Sunday, 17 April 2011

New earliest date for Large Red Damselfly

I'm not sure when most folk commence their interest in Odonata for the season. Weather dependent, we start early-mid April. The searching gets you into good habits of looking hard and makes finding them when the season kicks off easier.

And so Saturday morning it took just a matter of minutes of looking at Tophill Low NR to break the VC61 record of the 17th April by a day as Doug Fairweather and I found 8 teneral Large Red Damselflies at the north end of the site. All but one appeared to have emerged this morning and were still to take their maiden flights.

Unfortunately, after a couple of weekends of looking we lost our Yorkshire record as some were reported on the Yorkshire BDS site from VC63 last weekend, knocking 7 days off the previous earliest record. In hindsight, maybe I should've spent last Sunday further inland in VC61!!!

Another moth species was added to the Tophill list from the overnight traps. A Eriocrania subpurpurella was found on top of one of the traps held in place by a little spot of water. Still alive, albeit drenched, it stayed still for a photo but not in an expected stance!

Disappointingly, the moth haul wasn't overly exciting. Getting to the stage of the year when a couple more degrees of warmth overnight is needed to get them going.

Still the first Pebble Prominent of the year was attracted to the bulbs

and a Pine Beauty made up the other highlight.

Another species on the wing is the tiny Cameraria ohridella aka Horse Chestnut Leaf Minor. I'll say not the easiest of species to photograph in natural habitat!!!

Doug Fairweather managed some better ones!

Like the moths, butterfly numbers were down on last week with only 23 noted of 7 species. Holly Blue is proving hard to get at Tophill despite being easily visible in the park of Howden.

Highlight of the birding involved probably my earliest ever site Garganey with 2 drakes on Watton Nature Reserve the highlight for many birders on site due to the Purple Heron no show. An LRP and the usual Buzzards made up the best of avifauna, and perhaps a few more Sedge Warblers were heard.

After struggling last week to photograph Tetrix subulata without the aid of a pot... here is one that wanted to pose!

Peziza problems once again this weekend are causing a headache. No pictures but some I think may be parcelled up and sent to our fungi guru for identification.

Unlike brown Pezizas, Common Eyelash is rather bright and a species that has only occurred on the blog once... so best make it twice.

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