The strong southwest winds courtesy of Storm Ophelia meant bad weather for some, but at Tophill Low NR in East Yorkshire, it meant delightful warm winds which blew in from southern Europe the reserve’s first ever Vestal Rhodometra sacraria records with two attracted to the lights on October 17th. These followed a small number trapped elsewhere across Yorkshire the previous evening from what can be gleaned from social media, with the species still being recorded in recent days across the county as whole. The species becomes the 671st moth species to be recorded on site in what is proving to be the best ever year for moth recording in the reserve’s history as the year list is now a minimum of 507 species.
Amongst the other species recorded in the last week or so included probably the reserve’s highest single night haul of Large Wainscot Rhizedra lutosa with 38 trapped on the 15th. The tally since the species first took to the wing this autumn is 222 individuals – by contrast only 339 were recorded 1992-2016. The tenth Pale Mottled Willow Caradrina clavipalpis of the year was captured on the 14th – by comparison only 17 individuals had been trapped between 2000 and 2016.
From the breeding grounds of Greenland and Iceland, Pink-footed Geese Anser brachyrhynchus have been an almost daily occurrence at the reserve this month with up to 30 regular at Watton NR from mid-month and occasional large flocks flying south over the site.
While the winter gull roosting has yet to kick off, good numbers of Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus have been moving through D reservoir as the gulls drop and in and move off each day. The 13th-17th period turned over a minimum of 12 individuals, which is quite unprecedented from records in recent years for the time of year. Counts of 3, 6, 5 and 3-5 individuals over four days means it is the longest prolonged period in site history for high numbers of the species appearing on reservoir. Despite the appearance of this species, the only other bird of note seen was a Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus present mid-afternoon on the 17th.
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