Category Archives: Esticadinho Nature

Migrant moths continue, Mediterranean Gulls and a rare fungi

Vestal Rhodometra sacraria Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

Migrant moths continued to be attracted to light at Tophill Low NR in East Yorkshire during the latter part of October. Following two Vestal Rhodometra sacraria on the 17th, a third was trapped on the 20th and a fourth was captured on the 24th. A total of six Rusty Dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis were trapped between the 23rd and 30th taking the total for the year to seven individuals – a record year for the species at the reserve.

Rusty Dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

Scarce Bordered Straw Helicoverpa armigera Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

A Scarce Bordered Straw Helicoverpa armigera was trapped on the 28th – the first record since 2006 and only the fourth ever in Tophill history.

The number of migrant moths during October totalled:-

6 Rusty Dot Pearl U. ferrugalis
4 Vestal R. sacraria
1 Gem Nycterosea obstipata
1 Scarce Bordered Straw H. armigera
2 Pale Mottled Willow Caradrina clavipalpis
4 Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon

Plus, records of  Turnip Moth Agrotis segetum and several Flame Shoulder Ochropleura plecta and Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba were suggestive of being immigrants given the dates.

Red Sword-grass Xylena vetusta Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

Red Sword-grass Xylena vetusta Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

Away from the migrants, there are always commoner species which produce surprise records which included in this period the reserve’s first autumn record of Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi which was trapped on the 24th. This was followed on the 27th when a Red Sword-grass Xylena vetusta appeared – the second reserve record and the first for 4599 days – the previous individual trapped on March 26th 2005!!!

The 2017 flight period of Yellow-lined Quaker Agrochola macilenta has seen the species noted in record numbers on site. First appearing on the wing this year on September 27th, a total of 176 have been recorded to date. By comparison, since first documented on site, the 1996-2006 records totalled 66 individuals – but this total itself was surpassed between October 24th-28th when 70 individuals were trapped.

Yellow-line Quaker Agrochola macilenta Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

December Moth Poecilocampa populi Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

A pointer to the fact that the moth year has almost gone full circle appeared in the form of the first December Moth Poecilocampa populi on the 27th – a species which will be on the wing for the next month or so depending on temperature.

Under the microscope, and by way of genitalia dissection, Coleophora flavipennella was recorded on June 28th and C. tamesis was taken on July 14th – these two species take the reserve list to 673 species, while the number of species recorded during 2017 now stands at 512.

During the autumn of 2016, Hypoxylon subticinense was discovered on site by Doug Fairweather – this record prompting the Associated British Fungus Group to document the species’ occurrence in the 2016 winter edition of the Forayer magazine. Prior to the Tophill record, the species had not been recorded further north than Suffolk, and searching during the latter part of this month has revealed a more stunning example than that of 12 months ago.

Hypoxylon subticinense Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017
D reservoir Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

October has seen an increase in gull numbers on D reservoir, and this will continue to dominate proceedings over the forthcoming months as the roost increases in number.

October has been spectacular for Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus with study of the gulls present on D reservoir during afternoons, and more latterly since change of the clocks to Greenwich Mean Time in the roost, revealing that at least 27 individuals appeared during the month. A few birds were ringed, but the distances involved mean they are impossible to read. The total for October is unprecedented for this month in site history, and the origins of these birds cannot really be determined. However, the predominate winds from the southwest are perhaps indicative of birds already in the country being displaced.

Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

For the latest from Tophill Low NR, check out the twitter feed via the website or the Facebook Page.

Advertisements

Migrants from both the north and south

Vestal Rhodometra sacraria Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

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.

Vestal Rhodometra sacraria Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

Large Wainscot Rhizedra lutosa Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

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.

Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

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.

Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

For the latest news from Tophill, check out the twitter feed here.

 

The 500th moth species of the year at TLNR in East Yorkshire

Gem Nycterosea obstipata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

October moth recording at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire carried on in the same vein as the previous nine months with surprises appearing at the lights. This Gem Nycterosea obstipata on the 3rd was only the second site record – the previous occurrence of this immigrant species being back in 2005.

Blair's Shoulder-knot Lithophane leautieri Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

First recorded in 2007, Blair’s Shoulder-Knot Lithophane leautieri had been trapped on just three occasions up until 2014, so this individual, also on the 3rd, was a welcome addition to the reserve year list.

Dark Chestnut Conistra ligula Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

The 500th species to be recorded at Tophill Low NR this year appeared on the 5th in the form of this Dark Chestnut Conistra ligula. Another scarce species in the site’s history – this the 15th individual in 11 years.

In the past, study has been done on Lepidoptera leaf mining species and since the turn of the month several species have been recorded.

Stigmella glutinosae Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

Stigmella glutinosae above was found on the 7th on Alder Alnus – the two larvae examined to separate it from the similar S. alnetella. On the same date, S. lemniscella was found on Elm Ulmus –  both new species to the Tophill Low NR species list.

Stigmella lemniscella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

Stigmella plagicolella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

Two of the commoner species seen in the last few days included Stigmella plagicolella on Blackthorn Prunus and Ectoedemia albifasciella on Oak Quercus.

Ectodemia albifasciella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire October 2017

The current tally for the year 2017 is 506 species with hopefully a few more to add in the coming weeks ahead.

Away from moth recording, a small turnover of Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus has been noted on several dates with up to 3 present at any given time. Lesser Redpoll Acanthis cabaret were in evidence in small number during the first week of the month, and the same or another Great White Egret Ardea alba flew through the reserve on the 7th with several Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus through on the same date.

As ever, for the latest news from the reserve, check out the site’s blog and twitter feed here.

September bonus moths take Tophill site list to new levels

Brindled Green Dryobotodes eremita Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

Mild overnight temperatures in late September saw the moth species list of Tophill Low NR in East Yorkshire continue to grow with the maiden appearance of Brindled Green Dryobotodes eremita on the 22nd – the 667th species to be recorded on the site.

A Dusky-lemon Sallow Agrochola lota was attracted to the lights the same night and became the first reserve record since September 23rd 1988! Further individuals followed with singles trapped on the 24th, 27th and 28th across the site.

Dusky-lemon Sallow Agrochola lota Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

Barred Sallow Tiliacea aurago Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

This Barred Sallow Tiliacea aurago on the 23rd was the second reserve record – the previous occurring in 2015. A second individual was trapped a night later.

The only Tophill Low record of Mallow Larentia clavaria occurred in 2013 and a second was long overdue, but it was still a surprise to record this one on the 26th.

Mallow Larentia clavaria Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

The second Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra of the autumn, and fourth all time, was attracted to the lights on the same night, while a Eudonia angustea on the same date was the second of the year, and only the ninth Tophill record since it was first noted in 1999.

Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

Eudonia angustea Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

The warm temperatures finally brought an immigrant in the form of a Rusty Dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis – the 5th reserve record of the species.

Rusty Dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

The total number of moth species recorded this year by the end of September totalled a minimum of 485 species, and 500 moth species by the year end is now a very real possibility. Taking into account the butterflies recorded on site in 2017, it is the first year since Tophill Low was created in 1959 that the Lepidoptera list has exceeded 500 species in a calendar year.

Two of the commoner species on show at the back end of the month included Shaggy Inkcap Coprinus comatus and Common Stinkhorn Phallus impudicus alongside a wonderful stand of what is ‘probably’ Verdigris Agaric Stropharia aeruginosa and the first Bearded Milkcap Lactarius torminosus of the season – the latter two species being particularly scarce on site.

Shaggy Inkcap Coprinus comatus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

Common Stinkhorn Phallus impudicus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

For the latest news from Tophill Low NR, check out the Twitter feed via the blog here.

September specials after summer of success at Tophill Low NR

 

Acleris cristana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

Following the most successful moth summer ever since consistent recording began at Tophill Low NR in East Yorkshire back in 1992, the autumn began with more success in the form of this Acleris cristana trapped on September 1st. A Yorkshire scarcity with 15 documented county records.

Acleris cristana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

Phycitodes maritima Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

This Phycitodes maritima was trapped on the same date, a new species to be recorded on site in May, this individual was the third of the year.

Feathered Gothic Tholera decimalis is another site scarcity. This one taken overnight on the 4th the fifth site record since it was first seen in 2002 and this was the first individual attracted to the lights since 2013.

Feathered Gothic Tholera decimalis Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

Orange Sallow Tiliacea citrago Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

The 7th saw this Orange Sallow Tiliacea citrago make the year list – the fifth Tophill record since 2003 and the first since 2015.

Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

Cold weather thereafter produced a lack of site scarcities until the 21st when this Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra appeared in the traps. The third reserve record following individuals in October 2014 and 2015.

Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

Pink-barred Sallow Xanthia togata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

Despite the recent period of cold overnight temperatures, Pink-barred Sallow Xanthia togata have been noted nightly, this one above the helping the total number of individual moths recorded surpass the 32,000 mark with 467 species documented since January 1st.

The busy mycology recording season is slowly picking up as diversity increases with species including this Common Puffball Lycoperdon perlatum on show next to the paths.

Common Puffball Lycoperdon perlatum Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire September 2017

As ever, for the latest Tophill Low NR news, check out the daily updated twitter feed here.

New landmark moth records reached at Tophill Low NR by August’s end

Maiden's Blush Cyclophora punctaria Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

Moth recording at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire during the second half of August saw more site scarcities appear. The reserve’s second ever Maiden’s Blush Cyclophora punctaria was attracted to the lights on the 16th, with the same night also seeing Epinotia caprana appear – the second site record confirmed by genitalia dissection.

Epinotia caprana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

A Pyrausta aurata was also recorded on the same date, the third individual on site following records in 2010 and 2013, while after two Great Brocade Eurois occulta  in 21 years, the second in three days was also taken on the 16th.

Pyrausta aurata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

Great Brocade Eurois occulta Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

Mompha raschkiella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

The second Mompha raschkiella of the year was trapped on the 21st, the sixth site record, with a further three recorded by the month end. The 21st also saw Tophill’s ninth Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis corylana appear – the first since 2013.

Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis corylana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

Single Tawny Speckled Pug Eupithecia icterata were trapped on the 21st and 28th – the 10th and 11th reserve records since the first recorded individual in 1992.

Tawny Speckled Pug Eupithecia icterata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

Gracillaria syringella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

The second Gracillaria syringella of the year, and ninth site record, was recorded on the 21st, while the 22nd saw this Pebble Hook-tip Drepana falcataria taken at light, the ninth Tophill record.

Pebble Hook-tip Drepana falcataria Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

A landmark was reached on the 22nd when Tophill’s second Old Lady Mormo maura  was the 450th species to be recorded this year – the first time since recording began in 1992 that this total has been reached in a moth trapping year.

Old Lady Mormo maura Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

The total of 450 was soon improved upon, with the eighth Eudonia angustea in site history appearing on the 23rd and a Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla on the 24th the third Tophill record.

Eudonia angustea Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire

Moth trapping overnight on the 28th also saw a second new landmark reached – this Common Marbled Carpet Dysstroma truncate was the 30,000th individual moth of the year recorded on site – the first time this has ever occurred!

Common Marbled Carpet Dysstroma truncata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

Gynnidomorpha alismana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

A few moths taken as specimens across the summer are still being worked on. Two in particular trapped on June 2nd caused considerable interest as they were considered to be a Gynnidomorpha species. After further discussion, and seeking expert advice, our thoughts have proved correct and it is now agreed the two moths are G. alismana – and from correspondence believed to be a new species for VC61. Two further individuals were trapped on July 17th and hopefully other retained specimens will prove to be this species. The species is scarce in Yorkshire as a whole.

Gynnidomorpha alismana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

With specimens of other species retained across the busy summer period still to be identified and confirmed, the site list now stands at 664 species, with the year total now being 456 species.

Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus have been a daily fixture with numbers varying each day, with a high of 142 on the 24th. Many offering excellent views, particularly on the southern marshes, included this stunning juvenile on the 19th.

Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

Aside from Little Gull H. minutus alighting on D reservoir wall, the western wall has held numerous juvenile Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava flavissima and occasional Pied Wagtail M. alba yarrellii, while the reservoir itself has held occasional Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis and Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus, while a Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was present on the 28th.

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava flavissima Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

Yellow Shield Pluteus chrysophaeus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

August has proved a decent month for fungi diversity including this Yellow Shield Pluteus chrysophaeus and the rather aptly named Hare’s Ear Otidea onotica.

Hare's Ear Otidea onotica Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

Hare's Ear Otidea onotica Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

A slight increase in Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta during the latter part of the month was noticeable as the species was incredible scarce since first appearing on the wing. Brown Hawker A.grandis have been showing well, but predictably difficult to photograph, unlike this Southern Hawker A. cyanea.

Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

As ever, for the latest Tophill news, check out the twitter feed and blog.

Early August sees moth record surpassed

Red Underwing Catocala nupta Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

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.

Red Underwing Catocala nupta Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

Small Wainscot Denticucullus pygmina Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

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.

Agriphila selasella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

Great Brocade Eurois occulta Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

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.

Great Brocade Eurois occulta Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

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.

Plutella porrectella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

August Thorn Ennomos quercinaria Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

Iron Prominent Notodonta dromedarius Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

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.

Orange Swift Triodia sylvina Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

Shaggy Parasol Chlorophyllum rhacodes  Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire August 2017

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!

For the latest news from Tophill Low NR, check out the twitter feed and blog.