Unfortunately the weather was very inclement for the majority of the time during this survey. Heavy rain on the first and second day undoubtedly affected the results obtained.
A few patches of umbellifer adjacent to TN4 and TN37 were swept for hoverflies. A large number of these were seen, but appeared to be the same few species. To avoid unnecessary complication, these have been listed under the appropriate site in the results table.
TN37 Braemoss Wood
After working on the outer deciduous perimeter, an attempt was made to penetrate the conifer plantation proper. It soon became apparent that this would not be possible due to the sheer density of the planting. Because any impact of work on the A75 would be restricted to the outer edge of the wood, this was not thought to be a problem. Conifers are not usually very productive and botanically the fringes are more diverse. On the first visit, sampling was focused mainly on the thick moss that covers the ground in this (and the other two sites). Most of the species taken are nationally common, except Bythinus burrelli. A short period of sweeping yielded the Laemophloeid Cryptolestes pusillus, which is not only poorly recorded, but somewhat of an enigma. In Booth (2006) there is a footnote, suggesting this species is a rare introduction and found on stored products, which it undoubtedly is. So why it is present on vegetation at the edge of a pine plantation is slightly puzzling. However, this and several other related species are associated with cereals including Oat Avena sativa and considering the commercial movements along the A75, to and from the Stranraer ferry, it is quite possible that this population derives from shipped grain. There was a large pile of unidentified seed dumped near the path. A distribution map clearly shows how few records have been submitted for this cosmopolitan species.
TN14 Popin Well Wood
The nature of this woodland would seem to mitigate against any strong entomological interest. It does not have the range of plants, structure, or size to support an interesting invertebrate fauna. It is dominated by Male fern Dryopteris filix-mas, and a variety of fairly ordinary and not particularly old trees. Despite quite intense searching, including sampling in the ditch, very little was found. The two species of interest were the staphylinids Bythinus burrelli and Aleochara verna. However, the first of these was also taken in TN4, and this may suggest that it is common locally. I suspect A.verna latter may also be fairly common in the area, and not confined to this wood. In a revision of this genus, Welch (1997) suggests that Past confusion with a sibling species makes status a little uncertain, and it is best identified using males.
TN37 Kelhead Moss Plantation
The number of fallen trees made surveying some parts of this wood quite difficult, and on the first visit it was raining heavily. Although there was a lot of dead wood, it yielded very few invertebrates, with Rhizophagus ferrugineus being the species of most interest. On the second visit, more attention was paid to sweeping deciduous trees and grassland at the edges of the plantation, bordering Stenries Lane. Although most insects taken are common, the Conopid fly Sicus ferrugineus was of interest. This strange looking parasite attacks bumblebees by gluing an egg to the abdomen and appears to be little recorded. Because it is fairly large, distinctively shaped and yellow, it is probably genuinely scarce.
Overall, the most interesting species taken are Bythinus burrelli, Aleochara verna, Cryptolestes pusillus and Sicus ferrugineus. The writer has not seen any of these species before, and all are probably either under recorded or scarce.