Despite 22 years of moth recording at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire having taken place, 2014 has proved to the most productive year so far. The good run of records continued at the weekend as two new species were added to the list in the form of the immigrants Palpita vitrealis and Dotted Footman Pelosia muscerda which were attracted to light overnight on September 19th.
Both Yorkshire rarities, there are only a handful of county records for both species. The addition of these species takes the site list to 569 since 1992, with Dotted Footman becoming the 200th species added to the site list since 2006.
Another immigrant, Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella was also attracted to light on the same night, while more regular species included Lunar Underwing Omphaloscelis lunosa and Large Wainscot Rhizedra lutosa which helped move the year list on to 384.
Back in 2011, Doug Fairweather collected, and had verified by recorders of the Associated British Fungus Group, the uncommon Hemipholiota populnea. A simply stunning mushroom, Doug took this photo of ‘probably’ the same species growing on Poplar Populus spp. but as its already on the list, there is no need to collect the specimen.
Other nice species encountered included Veiled Oyster Pleurotus dryinus and ‘probable’ Persistent Waxcap Hygrocybe acutoconica.
Four Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola flew south through a murky Tophill early on the 20th, a scarce site species unless the reservoirs are drained, while a single Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus and three Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos were present on the marshes, though Snipe Gallinago gallinago numbers had noticeably dropped. Four Common Scoter Melanitta nigra spent most of the day on O reservoir, as wildfowl numbers on the water bodies start to increase, while juveniles of both Peregrine Falco peregrinus and Hobby F. subbuteo appeared. Small numbers of wagtails Motacilla spp. continue to move – with several flava spp. and Grey Wagtail M. cinerea passing through south, as did an early Brambling Fringilla montifringilla. As ever, for the full round-up of sightings and news, check out the official Tophill website.
A good selection of gulls were around over the weekend. The highlight being Tophill’s fourth Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans which was present on D reservoir mid-afternoon on the 20th before flying off into the murk, presumably joining the gulls in the surrounding fields. Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus continue to appear – an adult on the 20th and two 1st winters on the 21st noted during periods scanning the gulls. Since mid-August when the first juvenile appeared, given the movements of gulls, between 8 and 21 individuals have been noted in the recording area. This one below one of Sunday’s birds photographed distantly as it flew north having spent a matter of minutes on the reservoir.