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October 2013

5th, A Tornado visits the Moors
This weekend we were very fortunate to see the Peppercorn Class (A1) 'Tornado' 60163 up on the NYMR, a very handsome engine which was up here specially for the LNER weekend. This locomotive is particularly important because it is the only Peppercorn Class A1 in existence, though despite its historic looking appearance it was in reality only completed in 2008, the first steam locomotive to be constructed in the UK since the 1960's. Watchers of Top Gear may also remember it from an episode when the chaps raced from King's Cross (London) to Waverley (Edinburgh) with Clarkson riding on the train.

6th, First Redwings
This morning saw the first Redwings of autumn 2013 in the garden, with at least half a dozen seen amongst the Yews and Hawthorns, though the local Blackbirds and Thrushes didn't seem to take kindly to their presence and kept harassing these seasonal visitors. I always look forward to seeing the first Redwings of the autumn, as for me they are to autumn & winter what Swallows are to spring & summer, though it is interesting to note that this is the earliest date for their arrival on Wold Garth's records, beating the previous record by two days. Whether this will have any bearing on the coming winter is mere speculation but the last time they arrived so early here at Wold Garth we experienced the coldest November and December on my records, and indeed December 2010 would become the coldest in Britain for 100 years!

6th, Moth trapping resumes
After a break of nearly a month moth trapping resumed here at Wold Garth on Saturday night and the change in species since early September has been very interesting with no less than eleven new species being added to the year list which has now increased to 243 (just seven more to reach my 2013 target of 250 !). However the actual number of moths being recorded has significantly decreased with just 29 in the trap when I emptied it on Sunday morning, though a healthy number of species were represented with 16 different types in all, including some handsome species like Red-green Carpet, Red-line Quaker, Green-brindled Crescent, and Feathered Thorn. However the moth of the evening was a Grey-shoulder Knot, a relatively uncommon moth north of the Humber, and also in the trap was the similar looking but much more common Blair's Shoulder-knot, this occurrence allowing me to compare the two species side by side.

Light Brown Apple Moth x1, Ashy Button (NFY) x1, Red-green Carpet(NFY) x4, Common Marbled Carpet x4, Spruce Carpet (NFY) x1, Feathered Thorn (NFY) x1, Dark Sword-grass (NFY) x1, Large Yellow Underwing x6,Grey Shoulder-knot (NFY) x1, Blair's Shoulder-knot (NFY) x1, Green-brindled Crescent (NFY) x1, Red-line Quaker (NFY) x2, Lunar Underwing(NFY) x1, Angle Shades x1, Large Wainscot (NFY) x1, & Silver Y x2.

6th, North Cave Wetlands
This morning we made our way across the Yorkshire Wolds to visit the little nature reserve of North Cave Wetlands, located just west of the pretty little village of, yes you guessed it, North Cave, on what was a lovely morning with a beautiful golden autumn sun bathing the nature reserve. Upon arrival the sound of the resident Greylag Geese filled the air with that evocative sound which so characterise so many British wetland nature reserves, amongst this throng of Greylags a few Canada Geese also being picked out by their honking calls. However within five minutes of our arrival the call of a third species of geese was heard overhead with skeins of Pink-footed Geese heading south-eastwards, undoubtedly on their way to that birding mecca along the north Norfolk coast, and throughout the morning a few more skeins of these wonderful wild geese would be seen and heard as they announced their return to our island nation for yet another winter.

However this would not be the end of the goose-extravaganza and a fourth species would be encountered in Main Lake with three feral Egyptian Geese, a species I have encountered in East Yorkshire on only a handful of occasions in the past. Speaking of feral waterfowl a lone Black Swan was additionally present on Carp Lake, joining about a half dozen Mute Swans which were dotted around the reserve.

The usual array of ducks were also present, most now back to looking their best after their late summer scruffy period, though the number of Pochard & Teal have increased somewhat since our last visit. Calling Wigeon were heard in Far Lake, one of my favourite winter sounds which instantly transport me back to some of my happiest memories out on windswept and bitterly cold coastal marshes where one can so easily forget that the rest of the world even exists.

Beyond the birds other interest was provided by the still numerous dragonflies, most of which were Common Darters or Hawkers, while a few species of butterfly were spotted, most notably Speckled Woods and Small Tortoiseshells. The hedgerows are now laden with the deep red berries of Haws while elsewhere around the reserve the Spindle trees are also in fruit with their unusual pinkish pod like berries covering the trees along the reserves north-eastern perimeter. More excitement was provided by a couple of clueless photographers whom decided to walk right through the middle of the reserve, despite numerous signs telling them not to do so, though the resulting panic amongst the reserves residents did provide an impressive spectacle as hundreds of birds took flight in panic.

8th, More autumn mothing
Red-green Carpet x9, Common Marbled Carpet x5, Spruce Carpet x2, Dark Marbled Carpet x1, Silver Y x1, Blair's Shoulder-knot x4, Large Yellow Underwing x3, Red-line Quaker x1, Copper Underwing x1, Red Sword-grass(NFY) x1, Beaded Chestnut (NFY) x2, Lesser Yellow Underwing x1, Pale Mottled Willow (NFY) x1, Light Brown Apple Moth x6, and Garden Rose Tortrix x1.

22nd, Autumn rains
The weather during the past week or two has been pretty unsettled with lots of the wet stuff falling out of the grey October skies and with little prospects of things improving this week it looks like we will just have to get used to this autumnal weather for the time being. It has also continued to be obscenely mild which has at least made conditions more favourable for butterflies when the sun does indeed shine, and species still being seen in the garden at the moment include those typical autumn butterfly species such as Red Admirals, Peacocks, Commas and Speckled Woods. Bird-wise we still await the first Fieldfares but Redwings continue to be a regular sight or sound around our East Yorkshire home while on many early mornings Skylarks and Pipits can be heard passing over. Feral bands of Greylag Geese have additionally been noted while a few unidentified species of wader were heard on some of the stiller and less windy nights during the past week or two.

30th, Geese, thrushes & a late Red Admiral
Returning to Wold Garth the last few days have seen more Redwings turn up in the garden, perhaps a sudden rush after the recent storms and colder weather in northern Europe but nevertheless a welcome sight as the seasons continue to change here in eastern Yorkshire. Pink-footed Geese meanwhile were seen on Tuesday and again this morning heading southwards to wintering sites in not too distant Norfolk though a sign that summer has perhaps not yet deserted us entirely was the spotting of a single Red Admiral fluttering through the garden yesterday afternoon.

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