Autumn migration continues with many birds now passing through Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire – some you can see whilst others you can only hear.
This Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata, now a site scarcity, showed well on August 30th and will perhaps be the only one this year recorded on site.
The more obvious migrants are the waders on the marshes, which during the latter period of August included counts of 21+ Snipe Gallinago gallinago with small numbers of Greenshank Tringa nebularia, Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos and Green Sandpiper T. ochropus.
A minimum of four Garganey Anas querquedula were present during the latter part of the month on the southern marshes – a welcome sight after a relatively poor spring showing.
Plenty of other migrants appear for a shorter time as they fly straight through. The wader highlight being five stunning Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa which flew south on the 23rd, while Greenshank passing through high were noted on several dates. Small numbers of Lapwing Vanellus vanellus linger around the site, but over 290 were noted moving through whilst vis-migging during the latter part of the month. Small totals, but they do add up!!!
Despite spending plenty of time looking, raptor migration has once again been slow to get started this August. However, two Hobby Falco subbuteo flew south on the 23rd with singles south on the 25th, 30th and 31st. Four Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus flew south on the 24th, a single on the 30th and three on the 31st, while a juvenile Red Kite Milvus milvus also drifted south on the 24th. Two Buzzard Buteo buteo moved south on the 24th with a single south on the 31st – counting the birds on the move is now a problem due to the healthy local population… it pays to be aware of what the local birds look like and what they do!!!
If conditions are right, plenty of raptors can be seen on the move… click here for comments on September 4th 2010. An impressive day in Tophill’s long history.
The latter part of August always see the arrival of a few Larids, with the first juvenile Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus of the autumn picked out on the 24th. An adult appeared on the 30th, with the same or another joined by two juveniles on the 31st. Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus appeared on several dates, with a maximum of four south on the 24th. A 3rd calendar-year Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis was present late-afternoon on 17th and a juvenile appeared briefly on the 30th. Only small numbers of larids appear on the reservoirs at the moment, but the 17th saw a decent passage to southwest which included 33 Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus graellsii, while an intermedius type adult was present briefly on the 30th.
Perhaps the last of the Swift Apus apus movements occurred on the 17th when 122 flew south with smaller numbers thereafter, while Swallow Hirundo rustica have been moving in good numbers during viz-migging periods since the 17th.
Scanning of the approach road fields on the 23rd produced 14 Yellow Wagtails Motacilla flava flavissima but few others were noted during the month, other than two flava sp south on the 31st, which also saw 31 Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis south – ahead of hopefully some good autumn numbers. Also, two flocks of Tree Sparrow Passer montanus on the approaches totalled 140+ birds on the latter date.
Several Kingfisher Alcedo atthis are still showing well at Tophill… for all the other news, including the first Spotted Crake Porzana porzana for decade, check out the official Tophill Low NR blog.
Despite the cooler conditions during the second half of August, the moth survey has still been producing records. Ancylis badiana trapped on the 15th was new for the site, while species including Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon and Centre-barred Sallow Atethmia centrago saw the year list to the end of August total an impressive 372 species – the second successive year moth recording has surpassed the 369 species recorded in the entire 1992-2006 period – and several weeks earlier than was managed in 2013.