Gulls, moths and the Yorkshire Odonata season kicks off

Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire April 2015

Spring migration continues and there has been a decent passage of birds through Tophill Low NR in East Yorkshire over the last week or so.

Up to four adult Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus moved through the reservoirs early in the week, with small numbers of Lesser Black-back Larus fuscus graellsii heading north, while the third Iceland Gull L. glaucoides glaucoides of the year involved this bird on the April 20th just outside the reserve recording area, but viewable from within the recording area boundary when in flight.

Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides glaucoides Nr Watton East Yorkshire April 2015

Red Kite Milvus milvus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire April 2015

A minimum of three Red Kite Milvus milvus appeared in the last week, including this bird which seems to have taken up residence at the southern end of the site until the 25th at least – the other records involved singles high east on April 20th and one SSW on the 22nd. Two Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus flew high south on the 20th, two male Peregrine Falco peregrinus flew south on the 24th and a Hobby F. subbuteo was ‘grounded’ around D reservoir during bad weather on the 25th. Meanwhile, the displaying Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus provide the best raptor photo opportunities around D reservoir.

Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire April 2015

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus and Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita have arrived in number, along with numerous singing Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla while the first Whitethroat S. communis and Lesser Whitethroat S. curruca appeared from the 21st.

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire April 2015

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire April 2015

The first Swift Apus apus flew north on the 21st, with a further two (+ several others from other obs) on the 25th. Six Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe were seen during the week including four on the 20th. A Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis flew north over D reservoir on the 21st – the first site record for many years, while small numbers of flava and alba Wagtails were noted moving north during the week, and the first Common Tern Sterna hirundo put in a brief appearance on the 25th before flying south.

For the latest news, check out the official Tophill website here.

Glorious sunny days in April tend to mean cold overnight temperatures, which means the moth recording is slow. However, the record of interest this week was an Early Grey Xylocampa areola – the fourth site record and the first since 2011.

Early Grey Xylocampa areola Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire April 2015

A Waved Umber Menophra abruptaria was only the 20th since the species first appeared in 1996, while Twin-spotted Quaker Orthosia munda was one of the more interesting species of the Orthosia group attracted to light during the week.

Waved Umber Menophra abruptaria Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire April 2015

Twin-spotted Quaker Anorthoa munda Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire April 2015

April 20th also saw the beginning of the Odonata flight season in Yorkshire – this Large Red Damselfly  Pyrrhosoma nymphula exuvia the only one found during extensive searching.

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire April 2015

Check out the latest sightings here at the Yorkshire BDS website.

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