Monday, 30 August 2010

For those that aren't with us... eggared on to find a steak

A rather quiet weekend due to some nasty west,northwest winds and showers.

However, this does allow for a catch up for the week's events. On the mothing front, this Pale Egger was trapped, and photographed, at Ryton, North Yorkshire, last Sunday by Doug Fairweather.

Walks around the park in Howden, East Yorkshire turned up little... 2 Migrant Hawker and a Southern Hawker the best of it at the end of the week.

Luckily for some, with time off, Neil Hart was able to have some days out in the field. Despite missing the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, he was able to get the Semi-palmated Sandpiper in Lincs, and another trip to Spurn saw him viewing a Barred Warbler as I cursed in the office. Not much fun working while your mate is having a fun time birding!

Little in the moth traps on Saturday morning at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire. A cold Friday night meant the best of it was a Sallow!!!

Saturday was the 'Friends of Keith Allison' gathering which saw many friends and family coming together. A fantastic spread of food was put on and a very nice group of folk met to spend time chatting about Keith, birding, memories and allotments. Sheila made a fantastic speech about their great life together... from falling in the water on the Broads in deepest, darkest Norfolk to going into Tiger infested woodlands in India... to going around Tophill and all the enjoyment it gave them.

Squally showers on Sunday saw Neil and myself heading out to Houghton Moor in search of shelter and hopefully seeing a few things. A good site for dragonflies we managed 59 Migrant Hawker, 2 Common Hawker and 4 Southern Hawkers during the sunny periods.

We did manage to find this rather impressive looking specimen.

Playing on google, and sending photographs to Doug Fairweather to have a look at, it is thought this is possibly Beefsteak Fungus. One of the common species but new to us.

The late Keith Allison was a great tutor on the subject of funghi to both Doug and myself. I'm not so sure of what he would make of his two enthusiastic numpty-like beginners trying to play the game and naming things without his guidance... other than placing his head in hands, laughing... and saying when we used to enjoy lunch at the Tophill picnic tables 'Ooh no... not more cakes... I'll just have one! This is really a lot of fun'.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Unexpected surprise at Houghton Moor

Trying to find shelter from the breezy southwesterly on Sunday I headed to Houghton Woods in search of posing Hawkers and perhaps a good count.

The best of the pictures were of Migrant Hawkers

A walk around the woods turned up 2 Southern Hawker, 45 Migrant Hawker, 3 Common Hawker, 1 Black-tailed Skimmer, 17 Common Darter and this ageing, but still rather fresh looking, male Broad-bodied Chaser.

Another night trapping, yet more additions to the list

Friday night saw the five lights out once again at Tophill Low NR in East Yorkshire.

As ever, five traps in several habitats are likely to include a variety of species, and two more new ones were added to the site list on Saturday morning when they were emptied.

This new micro, Epinotia nisella f. decorana, was photographed and identified by Doug Fairweather.

Also new was this Chevron, which was 'forced' to pose in a pot.

Other goodies included this Pinion-streaked Snout, photographed by Doug in the lagoons.

While this Brown China-mark posed well for my camera.

Both Bulrush and Twin-spotted Wainscot were in the reedbed traps. Other noteworthy species included an Iron Prominent, 3 Dark Sword-grass, 2 Orange Swift and 2 Sallow Kitten, while a Buff Footman was unexpected and a good count of Gold Spot was unusual. The rest of the species included the first Sallows of the season and other autumnal sundries. A total of around 314 Setaceous Hebrew Character ensured the counting took a while.

Iron Prominent

On the birding front, singles of both Green Sandpiper, Greenshank and Snipe, while 2 Buzzards moved north over and a Marsh Harrier was over Watton Carrs late afternoon.

A total of 31 Mistle Thrush were counted on the main Yorkshire Water building and lawns and a Spotted Flycatcher was on the fences around the lagoons.

Finally, to ensure it was another full day, the regular dragonfly transect turned up: - 31 Common Blue Damselfly, 6 Emerald Damselfly, 3 Brown Hawker, 3 Southern Hawker, 73 Migrant Hawker, 1 Black-tailed Skimmer, 40 Common Darter and 44 Ruddy Darter.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

High-Jynx on Beacon Lane

This superb Wryneck was showing well along Beacon Lane, Kilnsea on Friday afternoon. Taking up position with the assembled birders (only 10 or so) and keeping well back, the bird ridiculously approached us. Unmoved by passing cars to the Sandy Beaches caravan park the bird fed happily on the road and in the flower beds before sunning itself on the end of a wall. As birders departed having had their fill, the bird hid in the flower bed before the YWT summer wardens arrived for a look at which point it decided to land within 2 feet of us before flying south to the Bluebell.

Best described as awesome!

Some more of the pictures.

Longhorns and moth surprises in North Yorkshire

Some different species over the last week for Doug Fairweather. Trapping in a garden in Amotherby turned up Oak Hook-tip and Yellow-barred Brindle with an Old Lady for good measure.

Yellow-barred Brindle

Oak Hook-tip

Arhopalus ferus (Burnt-pine Longhorn beetle) was a rather unexpected discovery. Doug found an individual at York Road Industrial estate. Despite being dead and damaged, and no doubt assisted in its arrival by lorry, it was still in a good enough state to identify.

(Note this beetle was seen at Tophill Low NR on Saturday, but can't be counted for the list!)

Sunday, 15 August 2010

White-winged Black at Hornsea

Some record shots of the juvenile White-winged Black Tern at Hornsea Mere on Sunday. Unfortunately the blustery wind made taking photos difficult on the south side of the Mere from first field.

Also present were up to 20 Little Gulls... White-winged Black in the background.

Up to 12 Red-crested Pochards were shoved around the Mere by the boat racing event taking place, though always a little distant.

Also a Common Sandpiper, a mobile Greenshank and an adult Yellow-legged Gull, in the centre of the Mere, added to the interest.

A good number of Black-tailed Skimmer (15) were in the sheep field on the south side of the Mere.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Seasons change... just like the times

As it was still raining overnight I took advantage for a lie in. However, the weather doesn't keep everyone in bed and the stalwarts at Tophill Low NR emptied the moth traps as usual on Saturday morning.

The first Six-striped Rustic of the season was trapped overnight and coupled with the trapping of the first Frosted Orange (below), it is very clear we are in to the autumn of the moth season.

Surviving yesterday's bad weather, one of the Hummingbird Hawkmoths remained on the wing, seen several times in the car park.

Also surviving into August is Rutpela maculata with 4 or 5 seen today.

Once the signature species of the site, and perhaps one of the most readily photographed, was the Green Sandpiper. However, over recent years the numbers passing through in autumn has declined. Just the one today was present, but it posed well in front of one of the hides on South Marsh East.

In fact it was a good selection of waders for current times... also on the day list were 2 Ruff, a Curlew and c150 Lapwing, whilst a Hobby was seen at the south end of the site, another species that has been rather rarely added to the notebook on visits this year.

Several Brown Argus were found at the north end of the site, whilst there was a noticable increase in the numbers of Speckled Wood and Red Admiral, with perhaps 6-7 Painted Ladys also noted.

It was a day off counting dragonflies. Single Black-tailed Skimmer and Brown Hawker were noted, the latter species really scarce this year at the site. A few Southern and Migrant Hawkers were on the wing, but perhaps it was a good day to just not bother too much.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Quiet wet day at The Narrows

A rather disappointing afternoon spent at Spurn at The Narrows. Very little passed through the afternoon and little time for taking pictures inbetween the heavy showers.

These snaps of the 4 Little Egrets around on the Humber the best in the dark, overcast, wet conditions.

Also at The Narrows a few waders - these Sanderlings on the beach the photogenic highlight.

On typing it is pouring down with rain! One can only hope for some better weather tomorrow!

It may be dark, but still lots to see (Part 2)

After a good moth night there are always 'the odds and sods' to tidy up. As we, Doug Fairweather and myself (Doug is learning quicker than me), try to get to grips with the micro and pyrallid moths, it means we get double the enjoyment as we can add new species to the Lepidoptera list of Tophill Low NR.

The traps set overnight Friday, August 6th contained the following firsts for the site, photographed by Doug.

Trachycera advenella

Evergestis pallidata

Pammene aurita

One of the others, trapped many times before but still a rather smart insect, is Orthopygia glaucinalis

A Ryton surprise in the week

This rather impressive Puss Moth caterpiller was discovered during the trimming of a Willow tree in Ryton, North Yorkshire during the week. Certainly a huge meal for any passing bird, the larva looks as superb as the adult it grows into.

Puss Moth larva pictures by Doug Fairweather

Also in the same area, a Mint Moth spp was in a herb garden and a Magpie (the moth... obviously!!!) was in an adjacent hedgerow.

Back in East Yorkshire, Howden was pretty quite. Nothing much other than the odd Migrant and Southern Hawkers in the Ashes playing field area of the town.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Looking the worse for wear

Plenty of Emperor Dragonfly on the wing in the Canal Zone at Spurn. Despite all appearing to be suffering from the wear and tear of patrolling and engaging other males, it appeared to be business as usual for them in the sunshine. At least 13 males were on the wing with just a couple of females seen. Many of the males were hanging up providing photo opportunities.

A supporting cast involved 4 Common Blue Damselfly, 7 Blue-tailed Damselfly, 4 Common Darter and 6 Ruddy Darter.

A couple of hours at The Narrows was very quiet 15.30-18.00. Just a trickle of Gannets north... and ended up resorting to taking pictures of Common Gulls flying up and down the beach!

Obviously cursing now on reading the pager message 'Cory's Shearwater off The Warren after I left!!!'