, Syritta pipiens & Xylota segnis.


18th: c6 Swallows and at least 1 Bullfinch (heard) at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.

One of the most beautiful hoverflies and a first for our garden (although seen beside the road through the wood), Leucozona glaucia.

Wasp possibly Amblyteles armatorius although the other photos I’ve seen don’t shows so much orange on the abdomen so maybe just a relative.

17th: 11 Swallows at Treshnish Old Schoolhouse.
Seems like it wasn’t just me looking forward to a warm sunny day. The garden was exploding with insects and I took over 800 photos all of which need identifying.
I hadn’t seen a non-bumblebee for weeks and a furrow bee for months and today there were at least three.
One was the first definite identification of one that was before just a maybe, Common Furrow Bee. This one is the reddish male, so easy to identify.

This is another furrow bee but I doubt it can be identified to species. Possibly another Common Furrow Bee. Terrible photos but you can see the ‘furrow’ on the tip of the abdomen.

This could be a female Common Furrow Bee (just can’t see the furrow). Common Furrow Bee is the latest flying solitary bee.

Also a new hoverfly Xanthandrus comtus. I am confident this is the correct identification and if I’m right this is my most interesting hoverfly record so far. It is uncommon in Scotland where the only records (on maps of Ball & Morris) are from the cairngorms and parts of the borders and Dumfries and Galloway. The only place in the UK where it is common is along the central south coast. The book suggest that it may be a migrant but I think my record is strongly indicative that that is the case.

Another new hoverfly, Neoascia podagrica. This is common although there are only a few records from northwest Mull. It is tiny (3.5-5mm).

Another potentially new species is Eristalinus sepulchralis. It is very similar to Eristalinus aeneus which I think I saw once on 23rd July but separation depends on the distribution of the eye hairs so it needs verification. This appears to have eye hairs on the lower eyes making it sepulchralis. Both those today and in July could be the same species. I am waiting for verification.
I saw what I think was this species pair a couple of times in the last week but they flew off before I could get a photo.
It likes our Parsley.

Possibly Syritta pipiens

also probably Syritta pipiens

Other hoverflies photographed: Helophilus pendulusMelanostoma scalare (male and female), Meliscaeva cinctella, possible Platycheirus albimanusXylota segnis and some tiny hoverflies mating mid-air along farm road through the wood and a few Marmalade flies along farm track.

Several new wasps. It will take me a while to get them identified.
This looks like Exetastes adpressorius (a male?). I have seen one with the grey bands on the tip of the abdomen before (female? on 24th July).

This one doesn’t have the black and grey ‘tail’ and looks more like the Exetastes adpressorius on the internet

another wasp

possibly Syrphophilus tricinctorius

and this could be same species

Red-legged Shield Bug Pentatoma rufipes


15th: 1 Turtle Dove near Treshnish cow-barn.
2 Golden Eagles at 9.15am probably from second nearest pair

and from 6-7.15 a pair patrolling between Treshnish lochan, Cruachan Treshnish and Treshnish Point which were the nearest pair. This is the male

and this the female.

The wind has been from the north for a few days. What I thought was a Golden eagle flew past our window on about the 12th but I was on the phone but wasn’t 100% sure.
The female of the nearest pair has still no where near adult plumage. The shots showing her plumage were too blurred to show.

At least 1 Swallow still around Treshnish buildings and wood.

14th: At least 6 Swallows over Treshnish wood

13th: At least 3 Long-tailed Tits and 1 Bullfinch near Treshnish Old Schoolhouse and a flock of c60 finches landing in the wood (Siskins and Redpolls and some looked like Mealies).

The bee I identified as Orange-tailed Mining Bee on the 20th was only given the ‘plausible’ verification by an expert.

Heath Bumblebee (male) which is my first (verified by expert). It is similar to Garden Bumblebee except the front yellow band extends well below the wing base.

The Helophilus hoverflies must be a contender for the jazziest of the tribe. This one is I think Helophilus pendulus.

The black face stripe rules out trivittatus. Many hoverlflies can be sexed by the gap between the eyes of females. In Helophilus, both sexes have this gap so the genital capsule needs to be looked at. I think this is a male as it is blunt not pointed. Males should be easy to separate by abdomen colouring so if it is a male then it must be  pendulus. I was confused by the hind tibia colour which is is one of the main features which separates it from hybridus which should have the lower half black (pendulus a third). This has the lower half black but I think it must be a photographic illusion because the pale shape between the eyes also looks more like pendulus. I need to get it checked. I only have one previous record for hybridus from 31 May this year.

As I was going through my photos trying to solve the above conundrum I realised I had misidentified one of my earlier records from 26th June this year.
This is only my second record of Helophilus trivittatus which is a migrant (the other was on 19th June, also this year).

It is actually easy to identify because of the lack of a face stripe but in my haste I misread the photo in the book which under trivittatus shows the face of the other species. At least I think that is what happened. Luckily I caught it. It’s not so common in Scotland and neither is hybridus. I just read that the much rarer groenlandicus has been recorded mostly in the inner hebrides. It isn’t illustrated in Ball & Morris but found this description which shows it to be quite different from the commoner species.

Hoverflies photographed today: Melanostoma scalare & Platycheirus albimanus.

10th: at least 4 Swallows over Treshnish wood, c100 finches (probably Siskins and redpolls) landed in Treshnish wood

9th: at least 6 Swallows over Treshnish House, Long-tailed Tits heard.
Found what I thought was a new wasp species at Haunn. Luckily farmer’s daughter was at hand to take a photo. It turns out to be a male Horntail which is a sawfly not a wasp. I have only ever seen a female which is larger, more yellow and has a long ovipositor, hence the name.

8th: 1 Willow Warbler beside Treshnish wood, 11+ Swallows at Treshnish House

4th: I only got one shot of this Helophilus pendulus. It was quite common in first week of October last year.

Eristalis nemorum

Platycheirus manicatus

and possible Platycheirus albimanus

in on our Courgettes

1st: Hoverflies photographed: Melanostoma scalare and Xylota segnis.

This one is possibly Meliscaeva auricollis.

possibly same individual

and 20 minutes later

 September 14, 2017

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