Friday, 28 February 2014

A hint of Aurora over East Moor

James called me from East Moor about 10pm last night having picked up various tweets and messages on Facebook about the Aurora Borealis visible from the northern UK. I headed up to join him and arrived about 10:30 by which time it looked like the colouration in the sky which had only been slight was diminishing. You could just discern the green colouration and some reddish streaks but nothing like what was seen off the northern isles.
East Moor - with a hint of aurora

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Water Vole - Cromford Canal

Just back today from a week in the French Alps, I'll add a few photos to my flickr account when I get chance, consequently I have no local news but James mentioned that the Water Voles had been showing well at Cromford so I headed down there this afternoon.
It has been such a mild winter that this must have favoured mammals like the Water Vole that don't hibernate. They showed well enough to get a couple of photos and I'll return in better light.

Water Vole

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Mountain Hare still in its winter coat

The weather forecast was good for today so I headed up to Snake Pass again for the Mountain Hares. The wind was very strong when I arrived and there was some low cloud but the Mountain Hares stood out, still in their winter coats. I counted over 20. There was Raven over the moor and plenty of Red Grouse but I spent most of the time stalking the hares.
It has been quiet on Beeley although Ken had a Red Kite near the village on Wednesday which is hopefully the first of several.

Mountain Hare

Goshawk - adult male

Came across this bird around 8am this morning just as the sun was rising so the bird was in shadow unfortunately. Definitely an adult and probably a male. 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

White-shouldered House-moth Endrosis sarcitrella

Taken in the house yesterday this White-shouldered House-moth takes me to 1 all in the macro v micro stakes. I have run the moth trap several times but the generally low temperatures, rain and wind is not encouraging any moths on to the wing. It was generally milder last night but wet and very windy.
Pam blames this moth, and by direct inference me, for the holes in any of her clothing but the larvae of the White-shouldered House-moth do not generally feed on textiles preferring dead animal and vegetable matter. It is common and widespread and the adults can be found in any month of the year.
There were 2 Chestnut in the trap this morning so the macro moth count increases to 2.
White-shouldered House-moth

Saturday, 8 February 2014


James took this photo of, dare I say it, a white throated Robin yesterday at Swanwick - thanks to Ian for the location. It reminded me of the leucistic Coal Tit which is still at Carsington at the Lane End feeder having been first seen in October last year according to Roger. The Coal Tit was photographed by Ken.
Plumage aberrations in birds do not generally create a lot of interest although I think a few people have been to see the Coal Tit. 
Collecting aberrations used to be all the rage for butterfly collectors and still generates quite a bit of interest amongst entomologists.
I have struggled to see anything today but 200+ Brambling on Screetham Lane is a decent flock.

Leucistic Robin (James Butler)

Leicistic Coal Tit (Ken Smith)

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Mediterranean Gulls - Ogston Reservoir

With an hour of daylight left I had a brief window of time to see something, it was raining, again, so I decided to try the Ogston Gull roost. Luckily Keith Turton was there when I arrived and found an adult Mediterranean Gull with an almost complete dark hood just as I arrived. As I attempted to photograph this bird he found another, still with the pale head of winter, then another similar bird and finally another adult with an almost complete black hood. 
Four Mediterranean Gulls on one reservoir in Derbyshire in one evening! 
The DSLR camera is not really suited for photographing birds at these distances, this is where digiscoping comes in but at least you can see what they are, and I managed photos of three out of four.

Mediterranean Gulls - adults

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Pale Brindled Beauty - first moth of the year

Finally got the 2014 moth list started with a Pale Brindled Beauty this evening. It has been reasonably warm today but with an almost clear sky the temperature has dropped quite quickly so this was slightly unexpected.
Pale Brindled Beauty

Tufted Duck x Pochard Hybrid - Chatsworth

Checking the ducks on the river at Chatsworth this morning one duck in a group of 6 Tufted looked distinctly odd. I think this is the product of a male Pochard and female Tufted Duck. These hybrids occasionally lead to claims of Lesser Scaup but there are some clear differences shown in these photos. Lesser Scaup (follow this link to photos of the bird last year at Ogston) only has the nail of the bill black and the back is more distinctly vermiculated. Also the eye looks orange rather than yellow which makes me think this is the offspring of a male Pochard.
Several Crossbill in the larches by the second weir and a pair of Gooseander were the only other birds of note.

Tufted Duck x Pochard hybrid

Fallow Deer - safety in numbers

I've noticed a couple of times recently when driving through Chatsworth that there has been a tight huddle of what I presume are last years fawns. With some sunshine today I took a few photos of the group.
Fallow Deer

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