Cachinnans – the first Tophill scarcity of 2016

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire January 2016

Gullmas may have ended, but another three months or so of gull roosts await at Tophill Low NR in East Yorkshire.

January 5th saw a 3rd calendar year Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans appear on D reservoir as the light faded. Always distant, unfortunately only grainy record shots are available. The bird remained until last light, and as ever the question is will it return? History shows that ‘scarce’ large larids rarely reappear the following afternoon.

Despite still considered something of a Tophill rarity, this bird is the fourth or fifth individual in recent months.

A 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull L. michahellis also roosted on the 5th, with now maybe 17-21 different birds seen in the last 54 days. In context, that total would be considered a good year!

Mediterranean Gull  Ichthyaetus melanocephalus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire January 2016

Disappointingly, none of the Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus flock present on the 3rd reappeared in the days after, but the Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus numbers continue to tick over, with up to 10 different birds noted since December 31st.

Maybe when the cold snap finally arrives, a white-winger or two may well be added to the winter 2015/16 list. However if not, the 53 roosts of the winter so far have proved enlightening and unprecedented, in terms of the numbers of certain species, in Tophill’s long history.

As ever for the latest site news, check out the website and the twitter feed.

Caloptilia stigmatella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire January 2016

The 2015 moth trapping campaign may well have been the most successful year ever in terms of numbers, but while the writing up of last year goes on, January 1st saw the beginning of the 25th year of recording commence.

Despite no moths taken at light, the year began in great fashion as almost 250 moths were noted on the 2nd, including this Caloptilia stigmatella. A couple of highlights included the fifth Agonopterix subpropinquella for the site, while a total of six Twenty-plume Moth Alucita hexadactyla was a new site day record.

Although winter isn’t a great time to see fungi, it is a good time to make the most of what you have. A few species can be seen without any difficulty including Smoky Bracket Bjerkandera adusta and Moss Bell Galerina hypnorum.

Smokey Bracket Bjerkandera adusta Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire Janaury 2016

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