Moths surprise during gull no show

The moth recording year continues at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire and even though the diversity is low during the winter period, the value of the records is often quite high.

Yellow-line Quaker Agrochola macilenta Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire November 2016

This Yellow-line Quaker Agrochola macilenta trapped overnight on November 25th is potentially the latest site record ever – this the first recorded since October 22nd.

Winter Moth Operophtera brumata is caught annually in small number – the 23rd site record was taken at light overnight on December 2nd. Two Mottled Umber Erannis defoliaria were also attracted to light the same night – a scarce species, only eight individuals have been recorded since it was first added to the site list in 2009.

Winter Moth Operophtera brumata  Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire December 2016

Mottled Umber Erannis defoliaria Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire December 2016

The highlight of the period was the trapping of Agonopterix ocellana on December 2nd. Records show only 13 individuals have been recorded in VC61 (per Yorkshire Moths dated 2014). This becomes the 637th species on the Tophill Low NR site list.

Agonopterix ocellana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire December 2016

Mixed flocks of roving Redwing Turdus iliacus, Fieldfare T. pilaris and Blackbird T. merula were very much apparent in late-November/early December with good numbers noted on some days around the site, though it is difficult to work out a true figure as birds continuously move both through and around the site.

Blackbird Turdus merula Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire November 2016

Greenfinch Chloris chloris are rarely recorded in three figures nowadays so a flock of 110+ in early December was something of a bonus, while four Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra were also in the area.

The redhead Smew Mergus albellus showed on and off throughout, a Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was present on both reservoirs during latter part of November, and a Bittern Botaurus stellaris was seen around the southern marshes on December 1st.

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

The winter gull roost may show a change in birds each evening, but very little diversity appears within it. This first-winter Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus on December 3rd the first interesting bird for 12 days!

Spectacular Rustgill Gymnopilus junonius Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire November 2016

This Spectacular Rustgill Gymnopilus junonius was one of the finer specimens seen during the latter part of November, with odd Field Blewit Lepista saeva and Clouded Agric Clitocybe nebularis being among the other larger species on show. 

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