Sunday, April 27, 2014

Tophill....Another Cracking Visit..Saturday 26.04.2014.

A full day out today despite the forecast of cool conditions and the chance of rain i decided to head over to the home county and meet up with fellow birding and bug enthusiasts Martin and Doug.Heading over the Humber it was slightly misty,but a big improvement from the previous evening.On arrival at the reserve i paid my day permit and in usual fashion walked my way down to Hempholme Lock and back through D'Woods to the car park to meet up with the lads.The best birds seen during this first walk of the day included a few 'First's' for the year in the form of 3 Whimbrel north,a singing male Cuckoo along the river near to North Marsh and a single Swift feeding over D'Res with the substantial Hirundine flock.A Stoat along the pathway near to Hempholme Lock was the only mammal highlight of the day.A quick look on D-Res before the boys arrived saw me seeing a cracking Hobby which headed straight for the hide and presumably went south,giving some superb views,another 'First' for the year.On the Res itself 19 Goldeneye and a single Scaup were still present from the wintering wildfowl,but little else was seen apart from a hand full of Yellow Wagtail along the Res wall.Eventually i met up with Doug and Martin and i was kindly shown the reserve moth traps,with a few species being seen in the form of Powdered Quaker,Red Chestnut,Hebrew Character,Common Quaker,Clouded Drab and the highlight for me a superb Herald.This latter species are a cracking moth and one i have not seen that many times,so was a welcome sighting.After the mothing we began to explore the other areas of the reserve,visiting South Marsh where the best bird of the day in rarity terms for the reserve was an adult Kittiwake picked out by Martin loafing on one of the newly created gravel islands.This bird did not look in the best of health as they often aren't when found inland,but a very welcome sighting all the same.Watton Borrow Pits revealed very little apart from a Little Egret and 2 Goosander passed overhead while we walked down the side of O'Res.By now it was getting towards lunch,so we decided to have it in D'Res hide before continuing around to D'Pond.The chaps had decided to visit this small woodland pond in the hope of finding some emerging Large-red Damselflies and to count exuviae and we managed to find a single adult and 6 exuviae,but Martin managed to find me a new species here,a Water Ladybird.An unusual elongate species compared to the other members of the family and incredibly small also,one i will certainly look for locally now i know the habitat to look for them in.We walked through D-Woods to an area where Doug and Martin had found another species of Ladybird,the Larch Ladybird and i was really chuffed to find one myself,another tiny species found at the end of a Larch branch which had flowers and new bud growth,this species being less obvious and fairly well camouflaged,so two new ladybirds in half an hour wasn't too bad!.We arrived at North pond where a couple of visitors had found another Large-red Dam and while hear another two 'First's' for the year from the avian world were logged,a single Arctic Tern which drifted north east over the river and a single Greenshank which 'TU tu tu'd' it's way south of over D'Res.As we wandered back towards the car park Martin pointed out a few interesting Fungi,with the highlight being the very smart Beech Candlesnuff Fungi.This species is found in Beech leaf litter and grows on year old Beechmast,a cracking species and one i had never seen.Today's collection of sightings just goes to show what you can see when you know where to look and open your eyes to the bigger picture of the natural world,even on a relatively small corner of the country.A big thanks to Martin and Doug for their company and allowing me to tag along,what a superb day out!.
Male Swallow,Hempholme Lock.

Hairy Snail,D'Woods.

Common Quaker.


Powdered Quaker.

Female Large-red Damselfly.

Adult Kittiwake,South Marsh.

Adult Kittiwake,South Marsh.

Water Ladybird,D'Pond.

Larch Ladybird,D'Woods.

Timothy Tortrix Larva.


  1. Great post,love your Swallow image,cracking shot.

  2. Thanks again John,very much appreciated :-D