September tends to see the diversity of Odonata drop away as various species reach the end of their flight season and Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire is no different. Several species remained active throughout the month in varying numbers, including Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea above, Brown Hawker A. grandis and the smaller, but more numerous Migrant Hawker A. mixta. Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum outnumber the similar Ruddy Darter S. sanguineum, whilst Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum appeared to die out during the early part of the month – though weather during visits didn’t provide great Odonata recording conditions.
These two Little Egrets Egretta garzetta were part of a group of 8 which moved north through the site, presumably leaving a local roost, early morning on September 7th, while this 1st winter male Pintail Anas acuta below was one of two which dropped onto the reservoir early morning on the 14th, before flying out south east, with a further 3 seen flying north early evening the same day.
Wigeon A. penelope started to appear in small numbers during the second week of the month, while two red-head Goosander Mergus merganser moved north on the 14th.
A minimum of nine Marsh Harrier C. aeruginosus had moved through by the middle of the month, with a minimum of five present or flying through the site on the 14th. Two Peregrine Falco peregrinus were noted on the 7th and 14th, with a Hobby F. subbuteo south on the former date.
Wader passage during visits involved a Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula on the 7th. Small numbers of Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria have been passing south, while the marshes have held numerous Snipe Gallinago gallinago, occasional Greenshank Tringa nebularia and the odd Green Sandpiper T. ochropus, with the reservoir walls holding Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos.
Double figure counts of Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus graellsii could be seen on most visits when prolonged periods were spent overlooking D reservoir, a species which will likely soon disappear as the autumn continues – the best count being a minimum of 65 on the 14th. Two juvenile Yellow-legged Gull L. michahellis were present early morning on the 7th, while a 2nd winter type moved north on the 14th.
A minimum of 4 Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus moved through on the 14th. Despite good counts at other East Yorkshire sites, Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus are rarely numerous at Tophill so 4 individuals on the 7th were noteworthy, while a new site record was set when 7 moved through between late-afternoon and dusk on the 14th.
This record shot of a Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis below is one of the species passing through Tophill at the moment when weather conditions are right… likely to be the best I can get as birds pass over at various heights.
Small numbers of wagtails of all three regular species trickle through – 26 flavas noted on the 7th the most noteworthy. Meanwhile, the first Jay Garrulus glandarius of the autumn was present on the 13th.
Brown-spot Pinion Agrochola litura trapped on the 12th was one of several new species added to the year list by mid month, while the Snout Hypena proboscidalis, which has been on the wing since early June, reached a year high total of 29 during overnight trapping on the same date, with small numbers disturbed on the 13th whilst recording fungi.
Hoverflies haven’t featured much this summer, due more to poor weather on visits to Tophill rather than species not being on the wing. However, it has been noted that some species have been absent. This Xanthandrus comtus was photographed in late August by Doug Fairweather and becomes the latest new addition to the site list.
Pholiotas are spectacular fungi – above squarrosa Shaggy Pholiota and below gummosa Sticky Pholiota. Two common species recorded in small number each autumn at Tophill.
This stand of Spectacular Rustgill Gymnopilus junonius brightened up the woodlands mid-month while the odd Blushing Wood Mushroom Agaricus silvaticus were noted. The second picture below showing it blushing red, despite being an old, maggot infested, specimen.
The good diversity also included Ochre Brittlegill Russula ochroleuca, and the Lactarius species Oakbug Milkcap L. quietus and False Saffron Milkcap L. deterrimus.
This display of Blushing Bracket Daedaleopsis confragosa another of the species encountered – no doubt many more will be added during the autumn.
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