Above. Windwick bay , South Ronaldsay,


Start of another month, only a short time now before the clocks go back, but still plenty about, although the flowers are geting scarce and the nights are closing in.

Friday, September 4 2020

To Orkney Insects Open Forum, ID on this wasp if possible, Thanks.

Dolichovespula sylvestris

Description, Dolichovespula sylvestris Length 22 mm. The face of this species is usually clear yellow with one dot. Antennae yellow right at the base. Thorax with hairs at the sides and two yellow spots at the rear. . It builds its nest in trees and bushes as well as underground. Adults forage flowers such as Wild Angelica, Water Figwort and Rosebay Willowherb. Locally common and fairly widespread throughout Britain. May to August.

Wednesday 9 September 2020. ND44527 93828, The Lane east end of Smiddy Banks, South Ronaldsay Orkney. Posted to UK Hoverflies,

Graham Watkeys, Syrphus sp. (f) Roger Morris, it has hairy eyes so this is Syrphus torvus

Syrphus torvus.

Syrphus torvus. Very similar to other Syrphus species and is best identified by the presence of hairs on the eyes. Found in gardens, hedgerows, waste ground and many other habitats. March to November - It is often the earliest Syrphus species to emerge in the spring, has a peak in April with a second peak in July and is sometimes one of the commoner hoverflies in autumn, having a third peak in October.

Friday 11 September 2020, To Orkney Insects Open Forum

, Bombus pascuorum

, Bombus pascuorum

Short discussion.

Martin Grey, Common Carder, Bombus pascuorum, John Crossley, Very pale abdomen for a Common C don't you think Martin.  Martin Grey, Yes I thought that, but I'm not seeing the yellowish-white sides to the rusty thorax, part of the 'halo', and that in combination with the dull ginger on the back steered me away from muscorum

Mike Hoy Thanks for the detailed discussion Gent's, one more picture may be of help. John Crossley, Ah, I see black hairs on sides of the abdomen, + general appearance proves B. pascuorum and Martin was right. Muscorum can have a few black hairs there but if so very hard to see. Mike Hoy, Thank you both for the informative discussion, guess I should have listened to my Science teacher Mr Shern, fifty plus years ago, (Now this is what you call, On-Line Learning

Sunday13 September/2020, ND 44515 93760, Posted to UK Hoverflies

Syrphus sp.

Hoverflies are a fascinating group of insects. They belong to the family Syrphidae. They are often brightly coloured and very common in gardens many people will be familiar with them. Many have black and yellow markings and so are often confused with bees and wasps. However hoverflies are totally harmless and are definitely a gardener's friend,

Note. The sp indicates that identification can’t be taken beyond family as the picture does not show enough detail.

Eristalis pertinax.

Eristalis pertinax. Whilst similar to E. Tenax, this species has a more tapering abdomen in the male and it also has pale front legs. The pair of orange markings on tergite 2 of the abdomen is nearly always present but tend to be brighter in summer specimens. Habitat, Hedgerows and woodland rides. Found between March and November, with peaks in May and August. Thought to have several broods, it is common and widespread throughout Britain.

Melanostoma scalare female

Melanostoma scalare female. The males have longer, thinner bodies than females, with lozenge-shaped yellow spots compared to the triangular spots in females. Both sexes have largely yellow antennae. Habitat Lush herbage in well-wooded areas and even gardens. April to November peaking at the end of May and in August. Common throughout Britain.

Episyrphus balteatus

Episyrphus balteatus Its two 'moustache' black bands on tergites 3 and 4 of its abdomen are unique. Some specimens also show white bands on the abdomen, whilst other forms are quite dark. Gardens, hedgerows, parks and even woodland in sunny spots. January to December peaking in August. Numbers can be boosted by an influx of migrants. The fact that it can be seen in most months of the year is no doubt in part due to it hibernating through the winter but emerging on warmer days. Numbers are also boosted by migrants. Records indicate that it may be the commonest and most widespread hoverfly in Britain.

Tuesday 22/September 2020 , To Orkney Insects Open Forum

The Common Carder Bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum

Carder Bumblebees earn this name from their habit of combing material together (carding) to create a covering for the cells containing the larvae. This species usually creates its nests above ground, often in grass tussocks, in old mouse runs through grass, in tangles of vegetation or just under the surface of the soil. Colonies vary in size and can contain up to 200 workers. Only young queens survive the winter; they establish new nests in spring.

Tuesday 22 September 2020,

 ND 44508 93705. From the Hope, Posted to UK Hoverflies for ID. Orkney Insects Open Forum & My Facebook Home page,

Sericomyia selentis (female)

Sericomyia selenites. This is a large and brightly marked hoverfly, with 3 pairs of wedge-shaped yellow bars and reddish-orange legs. Prefers wet heaths, moors and woodland clearings. Flies between May and November. Life History, Breeds in peaty ditches and small pools. UK Status. It is found across most of the UK though it is not particularly common.

 To Orkney Insects, Open Forum Found this one yesterday, never seen one before, around 45mm- 50mm and plump,

Mary Harris Could be a White Ermine moth Spilosoma lubricipeda caterpillar.

Wednesday 23/September 2020, Posted to Orkney Fungi and Lichens.

All from one small flowerpot,

This is a green mat-forming plant, sometimes purplish in older plants. The plants produce umbrella-like reproductive structures known as gametophores. Those of female plants consist of a stalk with star-like rays at the top. These contain organs which produce the ova. Male gametophores are topped by a flattened disc and produce the sperm

Liverwort .Marchantia polymorpha Male above

Liverwort Marchantia polymorpha gemmae cups

Liverwort Marchantia polymorpha, female

These contain the organs which produce the ova.

John Crossley

 Beautiful photos Mike Hoy of the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha with male and female bits and gemmae cups, 

Moss, Funaria hygrometrica

Funaria hygrometrica, The bonfire moss or common cord-moss is a type of water moss which grows on moist, shady, and damp soil. It can also be found on moist walls and the crevices of rocks and places where recent fires have taken place. The plant body is green, soft, and upright, about half an inch tall.

The Ruff, St Margaret’s Hope, Grid Reference ND 44569 94544

A small patch of bramble the only one at the Ruff, unless there are higher up the cliff, great for Bees & Hoverflies. Note, Hardy and determined, the bramble uses powerful roots to grow rapidly in almost any environment.

Four pictures were taken throughout the season, from flower to fruit.

Bramble (Rubus fruticosus)

The bramble patch at the bottom of the cliff .


Grid Reference ND 44508 94447, The Ruff, St Margaret’s Hope

The first fungi of the season

Orange peel fungus, Aleuria aurantia

Orange peel fungus, Aleuria aurantia A fairly common find in Britain and Ireland, Orange Peel Fungus occurs also throughout mainland Europe, from Scandinavia right down to the southern shores of the Iberian Peninsula. Fertile (inner) surface These striking fungi vary in colour from pale orange through to a very deep orange-red inside the cup, while the lower (outer, in cup-shaped fruit bodies) surface is paler and covered in a very fine whitish down. The cups are initially round but soon develop wavy margins and have a tendency to split. Up to 10cm across, but more commonly 3 to 6cm, they are shiny on the inside surface and downy on the outside. The cup is typically 2 to 4cm tall and is attached to the soil by mycelial threads and without a visible stipe. The pale outer surface of the cup is infertile; the spores are produced on the shiny inner surface of the cup. Note; Explanation of words used in the description. mycelial thread's is a network of fungal threads or hyphae. Mycelia often grow underground but can also thrive in other places such as rotting tree trunks


28/09/2020.Grid Reference ND 44508 94447, The Ruff, St Margaret’s Hope. Posted to Orkney Fungi and Lichens Facebook page



Peltigera membranacea

A large "dog-lichen" with the upper surface of fresh thallus bluish- to brown-grey, ash-grey when dry, densely felted-tomentose; lower surface white-tomentose, with unbranched, "fang-like" rhizines Widespread and often common on mossy boulders, tree-bases and in short, dampish turf, including in lawns and on dunes. P. praetexta can resemble this species very closely.

Note. Explanation of words used in the description. Thallus, a plant body that is not differentiated into stem and leaves and lacks true roots and a vascular system. Thalli are typical of algae, fungi, lichens, and some liverworts. Tomentose. closely covered with down or matted hair. Rhizines, In lichens, rhizines are multicellular root-like structures,

Wednesday 30 September 2020.

Back in June, I posted a picture of Solanum dulcamara Woody Nightshade on the pier Road here at the Hope. With the promise of more about this plant, the idea being to show it throughout the seasons.

Here are the results.



Late August

Mid September.

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