Sunday, 19 October 2014

Wigeon - Chatsworth

A single female Wigeon on the river at Chatsworth this morning. It was very nervous and soon departed.
Wigeon - female

Fallow Deer buck crossing the Derwent at Chatsworth

This young male Fallow Deer was just crossing the river as I arrived at Chatsworth this morning. The photo was taken at 07:30 when it was barely light and the ISO setting was at 8000, only a few years ago a photo like this would have been impossible without flash or a tripod and a very still deer.
Fallow Deer - buck

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Last Wheatear of the autumn?

Came across this Wheatear on East Moor late this afternoon. This is likely to be my last of the year, a Fieldfare flew over whilst I was watching it which is my first of the autumn and marks the changing of the seasons.

Blue phase Snow Goose - Beeley Moor

A Great Grey Shrike was seen twice yesterday in the Triangle area so I had high hopes for the morning. A couple of Ring Ousel and a Stonechat were a positive start but no sign of the Shrike in a strong southerly wind. 
I was by myself around 10:00 when a single goose flew south along Fallinge Edge at a considerable distance. At a first glance I though it was a Greylag but took a couple of record photos and noted the white head leaving me perplexed. Ken, Simon, Mick and Alan had also seen the bird but at even greater distance. 
Looking at the photos more closely, which I've merged on to a single photo below it certainly looks like a blue phase Snow Goose.
The Snow Goose is generally regarded as an escapee in Derbyshire but still an interesting record. There is a record of a feral bird at Wyver Lane, Belper on 1st October and it would be interesting to know if that was a blue phase bird.

Snow Goose?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Rough-legged Buzzard - Beeley Moor and Slack Hill

These are Ken's photos of the juvenile Rough-legged Buzzard seen today by Mick Taylor over Harland Edge and by Ken at Slack Hill before it headed off in the Tansley direction.
The Rough-legged Buzzard has occasionally been seen in the Beeley area in the past, generally just as fly overs like this bird, in the early or late winter period. 
Birds have over-wintered in the northern Peak District in the upper Derwent Valley several times in the past.

Rough-legged Buzzard (all photos Ken Smith)

Hen Harrier ringtail - Beeley Moor

News of a Rough-legged Buzzard seen flying ESE along Harland Edge at mid-day today by Mick Taylor was followed by a call from Ken to say that he has seen the bird 20 minutes later over Slack Hill flying towards Tansley. 
Ken had also seen 4 Ring Ousel with Redwing in the Cathole area and Simon Roddis reported 1300 this morning passing Upperloads in one hour. Clearly the Rough-leg had gone but I went up on the moor after work on the off chance.
Arriving at Wraggs Quarry I encountered a ring-tail Hen Harrier which gave brief and distant views and provided some compensation for the missed Rough-leg.

Hen Harrier - ring tail 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Fallow Deer fawn - Chatsworth

An evening trip to Chatsworth produced single Green Woodpecker, Dipper, a party of 12 Mandarin flying over and several Fallow Deer with fawns. I guess this youngster is about 3 months old but was still suckling.
Fallow Deer - fawn

Monday, 13 October 2014

Whooper Swans - Ogston Reservoir

Three Whooper Swans turned up today at Ogston Reservoir. Although I've occasionally mentioned them as flyovers, both in the valley and over the moors, it's the reservoirs which provide an occasional stop-over on the way south in the autumn, probably heading to the Wash.
Whooper Swans

Brocken spectre - Beeley mist halo

Thanks to June Oliver we have a name for the mist halo effect seen over the weekend. It's a Brocken spectre named after the Brocken, a peak in the Hartz Mountains in Germany where it was first described. There are plenty of photos of the effect on the internet.

Here are a couple more photos from the weekend taken by Ken and June.
Brocken Spectre - Beeley Moor (Ken Smith)

Brocken Spectre (June Oliver)

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Pink-footed Geese over Chesterfield

A few more Pink-footed Geese this morning, two skeins heading back SE and just north of Chesterfield but still distant. Wheatear still present in the mist on Screetham Lane and several Brambling, my first of the autumn, on Bent Lane.
Pink-footed Geese

Mist over the moors

Another morning with mist covering the valleys and most of the moor early on. Not much good for bird watching but it provides some great photo opportunities.
Harewood Moor
Sunrise over Uppertown

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Red Deer stag Big Moor video clip

Took a short video clip of a Red Deer stag on Big Moor this evening.

Beeley Moor - mist halo effect

Very misty this morning up to about 1000 feet early on but it gradually cleared by mid-morning on the moor. 
There was an unusual light effect as mist rose from Beeley village. With the sun behind Ken and I it created a halo effect which I have never seen so pronounced before. I'm sure it will have a meteorological name.
We saw little on the moor although at least two Wheater are still present on Screetham Lane. With the mist causing visibility problems we joined Simon Roddis, Alan Stewardson and Mick Taylor ar Upperloads. At about 10am we saw a party of about 150 Pink-footed Geese flying west in the distance between Chesterfield and Sheffield at about 5-7 miles distance followed by several more parties totalling perhaps 1000 birds which are my first of the Autumn. I also had my first party of returning Redwing during the morning.
Beeley Moor - mist

Sunday, 5 October 2014

A wisp of Snipe

Ken had an interesting movement of Snipe on Friday totalling 27 birds during an hour flying up to Beeley Triangle from the Cathole (Holymoorside). This party of 10 was the largest group. 
Robin Elliot also saw a single Jack Snipe at Ramsley Reservoir with a couple of Common Snipe which have been widely reported in the country as immigrants from the continent so check any flyovers.
Ken also had Fieldfare today which is the first I have heard of locally and numbers of Stonechat have increased, I had a party of at least 7 on Bent Lane today and there were singles and pairs reported elsewhere on the moor.
A 'wisp' of Snipe (Ken Smith)

Moth update

I have continued to run the moth trap most evenings other than when, like last night, the temperature has been very low. In the past couple of weeks I've added Black Rustic, Blair's Shoulder-Knot, Green-brindled Crescent and Red-line Quaker and on Friday night caught this Red Underwing. This is a rather worn individual at the end of the flight season but a nice addition to the year list.
i have also caught several Snout and single Riband Wave which will be from second broods which is unusual this far north but have doubtless benefitted from the very mild weather.
Red Underwing

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Weasel - Carsington Water

Having seen the Black-necked Grebe (below) I walked along the dam wall and was about 3/4 of the way to the sailing club at Carsington when I noticed a Weasel running towards me over the rocks. I managed a few photos, which wasn't easy as it was running very quickly and kept disappearing in the rocks. 
Looking at the photos I did wonder weather it could have been a Stoat but I think the tail is too short and that the darkening on the tail tip is just from the heavy rain. I haven't seen any Stoat this year and this is only my second Weasel having seen one near Bakewell in the Spring.

Weasel - Carsington Water

Black-necked Grebe - Millfields Bay, Carsington Water

The forecasted heavy rain commenced about 7am, just as it was getting light so after a quick drive round the moors I decided to head for Carsington to look for the Black-necked Grebe which has been present for almost a month. Despite the rain, and with help from Clive Ashton, it was soon located and showed quite well in the circumstances. There were plenty of Wigeon and single Shoveler and Gadwall in the bay and a Green Sandpiper landed briefly.
Black-necked Grebe in the rain

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