Sunday, 26 February 2012

Has the winter ended?

Another winter period weekend at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire turned up surprises!

The gull roost birding continues with a good number of birds in for the time of year on both evenings. Perhaps 8000 roosted Saturday night and 15-17000 were on the res by the time the light went on Sunday. Unfortunately few large larids, everything being Common and Black-headed Gulls but 3, more probably 4, 1st winter Mediterranean Gulls roosted over the weekend, different birds each evening.

Saturday highlights included a small number of Pink-footed Geese moving northwest and a pair of Pintail put in an appearance, while 6-12 Lesser Redpolls were around the north end of the site among the mobile Siskin flock. The latest Tophill news can be found here.

February moth trapping isn't the most exciting time of year. In fact it is drab! So here is something drab... Clouded Drab!

However, despite eggboxes being more numerous than moths, two new additions were added to the Lepidoptera list. Both micros, Tortricodes alternella , identified and photographed by Doug Fairweather, and Acleris hastiana.

Also trapped, and new for the year, were Hebrew Character, a worn Chestnut and several Dotted Border.

A few Pale Brindled Beauty were attracted to the lights, while the year's second March Moth was on one of the moth trap covers, the first caught earlier in the week by Richard Sears.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Feels like summer time... well almost!

After the snow, and with temperatures rising, only one decision can be made... begin summer habits!

With moths traps out for the first night this year at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire, the summer season commenced, albeit with wooly hats and gloves! Two lights attracted a few moths, including several Pale Brindled Beauty, a single Satellite and a couple of Agonopterix heracliana... among the numerous empty egg boxes!

Pale Brindled Beauty above and Satellite below

Agonopterix heracliana

During 2011, we recorded just under 300 species, both attracted to light and during weekly field surveys, despite not it not being the greatest of summers... maybe during 2012 we can crack 300 species.

Birding turned up a few bits including 2 Smew, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, a Marsh Harrier flew south and the regular 1st winter Mediterranean Gull was in the roost both Saturday and Sunday evening. The latter night seeing a few Pink-footed Geese around the site and the Egyptian Goose putting in another appearance. For the full week's Tophill news, click here.

The variety of fungi seen recently has dwindled. This Turkeytail at the south end of the site the best fungi spectacle we could find on view.

Ladybirds! Something I've not made an issue of on my blog. However, some notes have been taken to form a list for Tophill Low and we are up to 8 or 9 species now.

Showing well yesterday was this one of many Coccinella 7-punctata L . Easy to spot. Already on the list!

But then this Adalia 2-punctata , albeit common, was the first one Doug Fairweather and myself have noted seeing on site in over 10 years of visiting.

Time to awaken from winter slumbers! New season is about to kick in.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Regular roosting fun

So winter finally arrives. The hours preceeding the snow rather cold as I took up residence in one of the hides overlooking D res at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire for the afternoon.

As ever, it is to do the gulls and despite no sign of any large white-winged larids among the 11,000 roosting birds, this 1st winter Mediterranean Gull appeared in front of the hide as the snow arrived.

A couple of redhead Smew and 2 Goosanders made up the supporting cast while two Tophill rares... 2 Grey Plover and a Bar-tailed Godwit flew round the res, alighting on the ice briefly among the gulls and ducks, before flying north.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

No gulls for me, but the fungi looks good

So the last two weekend's of January were mainly spent in a shed overlooking D Res at Tophill Low, East Yorkshire.

Plenty of gulls on each occasion, but no big white-winged delights for me. However, they are still appearing. For all the latest Tophill Low records click here.

I finally managed to catch up with the Cattle Egret a week after it first appeared in the Tophill recording area. Certainly attracting a few folk to see it, including Steve Routledge. Click here for Steve's stunning photos... check out the dragons, and his blog here

Bit quiet on the fungi front despite the mild winter, but the Scarlet Elf Cups are starting to carpet the woodland floor.