The run of wader passage continued at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire this week. Following on from the short-staying Temminck’s Stints Calidris temminckii on Saturday, this Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola appeared on Monday morning remaining until Wednesday. Monday also saw a short-staying Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta which I heard though didn’t see, while Wednesday saw the arrival of another Temminck’s Stint and a Tundrae Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula. Add in a few Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos and a long-awaited Green Sandpiper T. ochropus and you have an impressive week of inland spring wader migration for the site.
The Osprey Pandion haliaetus has put in several appearances over the last week, several Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus and one or two Hobby Falco subbuteo have also been noted over the week, while Buzzard Buteo buteo have been noted daily.
A Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur was singing early-morning on Wednesday, while two or three Little Gulls Larus minutus remain on D reservoir with occasional excursions to other parts of the site – the 1st summer drake Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris also continues to be present.
Wednesday morning was spent with the BTO ringing project at the south end of the site. A small number of birds were trapped and ringed including a Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus which was retrapped having found a Tophill mist net a few years back in the same spot. Educational, thoroughly enjoyable, and a great chance to see birds up close – rather than complaining about the fact it takes place, and misguided beliefs that ringing is all bad – maybe more site regulars should take the opportunity to see what goes on. I certainly intend to get to more sessions in the future as and when time allows.
This Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca was the perhaps the best looking of the birds to hit the nets and posed for a couple of photos.
This Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus in more typical habitat – one of the many on site.
So that’s my week of Tophill birding rounded up – the official Tophill Low blog rounds up what everyone else has managed to enjoy.
Despite the cold days, overnight conditions have proved favourable for moth trapping. With lights out each evening, a few surprises have turned up including the second Pale Pinion Lithophane socia trapped on Friday night.
With only four records since first being recorded on site in 1996, two different Least Black Arches Nola confusalis were trapped overnight Sunday and Monday. The most recent record being in 2010, while May Highflyer Hydriomena impluviata has only been recorded in two years – 2009 and 2011 with less than 15 individuals noted – before one was attracted to the lights on Tuesday night.
A noticeable increase in the number of micromoths on the wing following the warm sunshine late last week. Adela reaumurella perform well during the sunny periods with several attracted to the lights.
It has also been an Elachista week – both E. atricomella and E. albifrontella found either in the traps or picked out in the field, while Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella was another in the traps and noted elsewhere.
The poor weather has slowed the Odonata season down to an almost standstill this week, though finally I was able to find a Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum in a predicted location – somewhat later than expected, but with water temperatures still low, it may be a while before they appear in numbers expected for this time in May.
On the plus side, numerous Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula can be seen if time is put in to locate them in the grasses, while a few Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata have emerged.
Short on supply, and a bonus for constantly surveying – this Grass Snake Natrix natrix posed well in the afternoon sunshine on Wednesday – one of only five I’ve encountered all spring.