Archive | Moths RSS feed for this section

2016 in 12 picture

31 Dec

Intro

Most of this year, due to having more free time, I’ve managed to blog when I’ve had the inspiration and a few photographs. I’ve rarely left Yorkshire though so most of the highlights will inevitably be local. I’ve kept going with Cottingham Moths but still wonder whether it’s worth the effort. However viewing figures have doubled since last year. See how I feel when I start trapping again in 2017.

January

My first picture for 2016 is the returning Barmston Kumlien’s Gull, seen on the 31st. It proved tricky this year [more here].

dscn9924

Kumlien’s Gull on Barmston Beach

February

An Early Moth found in Cottingham on Travis Road on the 6th was a new one for me [see here].

fullsizeoutput_12f4

Early Moth

March

March was poor for photographs so I’ll settle for my first picture of a Small Tortoiseshell of the year taken at Far Grange.

fullsizeoutput_1340

Small Tortoiseshell at Far Grange, Skipsea

April

My best photograph of the month was a very showy Cetti’s Warbler at Tophill Low NR that performed close to North Marsh Hide for several days.

fullsizeoutput_13cc

Cetti’s Warbler at North Marsh-Tophill Low NR

May

This month’s photograph is the two Glossy Ibises at North Cave Wetlands NR, taken on the 29th. A site tick for most regulars.

fullsizeoutput_14b2

Glossy Ibises on Dryham Ings-North Cave Wetlands NR

June

This month it’s a Dingy Skipper taken at Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit near Market Weighton on the 5th. A difficult species to see locally and even more to photograph [Full account here].

fullsizeoutput_14dd

Dingy Skipper at Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit

July

Perversely my picture for July is an escaped/released Corn Snake found at High Eske NR on the 25th but it survived to provide material for a light hearted posting in August [see here].

dscn1882

Corn Snake-High Eske NR

August

August was a good month for waders at Tophill Low NR, had a site tick in the form of Spotted Crake at North Cave Wetlands and some good insects. All these are covered in the blog but the choice goes to the Western Swamp-hen at Minsmere RSPB on the 1st [see here].

DSCN1971

Western Swamp-hen-Minsmere RSPB

September

This month I go for a moth. My first Brick on the 17th.

fullsizeoutput_1945

Brick-Cottingham

October

October was a mad month, said to be the best rarity wise ever. Oddly I never left Yorkshire but the best bird, for me at least, was the Siberian Accentor at Easington seen the same afternoon as my first Yorkshire Paddyfield Warbler [full account here].

fullsizeoutput_19b4

Siberian Accentor-Vicar’s Lane, Easington

November

November was a waterbird month and represented by this Black-necked Grebe I found at Tophill Low NR on the 22nd [See here].

fullsizeoutput_1a8f

Black-necked Grebe on D res at Tophill Low NR

December

The last photograph should have been Dusky Thrush at Beeley but didn’t see it long enough to get a picture on my 1st attempt and not at all on the 2nd [see here]. Therefore the space is filled by Eastern Black Redstart at Skinningrove, with in the historic borders of Yorkshire [see here].

fullsizeoutput_1e04

Eastern Black Redstart-Skinningrove

Top 10 posts of 2016 [viewing figures]

1 The Flamborough/Easington twitch-Paddyfield Warbler and Siberian Accentor

2 Migrants-Kilnsea/Easington including Olive-backed Pipit

Putative Stejneger’s Stonechat at Spurn PointSince confirmed

31/1/16 Kumlien’s Gull at Barmston [for the 4th year?]

Waxwings at last-Hessle Sainsbury’s

Alkborough Flatspre-Western Swamp-hen

The Grey Phalarope at Tophill Low NR

Spotted Crake at North Cave Wetlands

North Cave Wetlands YWTBirds and insects

10 2015 in 12 pictures

Little Stint at High Eske NR

15 Aug

15/8/15 Monday the moth trap catch was again poor with only Canary-shouldered Thorn of interest.

DSCN2278

Canary-shouldered Thorn-Cottingham

With nothing to detain me got to High Eske NR reasonably early. Hopefully less hectic than last visit. The water level was low and the summer islands were showing. At one time these islands were above water most of the summer and Common Tern bred but due to winter erosion and higher water levels in recent wet summers they only appear occasionally. An initial scan only found a juvenile Common Tern, with likely one of its parents on a nearby post. Started checking the wildfowl. Found a possible Garganey but it was asleep. Getting tired of watching it I scanned the islands again and quickly found a juvenile Little Stint with a Ringed Plover.

DSCN2301

Juvenile Little Stint with Ringed Plover-High Eske NR

The only my previous record of Little Stint, I recall, was during the influx in 1996. In fact this is my first record since one on Swine moor in September 2014. No hope of one there currently as the site dried out last week.

Walked north to Leven Carrs as I hadn’t checked it last week. Nothing doing so walked back south and around the western NR path.

DSCN2313

Southern Hawker-High Eske NR

DSCN2333

Ringed Plover with Lapwing-High Eske NR

DSCN2316

High Eske NR ‘summer islands’ from western path.

The Little Stint and Ringed Plover were still on the island now joined by two Dunlin and  a Common Sandpiper flew in.

DSCN2326

Little Stint, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper-High Eske NR

A Sparrowhawk got the Lapwing up but the other waders stayed put and were all present when I left mid afternoon.

DSCN2340

Common Carpet moth-High Eske NR

Changes at Tophill Low NR

8 Aug

7/8/16 On Sunday morning with RL and ML had a chance to look round the building site of the new Tophill Low NR visitors centre.DSCN2192

RL and ML at the foot of the access rump to the future visitors centre.

The newly excavated visitors centre pond was already filling with a perceptible flow from the direction of the reservoir, whether a leak or groundwater we’re yet to know.

DSCN2193

RH and LR by the already filling visitors centre pond.

Turf uncovered by the excavation can be dated to 1958 as the original ground level of Tophill Low farm buried by earth from the excavation of D reservoir.

DSCN2195

RH pointing to preserved turf dating from 1958 when the waterworks was built.

DSCN2196

The beginning of the walk way from the future visitors centre. Still under construction this will change the way we navigate the reserve.

DSCN2199

Footings of the future visitors centre.

From the top of the access rump you can get a good view over D reservoir which reassured us that the new visitor centre would be at least as good as the current car park hide which will be removed.

DSCN2198

View of D reservoir from the top of the future visitors centre ramp.

Best to check the official Tophill Low blog for more information and future updates.

Bird-wise there was no real change since my visit on Wednesday. Had a Greenshank, 5 Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper on North Lagoon and another Green Sandpiper on South Marsh East.

DSCN2208

One of two Kingfishers on South Lagoon.

DSCN2204

Little Grebe feeding one of two chicks on South Lagoon.

Again didn’t challenge the Little Egret record, now standing at 24. One individual didn’t make it way under it own steam as after being found exhausted next to the road at Bewholme it was treated at Peel veterinary clinic at Hornsea before being released on the reserve.

DSCN2225

The released Little Egret on South Marsh East now looking a lot cleaner. 

Windy, but had a good number of butterflies in the shelter of O reservoir ditch including my first Small Copper this year.

DSCN2222

Small Copper in O reservoir ditch.

Also of note were two Painted Ladies and a Silver Y.

DSCN2224

Silver Y in O reservoir ditch.

Had sea watch at Atwick this afternoon followed by a quick look at Bewholme Hall pond. Neither produce anything of note. Looked at Swine Moor on the way home but no sign of last weeks Wood Sandpiper with only a Dunlin in it’s place.

Alkborough Flats

3 Aug

2/8/16 After yesterday’s excursion [see here] had a late start on Tuesday and didn’t get out until mid afternoon. Again over the bridge but this time only as far as Alkborough Flats. The aim was Spoonbill, having missed them there and at Blacktoft Sands RSPB early this year. A bit windy on the road to the bridge but was due south so wasn’t a problem crossing. In Alkborough went to Julian’s Bower where you can get a panoramic view of the Flats.

DSCN2005

Julian’s Bower maze-Alkborough

DSCN2009

Alkborough Flats from Julian’s Bower

I’ll let the information board explain what this place is.

DSCN2004 Anyway the Spoonbills were visible and noticing there was a short footpath directly to the Flats decided to lock up and walk down.

DSCN2007

Spoonbills on Alkborough Flats distantly from Julian’s Bower

Had a Snout moth along the path down, the first I’ve managed to photograph this year.

DSCN2018

Snout moth-Alkborough

Reaching the low level hide all 14 Spoonbills were on views but asleep.

DSCN2019

All 14 Spoonbills at Alkborough Flats

Also a similar number of Little Egret. Among the larger number of Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank and Avocet were a Spotted Redshank and 7 Ruff.

DSCN2024

Spotted Redshank with Black-tailed Godwit-Alkborough Flats

DSCN2028

Male Ruff with Redshank-Alkborough Flats

The Spoonbills did eventually put on a show when a few started playing with a probable reed rhizome.

DSCN2037Also had a Kingfisher flew by. Moving to the tower hide added Greenshank, Green Sandpiper and Water Rail.

DSCN2046

Water rail-Alkborough Flats

DSCN2041

Greenshank-Alkborough Flats

Musings on Western Purple Swamp-hen

2 Aug

31/7/16 The report early Sunday afternoon of a Purple Gallinule at Minsmere RSPB for the 2nd day didn’t raise too much excitement with me due to  it’s history in this country.

My first was in Cumbria at Sandscale in October 1997 [see here]. The article is a bit ambiguous but nothing came of it. The second in 1998 was by the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire near the Dog-in-doublet pub. Still remember the pub sign of a dog wearing a padded Elizabethan-style jacket. Anyway it was proclaimed, not long after RL and I left the site, as an escape from a wildlife park nearby at Sawtry. It escaped in 1998. and lived on the river until late 2006. See here for a picture and more info.

On a more positive side it’s on my World List from a birding trip to in April 2001 . The site was a marsh in Sotogrande, one of those posh guarded estates where you expect British criminals like Ray Winstone’s character in “Sexy Beast” to live. Also saw them again in Spain at April 2007 at Cote Donana centre in April 2007. Remember on the trip calling them ‘Swamp-chickens’ closer to the current name.

However the Minsmere bird got a mega alert having been identified as Western Purple Swamp-hen, which with its recent northward range expansion including one present in France in Morbihan at Guidel at Le Petit Loch 47.754, -3.510 was deemed a good bet of a genuine vagrant.  We were in the North Yorkshire Moors [see here] and so it was going to tomorrow at the earliest. Made it clear I was up for it but nothing had been arranged by late evening so went to bed thinking of the possibility of going on my own. This would be my longest ride for many years and Minsmere an awkward place to get to anyway.

1/8/16 Fortunately got a phone call from TD at 7.00 and had just over an hour to sort things out and get to the Humber Bridge. This included a quick look at the moth trap to recover any visible ones before covering it. Only a couple of White Satin were obvious.

DSCN2001

White Satin Moth

On the Humber Bridge approach road had my first nightmare. In the past you could turn right into the Country Park but sometime ago [likely a very long time!] this gap had been removed and there was no way of during a u-turn. In retrospect could have just gone over the bridge and park up at the lay-by near the Far Ings turning. A quick call and it would have only caused a small diversion for my friends. Instead I pulled up then started pushing the bike back up the road with no real idea what I’d do when I reached the roundabout. Not really a too wise move going against a heavy flow of traffic. Fortunately at the stop for southbound bus there was kerb drop that allowed me to at least get on the pavement. There was path leading to the road below and but had no idea if I could get out the other end. Fortunately although there was some kind of barrier I got the bike through and parked it on the road below. Suspected I was now running late so quickly extracted my stiff from the panniers and tried ringing TD as I walked back to the bus stop. Couldn’t get through but got ‘phoned back almost immediately and was able to say where I was and was picked up in a matter of minutes by TC, TD and AW.

Although a much longer route, because of the holiday and farm traffic, TC  decided to head for Lincoln then across to the A1 before heading back east on the A14. Wasn’t very easy that way either but later learned that other birders taking the alternative routes had also had a bad time with traffic. Arriving early afternoon were told the Swamp-hen had been showing recently but as is normal we then had c45mins wait. Glad we all had RSPB membership card as they’re charging 9 quid. Challenging WWT! There was a few calls usually of movement of reeds but when we finally saw it, it was just a static red leg attached to a blue-black body with the occasional sighting of a large red bill. It did eventually move and although always close to the reeds did gave some good views although a bit too distant and the light not right for my camera at least.

DSCN1967

Little Egrets on pool behind Minsmere RSPB South Hide with Western Purple Swamp-hen behind.

DSCN1971

Close up of Western Purple Swamp-hen on pool behind Minsmere RSPB South Hide

DSCN1978

A more typical view  of Western Purple Swamp-hen on pool behind Minsmere RSPB South Hide.

Having put on a fairly regular show it became elusive just as the sort of twitcher who lacks the patients surely essential for our hobby turned up. A lot of moaning including inferring  that other birders were somehow withholding information. Didn’t reappear for another 45mins so late afternoon called it a day. A good call as it was near 3 hours before another sighting.

The return journey was a lot easier. Stopped as Cambridge services where a snack cost almost as much as decent meal out back home. Also almost doubled the cost of the trip!

Back on the road got an anonymous called. As usual asked for someone who sounded very little like my name. Did what I usually do with unsolicited calls and denied knowledge of the name but on asking the business of the caller found it was Humberside Police. As my bike had been left unattended for near 11 hours there was some concern for my safety. Showing the positive nature of my mood didn’t twig that parking so close to a short cut to the Humber Bridge might cause some worries.

Back over the bridge had my final nightmare. Got dropped at the entrance to the Country Park which is still accessible from the northbound lane of the approach road. Maybe a bit tired I just couldn’t work out how to get back to my bike. Walked in circle for a long time before doing the sensible thing by just following the road out the park away from bridge approach road. Soon found my way helped by a sign for the southbound bus stop. Was now drenched with sweat and rode home with my jacket undone.

For Alan Whitehead’s version of the twitch check his blog.

Fen Bog

23 Jul

DSCN178923/7/16 Did Fen Bog for Keeled Skimmer with RL back in 2013 [see here including direction] . Today was mainly for ML but it was nice to have a change of scene as I haven’t been out of my usual area much this year due to not been able to get for things earlier this year and lack of anything worth the trip recently.

As expected on a warm Saturday at the beginning of the summer holidays the trip out was a bit of a drag and unfortunately it had cooled a bit on arrival but Keeled Skimmers had been seen recently. Walking from the car park I had a Common Lizard but as usual disappeared rapidly. Wandered around and had a couple of probables but nothing settled. Lots of distinctive ‘grass moths’ on the wings. A pig to photograph and usually just ignore them but managed a couple of reasonable shots, hopefully good enough to ID later.

DSCN1796

Catoptria margaritella or Pearl-band Grass Veneer

Still having no luck with dragonflies except for a what we thought was a female Common Darter but on studying my pictures proved to a Keeled Skimmer. We were considering moving to another site but met a couple who’d recently seen Keeled Skimmer in an area we had not checked yet so headed off there where amazingly ML managed to pick them out at a good range on the only decent pool we’d seen today .

DSCN1798

female Keeled Skimmer

We all scrambled down to it and eventually had at least a dozen, mostly male Keeled Skimmers. However were very active and rarely stopped for long in clear sight. We all ultimately managed some good shots, me by the tricky manual mode.

DSCN1817

male Keeled Skimmer

A lot of different micro moths on the wing and managed to ‘pot’ Brown China-mark but failed with another species which I still haven’t a clue about.

DSCN1840

Brown China-mark

Butterfly wise mainly Skippers, Ringlet and Small Heath, the latter very local in my regular area.

DSCN1794

Small Skipper

DSCN1804

Small Heath

Also had a large Fritillary, likely Dark Green but it just flew through but a couple had been seen two well in the car park. Didn’t see any of the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary which also were seen in the car park.

DSCN1831

RAF Fylingdales-I preferred the ‘golf balls’.

Later checked Eller Beck on the opposite side of the road. Managed one female Golden-ringed Dragonfly ovipositing a few feet below us.

DSCN1834

ovipositing Golden-ringed Dragonfly on Eller Beck

Bird wise very quiet with the upland breeding birds likely moved on and Wheatear was the only one I wouldn’t have seen just walking the dogs near my home.

DSCN1838

Hole of Horcum

Return journey was quicker helped by taking the A64 at Malton and thus avoiding the town centre bottleneck.

 

Insects at Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit

5 Jun

Spend the morning at Tophill Low NR with RL and ML. With spring wader passage over and everything down to breeding there wasn’t much bird wise of interest to see. A Common Sandpiper on South Marsh East was the only ‘vagrant’.Expected to see a few insects but even they were disappointing with the only Painted Lady refusing to settle and even the recent mass invasion of Diamond-back Moths failing to show. However had a few teneral damselflies with one proving to be our first Red-eyed of the year from a photo ny RL.DSCN9050

Teneral Red-eyed Damselfly-Tophill Low NR-RL

Dingy Skipper had been recently seen at Kiplingcotes so with good temperatures finally after recent dull days thought it worth a punt. Parked at the official reserve car park to save the long walk I usually take from Kiplingcotes Station. A bit windy in the quarry itself but quickly picked up a small brown butterfly which a settling was confirmed as Small Heath.

DSCN0838

Small Heath-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit YWT

Next, although not rare, was a nice Peacock which kept up with us the length of the quarry.

DSCN0839

Peacock Butterfly-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit YWT

Heard the familiar mewing of Common Buzzard and look up see not one but five drifting over.

Next had a male Common Blue but this just wouldn’t stop and eventually pushed it into the north-east corner where it finally gave itself up.

DSCN0842

Common Blue Butterfly-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit YWT

Walking back we were joined by MJ just in time to see our first Cinnabar Moth of the year.

DSCN0853

Cinnabar Moth-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit YWT

Reached the west end and were beginning to give up on Dingy Skipper but we saw a stout dragonfly. Initial thoughts were Four-spotted Chaser but had some suspicion it might be a Broad-bodied Chaser. Fortunately it ‘hung up’ allowing us to confirm it as the latter and all to get good pictures.

DSCN0868

Female Broad-bodied Chaser-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit YWT

Had an interesting butterfly which fly out of the reserve to the footpath but couldn’t be relocated and we were near to leaving when it or another landed on the bank below me. Ran back down to get a closer view and although initially unable to see it RL relocated it and I managed to get one clear shot to confirm it as Dingy Skipper before it flew towards ML and MJ then disappeared again.

DSCN0873

Dingy Skipper-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit YWT

Like Tophill Low NR Diamond-back Moths were scarce but had my first Straw Dot of the year.

Just after parting company with MJ she called and looking up had two low flying Red Kites.

DSCN0875

Red Kite over Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit YWT