Saturday, 8 August 2015

A walk near Bishop Wilton

A visit to an area in the Yorkshire Wolds near Bishop Wilton this lovely morning, warm, sunny and quite still. We walked up a steep well wooded hill, with ash and beech, where Green Woodpeckers called and a passing mixed tit group included a Marsh Tit. Then we walked down into a wonderful, dry chalky meadow with plenty of flowering knapweed and wild carrot, which was buzzing with insects. Common Green Grasshoppers sung their rattlesnake-like song and there were plenty of hoverflies and butterflies, nine of these on the wing: Holly Blue, Large White, Marbled White, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, and Red Admiral, but topping the numbers were Small Skippers, of which we must have seen more than 50. A highlight of the trip was to see four species of raptor from the same spot. Two Red Kites flew and dived after each other whistling for pretty much all the time. At one point or another, Buzzards, a Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk joined them flying over the hills.
A few Marbled White on the wing.
Meadow Brown
Ringlet
Musk Thistle
Meadow Brown
Common Green Grasshopper
Silver Y and grasshopper
Wild Carrot and Eristalis sp.
Marbled White on knapweed
A view of the meadow
Red Kite
Tumbling Red Kites

Antler moth and Small Skippers on Devil's bit Scabious.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Summer at Oppy Wood

The weather forecast wasn't great, so I decided to avoid a long trip today and popped in at a nature reserve nearby, Oppy Wood, just in the outskirts of Hull. This is a recently planted woodland, with plenty of paths, glades and meadows. It can get quite wet, but today the paths were all dry. It actually finished spitting by the time I got there, the clouds slowly broke and let some sun shine. It was quite warm and humid and insects were plentiful. On the western side of the reserve, near the ditch, an azure damselfly. I saw an unidentified darter and a larger, brown dragonfly (possibly a four spotted chaser, but they didn't settle for photos). Another frustratingly unidentified insect was a large female leafcutter. Male Eristalis intricarius and Volucella pellucens hovered on the glades over buzzing clumps of flowering brambles.
I found copse snails, Arianta arbustorum, resting on nettles, creeping thistle and hogweed leaves in the company of White-lipped and Kentish snails. All the ones I picked up, without fail, emerged rapidly from their shells as soon as I put them on my hand, in contrast to Kentish Snails, which remained inside their shell.
 There were quite a few Small Tortoiseshells on the thistles by the entrance, and a Comma. I started seeing Commas two days ago, and I've seen them every day.
Male Small Skipper on Creeping thistle
A male Volucella pellucens resting
Green-veined white
Rabbit
Goat's beard, Tragopon pratensis
Female Dronefly, Eristalis tenax
Ringlet
Azure damselfly
Copse snail, Arianta arbustorum 
Kentish (left) and Copse (right) snails, demonstrating different behaviour when picked up.
Comma
Large Skipper
Burnished Brass

Butterfly List

  1. Meadow Brown
  2. Ringlet
  3. Speckled Wood
  4. Red Admiral
  5. Small Tortoiseshell
  6. Comma
  7. Little Skipper
  8. Large Skipper
  9. Green-veined White
  10. Small White

Monday, 6 July 2015

Summer at Tophill Low

After the very tough challenge of not running over any bunnies in the drive to Tophill, which I passed by driving very slowly, I was rewarded with my best views of hares ever. I spotted a couple in a field ahead by a free range chicken farm, and stopped in a gap in the hedge just by the hares. They carried on with their business and paid no attention to the car.
 The morning was sunny and mild and I headed to the south side of the reserve. From the hide of one of the lagoons I watched a Kingfisher. Another flew past and the first one flew off chasing it.
 By the main road I saw my first Gatekeeper of the year, still very fresh.
This was a new hoverfly for me, of the genus Parhelophilus , feeding on hogweed
Later, on the banks by O reservoir I saw a clump of bee orchids on their peak
 This female Twin-lobed Deerfly, Chrysops relictus, decided not to go for me, sunbathing on the fence was preferable.
 There were plenty of damselflies about, mainly Common Blue, with several mating pairs. The sheltered path to the twin hides was great for insects. From one of the twin hides, I heard my first East Yorkshire Cetti's Warbler sing half a song. A Hornet flew past the hide at the same time.


A male Scorpion fly, Panorpa sp.
A Little Ringed Plover
Large Skipper
Small Skipper
Large White
Another new hoverfly for me, Anasimya lineata
A large click beetle, possibly Hemicrepidius hirtus, thanks to Barry warrington for the ID
Black-tailed skimmer, very skittish, would fly away if I approached to less than 5 m. I saw 4 males and several females, mainly by the path of O reservoir and on the way to Watton. At Watton, a nice couple showed me the Wood Sandpiper.
Red Admiral
On the pond at D woods there was a family of Moorhens. The first brood ones took care of their younger siblings. I spent some time at North Marsh. A Marsh Frog croaked a couple of times half-heartedly. The stay was livened by a hunting brown hawker, which didn't stop. A Four spotted chaser was also about.
A wasps nest inside the hide overlooking the D reservoir.
Common Centaury, thanks to Barry Warrington for reminding me of the name of this beautiful flower.
A female Ruddy Darter.
In Hempholme Meadows there were two pairs of Lapwing, one of them had chicks and they kept mobbing something flying over it very low. The view was obstructed by the vegetation. After quite a while the mobbed thing was a Grey Heron, which flew screeching, and being chased by three of the Lapwings.