Category Archives: Esticadinho Nature

Moth year list hits 400 in record time at Tophill Low

Acleris aspersana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

The incredible moth year at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire continues at pace as the 400 species mark was reached and passed over the weekend of July 21st/22nd – the fastest ever the total has been reached in the site’s history. Incredibly, the 400th species was Acleris aspersana – not new to the site, but the first time it had been recorded since one in 2002.

Caloptilia rufipennella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

Caloptilia rufipennella is another rarely recorded species on site – the fourth Tophill individual noted, and the first for three years, was taken at light on the 21st, as the year total races on towards what will hopefully be a new site record in 2017.

News from early July concerned the addition of Epinotia signatana to the reserve list. Two trapped on the 5th were proved by genitalia dissection and it becomes the 657th documented moth species recorded.

Epinotia signatana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

As ever, for the latest news, check out the Tophill Low blog and daily updated Twitter feed.

The Tophill Low NR list – just keeps increasing

Arhopalus rusticus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

The Cerambycidae list of Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire rarely sees additions, totalling just seven species up until July 12th 2017. However, that was before this Arhopalus rusticus was found during moth recording. On checking records, it appears to be the third VC61 record and 8th county record, per the recently published Yorkshire Naturalist Union Coleoptera list 2017.

Arhopalus rusticus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

Scarcer still was this Argyresthia bonnetella f. ossea taken at light on July 14th – the third documented record of this form in Yorkshire following communications with a leading expert.

Argyresthia bonnetella f. ossea Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

Kent Black Arches Meganola albula Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

July 2016 saw Kent Black Arches Meganola albula added to the Tophill Low list. Rarely recorded away from coastal haunts, further records weren’t expected, so it came as something of a surprise to trap a single on the 14th, followed by two others on the 15th in a different part of the reserve.

2016 was also the year Coronet Craniophora ligustri was added to the site list, the individual below attracted to light on the 14th the second site record.

Coronet Craniophora ligustri Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

Batrachedra praeangusta Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

This Batrachedra praeangusta trapped on 15th was a new species for Tophill Low and was one of 140+ species attracted to the lights that night – thought to be the highest single night haul in site history. The period 13th-15th yielded in the region of 180+ species, but the total is yet to finalised. An impressive number for a site which is still relatively ‘young‘ given planting of the main woodlands only commenced post-site construction in 1959.

Catoptria pinella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

The 656th species to be recorded on site was Catoptria pinella on the 19th, while the supporting cast in recent days included Ypsolopha scabrella and Pale Mottled Willow Caradrina clavipalpis.

Ypsolopha scabrella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

Pale Mottled Willow Caradrina clavipalpis Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

Butterfly recording saw nearly 1000 individuals of 17 species recorded on the July 17th, while the dragonflies continue to show well with a minimum of seven Emperor Anax imperator present on the same date.

A Garganey Anas querquedula was present from the 15th remaining until the 21st at least on South Marsh East, while small numbers of waders were present each day.

Check out the Tophill Low blog and twitter feed for the latest site news.

Moths lead the way as wader passage continues with a trickle in inland East Yorkshire

Blackneck Lygephila pastinum Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

During the end of June/early July period at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire, Blackneck Lygephila pastinum numbers increased with several seen dayflying, though the peak count involved 12 trapped overnight on July 3rd, something of lower total than in recent years, though it has been decided this year to target this species less and try something else, as it is known to have been present annually in good number since it was first recorded in 2008.

Both dayflying Six-spot Burnet Zygaena filipendulae and Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Z. lonicerae have been recorded this year in small number, the latter species having avoided detection last summer.

Six-spot Burnet Zygaena filipendulae Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

Six-belted Clearwing Bembecia ichneumoniformis Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

Clearwings Sessiidae have been noted from late June, but have proved difficult to find at times, though 21 Six-belted Clearwing Bembecia ichneumoniformis were noted recently.

Six-belted Clearwing Bembecia ichneumoniformis Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

Brown-veined Wainscot Archanara dissoluta is notoriously scarce on site, recorded on only 10 occasions with 16 individuals recorded since it was first noted in 1996. The first, and perhaps the last record of the year, was found in the traps on June 30th – proof that Tophill still hosts this scarce Yorkshire species.

Brown-veined Wainscot Archanara dissoluta Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

Lilac Beauty Apeira syringaria Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

The light traps attract over 100-130 species each time they are set at the moment, and the incredible year of site scarcities recorded continued during early July. A Lilac Beauty Apeira syringaria trapped on the 2nd was the fourth site record, followed the night after by a Slender Brindle Apamea scolopacina. The only previous Tophill records of this species involved two in 2001 – so it was something of a surprise when another was attracted to light on the 5th in a completely different part of the site.

Slender Brindle Apamea scolopacina Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire

The 5th also saw this Dioryctria simplicella recorded. A little, worn but considered to be this species, confirmation came via genitalia dissection as it proved to be the first site record since 1997.

Dioryctria simplicella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

V-Pug Chloroclystis v-ata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

With such a wide diversity of moths being recorded, it came as no surprise to record the 652nd and 653rd species since trapping began in 1992. V-Pug Chloroclystis v-ata has been on the expected list, and one duly appeared on July 6th. Despite being a widespread species across the county, it is surprising it has taken so long to record one at Tophill. Less common in the county is Spruce Bud Moth Zeiraphera ratzeburgiana – the first record for Tophill occurring on the 7th.

Spruce Bud Moth Zeiraphera ratzeburgiana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

Phoenix Eulithis prunata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

The 7th also saw Tophill’s second Phoenix Eulithis prunata trapped, the only previous record occurring in 2011. The third followed on the 10th. This Scarce Footman Eilema complana was the sixth site record, have recently been added to the site list in 2015.

Scarce Footman Eilema complana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

Codling Moth Cydia pomonella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

Two Codling Moth Cydia pomonella on the 9th became Tophill’s third and fourth records, following singles in 2012 and 2014. The 10th saw the first Bulrush Wainscot Nonagria typhae of the season trapped – the 371st species of the year identified on site, equalling the total number of species identified on site over the 1992-2006 period.

Bulrush Wainscot Nonagria typhae Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

Birdwise, small numbers of waders trickled through during the early part of the month, with South Marsh East holding Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa and Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus almost daily, with odd Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus appearances. The highlight was a Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia present on the 11th and 12th.

Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire July 2017

For all the latest news, checkout the Tophill Low blog and twitter feed.

Tophill moth list hits 650 as 2017 site year list races past 300 species

Apple Fruit Moth Argyresthia conjugella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

The 2017 moth recording campaign at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire continues and new additions to the site list saw Apple Fruit Moth Argyresthia conjugella become the 648th species added on June 16th. Species 649 was Coleophora alticolella, albeit trapped on June 1st, but later identified by genitalia dissection and soon after a Coleophora mayrella trapped on the 17th became the 650th species to be added to the site list since recording proper began back in 1992.

Coleophora mayrella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Coleophora peribenandera Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

The 651st species identified for the site list was Coleophora peribenanderi trapped at light on the 17th and later identified by genitalia dissection. The photos courtesy of Doug Fairweather.

As ever on reaching a milestone, I offer a big thanks to Yorkshire Water and Reserve Warden Richard Hamphire for supporting both Mr Doug Fairweather and myself in our efforts. We now begin the race to 700 and beyond.

As well as the new species, many site rarities were seen up to June 27th… a flavour of what was recorded follows:-

Teleiodes vulgella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Until this month, single Teleiodes vulgella were recorded in 1998 and 2011, but one on the 16th was followed by singles on the 17th and 26th making it the best year ever for this species which is considered fairly common in the county.

Tophill’s third Eucosma campoliliana was attracted to light on the 17th – following individuals in 2014 and 2015.

Eucosma campoliliana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

A Pammene regiana found in the field on the 17th was the first documented on site since 2014, becoming the 10th site record for this species.

Pammene regiana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Clouded Brindle Apamea epomidion Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Despite the heat wave not lasting, the moths continued to appear, including Tophill’s second Clouded Brindle Apamea epomidion on the 18th – the only previous record occurring in 2003, while a Coleophora trifolii on the 19th was only the second confirmed record for the site following one in 2016.

Coleophora trifolii Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Agapeta zoegana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Agapeta zoegana was first recorded at Tophill in 2000 and was noted thereafter irregularly, but almost annually until 2013, after which there were no further records – so it was something of a surprise to find this stunning individual in the traps on the 19th, perhaps proof that the species still has a small population on site.

White Plume Moth Pterophorus pentadactyla is a common species across Yorkshire, but one on the 20th was the first site record since 2011, and only the 17th individual recorded since 1993. The 18th record followed soon after on the 23rd.

White Plume Moth Pterophorus pentadactyla Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Trapping on the 23rd also attracted The Miller Acronicta leporine – the first individual recorded at Tophill since 2013 and only the fifth individual since 1995. The stunning Large Emerald Geometra papilionaria was also trapped the same night – the sixth individual recorded on site since 2006 – the seventh was trapped on the 26th.

The Millar Acronicta leporina Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Large Emerald Geometra papilionaria Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

The supporting cast included further Eupoecilia angustana sightings. Newly added to the site list this year, records continued throughout the month, including this photogenic individual.

Eupoecilia angustana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Gypsonoma oppressana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

First recorded in 2013, Tophill’s eighth Gypsonoma oppressana on the 13th continued the run of annual appearances, with further singles on the 17th and 24th. The first Red-tipped Clearwing Synanthedon formicaeformis of the year was noted on the latter date – the species now occurring annually since 2011, while Six-belted Clearwing Bembecia ichneumoniformis were seen from the 17th.

Red-tipped Clearwing Synanthedon formicaeformis Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Peach Blossom Thyatira batis Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Buff Arches Habrosyne pyritoides Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Peach Blossom Thyatira batis and Buff Arches Habrosyne pyritoides were two of the other stunning species to be taken at light, while the first day-flying Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum was seen on June 24th.

Other species recorded included – Barred Red Hylaea fasciaria trapped on the 16th, Tophill’s second Red-necked Footman Atolmis rubricollis followed a night later, and small numbers of Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria, Buff-tip Phalera bucephala, Blackneck Lygephila pastinum, Beautiful Hook-tip Laspeyria flexula and Short-cloaked Moth Nola cucullatella also appeared in the traps.

Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Buff-tip Phalera bucephala Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Beautiful Hook-tip Laspeyria flexula Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Short-cloaked Moth Nola cucullatella Tophill Low NR, June 2017

Recent years have seen an average of 418 species recorded annually on site, and at the time of writing the current year list totals 311 species, with several still to be determined. With six months of the year left, including July and August – two of the busiest months of the year – the bar may well be set to new levels.

Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Away from the moths, the first Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa were noted from the 24th alongside several Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea – a true sign the summer is progressing as next out will be Migrant Hawker A. mixta – a species which will be on the wing long into the autumn.

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

Diverse array of scarcities and rarities continues from late May into early June

Great White Egret Ardea alba and Little Egret Egretta garzetta Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

May at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire ended with the first Great White Egret Ardea alba of the year appearing on South Marsh East, before lingering into early June, though often elusive at times. Other birding highlights included several first summer Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus almost daily until June 12th at least, and two adult Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus which flew over on June 11th.

Dichrorampha aeratana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

The Yorkshire scarcity Dichrorampha aeratana appeared on the wing from May 20th, and Coleophora albicosta was a new species for the site on the 23rd. Back on April 8th, a moth taken in the field was considered to be Dingy Spruce Bell Epinotia pygmaeana. Following genitalia dissection, this was confirmed and it becomes the second site record having previously been documented in 2012. Considered to be a Nationally Scarce B species, it remains rare in the county since first being discovered in 1929 (per Yorkshire Moths).

Parornix anglicella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

Aspilapteryx tringipennella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

Parornix anglicella and Aspilapteryx tringipennella were trapped on May 29th – the latter being the second of the year, and third in Tophill history. An Epermenia falciformis was trapped overnight on June 1st – the second site record following one in 2013 – the species being scarce across the county as a whole.

Epermenia falciformis Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Ptycholoma lecheana was a new species to be recorded on site, with this one below trapped on June 2nd, and the 3rd provided another new species in the form of Grass Rivulet Perizoma albulata while a Small Yellow Underwing Panemeria tenebrata was the third or fourth recorded since first seen at Tophill in 1993.

Ptycholoma lecheana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Grass Rivulet Perizoma albulata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Platyptilia gonodactyla Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Platyptilia gonodactyla is irregularly recorded in small number on site – the first of 2017 was noted on the 3rd before the reserve’s fifth Dingy Shell Euchoeca nebulata was found in the field on the 10th.

Dingy Shell Euchoeca nebulata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa have been present in small number since early June, alongside the more numerous Four-spotted Chaser L. quadrimaculata, and often seen interacting with Hairy Dragonfly Brachytron pratense at water bodies.

Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

The third sighting of Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens involved this male at the south end on the 3rd – with three documented records in 2017, this is one of Tophill’s best years for this stunning species.

Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire June 2017

Walking around O reservoir, the orchid display is looking fantastic this month, and features numerous Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera alongside the path – incredible to think some years back the total number of spikes of the species numbered single figures.

For the latest news, check out the Tophill blog and twitter feed and the events page, which details the plans (to date) for Yorkshire Water’s ‘Water works for Wildlife Weekend‘ open days on the 17th and 18th June from 10am-4pm.

Scorching late May temperatures see records broken at Tophill Low NR

Hairy Dragonfly Brachytron pratense Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

The hot spring temperatures of late May ensured Hairy Dragonfly Brachytron pratense was numerous at Tophill Low NR in East Yorkshire over the Bank Holiday weekend, and it was no surprise that a new site record of 55 were found on May 27th eclipsing the previous site high of 25 in June 2014. First recorded as a confirmed breeder on site just 12 months ago, it is incredible that a species once considered almost, if not extinct, in Yorkshire as recently as 2006 can now have colonized many of the waterways in the Vice County in just over a decade, with the first confirmed record at Tophill Low occurring as recently as 2009.

Hairy Dragonfly Brachytron pratense Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens are predictable in that they make sporadic appearances on site, and are always a pleasant surprise. This female on the 27th the first since a male was present alongside D reservoir in August 2015.

Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata have been noted in good numbers in recent days – over 200 were seen on the 27th, and several Broad-bodied Chaser L. depressa were seen over the weekend.

Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

A trickle of spring wader passage continued, including this Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the 23rd on D reservoir wall, while two Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula were present on South Marsh East on the 30th.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus appear in small number each spring, so it was no surprise to see one on the 27th, with three present on the 29th until the month’s end.

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

Eupoecilia angustana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

With May having already provided both new species and scarce moths for the site, the month ended in style with this Eupoecilia angustana on the 27th. Meanwhile, dissections of moribund moths found in the traps on the 24th yielded Coleophora albicosta and Phycitodes maritima – the genitalia plate of the latter species photographed by Doug Fairweather below. Both new species for the site list.

Phycitodes maritima Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

There was also a splendid supporting cast as dissections of a Dichrorampha species trapped on the 17th and 18th determined them to be D. acuminatana – the first site records since 1996 – the 1996 record was the first for the Vice County (per Yorkshire Moths), and a Pale Pinion Lithophane socia trapped on the 21st was the third record following singles in 2009 and 2016. Meanwhile, a second Ochreous Pug Eupithecia indigata was trapped overnight on the 28th – following the first site record earlier in the month.

Pale Pinion Lithophane socia Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

Green Silver-lines is still considered a Tophill scarcity despite regular trapping commencing in 1992 – two so far this year included singles trapped on the 26th and 30th.

Green Silver-lines Pseudoips prasinana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

Agapeta hamana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

Bright sunny days during the closing days of the month saw numerous moths recorded during the daylight hours – including the first Agapeta hamana of the new season, along with the stunning white Elachista argentella and Lathronympha strigana – the latter which will hopefully appear in higher number than in 2016.

By the 31st, a minimum of 173 moth species have been recorded at Tophill Low NR during 2017 – in context, this time 12 months ago saw the milestone of 100 species recorded by May 31st reached for the first time, while going back to the year 2000 (per HWVG report) only 110 species were recorded in a calendar year.

Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

Orange-tip Anthocharis cardamines have shown well during the spring, and double-figure counts of Common Blue Polyommatus icarus were noted in the final days of the month. Meanwhile, Brown Argus Aricia agestis was on the wing from the 22nd until the month’s end and appear to be the first spring records for several years.

Spring moths continue to surprise at Tophill Low NR

White-pinion Spotted Lomographa bimaculata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

The recent good run of site moth scarcities continued at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire during the middle period of the month.

White-pinion Spotted Lomographa bimaculata was first discovered on the site back in 2006 – the second and third records followed in May 2015, with a single noted in 2016, so singles on May 13th and 16th represent a fantastic year for a species which has proved to be elusive at Tophill over the last decade.

Aspilapteryx tringipennella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

A presumed migrant involved a Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon trapped on the 15th, the 22nd individual since 1996, but trapping on the 16th proved to be the best night of the year so far, with several site scarcities noted including the second site record of Aspilapteryx tringipennella and the sixth record of Aethes smeathmanniana – the first for three years.

Aethes smeathmanniana Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

The best moths involved two Geometridae in the group Larentiinae, with both the locally scarce Ochreous Pug Eupithecia indigata and the more common Grey Pug E. subfuscata both being new additions to the site list.

Ochreous Pug Eupithecia indigata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

Grey Pug Eupithecia subfuscata Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2016

Following the second site record of Prays ruficeps earlier in the month, the third was taken at light on 18th, and for the first time, an ‘out of pot’ photograph was taken.

Prays ruficeps Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

Finally, a Gracillaria syringella on the 20th was the eighth site record and first since 2014.

Gracillaria syringella Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

The west side of O reservoir is always the first place to look for the first Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma najas of a new season, and predictably the first of the year was present there on the 13th.

Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma najas Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire May 2017

Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa is the eighth species of the year noted at Tophill. Confirmed as breeding species on site 12 months ago, the first pre-flight emergents of 2017 were seen on the 20th.

Readers wishing to keep up to date with Tophill related events should check out the Tophill Low NR blog and twitter feed (the latter updated daily) for official news from Tophill Low.