Monday, 27 May 2013

Badger - Matlock

June Oliver sent me this great photo of an adult Badger taken on the outskirts of Matlock.
Badger (June Oliver)

Green Hairstreak - Via Gellia

I went to the coast yesterday and wasn't sure what to do today but after the usual early morning trip to the moor and then Rowsley I decided on the Via Gellia for butterflies and orchids. It has been very windy today and this is one area that is reasonably sheltered. 
The sunny spells brought the butterflies out and in addition to the Dingy Skipper below I had my first Green Hairstreak of the year I also saw a Brimstone. They looked like they had been on the wing for a while so were slightly battered but still great to see.

Green Hairstreak

Dingy Skipper - Via Gellia

My first Dingy Skippers of the year, rather later than usual. This is one species of butterfly that appears to be holding its own in the area at present.
Dingy Skipper

Speckled Yellow Moth - Via Gellia

A fairly common day flying moth in the limestone dales but not previously featured on the blog.
Speckled Yellow

Frog Orchid - Via Gellia

Several flowering Frog Orchids but the Fly Orchids were not quite in flower so another visit will be necessary I think.
Frog Orchid

Lily of the Valley - Via Gellia

There were large numbers of these attractive plants just coming in to flower.
Lily of the valley

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Round-leaved Sundew

I set off this morning with the intention of looking for Round-leaved Sundew, one of Britain's few carnivorous plants, particular if there was not much else happening. 
So after the usual walk up Flash Lane and a brief spell at Beeley Traingle I set off on the sundew hunt. I had tried several wet areas on the moors and had very wet feet before I finally found it.. 
The plant in the upper picture has caught a small insect on the sticky globules on its leaves.

The Sundew is described as scarce in Derbyshire which I guess it must be due to the limited availability of its wet moorland habitat.

Round-leaved sundew

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Two chats

Photographed a male Whinchat this evening and a male Stonechat last weekend. These are great looking birds from one of my favourite bird families.

Whinchat and Stonechat

Little Grebe - Cromford Canal

I popped down to Cromford Canal last night to have a look at the Little Grebes, I was hoping that they may have young by now but no sign. It was generally cloudy with occasional sun which certainly made a difference to the colours on the grebes.
Little Grebe

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Roe Deer - Beeley Triangle

This photo of a female Roe Deer was taken by Roger Carrington on Saturday 11th May, I'd been with Roger on the morning and must have missed it by a few hours. I've never seen Roe Deer in the area so it is quite scarce. 
According to the Derbyshire Mammal Group the range is expanding in to Derbyshire from the NW so we may see more of them in the future.
Roe Deer (Roger Carrington)

Monday, 20 May 2013

Autumn Green Carpet

Still not catching many moths but some interest at last with my first Spring record of Autumn Green Carpet and the Scarce Tissue below. Swallow Prominent was also new for the year.
Autumn Green Carpet

Scarce Tissue

Scarce Tissue caught last night in the garden, for the second year running after a gap of several years.
Scarce Tissue

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Fox cubs

When I saw the Fox vixen on Thursday I had thought I had glimpsed a cub. The weather was hopeless on Saturday so I went back today and. in the end, sat for 6 hours patiently waiting to see if any cubs would appear. The wait was worth it as at least 4 cubs appeared several times whilst I was watching. The light was good for a change and the photos have come out well.

Fox cubs

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Another Fox

Having said I don't see Fox that often on the moors I came across another this evening, unfortunately it had started to rain and the light was poor but it was closer than the pair seen on Saturday. They will have cubs now so that's why they are more visible at present I guess.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Early Purple Orchid

With the weather remaining poor and temperatures low there are very few insects flying and the cold wind makes looking for bird life difficult but the Spring flowers are appearing with good numbers of Cowslips and both Mountain Pansy and the first Early Purple Orchids appearing on Bonsall Moor.

Early Purple Orchid

Mountain Pansy

Mountain Pansy



Monday, 13 May 2013

Powdered Quaker

It felt slightly warmer last night so I ran the moth trap. Result, two moths this morning but one was new for the year, a Powdered Quaker the other was Common Quaker. 
Powdered Quaker is not rare but it's the least common of the regular Orthosia moths which I trap.
Powdered Quaker

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Rare plants

The Peak District National Park Authority has announced the completion of the first detailed surveys of one of the rarest plant habitats in Europe - around old lead mines.

With only 100 hectares of these old lead-mine habitats in the UK and fewer than 20 hectares in Derbyshire they are of international conservation importance.

Their metallic soils which are toxic to most plants support rare metallophyte species such as alpine penny-cress and spring sandwort both known locally as leadwort.
This habitat is present around the old Low Close Mine at Clough Wood where both species can be readily seen in flower now.
Spring Sandwort and Alpine Penny-cress


Came across a pair of Foxes sat out this morning but rather distant. The Fox is quite common in the area with the larger population in urban areas I think. There are one or two dens on the open moor but I have rarely seen them in that habitat. Usual Whinchat and Stonechat but otherwise quiet on another cool, windy and wet day.
Fox - female

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Eriocrania subpurpurella

A common micro moth of oak woodlands Eriocrania subpurpurella is a tiny moth, only around 7-8 mm in length. I've also added Common Pug and Lesser Swallow Prominent to the year list. Numbers and species variety are still well down due to the low night time temperatures. Maybe the forecast rain will help.
Eriocrania subpurpurella

Monday, 6 May 2013

Brown Hare

Spent some more time with the Hares this morning, they are very active at the moment. Otherwise saw my first Garden Warblers at Clough Wood today and first Emperor Moth on the moors.

Brown Hare


I caught the Mullein last night, I would describe it locally as scarce as I do not see it every year and never more than one or two in the early Spring. It may be more readily located by searching for the larva on its food plant wild and cultivated mulleins.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Tree Pipit studies

Last week I mentioned I had tried to get photographs of Tree Pipit in its display flight and failed due to the weather. I tried again today with more success. Tree Pipits certainly seem to be in good numbers this year in the trees adjoining the open moor.
The photograph below that shows the short curved hind claw and the two photographs below that the narrow flank streaking which, in addition to the song and habitat, help to distinguish it from the very similar Meadow Pipit.

Tree Pipit

Hobby - Beeley Moor

This is Ali Hood's photo of the Hobby seen last Thursday evening.
Hobby (Alistair Hood)

James and Ali have an article in the Spring edition of Reflections magazine which was published last week.

Saturday, 4 May 2013


I've only come across a couple of pairs of Stonechat on Beeley Moor which is disappointing. The photo was taken at 06:30 in light rain but this is the only opportunity I have had.  I think there are more Whinchat on the moor than Stonechat at the moment which is very unusual. First Grasshopper Warbler reeling this morning and the Whimbrel is still on Screetham Lane and still a couple of Cuckoo.
Stonechat - male


This looks like a second calendar year male as it still has some brown on the mantle. Strong wind was forcing it to spread its tail for balance. I had about 10 birds on the moor this morning with quite a bit of calling which is promising.

Moth update - Water Carpet

I've run the moth trap all week but despite reasonable day time temperatures the cold nights are keeping the moth numbers very low. I've added Water Carpet and Double-striped Pug to the year list but I'm well down on the variety of species I would normally have expected to catch by now and it's not been worth trapping in the local woods.
Water Carpet

Double-striped Pug

Taken at home last night, first Double-striped Pug of the year, a common moth in early Spring.
Double-striped Pug

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Short-eared Owl

I went up to the moor this evening following a call from Ken Smith telling me that there was a Short-eared Owl on Beeley Moor. I did see it but the views were distant so I'm hoping it will stay for a few days at least.
Short-eared Owl

Hobby - Beeley Moor

An adult Hobby was present most of the evening on the moor. I never saw it hunting it just sat around on the bushes or fence posts. I only managed this shot through the foliage but Ali Hood had more luck and I'll post his photo if I can get a copy off him.

Dipper stretching

This Dipper looked like it had been stood in the same spot for some time when I came across it, before it moved off it stretched each wing then did both together.


In January I spent the month trying to see as many species as possible on foot in the Foot-it Challenge. The Linnet was by far the commonest bird in the area which I failed to see. Since then I have seen them most days, currently there are about 100 on Screetham Lane with another 50 around Bent Lane and Lumb Lane. However, they are not easy to photograph so I was pleased to see this reasonably confiding bird early this morning.
Linnet - male

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