Monday, 29 August 2011

BoP time

Tophill Low NR in East Yorks has seen a few birds of prey (BoPs) around in recent days.

So the simple of task of looking at the sky filled today's activities for 6 hours. Not quite as dull as it sounds, 4 Marsh Harriers moved south thru the site as did a couple of Buzzards (+ the site regulars showing on and off) and an immature male Peregrine moved south late-afternoon at great height. A Green Sandpiper dropped in before moving south, 100+ Sand Martin, 530+ Swallow, 125+ House Martin and a few Swifts moved thru and it was a pleasant day watching 'Vis mig' without having to walk in the wind.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Sunshine, showers and things to see

So with another week of indifferent weather, and the obligatory heavy shower(s) which are now the norm for a weekend, it was a case of making the best of it when the sun shone.

The Saturday morning sun prompted a few Odonata to appear at water, with the regular transect route turning up 13 Common Blue Damselfly, 5 Emerald Dams, 4 Southern Hawkers, a rather poor 6 Migrant Hawkers, 2 Brown Hawkers, 49 Common Darters and 4 Ruddy Darters. However, by early afternoon after a brief thunderstorm everything 'hung up'.

Southern Hawker

One of the few remaining Common Blue Damselflies.

Still plenty emerging... this one of a group of four Common Darters waiting to make their maiden flight.

Hung-up Darters often allow two species for one click of the camera... Ruddy Darter and Common Darter sat waiting for the sun to return.

I assume our struggle to make good Odonata counts is reflected elsewhere... the latest Yorkshire sightings can be found here and click on sightings.

With the arrival of a few Larids, I was tempted to do a bit of birding as that is actually what I'm supposed to be doing when out in the field, I just seem to get side-tracked. The weekend wasn't so bad... one or two adult Mediterranean Gulls put in brief appearances as did a Little Gull, a few Golden Plover on the move and Meadow Pipits heading west in small numbers. Presumably the last few Yellow Wagtails of the year were also noted on Saturday but a few hours listening on Sunday failed to turn up any. Hopefully September will see a little raptor movement - a juvenile Marsh Harrier, immature male Peregrine and a couple of Buzzards passed over though rather worryingly I failed to connect with the Osprey(s) over the weekend. Maybe if some settled weather occurs, might be able to get a good BoP count. More Tophill bird news and other bits and bobs here

The busy period of moth trapping season seemed to pass without being busy. The cool nights not allowing for good numbers though Ypsolopha sequella was a new addition to personal Tophill lists this week and a Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix in the traps a week ago was new for the site.

Ypsolopha sequella above and Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix below

The first Lunar Underwing of the autumn also appeared this weekend.

Some nice bits and pieces of fungi around. Some Bay Polypore was perhaps a little past its best but the Shaggy Inkcaps look rather smart, while Copper Spike is in season and showing well.

Bay Polypore above and Shaggy Inkcap below.

Marsh and Tree Damselbugs made up the weekend interest as nothing of note could be found among the hoverflies. Both blog ticks!

Damselbugs - Marsh above and Tree below.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A weekend with sunshine

For a change it was actually warm and bright for most of the weekend. There certainly hasn't been enough good hot weekends this summer.

Above, the first Red Underwing of the year posing for a picture after the one last weekend was sat up high on a building. This Orange Swift the best of the trapped macromoths.

Despite the sunshine, the Odonata numbers aren't great... 6 Emerald Damselfly, 17 Migrant Hawkers and 14 Ruddy Darters on the count. Disappointing the way the season turned out after the cracking start but like everyone else you can only see what is there.

The Black-necked Grebe remained... soon be time to start birding again... as the Larids start to increase!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Hoverfly invasion

I suppose many have noticed the masses of hoverflies around in the last couple of weeks. Good time of the year to get a few additions to the year list and we had a good variety of species without trying too hard on Saturday at Tophill Low NR, East Yorks.

A selection of pictures taken by Doug Fairweather and myself.

Episyrphus balteatus is by the far the most obvious but looking a little harder turns up a variety.

Scaeva pyrastri

Sphaerophoria scripta

Syritta pipiens

And once in a while the scarcer Helophilus trivittatus can be found, albeit only two records of this solitary, migrant species have been noted. The bad photo below is from 2008 and one in July 2011 didn't linger long enough for the 'dipteria paperazzi' to take a picture!

The other Tophill highlight was a late Agapanthia villosoviridescens down the south end. They don't look quite as good as they did in May!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The gloom can be beaten

Cracking views over D res at Tophill Low NR, East Yorks this weekend. The darkness mid-afternoon Saturday kind of sums up how awkward the weekend weather was. Wetter the weather, the harder it is to find something good... meaning it is more likely I can be found drinking tea and eating a variety of exceedingly good cakes instead of being out in the field.

However, Tophill was like a 'mini' Minsmere this weekend... Ruff, Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Greenshanks et al all present. Fair enough, numbers not hurting the pencil lead as they have done in the past but there are birds if you look. One assumes another Black-necked Grebe was present on Sunday, maybe 2+ in the last week and a '2nd winter' Mediterranean Gull was around early evening. I aged it as a '2nd winter' as it was hard work finding those short primaries so it was in some sort moult, but it was certainly regulation otherwise. I seem to have spent too long over the weekend sat going through the gulls dropping in, maybe the addiction of going through them means I shall be spending many cold nights during the winter going through the birds rather than retiring to the comfort of sitting in front of a nice warm fire!!! One more campaign won't harm!

The latest addition to the Tophill fungi list, species 270 is Coprinellus domesticus found by Doug Fairweather while I was proving I couldn't increase the wader numbers!!!

Difficult to do much on the Odonata front. A couple of Migrant Hawkers, our first of the season, are rather belated. After a great start, species are available to see in small numbers. Just one of those summers when the day's off don't fall on the bright sunny days!

As for the moths, the lights struggled to catch any Large Yellow Underwings which means chances of trapping much else of note inland is either limited or down to good luck. The usual procession of egg boxes came out of the traps on Saturday morning. Interestingly, while we are struggling to catch Large Yellow Underwings, I'm lost as to when the last Angle Shades was in a trap, but Southern Wainscots (below) seem to be appearing in small numbers after a relative absence in recent years. Moths will never cease to surprise, they always seem to pose questions!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Dragonfly quiz

I've just been playing the photo quiz on here.

Certainly a stunning set of pictures.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

10,000 up

So the blog hits have reached 10,000. THANKS TO EVERYONE who has found the site, hope you found your visit an enjoyable read, and if you fancy telling anyone about it then please do. Everyone who has found it has done so by word of mouth or via links that folk have added to their sites. I never thought my quiet days out would be interesting to so many around the world!!!

A big thank you to Doug Fairweather for adding in photos and noteworthy sightings, and the blog's North Sea reporter for enabling a few more species to be added to species blogged list. I'll add it up at some point, though I think maybe 250+ species have been either mentioned or pictured on the blog since April 1st 2011.

I guess I, well we, should spot on and blog on.