Sunday, 25 September 2011

Mixtas and Med Gulls

After a week in the office it was back into the field for the weekend. Tophill Low, East Yorks again - maybe I need a change of habitat!

The Odonata transect on Saturday turned up some reasonable numbers with 1 Southern Hawker, 3 Brown Hawker, 57 Migrant Hawker (above), 87 Common Darters and 1 Ruddy Darter not to be sniffed at for the time of year. Alas, no Emerald Damselflies could be found.

Moth trapping pretty tedious... the usual end of September species noted. The easiest moth trapping summer for quite a while! Hopefully next year will turn up more in the boxes.

Birding wise, a female Marsh Harrier drifted south on Saturday and 3 Mediterranean Gulls were present on D on Sunday afternoon... 7 or 8 different birds over two weekends... used to be the annual sightings total for the site. A couple of Black-wits briefly on Saturday was the the best of the rest.

Eight-legged beasts aren't the norm for the blog... this Garden Spider posing for Doug Fairweather something new to post.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Taking a break

Everything loves the sun! Found in a sheltered sunny spot at the weekend, this Great Diving Beetle posed for Doug Fairweather's camera on Saturday at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Med gull mania

What to do on a Sunday afternoon? Yorkshire seems to be lacking in birds worth the effort so I took a punt on a hoping a few gulls might be at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire.

It wasn't disappointing, a good number of Larids passed thru during the day and the turnover yielded some success with an adult Mediterranean Gull, wearing a green darvic, found during the first trawl through the assembled birds. The gulls constantly turned over with birds in and out all the time for 4 hours, 3 different '2nd winter' Meds appeared and a probable '1st winter' moved thru but was picked up late before disappearing from view.

When it is as easy as that... I think I've put my gull spotting retirement on hold. Another cold, wet, miserable winter to look forward too sat in a wooden hut spotting Larids... bring it on! Gull roosting 2011/12 has begun.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Stuff to see... but a lot of effort required

Typical summer Saturday... occasional showers, sunny spells, plenty of wind.

Tophill Low, East Yorks, once again the destination for some moth trapping fun. Highlight of the day perhaps summed it up

Depressaria heraclei aka Parsnip Moth. Depress(ing) was perhaps rather apt for the day... lots of hard leg work for little reward! Still, probably a new species for the site, not one that will live long in the memory!

The moth trapping typical for September with few moths, but the traps did include the first Large Wainscot and Chestnut of the season, Beautiful China-mark was the first in the traps this summer and a several Burnished Brass brighten proceedings.

Two species typical for the time of year - Frosted Orange and Pink-barred Sallow - below

Birding wise it was not a bad day. Despite little being on the deck, the 'viz mig' involved 29 Dunlins, 15 Meadow Pipits, 9 Skylarks and a Redpoll spp thru by 10am, while BoPs involved 5 Marsh Harriers thru 10am-6pm, 1+ Hobby and a Buzzard (the 3 local birds also present). Larids lacked in number, though a 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull appeared on D early-evening as the gulls built up, prior to moving south.

The dragonfly numbers, rather impressive compared to recent weeks. Below, one of the 4 Ruddy Darters still to be found.

Damselflies appear to have finished for the season, 49 Migrant Hawkers, 2 Southern Hawkers and 125 Common Darters the best of the rest.

Not much else to write about... fungi was pretty dull, inverts not much better... spent too much time looking a galls on leaves... maybe some pictures to come!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Viz migging

Without going birding it is still impossible not to notice the numbers of Meadow Pipits on the move. During a few short walks around Howden, East Yorks, today I counted over 100, including 64+ during my lunch half hour tour of the park. If only more time could be spent outside instead of staring at a computer screen and bits of paper!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Best not to put the eggs in one basket as Osprey shades it!

Reasonable weekend at Tophill Low, East Yorks, made better by making the correct guess that Saturday evening's Semi-palmated Sandpiper at Spurn wouldn't be there on Sunday! I'm sure a huge disappointment for those that decided to go and see where it once was!

But a good weekend on the local patch... finally caught up with one of the autumn Ospreys, and the raptor supplement included a sub-adult male Marsh Harrier thru and a new Peregrine in the area, an adult male. The Black-necked Grebe remains on D res, while the trickle of wader passage included 2 Ringed Plover, 2+ Common Sands, several Ruff and the 3 Curlew Sandpipers that still linger. Saturday was pretty dreadful for any gulls being around, but Sunday saw a little movement of Lesser Black-backs thru with 26 'in and out' south, and a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull appeared briefly early evening before disappearing south.

The weekly new species was added to the Tophill site list. This week Doug Fairweather decided Fluted Birds-nest was the species... taking the fungi site list to 272 with a couple more pending identification. I'm sure our great tutor, Keith Allison, would have been proud we've continued to push the list along at a good pace.

Lots of fungi on the go at the moment. Copper Spike, Grey Knight, Shaggy Inkcap, Coltsfoot rust, Sulphur Tuft, Blue Roundhead, Dog Stinkhorn and Pestle Puffball (the latter two pictured below)

Despite the warmth of Friday night, the moth trapping was at best sundry species only. Albeit we did add Small Wainscot, Brown-spot Pinion and Angle Shades to the year list, the latter species one that has declined in the traps in recent years. The rest of it was made up of Green Carpets, a few Pinion-streaked Snout and the regular Square-spot Rustics.

Angle Shades

Pinion-steaked Snout

Common Blue Damselfly records in mid-September are always noteworthy so one on the wing this week makes you wonder if any can linger on another 7 days. The rest of the transect route involved 4 Southern Hawker, 4 Brown Hawker, 79 Migrant Hawker, 45 Common Darter and a poor site total of 9 Ruddy Darter.

Friday, 9 September 2011

A new one and I missed it...

Despite prime time mothing coming to an end the Tophill Low stalwarts were at it again. Acleris emargana in the traps, photo from Doug Fairweather while I was away playing Best Man... another newbie for the site... hoping there is time to catch another!!!

Also seems to be a lot of shieldbugs out now... this collection of Hawthorn Shieldbugs showing various instars and adults.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Sitting waiting...

A long weekend... spent an awful lot of time looking north waiting for anything to fly over! Not much to do other than cloud watch... best of it was a Yellow-legged Gull, a Marsh Harrier, a Greenshank and a few Little Gulls... not much for time in.

Seems as though things have got a little better this week with a few flava Wagtails and stuff appearing. Tophill Low Blog

Elsewhere, the North Sea/North Atlantic blog correspondent was ashore for a few days knocking off numerous Curlew Sandpipers at Blacktoft and a Black-necked Grebe and Hobby at Hornsea Mere... and cursing as much as me that the wind is in the wrong direction! I'm hoping the weather forecast is wrong and it didn't mention more south west winds for the next week!

Time for some blog perusing and plugging... the artwork is brilliant... well worth keeping an eye on... Pink Cuckoos