Sunday, 29 June 2014

Nightjar - Matlock Forest

In almost complete darkness a male Nightjar sat churring from the top of a dead tree in Matlock Forest this evening. It was a still night and judging by the number of insect bites I received there was plenty of food on the wing. I've added another photo just to try and prove it was a Nightjar it was about 10:15 pm shot at ISO 10000.
Also 3-4 Woodcock roding.

Pyramidal Orchid - Bonsall Moor

Another from yesterday's visit to Bonsall Moor. 
Pyramidal Orchid

Buff Arches - close-up

A close up of the wing of one of our most attractive moths, the Buff Arches.
Buff Arches - wing close-up

Whinchat feeding young

Despite poor weather this morning I went for another look at the Whinchat. I only saw one juvenile yesterday but didn't spend long watching them. This morning I was able to sit in the car and have a closer look. Both adults were present and I counted four, possibly five youngsters. Not sure about the caterpillar in the first photo, maybe Small Tortoiseshell?

Whinchat male feeding juvenile

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Chimney Sweeper - Bonsall Moor

The Chimney Sweeper is the commonest member of the Lepidoptera family flying on the moor at the moment.
I have a new macro lens which I'm experimenting with so there are likely to be a few close-ups of the local wildlife.
Chimney Sweeper

Fragrant Orchid - Bonsall Moor

At the moment at least the Fragrant Orchid is probably the least common of the flowing orchids on Bonsall Moor.
Fragrant Orchid

Bee Orchids - Bonsall Moor

A fantastic display of orchids on Bonsall Moor with the best showing of the Bee Orchid in recent years.

Bee Orchid

Wild flowers - Bonsall Moor

Amazing colour from the flowers on Bonsall Moor. Orchids to follow.
Scabious with other flowers

Whinchat family - Beeley Moor

I haven't seen any Whinchat locally since early May so it was a pleasant surprise to come across a family party on the moor this morning. I saw and photographed one juvenile but there may well have been more.
Whinchat juvenile
Whinchat male
Whinchat female

Plain Wave

The Plain Wave is very similar to the much commoner Riband Wave. I check all the Riband Waves I catch in the garden and have never recorded Plain Wave with any certainty but last night I caught this individual which lacks the indentation on the the leading edge of Riband Wave which is so characteristic of that species. I've overlain a Riband Wave against half of the Plain Wave to show the difference.
Nationally the Plain Wave is described as local and thinly distributed which is probably a fair description of its status in Derbyshire.
Plain Wave

Plain Wave (left) v Riband Wave (right)

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Harlequin Ladybird - Beeley Moor

In addition to the Emperor Moth caterpillar, below Doug Aston also sent me this photo of a mating pair of Harlequin Ladybirds. First recorded in Britain as recently as 2004 in the SE the Harlequin has spread rapidly north and is causing significant concern regarding its impact on our native ladybirds. There are more details on the Harlequin Ladybird Survey homepage
Harlequin Ladybird (Doug Aston)

Distribution of the Harlequin Ladybird 2004-2011

Emperor Moth caterpillar

Doug Aston sent me these photos of Emperor Moth caterpillars taken on Beeley Moor during the last couple of days. As well as one of our most striking moths the caterpillar is also very distinctive 

Emperor Moth caterpillar (Doug Aston)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Poplar Grey

Not a common moth locally, I catch the Poplar Grey most years but only in small numbers. Numbers appear to be on the increase however and this is one of several species of moth that benefit from the planting of Poplar trees at the Enthoven works.
Poplar Grey

Another encounter with the Fox

I saw the Fox again towards dusk last night. It's left rear hind leg is damaged although it still appears to be able to move around fairly well. The better news was that it had three cubs with it last night although they disappeared as soon as they saw me.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Fox and cub

A Fox with a single cub this evening by the river at Darley Bridge, in one of the freshly cut fields. It was 9:30pm so the light was very poor.

Fox and cub

Small Clouded Brindle

Not a great specimen but it does show the characteristic pale outer edge to the kidney mark. Not featured on the blog before but fairly widespread around the moors and other wet areas. 
Small Clouded Brindle

Common Toad - East Moor

This young toad was in one of the boggy areas on East Moor.
Common Toad

Small Copper - East Moor

Just a couple of Small Copper on my walk across East Moor.
Small Copper

Small Heath - East Moor

Plenty of Small Heath on the wing on a walk across East Moor this morning, they appeared to be distributed in territories of about 10m and as soon as a male entered another territory there was a skirmish, sometimes of several minutes duration.
Small Heath

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Small Argent and Sable - Beeley Moor

A nice example of the Small Argent and Sable moth on Beeley Moor.
Small Argent and Sable

Galium Carpet - Beeley Moor

I have looked for the Galium Carpet many times on Beeley Moor but never encountered it until today when I disturbed a single moth from the edge of the moor. 
Historically the Galium Carpet is known from the northern Peak District but there are no records in the journal of the Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Entomological Society so its current status is a little uncertain.

Galium Carpet

Friday, 20 June 2014

Black-tailed Skimmer

This is one of our scarcer dragonflies locally, I have only ever found it on the Stone Edge pools behind the Red Lion. There were at least two male Black-tailed Skimmers this evening with many Four-spotted Chasers and unexpected Peregrine and Green Woodpecker.
Black-tailed Skimmer - male

Four-spotted Chaser

Great weather today and plenty of dragonflies on the wing this evening at the Stone Edge ponds, getting a black background without any interfering vegetation is still a challenge.
Four-spotted Chaser

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Colour-ringed Common Sandpiper

Encountered a pair of Common Sandpiper on the Derwent between Rowsley and Chatsworth. I'm fairly sure this is the same colour-ringed bird I had last year. There have been some long term studies of Common Sandpiper populations in the Peak District and I suspect this bird was ringed as part of that study.

Common Sandpiper

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Red-legged Partridge - Beeley Moor

It's not just the Curlew and Snipe that have taken to sitting on the stone walls. This Red-legged Partridge may also have been watching over its brood, although I never saw them. The Red-legged Partridge is seen regularly around the moors but its native cousin the Grey appears to have all but disappeared although Ken did see one about a month back around Alicehead so there could still be a small population in the area.
Red-legged Partridge

Rabbit kits -Rowsley Sidings

There are always plenty of Rabbits along the footpath bordering the Peak Rail track and at the moment the numbers are supplemented with youngsters of all sizes, these are a couple of the smaller ones.

Rabbit kits

New trap produces Beautiful Snout

The new Robinson Trap arrived yesterday and was put straight to work last night. As I had hoped it was less accessible for the locals tits and with decent weather I got a good catch with 41 species of macro moth. 
Highlight was the Beautiful Snout which is a recent addition to the Derbyshire list and is still only found reliably in the Darley Dale area between Beeley Moor and Clough Wood. This is only my second garden record.
Other notable moths were the Dark Spectacle and Small Elephant Hawkmoth below plus Ochreous and Dwarf Pugs, Alder Moth and Sandy Carpet.
Beautiful Snout

Dark Spectacle

Only my third garden record of Dark Spectacle, it's commoner in the south of the County.
Dark Spectacle

Small Elephant Hawkmoth

A scarce visitor the garden but can be common around the moors.
Small Elephant Hawkmoth

Monday, 9 June 2014

Barn Owl

The Barn Owl has long been on my most wanted list but has proven very elusive. The prolonged hard winters in 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 appears to have had an adverse effect on pairs in the Peak District but hopefully they will do better this year. There certainly seems to be an abundance of voles, which is also helping the Long-eareds. This bird took seven voles in an hour.

Barn Owl

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Red-necked Footman - Darley Dale

Simon caught this Red-necked Footman a couple of days ago, a first for his garden and a moth I have never caught in Darley Dale. I have caught it on Flash Lane and in the Via Gellia and the range appears to be expanding along with several other footmen.
Red-necked Footman (c.Simon Roddis)

Northern Marsh Orchid - Wragg's Quarry

A good showing of orchids again this year in Wragg's Quarry. I have these down as Northern Marsh, a small number have spotted leaves so suspect there is some hybridisation with the Heath Spotted Orchids which occur nearby. The shape of the lip varies quite a bit, the one photo is fairly typical but some have a more extended central lobe.
Northern Marsh Orchid

Four-spotted Chaser mating

Ken sent me this photo of a pair of Four-spotted Chaser taken a couple of days ago. Superb picture, unbelievably sharp and hardest of all the wings and bodies are all nicely positioned.
Four-spotted Chasers occur on many of the small pools bordering the moor, the ponds at Stanedge behind the Red Lion are one of the best locations for all the local dragonflies.
Four-spotted Chaser (c.Ken Smith)

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Long-eared Owls almost fully grown

It looked like today was going to be a wash-out with heavy rain from 8:30 onwards but it brightened up mid-afternoon so I decided to check on the progress of the Long-eared Owl chicks. Luckily all three were together and they are looking much more adult like, although there is clearly an age difference between all three. They are just starting to grow the 'ears' and the down on the chest is starting to feather. 
Fantastic birds and the encounter made up for the wet start.

Long-eared Owl - juveniles

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