Moth recording continues to be full of surprises at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire, despite the relatively cool temperatures for early June. The first Small Elephant Hawk-moth Deilephila porcellus for the site was taken at light on June 4th – the ninth hawk-moth species to be recorded at Tophill. Incredibly, this was followed by the second record when another was trapped overnight on June 6th, taking the list to 586 species since recording of the group began at Tophill, 24 years ago.
Eyed Hawk-moth Smerinthus ocellatus was new for the year during the first week of June, whilst the more regular Poplar Hawk-moth Laothoe populi are appearing in small numbers when overnight trapping occurs.
This Gold Swift Phymatopus hecta found at rest in D Wood on June 6th is something of a Tophill scarcity – this being the first record since 2001. Meanwhile, the second record of Poplar Kitten Furcula bifida occurred with one at light on June 5th – the second successive year the species has been recorded.
Since the first Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa appeared at Tophill in June 2006, the species was expected to colonise. Considered for several years to be a ‘probable breeder’, the change of status to breeding species was confirmed on June 6th when this pre-flight emergent was found, before opening its wings and taking the maiden flight shortly after.
The electric blue males and odd females are now showing well around the site, often jousting with other species, including the elusive Hairy Dragonfly Brachyton pratense. Despite being difficult to see at times, a total of 13 males were noted on June 4th – surely this will be the next Odonata species to colonise site.
June 3rd saw one of the highest totals of Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum ever recorded at Tophill when 1847 were counted, with the species concentrated in one particular area of the site, whilst 233 Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma najas were present on the same date. A surprise early season Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum was seen several times around the north end on June 4th, while a three-figure count of Four-spotted Chaser L. quadrimaculata was taken on June 11th.
Scarce Fungus Weevil Platyrhinus resinosus is a species that has started to appear at Tophill in recent years – this one photographed on June 10th being one of the few ever noted on site.
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