Sunday, 30 March 2014

Common Newt emerging from hibernation

My daughter, Becky, found this Common Newt in the garden, heading towards our pond last night. I think the single dark line down the centre of the back indicates that this is a male.
Common Newt

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Another migrant returns - Brook Lamprey

This morning got off to a another cold and misty start but I added the Beautiful Plume moth (Amblyptilia acanthadactyla) to the year list from the garden trap. 
Driving round to Beeley Triangle I was surprised by a party of Whooper Swans crossing low over Screetham Lane towards Flash Lane but soon lost them in the mist. I think they were seen earlier over Ogston where they counted the group as 27 birds.
Last year during April Ken Smith located a small group of Brook Lamprey at Darley Bridge. They remained for most of the month constructing a communal nest and eventually numbered over 30 individuals. We had high hopes that this would be a regular Spring occurrence and today I hope that has proved to be the case with two Brook Lamprey busy in nest construction again at Darley Bridge. 
The water is not quite clear and is still fairly deep so photo opportunities will hopefully improve.
Brook Lamprey

Orange Underwing moth - Stanton Moor

When the sun came out early afternoon I headed up to Stanton Moor to search for the Orange Underwing moth. This is one of a relatively small number of day flying moths, and spends most of the day either flying around or in the tops of birch trees. In all I saw over 20 but it was difficult to get close for a photo.

Orange Underwing

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Golden Plover - East Moor

Each year we get a pre-breeding flock of Golden Plover on the fields bordering East Moor, one or two pairs will hopefully stay and breed. Recently we have only seen small groups overflying Beeley Moor but had distant views of a larger flock yesterday. I've checked the regular fields but without locating them but this evening had a flock of at least 185 birds flying around Upperloads so they are perhaps using different fields at present. 
Some of these birds have the black belly of summer plumage whilst others are still in winter plumage.
Golden Plover

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Hen Harrier - Flash Lane

A male Hen Harrier give good but brief views to Ken, Roger and I as we walked down Flash Lane at about 08:30 this morning. It was 28th December when we last saw an adult male also on Flash Lane, this could be the same bird but where it has been for the last 2 1/2 months is anyone's guess. 
Hen Harrier - male

Spring arrivals

It didn't feel much like Spring as I scraped the ice of the car windscreen at 6am but following a call from Roger I was soon watching two fine male Wheatear on Beeley Moor. It was still cold on the moor but warmer in the shelter of the valley at Rowsley where 3 Sand Martin confirmed that Spring is on its way.
Wheatear - male

Friday, 21 March 2014

Moth update

Early Thorn and Small Quaker caught in the last couple of days, both fairly typical dates.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Mottled Grey

The text books indicate that the Mottled Grey is straight forward to identify but I generally have to take a fairly close look to separate it from the Early Tooth-striped, which is the only likely confusion species with a similar flight period. 
Mottled Grey tends to turn up a week or two before the Early Tooth-striped and males, as in the photo below, have feathered antenna whereas both male and female Early Tooth-striped have simple thread like antenna. There is a photo of both species together here
I would describe the Mottled Grey as scarce in the Peak District but it is probably under recorded due to the early flight period. This one was caught last night along with the first Brindled Pug of the year and I have added several Twin-spotted Quaker.
Mottled Grey

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Water Vole mating

Ken sent me a couple of photographs taken on Friday of a pair of Water Vole mating - not something I have ever witnessed. Ken did well to get the photos. I have never knowingly seen any youngsters either, for that matter, so it will be interesting to see what happens as the Spring progresses.

Water Vole mating (Ken Smith)

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Water Vole's becoming more active

As the weather has improved the Water Vole's are becoming more active. I was pleased with the one swimming as they tend to be either parallel to you or swimming away so it was nice to catch one coming in my direction.

Water Vole

Dipper nest building

It was a cold and overcast start to the day but it brightened up late morning and the wildlife appeared to get more active with the sunshine. No migrants but nice views of Grey Wagtail and a pair of nest building Dipper.

Common Frog - a striking individual

I was with Ken this morning when we came across this Common Frog, neither of us could recall having previously seen one as strikingly coloured as this individual 
Common Frog

Pine Beauty

Added both Pine Beauty and Early Grey moths to the year list last night with my first double digit count of Common Quaker with 10 despite the strong wind. Pine Beauty has got scarcer in the last few years and I did not catch it at all last year so was pleased to get it last night.
Pine Beauty

Friday, 14 March 2014

First Wheatear

Ken found the first Wheatear of the Spring today by Beeley Triangle. I went up late this afternoon, by which time it was very overcast and windy and couldn't find it but have high hopes for tomorrow although the weather appears to be deteriorating.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Twenty-plume Moth Alucita hexadactyla

A common but quite unusual micro moth the Twenty-plume Moth. The fore and hind wings each comprise six 'plumes' which are almost feather like in structure. 
The clear nights are keeping the temperature down but I have also added another common micro moth to the year list Agonopterix heracliana.
Twenty-plume Moth

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Moth update

Added a few more moths to the year list; Engrailed and Dotted Border on Monday night and an Oak Beauty last night. There are quite a few photos of these already on the blog so haven't posted any more.

Sunday, 9 March 2014


I have never seen or heard of any confirmed reports of Adder been seen on either Beeley or East Moor, in recent years at least. There is a good population on Big Moor however and sunny mornings in February and March are the ideal time to see them as they warm up in the sun after the winter hibernation.
Roger has reported both Small Tortoise Shell and Brimstone in his garden so it looks like Spring is with us at last, at least for a few days.
My first Chiffchaff this afternoon, singing at Peak Village, Rowsley.


Friday, 7 March 2014

Yellow Horned

Added Yellow Horned and Clouded Drab to the year list last night.
The Yellow Horned owes both it English and Latin names (Achyla flavicornis) to the bright orange antennae which are clearly seen in the photo below.
In the last annual report of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Entomological Society (2010) the only records of the Yellow Horned in Derbyshire were from Darley Dale submitted by Simon Roddis and I. 
The species has historically only been recorded from a small number of sites in Derbyshire. The lava feed on both Silver and Downy Birch which is very widespread in the Peak District so it may be the fact that the flight season is typically March when there is less moth trapping activity which may explain the paucity of records.
Yellow Horned

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Muliple moth catch including Acleris hyemana

My first multiple moth catch of the year as a result of the temperature increase, it was 8 degrees when I checked the trap at 7am and feeling much more Spring like.
The catch included the micro moth Acleris hyemana. I catch this in small numbers each year, usually at this time of the year. The moth over-winters as an adult so they are usually quite worn by now. It is a moorland species and probably quite common on Beeley.
Also added Satellite (2), Hebrew Character, and the plume moth Emmelina monodactyla (Common Plume). A further two Common Quaker and March Moth completed the catch.
Acleris hyemana

Common Plume - Emmelina monodactyla

Common Plume - Emmelina monodactyla

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Common Buzzard take off

I counted 11 Common Buzzards over Halldale Wood yesterday which shows how well they are doing locally. This birds was photographed this morning in somewhat greyer light. 
Saw my first Curlew back on the moor this morning with 2 birds on Screetham Lane, Ken had the first back on 22nd February but number should increase quickly from now on.
Added Common Quaker to the moth list on Wednesday night but it has generally been too cold for moths.
Common Buzzard

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...