Monday, 17 July 2017

Marbled White doing well at Clough Wood

Since the first records in 2015 the Marbled White have continued to increase in numbers at Clough Wood. The highest count I am aware of is of at least 12 at the start of July from Alan Stewardson and I think there was probably a similar number on the wing there this morning.
Marbled White
Some were showing signs of wear but this individual looked very fresh. I don't think we will ever know whether they arrived naturally or with a helping hand but, whatever their origins, it great to see them doing well locally.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Common Shrew - Beeley Moor

Finally back home after my trip around Northern Europe. 
Up on the moors this morning with Roger and had an unusual encounter with a Common Shrew. It ran out in to the road but instead of running straight across, as they usually do,  it stopped by the roadside where it appeared to be nibbling a small piece of wood. It stayed long enough for me to grab my camera then it then ran around on the edge of the road, still in the open and actually ran between my legs. A few minutes later it reappeared in the middle of the road so I chased it in to the vegetation for fear of it becoming a road casualty.
Not uncommon locally but I doubt I have more than a dozen sightings in a year.
Common Shrew

Monday, 1 May 2017

Travels abroad

Today I start my journey to Poland to continue the tour of Europe I started last year. All being well I'll be away until the end of June but will post any interesting photos or sightings that are sent to me during that period. 
You can follow my progress on the twitter feed, in the right hand column of this post and I'll also be posting updates on my Wildlife Diaries blog.
Alan Stewartson recorded the first Wood Warbler in the Darley Dale area today, their breeding season will be just about finished when I return.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Stonechat - Beeley Moor

It looks like there are at least 7 pairs of Stonechat nesting on Beeley Moor this year which is up on recent years, perhaps due to the very mild winter. Several pairs are already feeding young, so with some decent weather over the next few months they could have a successful breeding season.
Stonechat - male


Common Oak Purple, Dyseriocrania subpurpurella - Halldale Wood

Hundreds of the tiny day flying micro moth Dyseriocrania subpurpurella flying in Clough Wood at the moment. You need to see them up close to appreciate their colour.
Dyseriocrania subpurpurella

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Cuckoo - first of the year on Flash Lane

Great to hear the call of a Cuckoo first thing this morning on Flash Lane. It was distant but I took a record photo.
Cuckoo

Monday, 17 April 2017

Fox Moth larva - Beeley Moor

Both the Fox Moth and its close relation the Northern Eggar have larva which over winter before pupating in the Spring. The larva of both species may be encountered on sunnier days in March and April when they get some benefit from the sunshine prior to pupation, but do not feed at this time of year.
This Fox Moth larva was following a track along Beeley Moor yesterday morning.

Fox Moth - larva

Friday, 14 April 2017

Common Redstart returns to Rowsley

On a very overcast and wet Good Friday the first returning male Redstart was in full song at Rowsley early this morning. Brightening up an otherwise dull start to the Easter weekend.
At least 5 Wheatear in fields bordering Beeley Moor.
Redstart - male in song

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Osprey - Rowsley

My first Osprey of the year spent an hour or so in the trees bordering the river at Rowsley yesterday before carrying on north just after 7pm. 
Ken had a bird over Screetham Lane last week and there have been several sightings at both Ogston and Carsington in recent weeks of what has now become a regular migrant through the area. 
Spring birds tend to pass through quickly, wanting to get to their nesting areas, whereas autumn birds are more likely to linger on their southward migration.
Osprey


Monday, 10 April 2017

Pied Flycatcher returns to Clough Wood

I went looking for Pied Flycatcher in Clough Wood last week, rather optimistically, on the back of reports of early returning migrants but without success. This morning however I was greeted by the males simple song and had smashing views of a male feeding and singing in the oaks. This is still several days earlier than I have recorded them previously.


Pied Flycatcher - male

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Emperor Moth - Beeley Moor

As anticipated, the sunshine and higher temperatures has brought out the Emperor Moth. The males, like this one, are day flying and search for the females scent using its feathered antennae. The females are nocturnal and can occasionally be found sat in the open during the day awaiting the male. 
It is quite common on the moor and can been seen on sunny days from mid April to mid May, the male has a very fast irregular flight and tends to look all dark unless seen at close quarters. 
Emperor Moth -male

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Common Lizard and Garden Tiger larva basking in the sun

It's not just us that enjoy the sunshine, had my first Common Lizard of the year warming in the sunshine and a single Garden Tiger larva also benefiting from the weather. They overwinter as the larva but then need sunshine in the Spring before they pupate.
First Swallows locally today and single Tree Pipit.
Common Lizard
Garden Tiger larva

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Philedonides lunana (Heath Twist) - Beeley Moor

The tiny micro moth Philedonides lunana (Heath Twist) was on the wing today. It's about the only moth on the moors at the moment but the Emperor should be flying soon if it stays sunny.
Philedonides lunana


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Willow Warbler - Flash Lane

Went back for another look at the Willow Warblers on Flash Lane in the sunshine today. There were at least 10 around the recently replanted conifers but none anywhere else.

Willow Warbler

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

First singing Blackcap of the Spring

Came across my first singing Blackcap of the Spring at Clough Wood today. I heard several reports of over-wintering birds in the Matlock area in the late winter but this is the first song I have heard this year.
Blackcap - male
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