Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Whimbrel - Screetham Lane

Ken Smith found a Whimbrel on Screetham Lane this afternoon. It appeared quite happy feeding in the short grass but unfortunately the local Lapwings were less impressed by its celebrity status and weren't prepared to allow it to stray too close to their territory. It will be interesting to see if it is still there tomorrow.Also plenty of Linnet in the area and a couple of Wheatear.


Monday, 29 April 2013

More Swallows

The Swallows were showing so well at Chatsworth that I went back this afternoon. It made such a difference to the blue on the back when the sun occasionally came out.



Despite the poor weather I managed my first Cuckoos this morning with birds on Beeley and at Chatsworth, also Pied Flycatcher by the river and good numbers of Swallows.

Tree Pipit

Plenty of Tree Pipits around now, they favour woodland edges particularly where the pine trees have been removed. I was hoping for display shots in flight but the weather was terrible this morning so just a record shot.
Tree Pipit

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Whinchat - Big Moor

Did quite a long walk this morning from Curber Gap over Froggatt Edge and back via White Edge with my brother Mick and his wife Christine who are over from their home in the French Alps for a few days plus Martin and Hazel Falconer and a few other friends. It was very windy so birds were in short supply but we did manage this nice male Whinchat. I understand there have been up to 4 around Barbrook.
Whinchat - male

Brown Hare - relaxing

Nice to encounter a Brown Hare today that wasn't immediately running away at high speed.

Brown Hare

Saturday, 27 April 2013


The first Bluebells are just starting to flower in Clough Wood.

Goldfinch nest building

Cold on the moor this morning, with snow visible on the higher ground to the North. First Redstart and a nice male Whinchat also female Ring Ousel. Several degrees warmer at Rowsley where these Goldfinch were busy nest building.


Thursday, 25 April 2013

Early Thorn

A few new moths for the year in the last couple of days with The Streamer, Early Thorn and the plume moth Emmelina monodactyla.
Early Thorn


Taken last night, The Streamer, a regular early Spring visitor.
The Streamer

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Mottled Grey

A small moth landed by my foot as I crossed the moor this morning, it turned out to be quite a nice specimen of the Mottled Grey. It was very small and I presume it is a female. A fairly regular visitor to my garden trap in the early Spring but only in small numbers and I suspect I only catch males which is interesting. It feeds on Lady's and Heath Bedstraw.
Mottled Grey

Common Toad - Clough Wood

There is a lot of activity with the Common Toads at the moment, all suitable ponds, including my small garden pond have them at the moment. Sadly there are also a lot of road casualties.

Common Toad

Saturday, 20 April 2013

First Pied Flycatcher

Saw my first Pied Flycatchers for the year in Clough Wood today, all males but Ken had recorded a female yesterday at Rowsley see Ken's amazing flight shot below.

Pied Flycatcher - male
Pied Flycatcher - Female (Ken Smith)

Wheatear portrait

Same Wheatear with a choice of backgrounds, I think I prefer the dark. Had at least 8 Wheatear on the moor today plus my first Tree Pipit, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler.


Thursday, 18 April 2013

Early-tooth Striped

Last night was hopeless for moth trapping due to the very high winds but Tuesday night was quite good adding Early-tooth Striped and  two micro moths Amblyptilia acathadactyla and Caloptilia betulicola (below) to the year list.
Early-tooth Striped

Caloptilia betulicola

At less than 10mm in length the trick here is to first find the moth, then catch it, photograph it and finally identify it. Each stage has it's own challenges but Caloptilia betulicola is a relatively common micro moth in the area.
Caloptilia betulicola

Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla

The commonest of the early Spring 'plume' moths Amblyptilia acanthadactyla or Beautiful Plume is a regular visitor to the garden in most months of the year.
Amblyptilia acanthadactyla

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Oak Beauty

The aptly named Oak Beauty is one of the largest and most attractive of the early Spring moths. Also several Common Quaker, Clouded Drab, Twin-spotted Quaker and Hebrew Character with singles of Satellite, Small Quaker, Chestnut and the Brindled Pug below so a bumper catch by recent standards.
Oak beauty - male

Brindled Pug

First Brindled Pug of the year.
Brindled Pug

Monday, 15 April 2013

Agonopterix scopariella

Moths that have over wintered like this one tend to be fairly worn but this one with double black dots and two white spots on the forewing I have identified as Agonopterix scopariella.  You would need a genetailia examination to be certain but I'm happy to be almost certain and let them go.
Agonopterix scopariella

Small Quaker

First Small Quaker of the year last night.
Small Quaker

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Moth update - not so Early Grey

Warmer temperatures over the last couple of days have helped the moths, the minimum temperature last night was 10 Centigrade. Unfortunately the strong winds have not helped.
The new moths for the year are Clouded Drab, Twin-spotted Quaker and Early Grey, all about a month later than normal.
I've also got the Micro moth list moving with Agonopterix heracliana on Friday night and Acleris hyemana last night, both have featured several times on the blog previously.

Went down to Darley Bridge for the Lamprey again, at least 20 but possibly 30 today, see the updated photos below.
Early Grey

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Brook Lamprey - nest and eggs - updated images

Popped down to see the Brook Lamprey again this afternoon, by the bridge at Darley Bridge. There were still up to 6 there moving stones around the nest,  but now there appear to be many round white eggs in the nest as well.

Brook Lamprey with eggs

First Wheatear and another Osprey

Popped down to Darley Bridge last night and saw the Brook Lamprey, I counted at least 10. Apparently they are involved in communal nest building, you can see them picking up stone to move around, which is a prelude to spawning. It was around 7pm when I got there so the light was rather poor.
I'm not sure of their status in Derbyshire but I think they are fairly scarce.

This morning I caught up with Wheatear on Beeley Triangle, then several Sand Martin, House Martin and Swallow around Rowsley. At around 10:30 Ken Smith and I had another Osprey circle over Haddon Hall before drifting off to the North.
Mick Taylor had a Red Kite fly down Bent Lane from the Wraggs Quarry area early afternoon but if it flew over my house I missed it I'm afraid.

Wheatear - male

Friday, 12 April 2013

Brook Lamprey

Ken sent me these pictures taken today at Darley Bridge of Brook Lamprey. From Ken's description it sounded like they were involved in some sort of display/spawning. This is not a species with which I'm familiar at all but I'll take a look tomorrow. 
Ken also reports Sand Martin and Swallow around Rowsley today and he recorded the first Wheatear last Sunday.
Brook Lamprey (Ken Smith)

Thursday, 11 April 2013

A hand full of moths

It was slightly warmer last night so I ran the moth trap and after several weeks of nothing finally caught a few moths.
Yellow Horned and Common Quaker (3) were new for the year and I also caught Hebrew Character (2), Satellite (2) and a Chestnut. The Yellow Horned was a nice record as I failed to catch it at all last year and they only fly to the middle of April.
Yellow Horned

Saturday, 6 April 2013

First migrants and sunbathing Wren

Once the sun had risen in the sky, and out of the NE wind it felt surprisingly Spring like. I have finally recorded my first Spring migrants the first of which was unexpectedly a male Ring Ousel flying from Flash Lane over Beeley Moor towards Harland Edge. More predictably this was followed by Chiffchaff at Rowsley. 
Roger Carrington had seen the Great Grey Shrike and Ken Smith a Crossbill, I'd also had Barn Owl in the early hours so between us some fine birds. 
Early afternoon brought news that Mick Taylor had seen an Osprey at Rowsley, possibly the bird Ken had seen on Thursday but I think may be another bird heading North.

This Wren sat for several minutes with it's eyes closed enjoying the sunshine.

Hare with icy whiskers

It was certainly cold when I left the house at 6:30am, it read -3 on the thermometer and from the look of it this Hare was finding it cold as well!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Another Osprey at Rowsley

Ken Smith found another Osprey this afternoon, initially hunting over the short stretch of canal that feeds Caudwells Mill at Rowsley before moving on to the river and then landing in the trees behind Haddon Hall. 

You can see on the photo of the underside that this birds has a large Darvic type ring but it's not the juvenile that Ken photographed last autumn as the ring is much darker. There was no sign of it this evening but it could still be in the area. 
Great photos from Ken again and as Ken noted, it looks like it gave the local Jackdaws a bit of a scare.

Osprey (Ken Smith)

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