Making the most of the sunshine, pheromone luring has proved productive over the last two weekends of July at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire with both Red-tipped Clearwing Synanthedon formicaeformis and Six-belted Clearwing Bembecia ichneumoniformis showing in small numbers.
Despite the time put in, both species remain elusive and are recorded in small number, but those that have found me out with the lures have been able to watch the pheromones at work – and occasionally get typical views of Red-tipped Clearwings in flight without having to put in the hours!
The highlight of the regular light trapping was a Cydia coniferana on July 20th. Confirmed as a new species for VC61, it is one of only around 10 recorded in Yorkshire since 1883.
Further new species for the Tophill list also included Oak Nycteoline Nycteola revayana and Ptycholomoides aeriferanus – the latter itself new to Yorkshire as recently as 1992.
Tophill scarcities have also found their way into the traps helping the year total to 339 species. Acleris holmiana and Bordered Sallow Pyrrhia umbra were both recorded for the first time since 2005, while Brown Silver-lines Petrophora chlorosata last appeared in 2008, the first Dusky Sallow Eremobia ochroleuca since 2009 was attracted to light and Eudonia pallida was the first since 2010.
Despite Tophill missing the worst of the stormy weather over the 19th and 20th, it still proved productive for birding with 2 Common Scoter Melanitta nigra, a Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola, 6 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus and 11 Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos the weekend highs, whilst a Green Woodpecker Picus viridis was a sign of post-breeding dispersal on the 26th.
The first Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta was noted on July 19th – the last of the regular species to appear each year. The good run of Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator continues with multiple individuals encountered on the weekends of the 19th/20th and 26th/27th which is a welcome sign after they have proved elusive in recent summers.
With pheromone luring taking up time, it does allow for periods to scout around smaller areas in search of new species for the Tophill list – Doug Fairweather adding the Mirid bugs Deraeocoris ruber and Phytocoris tiliae.
The always stunning Chrysotoxum bicinctum is just one of the hoverflies to be found, albeit in small numbers, while the occasional Helophilus trivittatus has also been recorded at the back end of the month.
As ever, this is just a small snapshot into Tophill – a full round-up of Tophill news can be round by clicking here.