Spring migration – the time when the woodlands and reedbeds come alive with bird song… and hirundines appear in the skies after a winter looking at larids.
Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire has seen a good spring passage to date. A Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe present on the approaches 12th April saw the beginning of some good inland patch records, with the first of the Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca in on the same day. Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus and Cuckoo Cuculus canorus in by 18th, Garden Warbler S. borin and Whitethroat S. communis on the 19th and Reed Warbler A. scirpaceus in by the 26th.
The birds arrive, but for many others the move north continues. Moving finches saw a Brambling Fringilla montifringilla appear on the 19th, while Wagtails are on the move – the best counts being 19 alba on the 18th and 9 flava on the 27th.
This Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla on South Marsh East on the 26th followed on from two 2nd summer Little Gulls Hydrocoloeus minutus on the 21st – only 13 gull species have ever been recorded at Tophill since 1959, but 12 have been recorded since 1st January… could this be the year? The last weekend of the month saw some excellent Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea passage – alas the best I could log during observation periods were singles north on the 26th and 27th. A Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the 21st, 3 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus on the 26th and several Greenshank Tringa nebularia from the 20th the wader highlights, while good numbers of hirundines are passing north, and the first Swifts Apus apus were recorded from the 26th.
April was an excellent month, for the full Tophill Low round up click here.
The earliest ever Cerambycidae record at Tophill saw a Greater Thorn-tipped Longhorn Beetle Pogonocherus hispidulus found by Doug Fairweather on the 19th. This only the second site record following one last summer.
This Pied Shieldbug Tritomegas bicolor was photographed the same date, whilst many other species in the order are starting to appear with careful observation.
Water Ladybird Anisosticta 19-punctata was a species Doug Fairweather found on site last spring, and careful searching once again provided records on 26th April, while Steve Routledge found the equally awkward to find Larch Ladybird Aphidecta obliterate on the same date.
The first Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula was recorded on 19th April, a little behind some of the other sites. However, exuviae searches a week later suggest little more has emerged with only single figures collected and only a single teneral noted.
The highlight of the moth trapping was this Purple Thorn Selenia tetralunaria on the 26th – a fantastic spring species, and when fresh out, these moths are simply stunning.
Muslin Moth Diaphora mendica was only recorded once during the 2013 moth trapping campaign, so two trapped over Easter weekend was encouraging that the species is still present on site. Powdered Quaker Orthosia gracilis has also been recorded in greater numbers this spring, but still missing are several species for the year which trapping would usually record.