This Garden Tiger Arctia caja was one of the many brightly coloured species on show at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire as National Moth Night took place across the country last weekend and we performed the now ‘almost annual’ public moth display. With favourable overnight weather conditions, alongside the stunning Tiger moths, we were able to show off numerous Elephant Hawk-moth Deilephila elpenor, Eyed Hawk-moth Smerinthus ocellata and Poplar Hawk-moth Laothoe populi along with Buff-tip Phalera bucephala and Light Emerald Campaea margaritata from the previous night’s trapping which all proved popular with those that came along.
Overall, about 120 species were recorded on site over the weekend, with highlights including two new species in the form of Hedya ochroleucana and Lozotaeniodes formosanus while Ancylis achatana appeared in the traps for only the fourth time since 1999. With the species list currently standing at 552, the next little landmark on the horizon is 569 – which would mean that 200 species have been added since 2006.
The first Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua fimbriata appeared at the back end of June, while Six-spot Burnet Zygaena filipendulae are showing in number on sunny days helping the species total for the year passed 250.
The moth trapping has proved better than the birding over recent weeks, but an Osprey Pandion haliaetus on June 29th was a welcome surprise having missed the birds present earlier in the month. A couple of Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on July 5th were a sign that waders are already on the move south, while a minimum of 350 Swift Apus apus flew south during casual counting on the same date.
The weather during June has proved unkind when trying to record dragonflies in number on visits to Tophill. However, Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea were found emerging on June 28th while an ovi-positing Emperor Dragonfly Anas imperator and a male Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa appeared on July 5th. Disappointingly, Brown Hawker A. grandis was on the wing at nearby Leven Canal on June 8th, but is conspicuous by its absence at Tophill at the moment. On the plus side, good totals of Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa have been recorded in recent weeks following a few years of low totals.