Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tophill Low....what a day,16.06.2013.

Another early start today saw Chris and myself travelling over the Humber into gods own country again,this time visiting the excellent Yorkshire water reserve at Tophill Low.The plan had to arrive early and then go and look for the reported Great-white Egret and then spend the remainder of the day exploring the reserve.So on arrival and after getting the camera gear and optics together we headed down the side of D-res for Hempholme meadow.After much searching it soon became apparent,the 'Big white Heron' was nowhere to be seen,oh well!.We had a look around the area seeing 2 lovely Barn Owl hunting the meadows,but little else.As we began to make our way back towards D-res woods,Chris shouted me and there it was,the Great-white Egret flying overhead,back towards Hempholme.We watched as it glided in to land,but on return to Hempholme meadow we couldn't see it.I am guessing it was somewhere in the inaccessible pond adjacent to the meadow,at least we had seen it.By this time it was getting towards 9ish and we had a quick look at North marsh enjoying excellent views of the ubiquitous Marsh/Edible Frogs as they cackled to each other,before heading back to the car park to meet up with local birder and 'Moth man' Martin Hodges.While waiting for Martin to arrive i managed to find a few interesting insects which included Parhelophilus frutetorum and possibly a new species of Capsid Bug for the site Calocoris alpestris.This latter find was watched on its host plant nettles and on an adjacent Sycamore,a nice find!.When Martin arrived we then went to look at the moth traps that had been running overnight and were treated to some great moths,one of which was a new one for me,May Highflyer.This species is superbly camouflaged against its arboreal home,with its foodplant being Alder.Other moths in the traps included Poplar Hawkmoth,Shears,Treble Lines,Heart and Dart,Swallow Prominent,Silver-ground Carpet,Wormwood Pug,Common Pug,Setacous-hebrew Character,Rosy Minor,Common Swift,Clouded Silver,Green Carpet,Mottled Rustic and Cabbage Moth among others.After this treat Chris and myself had a wander round to Watton Nature reserve,were the best bird came in the form of a smart 2nd calendar year Little Gull watched feeding over the pit and loafing on the shoreline,a nice bird and surprise.Also here were a couple of summering Drake Wigeon and 2 Common Buzzard over the fields.In the sorrounding area and walk back towards 'O' res,a profusion of Ox-eye daiseys attracted several Hoverflies which included my first Volucella species of the year,Bombylans and Pellucens.Both common colour forms of the VB's were seen and the Pellucens was stunning as usual.The final part of the day was spent walking through 'D' Woods down to Hempholme and back along the river bank to 'O' res,taking in the D pond as well on the way.This was probably the most rewarding part of the day as Martin pointed out several micro moth species which were nearly all new to Chris and myself and included the stunning Pseudargyrotoza conwagana,Micropterix aruncella,Adela reaumurella,Timothy Tortrix,Eplibema scutulana,Celypha lacunana,Cocksfoot Moth and the very common Horse Chestnut Leaf Minor and last but not least 100's of Nettle Tap.We also managed to find several interesting beetles and these included a couple of new species for myself,Scarce Fungus Weevil and Figwort Weevil.The former is a stunning beast and i found it resting on an Ash trunk,the latter were all over once you got your eye in on the Figwort surrounding 'D' pond.Also around the pond were several species of 'Odes' and these included Hairy D,2 Quads,Large-red,Azure and Blue-tailed Damselflies.Another Barn Owl was seen at the back of North Marsh and a brief Kingfisher,the 3rd of the day as we returned back towards the car park.So what a cracking and enjoyable day in not great conditions,just goes to show what you can find.A big thanks to Martin for the expert moth guidance and to Chris for driving. 
Capsid Bug - Calocoris alpestris.

Figwort Weevil,'D' pond.

Marsh/Edible Frog,North Marsh.

Moorhen chick,North Marsh.

Nettle Tap nectaring on Ox-eye Daisy.

Parhelophilus frutetorum.

Pseudargyrotoza  conwagana.

Red-legged Shieldbug,D-res Woods.

Scarce-fungus Weevil,D-res Woods.

Snipe Fly,D-res Woods.

Volucella Bombylans nectaring on Ox-eye Daisy.