Thursday, 25 October 2012

December Moth - first of the year

Caught my first December Moth of the autumn last night, a male. The warmer nights have produced a few more moths with up to a dozen November Moths, several Feathered Thorn, Juniper Carpet and more Angle Shades than last year but only one Blair's Shoulder Knot.
December Moth - male


A couple of photos of Wren from last weekend.


Monday, 22 October 2012

Great Grey Shrike with mist removed

The wonders of modern digital photography. This is the same photo of the Great Grey Shrike taken in the mist yesterday with the mist removed using Adobe Photoshop. It's not as good as photographing the bird in sunshine and  rather grainy, but better than it was.
Great Grey Shrike with mist removed

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Return of the Shrike

As I emerged from the mist that enveloped the valley this morning almost the first bird I saw was the Great Grey Shrike sat atop one of the bushes on Bent. I managed to get a few distant photos before the mist enveloped the area. 
Hopefully it will remain in the area as it did last winter.

Great Grey Shrike

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Hen Harrier - male tail end

Generally a quiet day, the summer migrants have all gone and the winter visitors are just starting to arrive. the day was brightened considerably however by an adult male Hen Harrier on East Moor. It appeared from behind me and before I could get the camera it was already travelling away so the photos are not the most exciting.
The Hen Harrier has declined dramatically as an English breeding bird with currently less than 20 pairs giving it the unwelcome distinction of being are rarest breeding bird of prey. 

Hen Harrier - male

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


Despite the fact that Jays are quite common in the local deciduous woodland they are not at all confiding and are always one of the first birds to fly off as you walk through the woods but I finally caught up with one bird.


Monday, 15 October 2012

Weekend highlights

The sunshine yesterday morning made a big difference to the photos, another Great-spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch below.
Great-spotted Woodpecker



Sunday, 14 October 2012

Brambling - male

Ali Hood photographed this fine male Brambling on Bent Lane this morning,. although there have been two or three fly over records this is the first of the autumn on Bent lane, hopefully the first of many.
Brambling - male

Pink-feet under a blue sky

Great to start the day with a clear blue sky, at least it was once you were out of the valley. This group of Pink-footed Geese were part of a skein of about 80 which flew straight down the valley this morning.
Pink-footed Geese

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Sparrowhawk - male

This male Sparrowhawk landed right in front of me this afternoon and I just had time to get a photograph before he flew off, unfortunately it's not quite sharp which is rather frustrating as this doesn't happen too often.
June Oliver sent me the photo below of a male Sparrowhawk on her patio, they often park up like this after a failed strike at the bird table!

Sparrowhawk - male

Sparrowhawk - male

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Where are our Red Grouse?

Last autumn it was estimated that there were about 30 breeding pairs of Red Grouse on Beeley and East Moors. The grouse showed well with the usual bouts of early morning calling and lekking through to May but since the end of May I have only seen one party of 5 birds in August which were on East Moor. I've discussed this several times with Ken Smith, who has many more hours around the moors than I have but he has only come across 2 or 3 birds on three occasions over the same period plus an odd call or two.
If 30 pairs had been moderately successful they could have raised 120 young increasing the autumn population to around 200.
Populations of Red Grouse are known to fluctuate on about a 6 yearly cycle and so it may just be that we are at the bottom of the cycle but what has happened to the adults?
James was on Bamford Edge a couple of days ago, which is only about 10 miles to the NW, as the grouse flies. He estimated that he saw well over 40 birds in a couple of hours so clearly that population is doing better than ours. He took this photo of a fine male.
Red Grouse - male

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Coal Tit

Another photo from the weekend. Coal Tits are easily the commonest birds at the feeder and the most active flying in and out usually without landing on anything but the feeder and therefore making photography a challenge.
Coal Tit

Monday, 8 October 2012

Highlights from the weekend

Nothing special this weekend, a single party of about 150 Pink-footed Geese heading north on Sunday morning, so not sure where they were going. Most of the Meadow Pipits appear to have moved off south so just photos of some of the commoner birds.
The only other point of note was the number of Jays moving around now, I saw several flying fairly high well away from wooded areas, they are still very shy in the woods though so no photos yet.
Great Spotted Woodpecker

Robin wing flick

Pressed the shutter at just the right time to capture this Robin with its wings spread.

Blue Tit

A regular at all garden feeders, great to see up close.

Blue Tit


James spotted this Siskin bathing in our small garden pond and quickly grabbed my camera and got this shot. 
Siskin - male

Friday, 5 October 2012

Chaffinch - male

I've had a tendency to ignore some of the common birds we have locally but when you look closely at birds like this male Chaffinch, which has completed the partial autumn moult in to a more subdued and delicate winter plumage, they are quite striking.
Chaffinch - male

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