Saturday, 26 May 2012

Arctic weather

Whilst the last five days may have seen the start of summer, the highlight was probably a passing arctic skua which is quite a rarity for Tophill seen by John Prentice.  The turning weather has been of greatest benefit to the hirundines and swifts; for the last month the reservoirs have been covered with them, the only place they could find food in the form of emerging flies from the water.  Now we’ve warmed up they have all vanished.  A few of these newly emerged insects include poplar hawkmoth:

Figure of eighty:

And azure damselflies courtesy of Brian Spence:

For all the odonata news visit Martin's blog for four figure counts from today, or Paul's East Yorkshire Dragonflies site.  A few more butterflies on the wing too – orange tip by Brian:  

The bad news of the week is that the avocets have seemingly had it for this year.  After three failed nesting attempts and four eggs there have been no sightings during the past few days.  It would appear that they were a bit inexperienced and leaving their eggs unattended for long spells did them no good:

The good news however came from the sand martin colony this morning though – Maurice Dowson reporting six birds prospecting the new cliff.  They remained all day and hopefully this will be the start of more arrivals too:

Great news from Watton NR with the rafts now occupied by a pair of common terns.  Thanks to HVWG for these of the ringed tern on South Marsh East – some detail to work on:

The black headed gulls are now hatching out – including 2X18 (HVWG):

Lapwing on South Marsh East (HVWG):

Other bird news included further cuckoos around the site, dunlin, redshank, pintail and drake garganey on South Marsh East, turtle doves in South Scrub, and common sandpipers on the reservoir walls.  Tree sparrow collecting food near the wildlife centre HVWG:

More otter sightings this morning and last weekend saw East Yorkshire Bat Group visit to check the boxes.  Great news was the presence of 9 nathusius’s pipistrelles:
And also a whiskered/brandt’s bat which is uncommonly found:

HVWG also sent us this of one in a bird hide – as yet sp. unkown:

Finally on news of the possible red-tailed hawk seen around site; it looks like this is a certainty now – thanks to Alan Walkington who supplied this shot taken by Alf Bunting of a red-tailed hawk taken on the West Hill Estate in Bridlington a few weeks ago:
Apparently it has not been seen since so has likely relocated to the Tophill area.  According to Derrick Venus of the HVWG website, this or another red-tailed hawk was regularly seen a few years back.