Monday, 27 January 2014

More rain and a weekend away

With the continuing miserable weather I decided to join two friends, Richard Hart and Angus Molyneaux, on a trip to Holland at the weekend. Our target was a Hawk Owl at Zwolle which has been present since early December. There was also a chance of Pygmy Owl and Caspian Plover but it looks like the latter may have lost a chase with a Merlin yesterday morning, just before we arrived and there was no sign of the Pygmy Owl, but the Hawk Owl certainly made up for it along with plenty of geese.
There are some photos of the owl on my flickr site.
Back at home I went down to Lumsdale to photograph the waterfall this morning which has certainly benefited from the rain. The Great Grey Shrike was present over the weekend but not much else I understand.
Lumsdale waterfall

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Darley Dale - temperature inversion

Despite there being blue skies less than 100m above the valley Darley Dale was shrouded in mist all day yesterday, due to a temperature inversion. James took this photograph looking across the valley towards Clough Wood in the afternoon, with the warm steam plume from the Enthoven factory rising above the mist.
Darley Dale - temperature inversion

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Hawfinch - Willersley Castle, Cromford

Better luck this morning, 6 Hawfinch dropped in to the Yew trees by the entrance to Willersley Castle early this morning, they left after a few minutes and flew in to a tree by the river where they were joined by several more. They left the tree in two groups, a party of nine followed by a further seven making sixteen in all.
The light was terrible early on, these photos are taken at ISO3200, which a few years back would have been impossible.
For the rest of the morning I saw them in smaller groups high up on the tree line near the Castle Hotel entrance.
It will be interesting to see what Roy Frost has to say about the changing status of the Hawfinch in the imminent publication of the 'Birds of Derbyshire'. They have certainly all but gone from Darley Dale where I used to see them regularly until about 3 years ago.

Hawfinch - male top and two female

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Tufted Duck with nasal tag

Whilst at Carsington looking for the Scaup (below) I came across this female Tufted Duck with a bright blue nasal tag. Mentioning this to Roger he advised that Tufted Duck AAS has been seen on and off each winter since 2009 and was tagged near Nantes in France in 2007. Can't say I find the idea of the nasal tag too appealing bit this individual has worn the tag for over 6 years so it doesn't appear to have caused it any problems.
Tufted Duck - female with nasal tag

Scaup - Carsington Water

The usual trip round the moor this morning was very dismal and no birds. Roger mentioned that the Scaup, which have been present at Carsington since early December, had been showing well at the Millfields end yesterday so that looked like a better bet than persisting on Beeley.
There was no sign when I first arrived but 40 Pink-footed Geese heading SW in the mist and rain was a bonus. Eventually two males flew in and I then picked up another male by which time the two males had been joined by two females so 5 birds in all. 

The males are all first winters and probably look much more male like than when they first arrived. The females were both rather brown and so probably first winters also although I did not see them that close.
Scaup - first winter males

Scaup - a third first winter male

Scaup - two females with the males

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Cromford - Jackdaw post roost dispersal

A cold start to the day with one of the few heavy frosts of the winter so far. The temperature was -3 as I set off this morning back to Cromford. Another 3 hours looking for Hawfinch but again no luck. A couple of Dipper on the river with the male in full song and a colourful sunrise but the weather deteriorated from late morning onwards.
Cromford Meadows

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Nuthatch - Bent Lane

I had high expectations for today as it was a reasonable weather forecast but the day was rather disappointing. 
I had my first Stonechat of the year on Beeley which is not easy at the moment but it was distant. The weather deteriorated and apart from a couple of Raven the moor was very quiet.
Headed off to Cromford Meadows with Ken and Mel on reports of twenty Hawfinch yesterday. Five were seen early morning but there was no sign whilst we were there so another attempt tomorrow may be in order.
The sun was shining by late morning and I found an obliging Nuthatch on Bent Lane in the afternoon. Roll on Spring!
James and I went to Donna Nook last Sunday and took some reasonable Grey Seal photos and also called in to see the Black-throated Diver in Cleethorpes there are a few photos on his website and my Flickr site.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Great Grey Shrike - Wragg's Quarry

This is my first sighting of the Great Grey Shrike since 23rd November when it was on Flash Lane, nice to see it in 2014. There have been several sightings in the weeks since then but it is certainly spending much less time around the quarry than when it first arrived. With the recent weather it perhaps not too surprising as it is very exposed on the moors.
More good news with a couple more sightings of the male Hen Harrier today again around Flash Lane but they cover a lot of ground when they are hunting so it's very unpredictable, but it's good to hear it's still in the area. 
Great Grey Shrike

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Moth Records 2013

The weather has been so bad today I've spent most of it writing up my 2013 moth records.

I caught a total of 236 species of macro moths locally (222 in the garden), 18 species of micro moths and a total catch of 3678 individual moths over 146 trapping days.

Species totals are slightly up on last year but well short of my totals for 2011 when I put a lot of effort in on moth trapping.

Now looking forward to 2014!

First photo of the New Year - Tawny Owl

As you will know if you live locally the weather is terrible today with heavy rain from almost the start of the day. I say almost because I went back to the Tawny Owl I had seen yesterday at Stanton and it wasn't raining then, but it was quite dark. Anyway first bird and first owl of the year.
Tawny Owl

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