Scarlet beauty brightens grey January day

Pale Brindled Beauty Phigalia pilosaria Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire January 2014

Finally, the 2014 moth season kicked off at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire. Despite trapping each weekend, there is no winter break and it has been dire for a few weeks with absolutely nothing being caught. As much as I enjoy moth trapping – emptying boxes is a pretty miserable way to spend time when its cold, windy and raining! However, a single Pale Brindled Beauty Phigalia pilosaria was attracted to light – the first moth trapped for 2014.

The evening gull roost proved a little awkward to observe with the east-south east wind meaning birds lined up at the top end of D reservoir, before filtering down as numbers increased. A 1st winter Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus  dropped in late on – a new bird with the last 1st winter noted almost three weeks ago. It also continues the excellent recent run of gull records  – its a long time now since I’ve looked through the roost and failed to pick out one of the more uncommon local species, which suggests there is something in the roost each evening, despite the fact I only get to look through it twice a week.

Scarlet Elf Cup Sarcoscypha coccinea Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire January 2014

Late-December and January is the time of year when the delightful Scarlet Elf Cup Sarcoscypha coccinea appears on rotten, moss covered willow branches. It might be quiet times – but it is one the species I really like to see.

As ever, click here for the latest official news from Tophill Low.

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