March signs of spring

The trickle of spring migration continued throughout the second half of March at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire with Chiffchaff  Phylloscopus collybita becoming more numerous and 26 Sand Martin Riparia riparia being present over D reservoir early evening on the 22nd. Small numbers of alba Wagtails moving through from the middle of the month are a sign of things to come, while winter species en-route north involved a female Scaup Aythya marila on D reservoir on March 22nd with a redhead Goosander Mergus merganser on the same date. Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria are becoming more visible in the area, with 26 noted flying south on the 15th and a flock of  280+ viewable north of the site on the 22nd.

The evening gull roost obviously dwindled in number as the month progressed, though two Mediterreanean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus were present during the middle of the period. However, with fewer than 1,900 gulls roosting by the 22nd, another winter campaign of roost vigils will soon be drawing to a close.

Comma Polygonia c-album Tophill Low NR, March 2014

Sheltered spots have proved productive for butterflies over the last few weekends, with Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni, Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae, Peacock Inachis io and this Comma Polygonia c-album making the most of the spring sunshine, and careful searching also provided the first Bombylius major Bee fly of the spring on the 22nd.

Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire March 2014

Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica is typical of early spring moth trapping and has been recorded in small numbers, alongside Common Quaker O. cerasi, Small Quaker O. cruda and Clouded Drab O. incerta photographed by Doug Fairweather.

Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire March 2014

Small Quaker Orthosia cruda Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire March 2014

Clouded Drab Orthosia incerta Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire March 2014

Spring fungi continues to add to the diversity of recording with Psathyrella obtusata and Helvella leucomelaena Sooty Cup typical species for the time of year.

Psathyrella obtusata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire March 2014

Helvella leucomelaena Sooty Cup Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire March 2014

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