At 10 am we examined the contents of a moth trap that had been set up the previous night. This was interesting as we saw a large variety of species that we have never seen before, as well as a few well-known favourites such as the Elephant Hawk Moth ( Deilephila elpenor) and Garden Tigers (Arctia caja).
Peach Blossom Moth (Thyatira batis)
A Garden Tiger (Arctia caja) on my nose!
One of my frieds, Oakley, get hands-on with an Elephant Hawk Moth (Deilephila elpenor).
I never thought that it was possible to have 2 Poplar Hawk Moths (Laothoe populi), an Elephant Hawk Moth (Deilephila elpenor), and a Garden Tiger (Arctia caja) all on one hand, but my friend, Eden, managed it!
After looking at the moths, we joined Barry on his first bug hunt. First of all we examined a small area, just a few metres across, and discovered a surprising number of species including a Cucumber Spider (Araniella cucurbitina), Ichneumon Wasps (Ichneumonoidea), and Soldier Beetles (Cantharidae).
We went on to explore a larger area which was particularly productive. Butterflies such as Ringlets (Aphantopus hyperantus) and various bee species pollinated flowers, while caterpillar-like Sawfly larvae munched away at leaves.
We had our lunch beside a pond, around which we saw an interesting Bee Mimic.
We visited various hides but unfortunately saw no bird life from them, however Barry assured me that species such as Kingfishers (Alcedo atthias) can be seen there.
Barry's next bug hunt took place on a large area of grassland which had lots of ponds scattered across it. Here we saw various dragonfly and damselfly species, including a 4-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata), Blue-tailed Damselflies (Ischnura elegans), and a red dragonfly that I think was a Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum).
I also saw a Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) fly over, which was great, as I really love this species.
I didn't stay for the whole bug hunt, but my Dad did, and he assures me that they saw plenty of great stuff afterwards.
He saw a Common Frog (Rana temporaria), which is a rarity on Tophill, as the non-native Marsh Frog (Pelophylax ridibundus) that lives on the site has driven them out due to food competition, etc.
Overall, I had a great time and will definitely go to Tophill Low Nature Reserve again.