The Wildlife Information Centre

Biological data for south-east and part of central Scotland

Crane flies (Tipula sp)
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Excursion reports 2018

11 excursions were organised in 2018, the majority to proposed Local Biodiversity Sites (pLBS). 46 different individuals attended the outings, collectively contributing 88 field work days to TWIC. In total, 2684 species records were submitted to TWIC from the excursions. Thank you to everyone who attended, especially the following who led outings for TWIC in 2018: Gary Hovell (LARG), Sarah Eno, Michael Scott, David Chamberlain, Douglas McKean (Edinburgh Natural History Society) and David Long (Borders Bryophyte group). Thanks also to the landowners and land managers who gave us permission to access their sites.



Pottishaw Road Ponds - West Lothian, Fri 4 - Sat 5 May 2018 (NS971661)

This was a joint meeting with the Lothian Amphibian and Reptile Group (LARG). An album of photographs from the outing can be found on LARG's Facebook page

Leader
Gary Hovell, Lothians Amphibian and Reptile Group (LARG)
Number of species records
72
Groups recorded
Amphibians, birds, vascular plants, beetles plus a few other invertebrates, mammals and bryophytes.
Highlights
2 species of amphibian were recorded (Common Frog and Common Toad), but no newts were found unfortunately. Evidence of Otter was noted. Plant records included Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata), which is locally rare in the Lothians.

A pair of Mute Swans at Pottishaw Road Ponds. Photograph courtesy of LARG.


Male Palmate Newts (Lissotriton helveticus) found at Mavisbank. Photograph courtesy of LARG.

Mavisbank - Midlothian, Sat 12 - Sun 13 May 2018 (NT291653)

This was a joint meeting with the Lothian Amphibian and Reptile Group (LARG). An album of photographs from the outing can be found on LARG's Facebook page

Leader
Gary Hovell, Lothians Amphibian and Reptile Group (LARG)
Number of species records
266
Groups recorded
Vascular plants, birds, bryophytes, amphibians, lichens, beetles, mammals, molluscs, fungi, butterflies, caddis flies and true bugs. Plus a few other invertebrates and fish.
Highlights
4 amphibian species recorded. Of the plants, Purple Toothwort (Lathraea clandestina) - a root parasite of Alnus, Salix and Populus - was perhaps the most interesting. According to the Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora, this plant was originally introduced to the UK as a garden plant and subsequently escaped. Our specimen was found growing under Salix and Ulmus glabra in woodland by the River North Esk. There was a good variety of sedges recorded on site including the Lothian local rarities False Fox-sedge (Carex otrubae), Lesser Pond-sedge (Carex acutiformis) and Pendulous Sedge (Carex pendula).

Springfield Mill and the Maiden Castle - Midlothian, Sun 3 June 2018 (NT287644)

This was a joint meeting with the Edinburgh Natural History Society (ENHS).

Leader
Graeme Wilson (TWIC)
Number of species records
29
Groups recorded
Vascular plants, mammals, beetles, hymenopteran plus a moss.
Highlights
A Wood Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) - pictured - in one of the mammal traps. Also, the flowering plant Wood Melick (Melica uniflora), which is a Lothians Local Rarity.

One of the catches in the Longworth traps - a Wood Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus). Photo: Graeme Wilson.


A plant gall (Aceria cephalonea) on Sycamore. Photograph courtesy of Graeme Wilson.

Killearn Glen - Stirling, Sat 23 June 2018 (NS522853)

Leader
Natalie Harmsworth
Number of species records
192
Groups recorded
Vascular plants, birds, insects and bryophytes plus the odd butterfly, mammal and mollusc.
Highlights
Oak Fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris) in the gorge and a large part of Beech Fern (Phegopteris connectilis) on the bank above the river.

Bowden Hill - West Lothian, Sat 30 June 2018 (NS976744)

Leader
David Chamberlain and Natalie Harmsworth
Number of species records
458
Groups recorded
Lichens, bryophytes, birds, vascular plants, dragonflies (Odonata) and a mammal.
Highlights
A total of 155 records of 110 different species of lichen were collected during the day, including new vice-county records for 7 species, including Flavoparmelia soredians which is on the Scottish Biodiversity List. The vascular plant highlights were Goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) and Brittle Bladder Fern (Cystopteris fragilis), which are both locally rare in the Lothians. The latter was found at the old limekilm. 42 species of bryophyte (mosses and liverworts) were recorded - none notable.

TWICnic! By Jay Mackinnon.


Common Wintergreen (Pyrola minor). Photograph courtesy of Mike Beard from another site.

Bush Estate and Glencorse Burn - Midlothian, Saturday 7 July 2018 (NT247636)

This was a joint meeting with the Edinburgh Natural History Society (ENHS).

Leader
Douglas McKean
Number of species records
434
Groups recorded
Vascular plants, birds, dragonflies (Odonata), butterflies, lichens, hymenopteran, amphibians, mammals plus a few bryophytes fungi and other insects.
Highlights
A number of exotic trees were recorded, such as the Giant Fir (Abies grandis), Swamp Cypress (Taxodium distichum), Giant Redwood (Sequoia gigantea), Tree Rhododendron (Rhododendron arboreum), Roble (Nothofagus obliqua) and Amur maple (Acer ginala) - to name but a few. Near the car park we found Macedonian Pine (Pinus peuce), a 5-needle pine with distinctive large cones to 10cm with tip of cone scales distinctly thickened. In a heathy area near the pond were Common Wintergreen (Pyrola minor) and Cornish heath (Erica vagans). The pond itself was unfortunately rather overgrown with virtually no open water left. Other plants of note recorded during the day were White Butterbur (Petasites albus), and the neophytes, Greater Cuckooflower (Cardamine raphanifolia) and Shallon (Gaultheria shallon). The latter is invasive and can become a nuisance.

Kippen Common - Stirling, Sunday 8 July 2018 (NS652942)

Leader
Natalie Harmsworth
Number of species records
223
Groups recorded
Vascular plants, birds, galls, butterflies, dragonflies, bryophytes, hymenopteran plus a few other insects, mammals and amphibians.
Highlights
A variety of orchids, including the Greater Butterfly-orchid (Platanthera chlorantha), plus Mare's-tail (Hippuris vulgaris) and Greater Spearwort (Ranunculus lingua) at the pond. We also found a single plant of the exotic, Fern-leaved Bramble, Rubus laciniatus.

Livia juncorum causes this gall to form on sharp-flowered rush (Juncus acutiflorus). Photo: Natalie Harmsworth.


Marsh Woundwort (Stachys palustris). Photograph courtesy of Mike Beard from another site.

Water of Leith - Bonnington to Victoria Bridge - Edinburgh, Wed 1 August 2018 (NT266764)

This was an evening outing and joint with the Botanical Society of Scotland.

Leader
Natalie Harmsworth
Number of species records
273
Groups recorded
Vascular plants, bryophytes, birds, ferns plus the odd Diptera and Acari.
Highlights
The botanical highlights included: Black Spleenwort (Asplenium adiantum-nigrum), Sand Lucerne (Medicago sativa nothosubsp. varia), Black Horehound (Ballota nigra), Rat's-tail Fescue (Vulpia myuros) and neophyte Keeled Garlic (Allium carinatum). Douglas McKean pointed out the introduced bramble, Rubus armeniacus "Himalayan Giant".

Gamescleugh meadows - Scottish Borders, Sun 5 August 2018 (NT278143)

Leader
Sarah Eno
Number of species records
233
Groups recorded
Vascular plants, bryophytes, lichens, moths, hymenopteran, flies, beetles, plus a few other insects, crustacean, Acari, fungi and mammals.
Highlights
The botanical highlights were Melancholy Thistle (Cirsium heterophyllum) and Beech Fern (Phegopteris connectilis). The lowlight was finding a claw of the Signal Crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) - a non-native invasive species previously known from this area. 4 moths were recorded including the brilliantly camouflaged Dark Marbled Carpet (Dysstroma citrata) - pictured.

The Dark Marbled Beauty - A master of camouflage! Photograph courtesy of Jackie Stewart.


Mosshills Loch. Photograph courtesy of Michael Scott.

Heron Hill and Mosshills Loch - Scottish Borders, Sat 25 August 2018 (NT515144)

Leader
Michael Scott
Number of species records
179
Groups recorded
Vascular plants, birds, hymenopteran, fungi, butterflies, plus a few other insects.
Highlights
2 galls, including the colourful Alder Tongue (Taphrina alni). There were no exceptional plants found, but some nice patches of Marsh Cinquefoil (Potentilla palustris) and Common Rock-rose (Helianthemum nummularium). It would be good to search the latter for Northern Brown Argus eggs in the correct season.

Braidley Burn - Scottish Borders, Sun 26 August 2018 (NY472974)

This was a joint with the Scottish Borders Bryophyte group.

Leader
David Long (Scottish Borders Bryophyte Group)
Number of species records
309
Groups recorded
Bryophytes, vascular plants, fungi, molluscs, plus a crustacean.
Highlights
Vascular plant highlights were Brittle Bladder-fern (Cystopteris fragilis), Oak Fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris), Beech Fern (Phegopteris connectilis), Wood Melick (Melica uniflora) and Marsh Valerian (Valeriana dioica). David Long reports on the Bryophyte highlights: Probably the best find of the day was Oxystegus (Trichostomum) tenuirostre, which is a new vice-county record for Roxburghshire (vc 80). The other record of interest was Ulota intermedia which was on ash twigs shortly before we reached the ravine. It is one of the segregates of Ulota crispa which have recently been distinguished in Britain (see Blockeel in Field Bryology 117: 8-19, 2017). U. intermedia was known so far in the Scottish Borders only from the Black Burn near Newcastleton, so this is only the second record for the Borders and vc 80. It seems to be more oceanic than the true Ulota crispa which is probably the common one in the eastern Borders.

Recording in Braidley Burn ravine. Photograph courtesy of David Long.

TWIC is a company limited by guarantee - registered in Scotland No. SC234339. A recognised Scottish Charity SC034113. TWIC acknowledges financial support from Scottish Natural Heritage.