Despite the recent lack of warmth it was a good weekend for Lepidoptera at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire this weekend.
The trap set overnight Friday attracted the first March Moth Alsophila aescularia of the year whilst a cracking Pale Brindled Beauty Apocheima pilosaria was also trapped.
Searching the hides produced three species of Agonopterix – alstromeriana, arenella and numerous heracliana – dusk on Sunday saw 30 or more whizzing around the middle hide overlooking D res. The sunshine on Saturday predictable induced a Peacock Inachis io to take to the wing, with one seen briefly flying around the car park.
Numerous good birds were seen in the week… and although I’ve a non-competive year list competition with my friend Paulo in Portugal, the weekend proved frustrating. I’ve only ever seen 3 Red Kite Milvus milvus on site – one seen on Friday probably means I’ll struggle to get it back this year given my luck with the species. However, despite missing a Little Egret Egretta garzetta by looking in the wrong direction on Saturday, I managed to see one on Sunday. Run of the mill Kingfisher Alcedo atthis and Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa also put in an appearance… amazing how difficult it is to see certain species when there is a little competive edge to things which in effect will cost about 2 Euros for beer!
Three Pintail Anas acuta were the best of the wildfowl. A drake Scaup Aythya marila was present on and off among a good number of mobile Pochard A. ferina, while a Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus was still present with the Greylag A. anser on Watton Nature Reserve on Saturday.
I spent 8 hours looking at the Larids of D res over the weekend. The first-winter Little Gull L. minutus appeared briefly Saturday lunchtime, and despite not being seen in the roost, the bird reappeared late on Sunday evening, but was difficult to pick out among the bigger Common Gull L. canus. Large gulls were virtually non-existent! None roosted on Saturday evening and the improvement on Sunday saw a single Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus graellsii, 3 Herring Gull L. argentatus argenteus and single 1st winter Great Black-backed Gull L. marinus appear on the reservoir over a 6 hour period.
East Yorkshire Wildlife features a nice picture of the Iceland Gull L. glaucoides at North Cave… I’m not really envious… honestly!!! Tophill and its gulls… so frustrating when you know the site history is against you no matter how much time you put in! I’m guessing I’m going to end the winter without a big white-winger!