Good numbers of warblers were present throughout the month with several late Reed Warblers presents towards month end, and 11 Chiffchaff caught and ringed at Wheldrake Ings on the 25th (MFJ) were probably just a fraction of the total present on site that day. The highlight of the month was undoubtedly the appearance of a flock of 14 erupting Bearded Tits at Wheldrake Ings on the 27th – the first in the LDV for three years and the joint largest flock on record.
Butterflies, dragonflies and other invertebrates continued to be recorded throughout the month (see below for full species write ups), with a pleasing number of new species found, in particular eight new spiders and a number new beetles were added to the 2014 'pan'. Shield Bugs continued to be found in good numbers across the site, with Skipwith Common being a particular hot-spot.
Mute Swan – The family parties remained throughout the month with some cygnets starting their first flights late in the month.
Egyptian Goose – A single adult flew east over Bank Island on the 23rd.
Pink-footed Goose – The first of the autumn, a skein of 120 flew south over Bank Island on the 21st.
Greylag Goose – 600+ flew over Sutton-upon-Derwent on the 1st when 300 were present at Melbourne.
Canada Goose – Numbers started to build up slowly from the leftover summering flock of 11 at Wheldrake on the 1st and 2nd, to 35 at Thornton Ings on the 14th and 78 by the 26th.
Teal – The month opened with 230+ at Wheldrake Ings on the 1st, 350 on the 2nd, 380 on the 4th and 450+ on the 5th. 550+ were present at Wheldrake on the 9th with 530 there on the 21st, on the same date 200+ were also present on Skipwith Common, with 1000+ in the valley by the 24th.
Wigeon – Numbers at Wheldrake Ings increased to 10 on the 1st with scattered small numbers thereafter including 12 on the 21st. Larger numbers were present on the nearby Skipwith Common NNR with 200 there on the 19th.
Gadwall – 10 at Wheldrake Ings on the 20th with 28 throughout the valley on the 22nd.
Shoveler – Four at Wheldrake Ings on the 20th with 12 there on 26th.
Tufted Duck – Two on the Top Pond at North Duffield Carrs on the 1st.
Coot – Up to 20 remained at Wheldrake Ings early in the month with just five remaining at month end.
Water Rail – Three were at Wheldrake Ings on the 1st and 4th with five there on the 11th and one or two regularly thereafter. Numbers and sightings increased late in the month with three there on 25th and six on the 28th.
Little Grebe – A single at Wheldrake Ings on the 1st-4th.
Grey Heron – Ten at Wheldrake Ings on the 4th with 11 on the 14th and up to eight regularly thereafter, whilst small numbers were scattered throughout the month elsewhere. Monthly maximum of 21 on the 14th.
Little Egret – A rather quiet month with a single at Wheldrake Ings on the 11th.
Red Kite – A single seen well at Thornton Ellers on the 11th (LM, CSR, FM).
Hen Harrier – A single adult male flew south east over Wheldrake Ings on the 21st (CSR).
Marsh Harrier – Single cream crowns were at Thornton Ellers and Wheldrake Ings on the 1st, with two at Wheldrake Ings on the 3rd. An adult male was at North Duffield Ings on the 5th along with a single cream crown at North Duffield Carrs and two at Wheldrake Ings. A juvenile was at Bank Island on the 9th and 11th, with a single at Wheldrake Ings on the latter date. A single adult female still lingered at Wheldrake Ings on the 20th with three birds (including a single green wing-tagged bird there on the 21st – 28th). This tagged bird had originally been ringed in the nest at Cantley, near Norwich on the 1st July 2014 and had been re-sighted at Fairburn Ings RSPB reserve in late August. Four were at Wheldrake Ings on the 28th.
Buzzard – Good numbers present throughout the month and throughout the area following a good breeding season. Ten were present in the air at once at Wheldrake Ings on the 27th (DB), when 19 were counted in total across the valley. Jean Thorpe received a phone call about an injured Buzzard near Escrick, which was presumed to have been hit by a motorist. Jean gave it the once over, and luckily it was just a bit stunned, the following day it was ready to head off back into the wild, released where it was found.
Hobby – A single at Wheldrake Ings on the 1st, 3rd and 4th with a single at Thornton Ellers on the 3rd. Two were at Wheldrake Ings on the 10th with a single on the 11th and 14th, and two there again on the 18th. A single at Melbourne on the 7th and 16th. Singles were still present at Wheldrake Ings on the 27th and 28th.
Peregrine Falcon – A single at Wheldrake Ings on the 7th, 13th and 21st (DB).
Barn Owl - Several adults were seen throughout the month, along with pairs still present at nesting sites. On the 11th another six chicks were ringed near Bubwith.
Whimbrel – A single over Bank Island on the 19th.
Curlew – Four over Bank Island on the 2nd with single overheard on the 19th and 21st.
Redshank – A single at Wheldrake Ings on the 3rd and 4th.
Greenshank – Three at Wheldrake Ings on the 1st and 2nd with two there on the 3rd and 4th. A juvenile on the pool there on the 21st with another there on 27th and 28th.
Dunlin – The month opened with a single at Wheldrake Ings on the 1st-4th.
Ruff – Three at Wheldrake Ings on the 10th.
Common Snipe – 150+ were present on Melbourne Ings on the 1st with 50+ on Wheldrake Ings on the 3rd and 4th. 25 were present at Skipwith Common on the 3rd with 50+ at Melbourne Ings on the 16th.
Green Sandpiper – Wheldrake Ings was (as usual) the favoured site with three there on the 1st, increasing to five on the 3rd and 4th. Three remained until the 20th with a single then present to month end.
Common Sandpiper – A single at Wheldrake Ings on the 4th, 7th, 10th and 11th.
Green Woodpecker – One at the NNR Base at Bank Island on the 2nd when three were present on Skipwith Common. A single at Skipwith Common on the 11th.
Great Spotted Woodpecker – A single at the Bank Island feeders on the 1st and 2nd with three at Wheldrake Ings on the 4th. Singles reported regularly at Wheldrake Ings during the rest of the month.
Kingfisher – One at Wheldrake Ings on the 1st with two there on the 2nd and 4th, and two at Bank Island on the 3rd. Three near Melbourne on the 1st, with two there on the 2nd and a single through the Bank Island car park on the 11th – a more unusual location. A single near Canal Head, Pocklington on the 11th with up to three reported at Wheldrake Ings during the remainder of the month. A single at Sutton-upon-Derwent on the 21st.
Tree Pipit – A single at Skipwith Common on the 11th with a passage bird south over Wheldrake Ings on the 21st.
Meadow Pipit – Autumn passage started with 50+ south at Wheldrake Ings on the 5th, followed by 60 at North Duffield Carrs on the 9th and 20+ at Skipwith Common on the 11th. Small numbers moved south thereafter.
Grey Wagtail – A single pair lingered at the Water Treatment Works at Bank Island during the month with another at Elvington on the 22nd.
Yellow Wagtail – Two flew south over Bank Island on the 2nd with two over Skipwith Common on the 3rd and five over Wheldrake Ings on the 4th. 10+ flew over Thornton Ellers on the 10th. Four at Wheldrake Ings on the 21st with three there on the 27th and two at Ellerton on the 28th.
Whinchat – A single at Wheldrake Ings on the 1st with another at Bank Island on the 3rd – 5th. Three rather late passage birds at North Duffield Carrs on the 20th.
Jay – Two at Melbourne on the 1st with a single there the next day. Two at Skipwith Common on the 2nd with five there on the 3rd and three on the 5th. Three at Wheldrake Ings on the 4th with three at Storwood on the 9th when two were also present at Bank Island. Two were present at Skipwith Common on the 11th with one at Thorganby on the same date. Two at Wheldrake Ings on the 14th with three there on the 29th.
Chiffchaff – Increasing numbers of passage birds were reported during the month, many singing throughout. 11 were caught and ringed at Wheldrake Ings on the 25th (MFJ), up to six were reported daily at this site thereafter with 11 on the 28th.
Common Whitethroat – A single at Bank Island on the 4th with three in the Wheldrake car park lane on the 5th and a single at Melbourne on the 16th.
Spotted Flycatcher – A single juvenile was caught and ringed at Skipwith Common on the 1st (DT) with a single at Wheldrake Ings on the 4th. Two at Skipwith Common on the 5th.
Reed Warbler – A single adult was still feeding two juveniles at Melbourne on the 8th with five still at Wheldrake Ings on the 20th and four caught and ringed there on the 23rd with another on the 25th (MFJ). Singles were still present there on the 27th and 28th.
Sedge Warbler – A late bird remained at Wheldrake Ings on the 27th and 28th (DB).
Nuthatch – Two calling birds at Skipwith Common on the 4th when a single was present at Wheldrake Ings, and again on the 27th.
Goldcrest – Three at Wheldrake Ings on the 4th were the first of the autumn.
Willow Tit – Four at Wheldrake Ings on the 1st with two there on the 14th and up to five regularly thereafter.
Bearded Tit – A flock of 14 were present at Wheldrake Ings on the 27th (DB).
Tree Sparrow – Up to 45 built up at the feeding station at Bank Island during the month.
Linnet – 40 at Wheldrake Ings on the 4th.
Bullfinch – 14 at Wheldrake Ings on the 4th.
Reed Bunting – A large increase in numbers was noted from the 20th when 100+ were present at Wheldrake Ings and 50+ were at North Duffield Carrs with smaller numbers scattered throughout the site. Ongoing ringing work at both Skipwith and the Lower Derwent Valley also picked up a noticeable increase in numbers with c250 ringed in the final week of the month (MFJ, DT).
Otter – A male was seen well at Wheldrake Ings between Pool and Swantail Hide on the 10th.
Weasel – A single at North Duffield Carrs on the 1st.
Brown Hare – Seven at Thornton Ellers on the 1st included four leverets, with four there on the 3rd, two on the 4th and two on the 18th.
Roe Deer – Singles at Bank Island and Wheldrake Ings on the 3rd, two at Wheldrake Ings and Skipwith Common on the 4th and a single on the Common on the 5th. Two at North Duffield Ings on the 20th.
Red Fox – A single on the pool at Wheldrake Ings after dark on the 3rd.
Wood Mouse – A female in a nest with five young at Skipwith Common on the 5th and again on the 11th and 25th.
Field Vole – Five at Thornton Ellers on the 1st with 30+ on the 3rd and four on the 4th.
Bank Vole – A single at North Duffield Carrs on the 1st.
Pygmy Shrew - One was found whilst log turning on Skipwith Common on the 25th.
Whiskered Bat – 12+ at Wheldrake Ings on the 3rd.
Noctule Bat – Three at Wheldrake Ings on the 3rd and two there on the 4th and four on the 5th.
Common Lizard – Three at Skipwith Common on the 1st, four on the 2nd, two on the 4th, two on the 6th, four on the 11th and three on the 25th.
Grass Snake – A single at Skipwith Common on the 1st and 25th.
Adder – A single on Skipwith Common on the 1st and 2nd.
Common Frog – Four were seen at the Top Pond, North Duffield Carrs on the 1st, a single on Skipwith Common on the 2nd, and at least 20 in the meadow at Thornton Ellers on the 3rd followed by a single there on the 8th. On the 25th a single was found on the Common whilst log turning.
Common Toad – A single was found whilst log turning on Skipwith Common on the 25th.
Small Copper – Just a single record for the month with one seen on Skipwith Common on the 2nd.
Comma – Three sightings throughout the course of the month, with a single in the NNR Base Garden on the 3rd, Thornton Ellers on the 11th and Skipwith on the 25th.
Peacock – Recorded early on during the month between the 1st-4th, on Skipwith Common, Wheldrake Ings and the NNR Base Garden. No records were had then until the 25th when a warm sunny day brought out two individuals, a single on Skipwith and a single in the NNR Base Garden.
Red Admiral – A good month for this species, with a total of 23 records collected, the sightings were well spread throughout the month, coming from a number of sites – the scabious meadow at Thornton Ellers producing the most records, with a count of 4 seen together there on the 4th.
Small Tortoiseshell – The third most recorded species throughout the month (37 records in total), with the highest day count coming on the 11th from the meadow at Thornton Ellers when six were seen feeding on the scabious.
Brimstone - A single was in the meadow at Thornton Ellers on the 11th .
Green-veined White – After a fairly quiet end to August, September brought a flurry of records with a handful recorded throughout the first few days, from the NNR Base Garden and Bank Island. No records were obtained then until the middle of the month (20th), when three joint highest counts were had – 11 on the 20th at Wheldrake Ings, followed by 11 on the 21st and 24th at Bank Island.
Small White - A handful (10) of scattered records throughout the month, largely singles other than four on the 20th at North Duffield Carrs.
Large White – Four were seen in the NNR Base Garden on the 3rd, followed by singles at Thornton Ellers on the 18th and Wheldrake on the 28th – making it six records for the month.
Speckled Wood – The most recorded species throughout the month, with a total of 72 individuals seen. The track which runs alongside the hedgerow at Thornton Ellers produced the most records, with a high count of 10 there on the 11th. Skipwith Common saw the highest day total, with 11 there on the 21st.
Southern Hawker – Recorded throughout the month, with the last record coming on the 28th from Wheldrake Ings when two were seen near the pool side vegetation. Individuals continued to be seen at Thornton Ellers, with a high count of five there on the 11th.
Migrant Hawker – The most recorded hawker throughout September, with a total of 22 records collected. A number of individuals were seen during the first week of the month at Thornton Ellers, with a lull then until the last two weeks of the month when records came from Wheldrake Ings and North Duffield Carrs.
Brown Hawker – Recorded throughout the whole of the month, with the all the records being singles, bar seven that were seen together hawking over the Top Pond at North Duffield Carrs on the 1st.
Black Darter – Present throughout September, and recorded on three days from Skipwith Common, one on the 2nd, three on the 11th and two on the 25th.
Ruddy Darter – The second most recorded species throughout the month with a total of 36 records collected, largely coming from Thornton Ellers and Skipwith Common. The last record for the month came on the 18th with a single at Thornton Ellers.
Common Darter – As expected the most recorded species throughout the month, with a total of 58 seen, which involved three high day counts – 16 on the Common on the 2nd, 9 there on the 11th and 12 there on the 25th.
Emerald – Recorded on just four days, three on Skipwith Common the 2nd and six at Bank Island on the 3rd, followed by two on the Common on the 11th and two on the 25th.
Common Blue Damselfly – Five were seen at North Duffield Carrs on the 1st.
Azure Damselfly – A single was seen at North Duffield Carrs on the 1st.
Blue-tailed Damselfly – A single was seen at North Duffield Carrs on the 1st.
Due to a busy month on the work front, staff holidays and working elsewhere on the site, the moth trap was only run on two occasions from the NNR Base. A total of 97 moths were caught including 27 species, 9 of which were new for the year – Beaded Chestnut, Brown-spot Pinion, Brown-veined Wainscot, Sallow, Autumnal Rustic, Bulrush Wainscot, Centre-barred Sallow, Dark Sword Grass and Green Brindled Crescent.
On Skipwith Common a new caterpillar was also found and added to the moth species list - Grey Dagger.
A Humming-bird Hawk-moth was found in the NNR Base Garden on the 5th, the second reserve record following one in 2012 - particularly pleasing as the garden was designed as a nectar rich demonstration butterfly and bee garden.
Throughout the month several days were spent on Skipwith Common, where a number of new species were added to the invertebrate list. The Common is a really good place to look for spiders, particularly amongst the Juncus in the wetter areas, here species such as the Four-spot Orb Weaver Araneus quadratus, Furrow Spider Larinioides cornutus, Invisible Spider Drapetisca socialis, Lesser Garden Spider Metellina segmentata, Marbled Orb Weaver Araneus marmoreus and Walnut Orb Weaver Nuctenea umbratica were found.
Also new for the year from the Common were: Ground Beetle Carabus arvensis, Marsh Damselbug Nabis limbatus, Orange Ladybird Halyzia sedecimguttata and a Staphylinid Beetle Platydracus latebricola, a 14-spot Ladybird Propylea 14-punctata was also found on Wheldrake Ings. The first adult Green Shield Bug was found on Skipwith Common, a pleasing find after seeing numerous nymphs across the site over the last few weeks.
Skipwith Common produced the goods on the plant front as well, with 26 new species of wildflowers and grasses/sedges/rushes found. Some were completely new to us such as Oval Sedge and Long-stalked Yellow Sedge.
Some of the other new species for the year were, Pill Sedge, Common Yellow Sedge, Purple Moor-grass, Wood-small Reed, Narrow-leaved Buckler Fern, Jointed Rush and Early Hair Grass. Three types of the Polytrichum moss were seen: P.formosum, P.commune, P.juniperinum, along with three types of Sphagnum: S.fimbriatum, S.squarrosum, S.palustre.
During September several visits were had to Skipwith Common (the local fungi hotspot in the area), where a number of new species for the year were seen. Species such as Common Earthball, Common Puffball, Spiny Puffball, Tawny Grissette, Ochre Brittlegill and Fly Agaric are just a few that have been found recently. Fly Agaric is probably the best known mushroom species due to its distinctive look and bright red colours, making it instantly recognisable.