Patch watching 2013 highlights – at home and away!

Great Skua Stercorarius skua Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2013

For something different in 2013, I decided to limit my trips out to only visiting Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire during my free time (excluding the long holiday) to see how many species I could actually record there in single year.

Nothing serious, just a test of seeing how much I have learned over numerous years enjoying watching wildlife, with a little push further onto other groups. Only one trip was made elsewhere watching wildlife in England – an assault on the Hairy Dragonfly Brachytron pratense Yorkshire record just a few kilometres away as the crow flies at Leven Canal – I’ve got an affection for this species as I tried for a long time to prove it existed in the area. However, I failed to break the record, but the total number of individuals was by far the largest noted along any waterway in Yorkshire in 2013.

So back to Tophill… what can you see around two huge concrete reservoirs, some marshes in need of some TLC and some relatively young woodlands? Without keeping count of everything as it became impossible to keep up, it was over 750 species – excluding botany – and there is still so much to learn regarding invertebrates and fungi – a personal site year list could easily be pushed beyond 1000 species with a little more effort!!!

Some of the highlights…

Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire March 2013

Great Northern Diver Gavia immer Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire Feb 2013

I’m not sure of the total bird list for the site during 2013, but I managed 144 species visiting the majority of the time on weekends. Lots of highlights including Great-northern Diver Gavia immer, Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena, Green-winged Teal Anas carolinensis, Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris, Great White Egret Ardea alba, Purple Heron Ardea purpurea, Red Kite Milvus milvus, Temminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii, Great Skua Stercorarius skua and then the Laridae… Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus, Iceland Gull L. glaucoides, Kumlien’s Gull L. glaucoides kumlieni and even if I claimed the probable Caspian Gull  L. cachinnans I’d still be just a few species short of 150 for the year… something I’ve only achieved once when a) the marshes worked and a wider variety of waders were drawn in during the autumn b) when a ridiculous amount of visits were made!

Lepidoptera wise, it was a good year. The highest number ever recorded in site history. Despite missing a few, I saw about 400 of the species recorded. So many highlights – the Red-tipped Clearwings Synanthedon formicaeformis are always nice, and some stunning micro moths were caught Bucculatrix nigricomella, Mompha raschkiella, Aethes smeathmanniana to name but a few! And on top of that Clouded Yellow Colias croceus appeared in good number.

Red-tipped Clearwing Synanthedon formicaeformis Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2012

Mompha raschkiella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2013

Odonata showed well – 16 species of the 17 recorded.

Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2013

34+ species of Syrphidae Hoverflies, 10 species of Ladybird Coccinellidae
and five species of Longhorn Cerambycidae

Syritta pipiens Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2013

Anisosticta 19-punctata (Water Ladybird) Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2013

Pogonocherus hispidulus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2013

Over 100 species of fungi…

Pleurotus ostreatus Oyster Mushroom Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire November 2013

And that’s before weevils…

Platyrhinus resinosus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2013

Just goes to show, when you walk away and leave and think you saw nothing… did you work your mind and open your eyes??? Sadly, it is something I heard way too often during 2013. However,  this is only a small insight into what can be seen on a local patch!

My one long trip away did leave me working my mind…

Circaetus species Cabranosa, Sagres, Portugal October 2013

And my mind, and the minds of a few others are still working on this one!!!

All the pictures featured appeared on this blog during 2013 – and are again used here. Many thanks to Mr Doug Fairweather and Senor Jorge Safara.

Lots of learning to come in 2014!


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