Sunday, 30 June 2013

Dark-green Fritillary - Longstone Edge

There were some sunny spells when I left home early this morning so I thought there may be a chance of some butterflies on the wing but the spells of sunshine were very intermittent when I arrived at Longstone Edge. Distant views of a Red Kite were some compensation as it drifted towards Monsal Head. I had a single Dark-green Fritillary but it stayed in the long grass making a decent shot impossible - looked fresh though.
Dark-green Fritillary

Common Blue Butterfly - Longstone Edge

Several Common Blue flying this morning during the odd spells of sunshine.

Common Blue Butterfly

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Jacob's Ladder - Lathkill Dale

Voted Derbyshire's 'County Plant' in a nationwide poll by PlantLife in 2004 Jacob's Ladder is restricted in the UK to just 15 10Km squares which are largely divided between the Derbyshire Peak District and North Yorkshire. There is a fine display of this elegant plant in Lathkill Dale at the moment.

Jacob's Ladder

Broad-bodied Chaser - Lathkill Dale

Three males and a female on the small dew pond, this male attracted the attention of a Large Red Damselfly.
Broad-bodied Chaser

Azure Damselfly - Lathkill Dale

Arrived at the small dew pond at the Monyash entrance in heavy cloud but as the sky cleared a myriad of damselflies appeared. Including both Azure and Large Red.
Azure Damselfly

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Almost certainly - Uncertain

The past few years I have largely stopped trying to separate the very similar moths The Rustic and The Uncertain and report them aggregated. However, every so often if I catch one that show all the features of one or other I am inclined to put a name to it. This individual with the very distinct dark contrasting stigma and rather warm yellowish tones looks like The Uncertain.
The Uncertain

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Peregrine Falcon - Belper

James went down to Belper this afternoon for the Peregrines. Three juveniles have successfully fledged and there is one bird still in the nest. It looks like this is keeping the adults busy providing food. Great action shots taken with his Canon 7D and 100-400mm.

Peregrine - female with prey

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Bird's-nest Orchid - Shacklow Wood

I went out as usual shortly after first light and returned a couple of hours later, thoroughly wet. Updated my moth records for the year; 91 species for the garden, looking at Simon's twitter feed it looks like he has recorded well over 100 species My shortfall is down to effort I think as Simon only lives about a mile away.
Thinking about what to do for the rest of the day birds, butterflies and dragonflies were out due to the weather. I had noted that Bird's-nest Orchid occurred locally so checking the Derbyshire Flora Website it gave Shacklow Wood just north of Ashford-in-the-Water as a location. I've just bought the Canon 5D III so this would be an ideal opportunity to test its performance in low light, if I could find the orchids.
When I arrived there were a couple of PlantLife volunteers who kindly directed me to a location for Toothwort, a rare and strange saprophytic plant very similar in habitat requirements to the orchid so it perhaps wasn't too surprising that the orchid was also present at the same location when I got there - and a new species for me. 
The Plantlife 'Discover Deep Dale Nature Reserve' gives directions to both the orchid and Toothwort although it looks like the Toothwort is just about finished flowering now.

Bird's-nest Orchid

Toothwort - Shacklow Wood

Most of the flower spikes had gone over but their were odd ones still on display with the dead flowers in the foreground.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Heath Spotted Orchid - Wraggs Quarry

As mentioned below I thought the 'spotted orchids' in Wraggs Quarry were Heath Spotted but I popped over to Bonall Moor to make sure and photographed the Common Spotted there. The difference is very obvious with the lower petal on the flower of the Common Spotted divided into three distinct lobes whereas the petal is undivided in Heath Spotted.
Bird wise quiet today, the weather didn't help with it more like April than June with regular heavy rain showers. Roger had a Red Kite over Beeley Moor, there have been quite a number of sightings in recent weeks, particularly in the Bonsall direction.
Heath spotted Orchid

Common Spotted Orchid - Bonsall Moor

Common Spotted Orchid

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Northern Marsh Orchid - Wraggs Quarry

A couple of years ago Ken noted a single Northern Marsh Orchid, the first we had seen in Wraggs Quarry and it appeared again last year. This year there must be over fifty orchids just starting to bloom. They are intermingled with an orchid that looks like Heath Spotted Orchid. I'll have another look when the flowers have fully opened.
Northern Marsh Orchid

Narrow-winged Pug

The warmer weather, especially the nights has made a big difference to my moth catches at home, I'm behind with the list but will update it at the weekend. This evening there were good numbers of Narrow-winged Pugs flying over the moor.
Narrow-winged Pug

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Common Sandpiper - Chatsworth

The Common Sandpiper at Chatsworth is at the extreme south-east of its main breeding range in England which is predominantly on the upland rivers and reservoirs of the Derbyshire High Peak extending north up the Pennines to the hills of Cumbria and Northumberland.
Arriving in mid-April the adults have usually departed for wintering quarters in north and west Africa by mid-July. 
I have occasionally seen birds on the river at Rowsley down to Darley Dale but I think Chatsworth is the only regular breeding location. At least one of the pair was colour ringed which I think is as a result of a study by the Sorby Breck Ringing Group, I'll see if I can get further information.

Common Sandpiper

Saturday, 15 June 2013


No sign of the Osprey today but I came across my first leveret of the year, also Wheatear on Beeley Moor which is my first for a while.
Brown Hare - leveret

Friday, 14 June 2013

Another record of Osprey at Rowsley

Ken confirms his position not only as the top Osprey finder but also photographer having located and phtoographed another bird at Rowsley today. I also had a call from Simon Roddis to say he had seen an Osprey over Darley Dale this morning which one assumes is likely to be the same bird.
This bird looks like an adult based on the absence of barring in the greater underwing coverts and pure white underwing coverts, juveniles won't be flying until early July in any case.
Osprey (Ken Smith)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Slow Worm - Clough Wood

I always think that the name slow worm is a liitle disparaging for this fine member of the lizard familly. James and I had gone across to Clough Wood for an article he is planning on wildlife assocoated with former mineral workings. We were lucky enough to find this Slow Worm in the grass and amongst the Spring Sandwort.

Slow Worm

Large Red Damselfly & the art of photography

This is another of James' photos demonstrating that you don't have to travel far to get striking shots, this is taken in our garden. There is another point here that I spend about 90% of my time in the field trying to get the photos and only about 10% processing the pictures whereas James spends perhaps 30-40% of his time on the computer optimising the images. The answer for me might be to spend 100% of the time in the field and get James to process the results!

Ali Hood has left Darley Dale for a new job in Reading so he's no longer partnering James with his camera. James has a new website where you can see more of his work.
Large Red Damselfly

Camouflage in action

Ken found these fledgling Treecreepers at Rowsley - this is James' photo. There are 6 youngsters.
Treecreeper fledglings

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Fly Orchid - Via Gellia

I'd mentioned at my last visit to the Via Gellia that the Fly Orchids were not quite in flower so I made a return visit today and wasn't disappointed. How a flower evolves to look like this I don't know, when fresh it looks like someone has pinned an alien spacemen on to the flower stem, or perhaps a fly! Fantastic plants.

Fly Orchid

Frog Orchid - Via Gellia

Went back today for the Fly Orchid but couldn't resist one more Frog.
Frog Orchid

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Orange Footman

Simon Roddis caught this Orange Footman in his garden in Darley Dale last Wednesday 5th June. The Orange Footman was new to Derbyshire in 2004 and appears to be spreading northwards. 
This is almost certainly the first record this far north in the County.
Orange Footman (Simon Roddis)


Spent most of the morning with Roger Carrington and Ken Smith, initially on Beeley Moor then down to Rowsley. At least three Cuckoo seen or calling, Stonechat feeding fledged young, Spotted Flycatcher at Rowsley. Roger had heard Nightjar last night on the edge of the moor so that is something to look for and Ken mentioned a barn on Bonsall Moor with a Redstart nest so I gave that a try in the afternoon with some success.
Moths were a little better last night, in part no doubt because I was up at 4am to check the trap before the Blue Tits; Freyer's PugPebble Prominent and Shuttle-shaped Dart were new for the year.
I haven't yet identified the caterpillars that the Redstarts were taking to their young but they seemed to be plentiful.


Friday, 7 June 2013

Curlew chick

Not showing much resemblance to the adult yet, certainly a long way to go on the bill length! Plenty of Fox Moths over the moor this evening and at least one Hobby taking advantage.
Curlew chick

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Burnt-tip Orchid - Longcliffe

Regular followers of this blog will have noted that many of the sightings and photos featured are the result of the efforts of other wildlife enthusiasts and hopefully I have credited and thanked them in the relevant posts. 
Last night I had a call from fellow Darley Dale resident Alan Stewardson to let me know that he had seen Burnt-tip Orchid near Longcliffe over the weekend. 
Having never seen the Burnt-tip Orchid in Derbyshire, this is the only area where it is known to occur in the County, I was keen to see it. I counted about 20 flowers, Alan had seen about 40, but I didn't do a thorough search. The plants are less than10 cm tall and are easily overlooked.

Burnt-tip Orchid

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Badger cub

Thanks to June Oliver, James and I had the chance to visit the sett where she had photographed the adult below. There were two cubs in long grass, so it was very difficult to get them with their heads up and no grass in the way, but at least one shot came out OK. 
They are amazing animals and seemed quite unconcerned with our presence near by. 
Sad to think so many adults will be killed and cubs left abandoned with the cull in Somerset and Gloucestershire.
Badger cub

Monday, 3 June 2013

Lesser Treble-bar - Matlock

Brian Statham left me a message earlier this evening to say he thought he had seen one of the Treble-bar's on rough ground opposite Sainsbury's, he was heading up to search. I didn't get home until later by which time he was ringing to say he had counted 15 of what he was fairly sure were Lesser Treble-bar
It was getting late when I arrived but I saw at least 5. The two species are difficult to tell apart, the tip of the abdomen is blunt in Lesser Treble-bar and pointed in Treble-bar, the angle of the basal cross-band is slightly acute but this is variable. 
I have previously taken the moth at home as has Simon Roddis also in Darley Dale 
Lesser Treble-bar
Lesser Treble-bar - underside of male abdomen

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Moth update - Diamondback Moth

I've been running the moth trap most evenings for the past couple of weeks but despite warmer day time temperatures it has still been cool over night. Both numbers and variety have remained very low but I did catch this Diamondback Moth last night. It's a fairly common species, particularly in the autumn when numbers are augmented by continental arrivals.
Other moths added to the year list are Garden Carpet, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Peppered Moth, Bright-line Brown-eye, Brimstone, Heart and Dart, Grey Birch, Seraphim and Current Pug. So far this year is proving to be even worse than last.
Diamondback Moth

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Osprey at Rowsley

A call from Ken Smith yesterday alerted me to another Osprey on the River Wye just north of Rowsley. James and Pam got distant views in the afternoon but I couldn't see it as I passed coming home from work although the local fishermen told me in great detail how it had taken a Rainbow Trout right in front of them minutes earlier. I went back later in the evening but still no luck. 
This morning I was out early and found it sat in the dead tree closest to the road where it sat quite happily, occasionally glaring at a passing cyclist. This is presumably a non-breeding bird now, or failed breeder so it may hang around.


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