Tag Archives: Meadow Brown

Insects at Tophill Low NR/Little Gulls at Hornsea Mere

17 Aug

17/8/15 Went back to Tophill Low NR with RL and ML on Monday morning, Both Wood Sandpipers were still on North Lagoon with a Greenshank and four Green Sandpipers. Not going to improve on yesterday’s pictures but Brimstone on Buddleia in the insect garden gave a good photo opportunity.

DSCN8996

Brimstone on Buddleia-Tophill Low NR

A second seemed to prefer the red flowers of Montbretia or Crocosmia.

DSCN9024

Brimstone on Crocosmia Buddleia-Tophill Low NR

DSCN9020

Red Admiral on Buddleia-Tophill Low NR

Went for to see a Bees nest by O reservoir and had a few more butterflies.

DSCN9034

Gatekeeper-Tophill Low NR

DSCN9042

Meadow Browns-Tophill Low NR

DSCN9031

Bees nest-Tophill Low NR

Also had a few dragonflies by O reservoir.

DSCN9046

Southern Hawker-Tophill Low NR

DSCN9040

Migrant Hawker-Tophill Low NR

DSCN9036

Common Darter-Tophill Low NR

Checked Bewholme Hall Pond early afternoon. No sign of the juvenile Caspian Gull seen this morning but had four Black-tailed Godwits and eight Ruff.

Did a fruitless sea-watch off Far Grange GC then ended the day at Hornsea Mere where five Little Gulls were roosting on the jetties.DSCN9058 DSCN9053 DSCN9056

Also had two Ruff distantly on the south shore as well as a Dunlin on Kirkholme Point. A possible juvenile Greater Scaup flew before we could make a definitive identification.

Advertisements

A trip to the other side-Spoonbills +Grayling

4 Aug

After my afternoon out with RL on Tuesday I struggle to get out the rest of the week due to pressure of work.

30/7/15 Manage to get up to Nut Wood & Wauldby Scrogs Woodlands Trust reserve early Thursday evening. Always hard work for birds and this time was no different but did photograph an interesting hoverfly- Scaeva pyrastri . A migratory species that arrives in variable number but in some years none.

DSCN8469Scaeva pyrastri-Nut Wood & Wauldby Scrogs

1/8/15 Find East Yorkshire too frenetic during the school holidays and last summer found North Lincolnshire much quieter [both birders and non-birders] and spent a lot of time at Alkborough Flats. Like having Blacktoft Sands RSPB to yourself. Saturday was a better day at work and with several Spoonbill at Alkborough Flats headed there mid afternoon. Started raining along the the Humber Bridge approach and had to decide whether to stop and put over trousers on or continue with the hope that it was just a shower. Kept going and the rain was short lived. Didn’t fancy walking too much so went to the disabled car park. The last bit involves a steep decline and on a bike you have to be aware of the loose gravel at the bottom. Managed to see the Spoonbills before I got to the hide so knew the journey was worthwhile. Initially so close to the hide that they were partially obscured by vegetation but everything was regularly disturbs by a Hobby hunting low over the lagoon and they became more lively and even took flight a few times.

DSCN8482

Spoonbills-Alkborough Flats

DSCN8494

DSCN8495

Eventually they settle to feed.

Large numbers of Avocet on site. Up to 900 counted recently and think close that number were on the whole site.DSCN8485

Large number of Avocets at Alkborough Flats.

Others waders include good numbers of Black-tailed Godwits and few Spotted Redshanks, Ruff and Green Sandpiper. Also several Water Rail “squeaking” unseen below the hide.

The heavy rain finally arrived but in a break I made it to the tower hide where it started up again even heavier. Not much to add to the day but had some close Little Egrets.

DSCN8505

Little Egrets-Alkborough Flats

Only on viewing my pictures did I notice one was colour ringed but couldn’t make out the details.

Also saw the Barnacle Geese that breed on Whitton Sands but, possibly due to the poor light, not the Ruddy Shelduck seen recently [and last summer].

The rain finally stopped and I made a hasty return to the car park. Fortunately stayed dry on the way home.

Getting in had a message from SG that a Glossy Ibis was on Brough Airfield. The first record for the site. Getting late and didn’t think I’d have much time before the light went but tiredness also helped the decision.

2/8/15 The Glossy Ibis was seen again early morning and went to look for it with RL but despite spending over two hours circling the marsh there was no further sign even with the help of Dave Hursthouse. In the past have kept to public rights of way  but local dog-walkers show no problem trespassing so see no reason birders should be so law abiding anymore. Such behaviour would have brought a rapid response from BAE security a few years ago but they seem to no-longer care.

DSCN8517

Cinnabar moth caterpillar-Brough

Early afternoon went to Conesby Quarry with ML and RL. This site is north of Scunthorpe along Normandy Road. Parked outside Blue Lagoon NR and crossed the road. The target was Grayling butterfly. Not an initially appealing site not helped by the gypsy camp early on. Also the sound of motorcycle engines was off putting. Joined by the couple I got the information from yesterday and learnt that noise was actually the Scunthorpe Speedway Stadium. However this wasn’t the only source as there were several dirt-biker including one who took pleasure in repeatedly buzzing us at high speed. Others give us verbal abuse. Not an area I’d visit on my own. Also on week days there are regular HGV’s as the concrete railway sleepers for London Cross-rail project are made at the factory by the quarry.

Initially lead astray by Meadow Browns.

DSCN8545

Meadow Brown-Conesby Quarry

On reaching the quarry the Graylings found us, visiting each of us in turn for minerals from sweat.

DSCN8561Grayling drinking sweat-Conesby Quarry
DSCN8576

Cryptic Grayling-Conesby Quarry

Also found a new moth for me. Gillmeria ochrodactyla and G.pallidactyla are only reliably separated by present or not of banding on the hind-leg tibia. Can’t do this from the photo but being on Tansy make the former more likely.

DSCN8556

Likely Tansy Plume on food plant

Vipers Bugloss  near Scunthorpe 020815a RL

Vipers Bugloss-Conesby Quarry-RL

Went on to Alkborough Flats.

DSCN8584

Peacock butterfly caterpillar-Alkborough Flats

The last high tide has been a big one and the site had flooded. Five of the Spoonbills were again present but waders numbers were low.

DSCN8588

Spoonbills-Alkborough Flats-showing increase in water level since Saturday.

Had a Kingfisher flying close to the hide. Also an immature Marsh Harrier, that had been surprisingly missing from yesterday’s list. Didn’t see the Montagu’s Harriers, breeding at Blacktoft Sands RSPB, but haven’t been seen as often as last year.

DSCN8600Marsh Harrier-Alkborough Flats

Waiting in the heat for Little Bittern

7 Jul

29/6/15 Last days of June finally brought some hot weather. On Monday with recent reports of Marbled White on the wing at Kiplingcotes thought another visit might be worthwhile [see here and here]. Started again at the station.

DSCN7850Wasn’t too promising as I’ve usually had them early on but did have a few butterflies including my first Large Skippers.
DSCN7812

Meadow Brown-near Kiplingcotes Station.

DSCN7826

Large Skipper-near Kiplingcotes Station

DSCN7811

Ringlet-near Kiplingcotes Station

Finally had a Marbled White as I drew parallel with Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit NR but it promptly flew over the fence into the reserve. The reserve itself was initially unpromising. Saw no butterflies but flushed a Little Owl from a thorn bush. Fortunately it flew to the scrub at the east end and I was able to slowly approach with in range of a reasonable picture. It again flew a short distance, this time out of view. This owl had been seen by a recent “Birding with Flowers” group.

DSCN7839

Little Owl-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit

In the shelter of the scrub found two Marbled White at rest on Knapweed.
DSCN7847                                                            Marbled White on Knapweed-Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit

30/6/15 Tuesday afternoon went to North Cave Wetlands NR. Hoped for recent Green Sandpiper as well as the Wood Sandpiper but neither were about.

DSCN7886

Rabbit-North Cave Wetlands NR

Had a few dragonflies including Emperor which didn’t linger and Four-spotted Chaser that did.

DSCN7891

Four-spotted Chaser-North Cave Wetlands NR

Also a good number of butterflies.DSCN7895

Speckled Wood-North Cave Wetlands NR

A male Little Bittern was reported at Old Moors RSPB late afternoon but in an area not normally accessible so didn’t seem any need to panic yet. The species however was high on my wanted list for Yorkshire not being around for the Potteric Carrs breeders in the eighties.

Had several damselflies along the western path.

DSCN7903

Blue-tailed Damselfly-North Cave Wetlands NR

Joined SG in South Hide to count Mediterranean Gulls. Had the breeding pair who appeared to be trying to drive off their two juveniles and start courting again. Also a second summer that was new for me. Moved to Crosslands Hide where we had up to two different adults. A pair is suspected to be nesting out of sight on Dryham Ings.

The Little Bittern had been seen again and access to the reedbed arranged. Didn’t feel up to doing the trip on my own and considered getting a lift but couldn’t cope with a late night and as it turned out a pointless wait until dusk would have been the result. However Wednesday morning it was seen again. Had something on that evening so couldn’t go after work but again was fortunate as not reported after early afternoon. Did much the same the rest of the week only occasionally seen at a time when I might of been there but the heat and a heavy work load made a trip out of the question.

3/7/15 Workload lighter on Friday and made a trip to High Eske NR late afternoon. Highlight was a Green Sandpiper flying off. Otherwise three Common Terns, over flying Little Egret and a recent brood of eight Tufted Duck ducklings were only notable birds.

5/7/15 Helped by not going out on Saturday afternoon managed to hype myself up for a early ride to Old Moors RSPB on Sunday morning. The main reason for an early start was it seemed the best time to see it but also thought the earlier the better would mean a less packed hide and with recent tropical heat I was worried a later arrival could mean the hide becoming like the “Black hole of Calcutta”. Due to work related hand problems as well as a mental problem with long rides including motorways I had some trepidation. Did have some bad pains in my right hand for the first few motorway miles but didn’t get bad enough to turn back. Also the early start meant little traffic so didn’t feel stressed. The only stressful moment was along the M18 when approaching the M180 slip-road a HGV decided to turn right at the last moment. Fortunately I wasn’t parallel and managed to pull into the outer lane. No surprise the driver appeared to be using a smart phone. Having been to the reserve recently remembered the route and arrived with out consulting the map. In Bittern Hide all the seats were taken but there was plenty of standing room. Had already been seen so could relax a bit and hope it showed again soon. Didn’t have to wait long before it was picked up in a distant willow. Wasn’t showing well but at least I’d seen it. Eventually it crawled to the top then launched itself giving the views needed for tick it. Texted RL that I would easily get back to join him and ML for a bit of local birding [in the valley is no longer in use!]. While doing this I missed a close fly-by but was already happy with what I’d seen. We all left the hide as it appeared to be visible from Bittern bus stop. Couldn’t see it on the ground but it again it flew this time passing with in a few metres before disappearing behind Bittern Hide. Just too quick and close to manage a picture although a guy with a long lens got some great shots.

DSCN7912

“It’s just flown behind that bush”. Honest.

On the way back had another stressful moment when a Landrover stopped belong the give way lines at the Rowley junction then for some reason started to edge out more as I got close. Some people need taking out and slapping! Got home with time to empty the moth trap and watch Andrew Marr before being picked up by RL. Headed to Kilnsea where a White-rumped Sandpiper on Beacon Ponds would be a tick for ML. Parked at Kilnsea Wetlands and walked to Long Bank. The bird was initially motionless on shingle bank with nesting Little Terns, a year tick. So distant and partially hidden it took a while to be convinced it was a bird and not just a “shape”. Eventually after everything was flushed it took to feeding on the waters edge. Still initially difficult to separate from a Little Stint but flew regularly showing the white rump. Another year tick was Sandwich Tern.

DSCN7924

Extreme record shot-White-rumped Sandpiper-Beacon Ponds

DSCN7925

Tern raft with Avocet-Beacon Ponds

Next went to Hornsea Mere. Up to a thousand Little Gulls have been seen in the evening but none on view this afternoon.

Headed for Brough Haven to check breeding Marsh Harriers but a text from PS about a Quail at Wauldby caused plan change. Parked at the entrance to Wauldby Manor Farm where after a short walk we joined PS. Followed him to a large poppy field passing a pond swarming with dragonflies on the way.

DSCN7934

The Quail field-Wauldby Manor Farm.

The Quail was still calling if a bit distant. Also a Corn Bunting was singing from power-lines. A local rarity now although PS has had them regularly in area for years. Likely a result of organic farming methods.

DSCN7930

Distant singing Corn Bunting on power-lines-Wauldby Manor Farm.

Had a baby Common Frog walking back.

DSCN7940Baby Common Frog-Wauldby Manor Farm.

Finally made it to Brough Haven to count the Marsh Harriers but again few waders.

Postscript

Not long after I left Old Moors RSPB access to the reedbeds was suspended due to fear of birders going too far disturbing a Bittern feeding young. Whether a coincidence or the fact that the Little Bittern was also being flushed it has since been much more elusive and on Tuesday it wasn’t seen until early afternoon. The White-rumped Sandpiper remains.

Trying to look up.

28 Jun

Preface

Today marks the end of Hull Valley Wildlife Group. I’ll not go into details here [but intend a last posting on the Hull Valley blog in the near future] but I can’t see the point in continuing a blog solely based on a defunct recording area. For the future I’m blogging on this site. The only exception is moths. I’ve noticed that recent postings largely about moth and in Cottingham don’t interest many of my followers so I’m considering reviving the Cottingham moths site and will not be posting my moth trapping at least on here, with the possible exception of a true mega moth [it does happen as anyone who had followed my moth-ing blog will testify.]

26/6/15 Reading the pager when I got in from work on Friday afternoon saw I’d recently missed a message of a Stone Curlew at Hornsea Mere. Texted RL and were on our way shortly. However on arrival learnt it had flown. Fortunately not a county tick having seen one at Tophill Low NR 19 years ago. As compensation had a pair of Spotted Flycatcher by Wassand estate cottages. A rare bird now and I mostly only see them now during autumn passage. The Stone Curlew wasn’t seen again. For more info including pictures see here,DSCN7671

Spotted Flycatcher-Wassand estate.

27/6/15 Saturday afternoon I went to High Eske NR. Haven’t been much in recent weeks partly due to works pressure but also been put off due to recent trespass by kayakers. To be honest weekends, particularly in summer, are never the best time so I was taking a risk. But today it was very quiet and with little evidence of the supposed anglers who just come to party and leave all their rubbish. Birds weren’t too exciting either with no sign of any wildfowl young although there was a pair of Great  Crested Grebes sitting at the north end. The summer islands were showing although a bit early for waders there were two adult Oystercatchers, likely the resident pair, but no young. Also a Little Ringed Plover there and Redshank on the permanent island. Insects however were in good numbers with large numbers of Meadow Browns.

DSCN7678

Meadow Brown-High Eske NR

Moths were also well represented. Having acquire a new supply of collecting jars I now carry a few to “pot” any I can’t immediately identify and defy my attempts at photography. By this method I identified a Brown China-mark and later back at home a Small China-mark, the latter a new one for me.DSCN7686

Brown China-mark-High Eske NR

DSCN7696

Small China-mark-High Eske NR

Others moths identified in the field included Snout and Silver Y.

DSCN7683

Walked to Leven Canal but didn’t have the time for a proper look for dragonflies only adding Brown Hawker to the various damselflies at High Eske.

Back at the reserve three kayakers were on the water. As I was nearly finished I didn’t let it bother me but the signs warning of the dangers of blue-green algae give me the hope of some schadenfreude.

Walking back towards High Eske farm had my first Painted Lady. The same place and similar time to last year.
DSCN7693

Had a quick look at Swinemoor but the drainage and largely dry weather had done it’s damage and the only visible water was a small area near the drain. Unless we have a rerun of 2007 return wader passage won’t happen although there may be a chance of something on a area not visible from Weel Road as happened two year ago, [see here]

28/6/15 Went to Wassand Hall with JH on Sunday morning. Had a forlorn look at the Stone Curlew field then to the hide. Three pairs of Marsh Harrier and one of Buzzard are on nests viewable from the hide. Otherwise little else although some wildfowl was pushed west by the dinghies.DSCN7767                                                                   Mute Swan family-Decoy Bay,Hornsea Mere

Spent a long while waiting for Hobby but gave up and headed back to the car park. On the way came across a large group of longhorn moths species, Nemophora degeerella. More than my previous life total!

DSCN7781

Nemophora degeerella-near Wassand Hide

As I was taking pictures I got a text from MR that a Hobby had finally put in an appearance. Continued but then the battery failed so followed JH back to the hide where after a few minutes a Hobby flashed by.

Had my first Ringlet back at Wassand Hall where in the less windy conditions the Spotted Flycatchers were showing.

DSCN7799

Ringlet-Wassand Hall

Went to Tophill Low NR this afternoon. Hadn’t been for a while so took the opportunity to check the success of breeding birds on the south marshes since my last visit [see here] . Not surprisingly Black-headed Gulls were doing well.

DSCN7800

Breeding Black-headed Gulls-South Marsh East,Tophill Low NR.

Even better the Common Terns had several chicks, some well on.

DSCN7805Common Terns-South Marsh East Tophill Low NR

The Lesser Black-backed Gulls also had a chick. Felt a bit sorry for them as every-time they return to the nest they have to suffer attack by Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns. No doubt they would take any unattended chick though. Had three Little Ringed Plover on South Marsh East and one on Watton but along with the Oystercatcher pair on South Marsh East could see no young. Failed to see a Bee Orchid.