Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Battling the weather

Despite the earliest start ever to an Odonata season in Yorkshire, the weather seems to have held things up slightly, with nothing more than 30 Large Red Damselflies on Saturday at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire.

Everything found was either a teneral or emerging, with no sign of any mature individuals. 

The poor weather is also keeping the moth numbers down. Very little in the traps over the weekend, with only a couple of Muslin Moths new for the year.

For the latest Tophill Low NR bird news, click here

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Odonata Atlas of the Algarve

Now online for viewing, the Odonata Atlas of the Algarve.

A huge task, put together by Nuno Dos Santos Loureiro, who was kind enough to ask for my input of records. He is working hard trying to piece together everything.... a huge task given the area, species diversity and length of the flight season.

The link I've attached sends you to Demoiselles, and the rest of the species can be found by clicking on the menu bar.


A Red-viened Darter... something you can't miss during the Algarve Odonata season.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Odonata 2012.... the Yorkshire flight season begins

Hardly the weather for Odonata to be emerging, but looking pays dividends. A search around the ponds today at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire yielded 3 Large Red Damselfly exuvae. Having searched the same area yesterday and found nothing, it came as a surprise to find a wing, then an exuvia directly underneath it. Unfortunately, this one met its demise soon after emerging, but two more found in close proximity obviously had made their maiden flights. However, during a search of the area, I failed to find any tenerals, but given the strength of the wind, they could have been blown anywhere!

The exuvae finds constitute the earliest ever evidence of the species of species taking to the wing, a day earlier than 2011, when the species was found emerging in the same place.

While searching for Large Red Damselflies, this Four-spotted Chaser larva was encountered.

So 2012 starts with a surprising new record. How many other people's eyes will be opened to the possibilities of setting new records for Odonata in the cold?

The start of an invasion?

One record of a scarce visitor is more than enough to keep most of the Tophill Low NR listers in East Yorkshire happy... provided they see it!

Avocets are pretty scarce, I think maybe only two records in last the decade, so having already had one in 2012, the arrival of another two yesterday was a bit of a shock. Having managed to expand to various sites locally, is the vicious wetland bully trying to get a toehold here and try and take over the site? For now, it remains an unusual occurence, but time will tell whether it becomes a regular...  and just how many might take over the southern end of the site, scaring off any much-needed for the list species sought by regulars!!!

Avocets at distance on a grey day... even the Mallard looks concerned by the potential of a quiet life being transformed by these ASBO seeking bullies.

Other than the Avocets, it was a quite day's birding with the weather horrible at times. A small passage of Hirundines the only suggestion of it being mid-April.

The cold weather affected the moth trapping with very little trapped overnight despite four lights being set. Two Water Carpet the only moths of note.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Cold Easter week

After a chilly week in East Yorkshire, the first Purple Thorn of the year at Tophill Low NR was the highlight of several nights of moth trapping over several cold evenings. In my opinion these are pretty smart, and because it was so nippy, it allowed another pose!

As I blogged before, species 285 was in reach on the fungi list, and the 'Special One' agreed with the identification made by Doug Fairweather... Colesporium tussilagiris Pine Needle Rust

After last weekend's Coccinellidae addition of Aphidecta obliterata Larch Ladybird, a search for more yielded none! However, searching carefully through the many Seven-spot Ladybirds turned up species number 10 for the Tophill list - this Ten-spot Ladybird Adalia 10-punctata. Albeit common, but never written down as present on site.

Birding wise, with the exception of Wednesday (I stayed 10 minutes and thought better of it), Friday and Saturday turned up a few birds of interest. Friday saw a small number of Swallows and House Martins thru, while Saturday saw a pair of Garganey (present Thursday) displaying on North Lagoon...

... while a Cetti's Warbler trilled twice mid-afternoon in willows north of the hide. A drake Scaup was on Watton Nature Reserve til late-afternoon at least, and a 1st summer Mediterranean Gull popped in briefly to South Marsh East before flying west.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Checking Pines in the cold!

So the excellent week of sunshine ended rather abruptly come the start of the weekend. Though that doesn't mean to say it was unproductive.

A mild night ensured a decent moth haul overnight Friday at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire, and emptying on Saturday morning turned up nearly 100 moths in 3 traps.

Highlights included the first Early Thorn, Red Green Carpet and Brindled Pug of the year, while a Pine Beauty was the second we've trapped in 2012.

The highlight though was the first Ocnerostoma friesei for the site at the south end, photographed after potting by Doug Fairweather.

In fact, a good search of the Pines on the site only turned up one specimen of the moth, however, another addition to the site list was Larch Ladybird at the north end, again only a single specimen encountered.

And the Pine search also yielded another new tick for the site, which will be the 285th fungi species - I'll post when news is available.

Birding turned up a few Blackcaps, numerous Chiffchaffs and a 3 Sand Martins - regular end of March early spring fare... the best of it is still yet to come.