Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Spring goes down a Bomb

You can read a lot! I've also heard from various sources seeing these is a new phenomena! For me, these have been a classic sign of spring for a few years.

Bombylius major is a regular at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire. Normally in sheltered sunny spots, they can be seen on the wing for a good month, six weeks from the end of March until May, depending on the weather. The one pictured, one of three seen today at the south end of the site.

Overnight moth traps attracted nearly 150 individuals. The highlights being a couple of Shoulder Stripe and good numbers of Twin-spotted Quaker, both below.

A brighter afternoon enabled a few Comma to take to the wing, while a Peacock was seen briefly in the car park.

Heading north is big for birds at the minute. After a Chiffchaff free winter, up to 6 birds were singing on site today and a Little-ringed Plover was on WNR. Meanwhile, expectedly with birds moving, a couple of Whooper Swans dropped onto D Res early afternoon, remaining until dusk, while both a Short-eared Owl and a Hen Harrier where in the D res area late afternoon.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Cloud isn't always bad

Midweek days off once again, and after the brightness of the weekend, overcast and cooler conditions.

However, cloudy nights keep the temperatures up and with Monday night overcast, almost 100 moths were in the traps at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire. Obviously, the species encountered were typical March fare, but some fresh Engrailed and Hebrew Characters brightened the catch among the numerous Clouded Drab.

The best of the catch being Tophill's 5th Caloptilia stigmatella, the other four being trapped in 2011.

Birding wise, it was the regulars. The long-staying Short-eared Owls showed well at the north end and one of the 1st winter Hen Harriers was in the area both Tuesday and Wednesday. Four Lesser Redpolls around the lagoons showed well on Tuesday, but the dwindling gull roost failed to turn up anything of interest.

Having scrolled through my Short-eared Owl record shots, click here to see Tony McLean's recent stunning owl images from the north end of Tophill.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

What a beauty!

Another winter season gull roosting nearly over at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire. However, as numbers dwindle, still birds to be seen in the roost for those willing to stay out until dusk.

After the transitional adult Mediterranean Gull present last Saturday, either the same, or another adult which was further into summer plumage, almost full-summer, was present on Wednesday evening in the gull roost. The run of Meds continuing with a 1st winter in the roost on Saturday evening.
Other than that, the birding was predictable, the Whooper Swans remained until Wednesday evening at least, while 1-2 Goosanders roosted on the D res on both Wednesday and Saturday night, albeit numbers down from earlier in the week. As ever, for the latest Tophill news, click here for the latest from reserve warden Richard Hampshire.

With Sunday a working day, I opted for a trip to the Humber/Ouse/Trent confluence at Faxfleet once released from the office. Either I missed out, or the Harrier numbers have dwindled as I managed only 6 Marsh Harriers before I left at 6pm.

Moth trapping continues at Tophill Low. A mild Friday night ensured there was a good number of moths caught for the time of year and plenty of years ticks, including Pine Beauty, and both Powdered and Small Quaker. Not in the traps, but attracted to light and found roosting on a nearby wall by Doug Fairweather was this Oak Beauty. From notes I have, I believe this to be another addition to the Tophill Lepidoptera list.

Despite not having a camera on my late arrival, Odonata expert Paul Ashton was on hand to take a photograph. As the season progresses and the start of the Odonata season is, weather permitting, just over a month away, why not check out the Yorkshire Dragonfly site... the 2012 Odonata season is almost about to start!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Few moths, few more birds

The early season moth trapping continues at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire. Three lights out on Friday night trapped a few moths including the first Common Quaker of the season. Agonopterix alstromeriana the only other new addition to the year list. A cold Monday night was less profitable with two traps turning up a lone Hebrew Character.

Common Quaker

Saturday's birding turned up a Mediterranean Gull in the gull roost, this time an adult. Possibly a new bird for the winter, the most recent sightings being of 1st winters. A couple of Little Egrets and the wintering Smew the only other real highlights.

A rare bird on Tuesday was an Avocet, probably the first for a decade, show well on Watton Nature Reserve for most of the day. D res held up to 5 Goosander and a couple of adult Whooper Swans appeared and remained trumpeting until dusk, which saw 2-3 Short-eared hunting over the north end. Despite the day being bright and sunny, there was little in the way of inverts to find other than 7-spot Ladybirds.

For all the latest Tophill news click here