It was a weekend of ensuring you were in the right spot at the right time at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire as the good birds on offer didn’t stay long. Saturday saw a juvenile Black Tern Chlidonias niger put in a brief appearance on D reservoir, remaining for only 11 minutes before gaining height and disappearing from view. An adult Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla was present on D for about 20 minutes on Sunday before it departed onto the fields to the west and failed to reappear. However, with plenty of gulls in evidence, the simple task of Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus spotting yielded 5 different birds – 2 adults, a 2nd winter and 2 1st winter birds, which is probably a new record for the total number of individuals recorded in a single day at the site. Birds were still present until late-afternoon, but many had left the area by 5.30pm. One or two Hobby Falco subbuteo showed well on and off, while the best of the waders on Saturday involved singles of Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, and Ruff Philomachus pugnax. As ever, check out the official Tophill Low website for the week’s news.
Despite the chill in the September air, a respectable 303 moths of 46 species were trapped over weekend. This week’s new addition to the list was Epermenia falciformis – a bit of a scarcity, it appears to be the third record for VC61 since first being noted at Spurn in 2007.
This Orange Sallow Xanthia citrago was a welcome addition to the year list – the only previous Tophill records concerned singles trapped in 2003 and 2006. Vapourer Orgyia antiqua are more often encountered flying in woodland clearings, but occasionally they do come to the traps. Fortunately, the one below sat at rest long enough to bring it out into some decent light for a photograph, before to took to the wing.
Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta are perhaps the most obvious and widespread Odonata still on the wing, with many hanging up on the Buddleia during the afternoons – while 2 Southern Hawker A. cyanea, 1 Brown Hawker A. grandis, 86 Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum and 7 Ruddy Darter S. sanguineum was the best that could be expected.