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Tophill Low 19th September 2015

led by Keith Gittens, notes by Gill Smith

Species lists below

View over reservoir

11 members made the trip to Tophill Low reservoirs near Driffield on a beautiful sunny day. Tophill Low NR is an active Yorkshire Water Treatment Works for the city of Hull but has also been developed as a nature reserve featuring 12 hides spread across a 300 acre site that flanks the River Hull. The two reservoirs dominate the reserve and have SSSI status for their massive wildfowl numbers. Around the perimeter a network of marshes, ponds, woodlands and grasslands result in an annual 160+ bird species plus a good mix of other fauna and flora.

We spent the morning walking round the D-reservoir, spending time in several of the hides. There were plenty of ducks on the water, and some grebes. but not as many waders as we’d hoped. We also saw a very pale raptor, probably a buzzard, on the far side. There were several egrets as well as the somewhat larger grey herons.

As this was primarily a birding trip I did not make a plant list, but did notice a few colourful plants still in flower, including this Prickly oxtongue and Welted thistle (complete with what I think is a carder bee).

Prickly oxtongue Picris echiodes

Prickly oxtongue Picris (Helminthotheca) echiodes

Welted thistle Carduus crispus

Welted thistle Carduus crispus

Lunch was completed by Ian’s excellent Bakewell tart. Thus fortified, we continued round the reserve to the O-reservoir and surrounding wetland areas. The warm sunshine had brought out a huge number of dragonflies, mostly Migrant Hawkers but also Common and Ruddy Darters and a very colourful Southern Hawker among the reeds – and a possible Brown Hawker on the far side of the reservoir! There were also a few late butterflies out and about including Speckled woods, but unfortunately no Clouded yellows today.

There was a very good crop of haws along the boundary hedges, and near one of the hides I spotted these spindle fruits.

Haws Crataegus monogyna

Haws Crataegus monogyna

Spindle fruits Euoonymus sp.

Spindle Euoonymus sp.

Returning to the car park we thanked Keith for a most enjoyable trip.

Species lists. Birds – thanks to Keith for this list

Bullfinch, Eurasion
Buzzard, Common
Chaffinch, Common
Coot, Eurasian
Cormorant, Great
Crow, Carrion
Duck, Tufted
Egret, Little
Goldfinch, European
Goose, Greylag
Grebe, Great Crested
Grebe, Little
Gull, Black-headed
Gull, Common
Gull, Greater Black-backed
Gull, Herring
Heron, Grey
Jackdaw, Western
Lapwing, Northern
Magpie, Common
Moorhen, Common
Nuthatch, Eurasian
Pigeon, Wood
Pochard, Common
Rail, Water
Redpoll, Lesser
Robin, European
Shoveler, Northern
Siskin, European
Starling, Common
Swallow, Barn
Swan, Mute
Teal, Coomon
Tit, Coal
Tit, Great
Tit, Long-tailed
Tit, Marsh
Wagtail, Grey
Wigeon, Eurasion
Wren, Winter

Butterflies – thanks to Pauline for this list

Large White, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Peacock.

Dragonflies – thanks to Pauline for this list

Common Darter (photo below), Migrant Hawker, Ruddy Darter, Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker?

Common darter dragonfly Sympetrum striolatum

© Ryedale Natural History Society 2015, Photos © Gill Smith and Pauline Popely (dragonfly) 2015 Back to the Home page