Monday, 12 April 2010

Three Lifers (perhaps)

Warmth, light and kids to entertain so back up the Breamish Valley today. Birds were thin on the ground, some Common Buzzard activity, a single Northern Wheatear atop Brough Law and self found year tick number 126 Common Sandpiper on the Breamish. With three kids to keep dry, upright and gorse-free I was never getting close.

So we concentrated on the small stuff today, plenty bees, the occasional wasp and butterfly and possibly three lifers although i.d remains, lets just say not 100%, so comments on any of the species below and my tentative identifcation would be most grateful.

First up a Carrion Beetle Thanatophilus rugosus these cracking beetles were devouring a dead pheasant with a hole in sandy soil about 18 inches away. A dead Sheep on the other side of the river may have contained hundreds but I wasn't about to check.

Carrion Beetle Thanatophilus rugosus (?)

Next up a Newt. Now I haven't seen a newt for er donkey's years. When I was kid the local ponds used to all hold good numbers of Great Crested Newt, which we would occasionally catch and hold captive overnight in a jarful of pond water before being forced to release them the following day under threat of reduced Jaffa Cake rations.
This newt below, I initially had no idea about though it has now been confirmed as Palmate Newt, I have little knowledge in newt identifcation but after some reading I had suspected it could be as it does have the described dark line running before and after the eye and the size appeared to fit. Habitat wise was also another clue as it was in a very shallow 'puddle' in upland grassland. The clincher apparently is the webbed toes on the hind foot (ta Roger).

 Palmate Newt Triturus helveticus

Hopefully the hat trick will be completed with confirmation that the 'Pond Skater' below is Little Pond Skater Gerris argentatus. Searching for information on Inverts on the web is daunting. This species appears to have been recorded as far north as Prudhoe according to the National Biodiversity Network, though the records on there are likely to be incomplete so this species may be as common as muck in Northumberland.

Little Pond Skater Gerris argentatus

Common, rare whichever, we had good fun finding them, especially the newt as the puddle also contained 'tworogs' (that's two Frogs in English). We couldn't have had a finer day for it either.


James said...

Smart sandpiper. I was tried to photograph willow "wobblers" whilst carrying my daughter through the mud yesterday and that was hard enough, so how you manage to get shots like this with the three of them amazes me!

alan tilmouth said...

Trade secret involving rope, trees and wine gums!