Migrant arrivals in late March

 The Tophill Low gull roosting season drew to an end with the changing of the clocks to British Summer Time and following the Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla on March 15th it yielded nothing more than small numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus graellsii  each evening up until March 26th.

Visible migration watches got off to a slow start with not much more than a trickle of Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis and alba Wagtail passing through. However, five Little Egret Egretta garzetta picked up way south of Tophill on March 24th were last seen heading north over Decoy Wood distantly early morning – a day which also saw two Peregrine Falco peregrinus in the reserve area and a few winter thrushes on the move.

March 26th saw a noticeable influx of birds which included two Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, a Common Scoter Melanitta nigra and two stunning Garganey Anas querquedula – however only the latter remained across the Easter weekend.

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire March 2016

Common Scoter Melanitta nigra Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire March 2016

The first Sand Martin Riparia riparia also appeared on the same date with over 100 noted on the 27th, while Swallow Hirundo rustica have been present in small numbers, and odd Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita arrived in the week leading up to Easter.

Diurnea fagella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire March 2016

The cryptic coloured and highly variable Diurnea fagella has belatedly appeared on the wing. First recorded on site in 2011, last year only 21 were recorded during the flight period, but extensive searching produced 15 on March 26th hopefully meaning the 2015 total was just a poor year.

The light trapping is starting to reveal a few more species on the wing including Twin-spotted Quaker Anorthoa munda, Satellite Eupsilia transversa and Red Chestnut Cerastis rubricosa – all typical for the time of year.

Twin-spotted Quaker Anorthoa munda Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire March 2016

Satellite Eupsilia transversa Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire March 2016

Red Chestnut Cerastis rubricosa Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire March 2016

Tophill Low NR now has its own Facebook group which over time will feature news of all things Tophill including updated sightings. Also check out the official Tophill blog.

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