Sunday, 21 July 2013

Bug fest at Tophill Low Summer of Wildlife Event

A cloudy, mild respite from the hot weather of the last couple of weeks, we spend the day at Tophill Low. As we arrive, we join @esticadinho13 at the moth trap, where he shows us the range of moths captured overnight. The kids delight on holding various moths, which are mostly very obliging, and sit still while held.
  Then we walk south towards South Marsh, find a picnic spot by East Pond for lunch. There are lots of Butterflies by the verges, especially Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Skipper and a few Six Spot Burnets. After a quick stop by South Marsh, where we manage to see two Marsh Harriers dropping in the nest, we turn round and head towards D woods, where we join the Yorkshire Watch group for some pond dipping.
All moths below from the moth event, for more on moths at Tophill Low visit Martin Hodges site.
A couple of highlights are a Little Egret flying over D res and two common shrews found by my son.
Elephant Hawkmoth
 Coxcomb Prominent
Swallow Prominent Moth ?
Garden Tiger
Peach Blossom
Buff Footman Eilema depressa
Garden Tiger, Arctia caja
Female Ruddy Darter, pausing briefly on an information panel
Female Emerald Damselfly
Male Blue Tailed Damselfly
Lots of Ringlets and Small Skippers gave me this rare chance for both species on the same shot.
Large Skipper on creeping thistle
Meadow Brown
Small Skipper, they often sit on flowers with fore and hindwings at different angles
Six Spot Burnet
Six spot burnet
Another Small Skipper on Knapweed
A Cucumber spider Araniella sp. with captured soldier beetle, one of my favourite photos of the day. 
A Zelotes sp. a beautiful glossy all black spider., a first for me.
On the grassy verges by South Pond there were plenty of nursery webs of the nursery web spider, Pisaura mirabilis, but we didn't find any adults
Mating Soldier Beetles, lots about.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Butterflies, dragonflies and birds at North Cave Wetlands

What a difference to my trip two weeks ago to the wetlands. Today it was very hot, butterflies, dragonflies and grasshoppers - with many other invertebrates - were active. I saw several birds panting, and a blackbird and a sedge warbler sunbathing.
 I finally caught up with the Corn Bunting (above). As I approached the north path I heard its jingly song and flushed it. I relocated it at the top of the hedge, singing again, and managed some shots. 
There were many dragonfly species around the maize field and dragonfly ponds, of some I couldn't get a photo of, but I think I saw an Emperor Dragonfly cruising about.
There was still a Common Tern on a nest by Crosslands Hide, looking like it was turning eggs.
After the walk around the reserve it was a relief to sit on the cool south hide for lunch, and watch the diving little grebes and the constant mobbing of the Common Terns (a pair had two grown chicks on the raft) to the Black Headed gulls. A few mute swans and a lone back swan were also in Main Lake.
Meadow brown
a very battered Peacock on ragwort
Small Skipper
The youngest black headed gull chicks I saw today, on Island Lake
Young Shelduck resting
Avocet and chick in Island Lake
Small Tortoiseshell
Elder, rosebay willowherb and ragwort blooming by the maize field
The first silver Y of the year
Male black-tailed skimmer
Four spot chaser
A Small Tortoiseshell resting on pondweed
A distant shot of a Broad Bodied chaser
and of Mating Azure damselflies
Water lilies
Avocet chick in Reedbed lake
mystery bird
Sedge Warbler sunbathing
Speckled Wood
Great Crested Grebe 
Little Grebe Diving
Little Grebe
Reed Bunting singing on the North Hedge

Small Tortoiseshell
Meadow Brown, pair mating.
Small Skipper

Dragonflies & damselflies
Black-tailed skimmer
Four-Spotted chaser
Broad-bodied chaser
Azure damselfly, pair mating.
Common blue damselfly

  1. Avocet        
  2.  Black Swan        
  3.  Black-headed Gull        
  4.  Blackbird        
  5.  Carrion Crow        
  6.  Common Tern        
  7.  Coot        
  8.  Cormorant        
  9.  Corn Bunting        
  10.  Curlew        
  11.  Dunnock        
  12.  Feral Pigeon        
  13.  Gadwall        
  14.  Goldfinch        
  15.  Great Crested Grebe        
  16.  Great Tit        
  17.  Green Woodpecker        
  18.  Greenfinch        
  19.  Greylag Goose        
  20.  House Martin        
  21.  House Sparrow        
  22.  Jackdaw        
  23.  Kestrel        
  24.  Lapwing        
  25.  Lesser Whitethroat        
  26.  Linnet        
  27.  Little Grebe        
  28.  Magpie        
  29.  Mallard        
  30.  Moorhen        
  31.  Mute Swan        
  32.  Oystercatcher        
  33.  Pied Wagtail        
  34.  Pochard        
  35.  Reed Bunting        
  36.  Reed Warbler        
  37.  Robin        
  38.  Rook        
  39.  Sand Martin        
  40.  Sedge Warbler        
  41.  Shelduck        
  42.  Shoveler        
  43.  Song Thrush        
  44.  Starling        
  45.  Swift        
  46.  Tufted Duck        
  47.  Whitethroat        
  48.  Woodpigeon     
  49. Wren

Monday, 8 July 2013

Hornsea Mere and Wassand

 I went to Kirkholme in the morning, and then had a walk around Wassand Estate. Kirkholme was dominated by a very large flock of moulting Canada Geese resting with a few Greylags and the usual hybrid/domestic geese assortment. The noisy Jackdaw flock included many juveniles, and hirundines and swifts flew overhead. As I approach the point, a flock of Canadas swims in a line with the backdrop of Swan Island (above). No Little Gulls on the jetty, just some mallards and Black Headed gulls.
 A family of swans provided some entertainment. First, the male was preening on the shore, feathers falling to the ground as he vigorously, and noisily! rubbed his flanks, chest and belly.

A little further, by the jetties, the female and three cygnets. One of them giving the impression that it already felt quite grown up, as it was chasing the mallards, that were more or less its size. The quarrelsome cygnet approached me and I offered my hand. It hissed and pecked me several times! I won't be messing with it when it grows up.
 At Wassand, despite the overcast sky and drizzle, many Ringlets and Meadow Browns on the wing around the meadows, with Common Blue Damselflies. Just before I left, I spotted a Jay and watched it on a large oak before it flew away.
The lone black swan 
Cygnet chasing duck
Just before hissing at me.
Canada greylag hybrid goose
A curious young Jackdaw
Chinese goose greylag hybrid
Rabbit in Wassand (as all the following photos)
Male Common Blue damselfly
Meadow Brown
Female Common Blue Damselfly with lunch
Half a mole? on the side of the path. Head and front legs missing.
Bird List (Kirkholme)
  1. Black Swan        
  2.  Black-headed Gull        
  3.  Blackbird        
  4.  Blue Tit        
  5.  Canada Goose        
  6.  Carrion Crow        
  7.  Chaffinch        
  8.  Collared Dove        
  9.  Coot        
  10.  Cormorant        
  11.  Dunnock        
  12.  Greenfinch        
  13.  Greylag Goose        
  14.  Greylag Goose (domestic)        
  15.  Herring Gull        
  16.  House Martin        
  17.  House Sparrow        
  18.  Jackdaw        
  19.  Lesser Black-backed Gull        
  20.  Long-tailed Tit        
  21.  Mallard        
  22.  Moorhen        
  23.  Mute Swan        
  24.  Pochard        
  25.  Reed Warbler        
  26.  Sand Martin        
  27.  Song Thrush        
  28.  Swallow        
  29.  Swift        
  30.  Tufted Duck        
  31.  Woodpigeon        
  32.  Wren     
Bird list (Wassand)

  1. Blackbird        
  2.  Blackcap        
  3.  Blue Tit        
  4.  Carrion Crow        
  5.  Chaffinch        
  6.  Chiffchaff        
  7.  Dunnock        
  8.  Goldcrest        
  9.  Goldfinch        
  10.  Great Spotted Woodpecker        
  11.  Great Tit        
  12.  Greenfinch        
  13.  Herring Gull        
  14.  House Martin        
  15.  Jay        
  16.  Magpie        
  17.  Moorhen        
  18.  Pheasant        
  19.  Robin        
  20.  Song Thrush        
  21.  Stock Dove        
  22.  Swift        
  23.  Woodpigeon        
  24.  Wren