Tuesday 12 June 2018

Rock candy

Saturday dawned with a bit of a rude awakening. Having shuffled to the bathroom in a not-really-awake-yet manner, I was greeted by a diminutive lady who was sat on the adjacent wall. She was only about half an inch long but, well, an ovipositor like that tends to concentrate the mind.

Once comfortable, I set about putting the insect in an inspection pot, with the plan to ID and release her. After taking a couple of photos, I opened a window and gently shook the pot to encourage the wee thing to depart. She had other ideas, flying back in and instantly disappearing. I should mention that the window was in our bedroom, so now Our Lass was less than impressed. Diligent searching of walls, ceiling and curtains drew a blank, but before I could decide what to do next, the insect again took wing from somewhere upon my person. There may have been an uttered expletive.

Thankfully, she was easy to recapture, but now very reluctant to leave the confines of the inspection pot. In the end, I had to leave the pot on an external window sill, and when I checked it later in the day, she had finally left.

My best guess is a parasitic wasp or an ichneumon wasp of some kind.

In the afternoon, we met up with friends for a walk from Birsay to Marwick along gently-rising clifftops. The weather was cloudy but dry, with a gentle breeze, so really quite pleasant for walking. The clifftops were covered in all manner of wild flowers: from the blue of Spring Squill; through the yellow of buttercups and Silverweed; to the white of Sea Campion and Sea Milkwort. But at this time of year, there are carpets of Thrift (Sea Pinks).

Our destination was Marwick Head, with its impressive seabird colony and the Kitchener Memorial, commemorating the sailors who lost their lives with the sinking of HMS Hampshire in 1916.

Despite all the nesting Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Fulmars and Puffins, I couldn't resist taking a photo of a small fly which was present in some numbers on sheltered rock faces. The local invertebrate guru helpfully ID'd it for me as Geomyza tripunctata, a Cereal Fly.


Spadger said...

Lovely blog and pics again Mr W. What expletive might that be then?

Imperfect and Tense said...

Shhhh... it wasn't too severe.