Churring Nightjar continues Tophill’s excellent spring

Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2015

The incredible spring birds continued at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire during the mid-May period. Following on from the April Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis and early May Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix, a Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus flew northeast over the reserve on May 13th and this stunning male Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus showed well on the 23rd. Churring mid-afternoon, the bird was eventually located, before flying into dense cover. However, it did delight others with a brief appearance later the same evening.

Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2015

Away from the scarcities, two Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus moved through on the 13th, which also saw the highest recent migration count of Swift Apus apus  when 247 moved through over four hours. Three Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea flew north over D reservoir on the 14th, two Red Kite Milvus milvus flew high north on the 15th while the four Little Egrets Egretta garzetta that passed north the same day may have been the same birds seen in Ampleforth and at Wheldrake Ings on the 13th and 14th.

Migrant waders included a stunning ginger male Ruff Philomachus pugnax which briefly dropped onto the southern marshes on the 15th, a Temminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii disappeared before my arrival on the 22nd, while Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos continued their migration north – this individual taking a brief rest period on D reservoir wall.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2015

As ever, for the latest round-up of news from Tophill, check out the Tophill Low website.

As well as scarce Tophill birds, the 2015 moth recording campaign has produced some unexpected records. This White-pinion Spotted Lomographa bimaculata  on May 15th was the second site record and first since 2006 – the third record soon followed when one was taken at light on the 22nd.

White-pinion Spotted Lomographa bimaculata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2015

Scalloped Hazel Odontopera bidentata is also a site scarcity. One trapped on May 15th became only the fourth record since 2001.

Scalloped Hazel Odontopera bidentata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2015

Muslin Moth Diaphora mendica Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2015

Spectacle Abrostola tripartita Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2015

More regular fare for the time of year involved Muslin Moth Diaphora mendica and the Spectacle Abrostola tripartita – the photo above showing the spectacles.

Cauchas rufimitrella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2015

A few more day-flying micros are becoming visible. Checking the Cuckoo Flower Cardamine pratense a small number of Cauchas rufimitrella  can be found, while Cocksfoot Moth Glyphipterix simpliciella are now out in force, with over 200 noted in a small area on the 23rd.

Cocksfoot Moth Glyphipterix simpliciella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2015

Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma najas Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2015

The emergence of the Odonata species continues with eight species on the wing by 24th. The largest numbers of Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma najas during the season can be seen as the tenerals move away from water to mature – 103 the highest total on the 16th. Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa were noted from the 23rd, while numbers of Four-spotted Chaser L. quadrimaculata increased during the third week of the month – 27 emergents being seen at a single pond alone. Meanwhile, Hairy Dragonfly Brachytron pratense continue to be scarce, though four were seen on the 23rd.

Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2015

Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2015

Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2015

Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines are still showing in good number, with small numbers of Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria on the wing. However, it seems Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus may well be once again absent from my Tophill year list.

Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2015

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