Sunday, 30 September 2012

Great Spotted Woodpecker - portrait

Pretty hopeless weather today, overcast with rain on and off so I've resorted to using flash for the three photos below. I think with the British weather a flash unit in the camera bag is fairly essential!

Great Spotted Woodpecker



Bank Vole

Bank Vole

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Merveille du Jour

Quiet on the bird front this week but trapped this Merveille du Jour last night. This must be one of our most attractive moths. especially when fresh like this one. I usually catch 2 or 3 each autumn at home, it's an oak feeder so well established in Clough Wood.
Merveille du Jour

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Mystery caterpillar

Brian Statham swept these two caterpillars off Scabious on Bonsall Moor three days ago and we are both struggling to identify them. It looks like they are the same species,  it is not unusual to have green and brown forms of the same species.
Key clues to caterpillar identification are the month of the year and the food plant but neither lead to an obvious identification. Shaded Pug is one possibility but it does not appear to generally have the strong pale lines on the side and so far as we are aware has not been recorded in Derbyshire. I'll circulate the photos around some of the experts and see what comes up.
If Brian can keep them through pupation to emergence as the moth the mystery should be solved but that will be quite a wait.

mystery caterpillar

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Fallow Deer at dusk

James took this stag Fallow Deer with several hinds at Chatsworth.
Fallow Deer

Common Shrew - Tansley

Another great photo from June Oliver, this time the diminutive Common Shrew.
Common Shrew

Great Spotted Woodpecker

This male Great Spotted Woodpecker sat for several minutes sheltering under the trunk of a small birch tree during a period of heavy rain today.
Great Spotted Woodpecker

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Osprey AU1

Just got news back on the Osprey from Roy Dennis, there was some confusion over the number until Ken Smith provided this fantastic photo of it taken on its last day in the area on13th September. Ken thinks the fish is Grayling.
The bird was rung as one of a brood of three on 4th July at Conon Bridge in Ross-shire in the Scottish Highlands. Perhaps it will return one Spring, the first summer is normally spent in the winter quarters so we'll have a bit of a wait.
First Fieldfare of the autumn this evening on Bent Lane.
Osprey - juvenile

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Golden-rod Pug - caterpillar

I have only rarely taken the adult Golden-rod Pug moth but the caterpillar is quite common on the food plant according to Brian Statham who took this caterpillar on the roadside by Flash Dam above Matlock. There are a number of moth families where the moth is easier to locate as a caterpillar than as the adult moth and many of the pugs fall in to this category. It's also a good aid to identification where the adults can be difficult to distinguish.
Golden-rod Pug

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Deep-brown Dart

Simon Roddis caught this Deep-brown Dart last night in Darley Dale. Last year at the very end of September Simon, Brian Statham and I caught one just this side of Hartington. The previous record for Derbyshire was 2006 as far as I could establish so this is a rare moth in the County. With the poor weather recently and low night time temperatures Simon has been rewarded for his persistence in running the trap.

Deep-brown Dart

Whinchat - juvenile

Nice views of a young Whinchat on Beeley Triangle this morning.
Whinchat - juvenile


There are large numbers of Meadow Pipits moving south over the moor at the moment, some will be going as far as southern Spain for the winter. The increase in a potential food supply attracted this Sparrowhawk which was chasing the pipits on the moorland edge.


Saturday, 15 September 2012

Goshawk - good news?

Well, it's always good news to see a Goshawk but this bird is a juvenile which will have fledged in the past few weeks. The good news would be if it was born in the Peak District. The Goshawk has suffered from persecution in its former stronghold in the upper Derwent Valley but hopefully it is still surviving as a breeding bird elsewhere in Derbyshire.
The bird was very distant hence the poor quality of the photos, interestingly I watched it climb high, perhaps  800 feet or more and then close its wings in a stoop on passing Wood Pigeons which were crossing the tree tops. It did it twice and was unsuccessful on both attempts giving a half hearted chase of the pigeon once it was at the same level.


Common Lizard - Flash Lane

This Common or Viviparous Lizard as they are sometimes called due to the fact that the young are often born live as the egg bursts during delivery, was enjoying the early morning sunshine , it won't be long before they are hibernating for the winter.
Saw my first Pink-footed Geese of the autumn with a party of about twenty flying SW over the moor at around 9:30am. They generally leave the Southport area on the West coast at dawn and cross Beeley Moor and adjacent areas on their way to the Wash so it's typically mid-morning when they pass through.
Common Lizard

Friday, 14 September 2012

Bank Vole - Tansley

These photographs of Bank Vole were taken by June Oliver in Tansley. A widespread species but like the photo below of Wood Mouse they are not easily observed.

Bank Vole

Wood Mouse - Tansley

June Oliver sent me this photograph of the Wood Mouse, taken last week on the outskirts of Tansley. A relatively common species but not easily observed and even harder to photograph. 
Wood Mouse

Thursday, 13 September 2012


I'm really pleased with this Treecreeper, the dark background and the detail of the plumage on the back have come out really well giving the shot something of the feel of a painting.


Despite poor light this Nuthatch has come out OK.

Robin - juvenile

This young Robin has started the moult in to adult like plumage. In another month it will be pretty much indistinguishable from its parents.

Robin - juvenile

Grey Heron - lift off

Popped down to the Whitworth Park early this morning, looking for Kingfisher, there are plenty of fish in the ponds but no sign although  Grey Heron was a surprise.

Grey Heron

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Grey Dagger - caterpillar

T he adult moth which flies May to August has been in very short supply this year, but this is a nice example of the striking caterpillar taken on Flash Lane.
Grey Dagger - caterpillar

Peppered Moth - caterpillar

More from Brian Statham, the Peppered Moth which is very well camouflaged.
Peppered Moth - caterpillar

Acleris emargana

Brian Statham caught this fresh example of Acleris emargana at Clough Wood today, I catch it occasionally at home but, like most moths, not this year.
Acleris emargana

Monday, 10 September 2012


The Osprey was again by the river just N of Rowsley this evening and I managed a couple of flight shots in poor light. Walking back I managed to get reasonably close to this Dipper, which looks like it's one of this years brood and which sat for about 5 minutes. 

Hobby - Corvid encounter

Only saw one of the juvenile Hobby yesterday and it was rather distant but I liked this encounter with a Magpie and Jackdaw. The Osprey was still around on and off during the day.
Hobby - juvenile with Magpie and Jackdaw

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Hobby - adult

At least one adult Hobby still in the area and looking successful with its aerial hunting although I couldn't make out what it was catching.

Hobby -adult

Autumn butterflies

Plenty of butterflies flying in the sunshine today. One small Buddleia had at least 15 Peacock, 4 Tortoiseshell and a Red Admiral.
Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterfly

Friday, 7 September 2012

The Osprey returns

I couldn't resist having another look for the Osprey just N of Rowsley this evening. I had been stood in the same place as last night for no more than 10 minutes when I caught site of it flying in to the same try with a large trout. This time the sun wasn't a problem and I managed to get quite a bit closer. 
The photo in the tree was taken with the Canon 7D with 300mm f/2.8 II + the converter 2x III. I've been a little unhappy with the 2x converter but have now calibrated it to the lens and the autofocus appears much sharper, I was still perhaps 300 metres from the bird so I think this is quite a good result.
The blue Darvic ring looks to have AU on it so it may be possible to identify where this bird is from.


Thursday, 6 September 2012


Arriving back from a weeks holiday Ken Smith reported having seen two Osprey on the River Wye north of Rowsley. One was seen again on Tuesday but my first chance to have a look for them was not until this evening. 
As the sun was setting I found this juvenile feeding on a freshly caught fish and managed a couple of distant photographs before it flew off to roost. It has a ring on the left leg which looks like a large blue/grey Darvic type. Hopefully it will remain in the area for a while longer.

Osprey - juvenile


The Hobby has nested intermittently in the Peak District for the last decade, if not longer, but it is only in the last 3 or 4 years that breeding has become regular. 
This year the appearance of the Hobby on Beeley Moor has been very sporadic due to the wet summer and consequent low numbers of the larger diurnal moths such as the Emperor, Fox and Northern Eggar on which the Hobby so expertly feeds. 
Whilst nesting they are surprisingly elusive and there were fears that they had not bred successfully this year so it was great news to hear that Ken Smith had located a family party which included at least two fully fledged and healthy youngsters.
Hobby - juveniles

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A few caterpillars - Knot Grass

Brian Statham was up on Beeley Moor today in the good weather and collected some of the common moths of the moor in their caterpillar stage.
Knot Grass - caterpillar

Iron Prominent - caterpillar

Iron Prominent

Sallow Kitten - caterpillar

Some of the caterpillar's of the moths are very striking this is Sallow Kitten taken on Beeley.
Sallow Kitten - caterpillar


Brian Statham has raised this adult Lychnis from a caterpillar taken off the food plant, red campion, in Matlock.
The Lychnis

Heath Rustic

On the 22nd August  I had a call from Simon Roddis to say he had caught a Heath Rustic, new for him in his garden Darley Dale, I've been away since then but Simon has sent through this photo. I took one on the moor around this time last year and it is probably reasonably widespread on the moors but less so in the valleys.
Heath Rustic

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Curbar rock pool at sunset

I've been away for a week but this is a photo taken by James last night at Curbar.
Curbar rock pool

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...