Sunday, 29 September 2013

Goosander - Bakewell

Although Goosander are very secretive and flighty during the breeding season they can be more confiding in the winter particularly if they associate with other wildfowl at a regular feeding spot like Bakewell. This juvenile was still very wary but allowed a reasonably close approach. The lower photo shows why the merganser family are also known as 'sawbills'.
Had my first party of Pink-footed Geese yesterday but they were hidden by the mist.

Goosander - juvenile

Wigeon - Bakewell

Came across this eclipse drake Wigeon at Bakewell this morning. Although the weather has been fantastic over the weekend there has been a persistent mist on the hills until late morning so I ventured up to Bakewell. I don't know if this bird has been present for some time or not, at this time of year there is a large influx of Wigeon from the continent so it could have been a relatively recent arrival. If it stays a few more weeks it should get back in to the full male plumage.

Wigeon - eclipse drake

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Large Wainscot

Trapped Large Wainscot last night, first of the year. My first records for the garden were only 2011 when there appeared to be a significant influx in to the UK and I caught 6 but none last year so this is still a good record.
Large Wainscot

Wryneck - Eastmoor

I received exciting news from June Oliver yesterday that she had watched a Wryneck for 10 minutes yesterday morning sat on the wall bordering the field with the Water Buffalo at Upper Loads. Sadly June didn't have her camera and there was no sign of the bird this morning when Ken, Simon and I searched for it, or later this afternoon when I returned.
We did hear Snipe going over and I had a further 16 this afternoon and Ken had recorded 7 at the start of the week so we have witnessed quite an interesting movement during the past week.
The Wryneck is an extremely rare visitor to Derbyshire and the first I have heard of in the immediate area.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Fallow Deer - Chatsworth

This stag has got tangled with a sycamore whilst rubbing the velvet off his antlers. All the stags were pre-occupied with dragging their antlers through the vegetation in readiness for the autumn rut.
Fallow Deer

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Dipper - Caudwells Mill

Ken and I came across this Dipper singing by the stream below the Cafe on the Hemp Agrimony it flew up and landed on the window ledge by the Cafe briefly before flying off upstream. It is surprising how many Dipper are singing at the moment.


Southern Hawker - River Lathkill

A day of two halves, the sky started to clear early afternoon and there is now a clear blue sky. Plenty of butterfly activity and this Southern Hawker on the River Lathkill at Congrieve. 
A common dragonfly in the late summer/autumn and one which visits my garden pond but not featured on the blog before.

Southern Hawker

Marsh Harrier - Beeley Moor

A rather grey, overcast start to the day with light drizzle but brightened up considerably by the sight of a cream-crowned (female or immature) Marsh Harrier crossing the moor. Mobbed by a Carrion Crow initially and then by a Peregrine. It was very distant in the poor light so it's just about a record shot. There are only one or two records from the moor each year so it's still a very rare visitor despite the dramatic increase in the UK breeding population in recent years.
Two parties of Snipe totalling 29 birds flying NW was a local record count for me, also single Crossbill.
Marsh Harrier and Peregrine

Friday, 20 September 2013

Brown Long-eared Bat

Simon has outdone my record of Painted Lady in the moth trap having caught this Brown Long-eared Bat in his last night, clearly attracted by the moths. It's listed as the third most common bat species in Derbyshire (presumably after Common Pipistrelle and Daubenton's) with a widespread distribution.
He released it apparently no worse for the experience.
I did once have a Quail circle my moth trap several times calling, one spring evening so you never know what you might find!
Brown Long-eared Bat (Simon Roddis)

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Fallow Deer - Clough Wood

I would like to photograph the Fallow Deer in the Stanton area over the autumn/winter so have been making a few visits to locate the flock and see which areas they are using. I estimate the herd at 45 - 55 but have also seen a further smaller population north of the river Lathkill at Haddon, all are of the black form and are therefore quite distinct from those at Chatsworth. Reading Derbyshire Mammals the herd was brought to Stanton Hall from Chartley Park in Staffordshire in 1800 from where escapes have occurred since the 1920's to establish the current population.
They are not easily approached and quickly retreat in to the woods when disturbed so obtaining decent photos is not as easy as it might appear for such a large animal.
Fallow Deer

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Water Vole feeding on Bulrush

Overcast with persistent rain from the middle of the day so rather miserable and it's starting to feel very autumnal. I've still been out and about and spent some time by the river at Rowsley again where I came across this Water Vole feeding on a Bulrush spike.

Water Vole

House Martins - preparing for departure

At least 500 House Martins this morning on the wires at Warren Carr. Numbers have been generally down this year and they have been absent from some regular nesting sites so its good to see them in reasonable numbers now before they head off south.
House Martins

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Red Underwing

The moth trap produced a rather tatty Red Underwing this morning. I usually catch 3 or 4 during the autumn, it is a Poplar feeder and has probably come from the plantation at Enthovens. Also Dark Sword-grass last night which is an immigrant, common on the south coast but less so in Derbyshire.
Red Underwing

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Painted Lady - an unexpected visitor to the moth trap

It's a rare event for me to catch a butterfly in the moth trap, I can recall a couple of occasions when Red Admirals have been amongst the moth catch on a morning so I was very surprised to find this Painted Lady in the trap this morning. 
The trap was switched on after dark and off around dawn so it most have been flying during the hours of darkness. This probably isn't that surprising for such a highly migratory species. 

Numbers recorded in Derbyshire fluctuate markedly from year to year, it can be quite scare in some years and abundant in others. It is not a migrant strictly speaking as individuals which do arrive in the UK from continental Europe or even North Africa will not return southwards although some of their progeny might.

Painted Lady

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Water Vole - Rowsley

Haven't seen much today but found an obliging Water Vole by the river at Rowsley.
Water Vole

Derwent Valley from Salters Lane

This is my favourite local view and, with mist in the valley this morning but with a blue sky above, providing an opportunity for some scenic photos.
Derwent Valley from Salters Lane

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Clouded Yellow - Clough Wood

The day started overcast with light rain but brightened up late morning. I had Kingfisher and Water Vole early on and then my first sighting of juvenile Hobby this year with two birds chasing an adult, no photos but hopefully they will be around for a few weeks yet.
A trip to Clough Wood was good for butterflies with plenty of Small Copper, several Wall and this fine Clouded Yellow. The latter is generally a rarity in Derbyshire with no records some years but there can be reasonable numbers when there is a strong immigration in to the UK.
Clouded Yellow

Wall - Clough Wood

I counted 7 Wall butterfly in the area below the mine shaft at Clough Wood today, all fairly worn. They spend a lot of time flying through the grasses so take quite a beating unless you can find a fresh specimen. The Wall populations fluctuate significantly from year to year but generally the species has declined significantly so its good to see a reasonable local population.
They are very difficult to see when sat with wings folded.


Small Copper - Clough Wood

At least 20 Small Copper counted in the Clough Wood area this afternoon.
Small Copper

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Hobby - Rowsley

Hobby are very elusive during most of the breeding season and are most often seen taken moths over the moors on warm summer evenings. Two adults flew quickly over me this morning chasing Swallows and House Martins.

Hobby - adult

Goosander juveniles - Rowsley

Two juvenile Goosander on the river at Rowsley this morning. These are the only youngsters I have seen this year and my first Goosander sighting for a couple of months.
Goosander- juvenile

Hedgehog - Tansley

June Oliver sent me this photo of a Hedgehog taken with her iPhone, it's amazing the quality of image you can get with the various hand held devices.
Not sure on the status of the Hedgehog locally, I very rarely see them and they do not appear to be a common road casualty. They do appear to be restricted to the river valleys rather than the moors. Uncommon is the best I can come up with but whether it is increasing or declining as a species locally I couldn't say. 
According to the Mammals of Derbyshire, published last year by the Derbyshire Mammal Group/ Sorby Natural History Society, it is probably declining.which follows a national trend.
Hedgehog (June Oliver)

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