Sunday, 27 October 2013

plenty at twenty

A steady time of year - the majority of the warblers have all gone now and the winter specialists are yet to arrive in earnest.  The main finds of the week have been the consistent whooper swan between D res and Decoy fields - thanks to Maggie Bruce on Michael Flowers's birdwatching course for this one:
It seems to have found itself a pal now with two regularly on Watton NR.  For more on the whoopers check out Guillermo's blog - you just need a grasp of Spanish!  A few pinkfeet were on the pits yesterday amongst the more typical residents:
It transpires that the satellite tagged bean goose did indeed visit Watton NR - albeit between 4am and 6am and was long gone by daylight it seems!:
Thanks to Carl Mitchell at the WWT for the maps along with SNH.  Otherwise the best 'new bird' was a redshank - the first recorded in some time on the river Hull.  Cetti's warblers are perhaps one of the easier birds to find as they are quite vocal around South Marsh West and South Lagoon.  No more jack or common snipe - it seems rising waters in the marshes have put them off.  Marsh and willow tits in the woods and a fair bit of water rail activity on North Marsh.  Thanks to Maggie again for these of goldcrest:
Otherwise a week of wild weather has not stimulated many observers with the exception of Martin Hodges who's found a succession of mediterranean gulls and lesser black backed gulls on recent nights. So what else to look at? A few end of season moths - feathered thorn (Doug Fairweather):
And rush veneer - the first for approximately 10 years:
Doug and Martin have taken the site list to circa 374 for the year - very impressive given only 367 species were recorded in the first 15 years of Tophill Low!  The birch catkin bug was a first for site DG:
As was field damselbug:
Melampsora euphorbiae is both a new fungi and a new gall at the same time DG:
And perhaps the finest find of all was this monster; the giant willow aphid - have a look on the NHM website to read some of its bizarre life history.  Luckily they stick to willows and not your roses:
The belted galloways are set to leave Hempholme Meadow this week having done their work for Autumn, with the cows and calves being bedded down for winter indoors.  However we are expecting some tougher steers back again courtesy of Nicola and Edward Duggleby to graze South Scrub once we've finished enclosing it in a couple of weeks.

Incidentally the reserve is 20 years old on Wednesday! We first opened to the public on the 30th of October 1993.  If I get chance I may stick a few vintage photos on the next post!