Busy time in August sunshine

Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire, provided plenty to keep me busy on both Friday and Saturday, with Doug Fairweather in attendance on the second day.

It was a reasonable couple of days birding, especially once the cloud cover disappeared, allowing for some visible migration which involved 3 Buzzard Buteo buteo south, a juvenile Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus west and 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta were picked out soaring high in the sky heading southeast on Friday, while the best of the waders involved 3 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus on the marshes. Despite keeping an eye on the sky for most of Saturday once the cloud departed, little was seen until late-afternoon when 4 female Marsh Harriers moved through south/southeast in 90 minutes. A Greenshank Tringa nebularia flew south mid-afternoon and another 2 flew north late-afternoon. The full roundup of the week can be found on Richard Hampshire’s official Tophill Low blog here.

With Friday providing the best of the weather I made the most of counting the Odonata. Twelve species in all, including 20 Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma najas, 17 Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta, 13 Southern Hawker A. cyanea, 52 Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum and 76 Ruddy Darter S. sanguineum.

Common Darter TLNR Aug 2012

Ruddy Darter TLNR Aug 2012

The change in wind direction affected the number of hoverflies. However, several Helophilus trivittatus were picked out again on both days, following on from several individuals six days earlier. Another spotted by Paul Ashton is pictured on the impressive East Yorkshire Wildlife blog.

The search for new hoverfly species for the site produced a new moth species a week ago and a further two were noted this week – Apodia bifractella new for the site with a record picture below.

730 Apodia bifractella TLNR Aug 2012

Also new a week ago was Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis heparana, with another one trapped on Thursday night.

972 Dark Fruit Tree Tortrix Pandemis heparana TLNR Aug 2012

A total of 69 species of moth were noted over the weekend with 256 attracted to light. The highlights included the first Cydia splendana for the site, while a Plain Pug Eupithecia simpliciata was the first record since 1999.

1260 Cydia splendana TLNR Aug 2012

1842 Plain Pug Eupithecia simpliciata TLNR Aug 2012

Other highlights included the first Lesser Swallow Prominent Pheosia gnoma of the year  trapped on Thursday night, with Orange Swift Hepialus sylvina trapped on Friday and a few Acleris forsskaleana brightening up the outside of the traps.

2006 Lesser Swallow Prominent Pheosia gnoma TLNR Aug 2012

15 Orange Swift Hepialus sylvina TLNR AUG 2012

1036 Acleris forsskaleana TLNR Aug 2012

The sunshine also tempted out some of the few butterflies that can be seen this year. No decent numbers to speak of, but a small number of Peacock Inachis io, and Common Blue Polyommatus icarus, while a single Brown Argus Ultraaricia anteros was found at the south end of the site.

Peacock TLNR Aug 2012

Common Blue TLNR Aug 2012

BrownArgus TLNR Aug 2012

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