Autumnal signs became increasingly evident in early August at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire. One striking feature of August on site is the appearance of Red Underwing Catocala nupta on the wing. The species often roosts on walls around the reserve during the daytime with numbers seen varying each year.
The first Small Wainscot Denticucullus pygmina of the year were trapped on August 8th – and it was also the 432nd moth species of the year to be recorded on site, surpassing the previous highest annual total of 431 species in 2014.
Further new species have been added to the site list in recent days as identifications are made to some of the July specimens, including the first records of Dichrorampha petiverella and D. montanana. August new additions commenced with the first site record of Agriphila selasella trapped overnight on the 9th, which was followed by several further individuals over the following days, taking the all-time site total to 663 species.
Great Brocade Eurois occulta records at Tophill Low NR involved single individuals in 1996 and 2006, so this one trapped overnight on the 14th was a long over-due record of this migrant species. Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon also appeared the same evening, the fourth to be trapped this month.
Other early August highlights included the third site record of Plutella porrectella on the 1st, and a third Ptocheuusa paupella on the 14th following on from the two earlier records in July of this scarce Yorkshire species.
Iron Prominent Notodonta dromedarius and Orange Swift Triodia sylvina have also been attracted to the lights in small number during the first half of August, the latter species helping the year list move one closer to 450 species and hopefully beyond.
The diversity of fungi becomes more apparent during August, with the first Shaggy Parasol Chlorophyllum rhacodes noted early in the month alongside Stinkhorn Phallus impudicus and a small variety of other species.
Birdwise, Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus have remained present almost daily throughout the opening half of the month, at least two juvenile Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla were present on D reservoir late afternoon on the 6th and the first juvenile Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis of the autumn was there briefly the day after.
Kittiwake R. tridactyla saw the D reservoir annual target of a perfect 12 gull species recorded in just 212 days of 2017, while surpassing the highest ever annual moth list in site history took a mere 220 days!
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