Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Last post of the year - Robin

There were plenty of Robins along Cromford Canal and a photo of a Robin in the snow, in sunshine, is a great way to finish the year I think.

Little Grebe with Bullhead - Cromford Canal

The remaining snow is still making access on to the moors difficult so I tried Cromford Canal this morning hoping for Water Vole. No Water Vole's and some of the regular walkers on the canal say they haven't seen any since the summer, when the barge started operating several times a week, which is worrying. 
A female Little Grebe caught a Bullhead and took almost 10 minutes removing the spines before she could sallow it.

Little Grebe - female with European Bullhead

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Snow scenes

A couple of photos from this mornings walk.
Sunrise over Whitesprings Plantation
Sheep pens on the Lumb Lane track

Red Grouse in snow

Quite a change in the weather overnight with about 10cm of snow in the valley and 15-20cm on the moor. I walked up Bent Lane to Wragg's Quarry then back down Lumb Lane. It's very peaceful and quiet without the cars!
Around 30 Brambling on Bent Lane with the Chaffinch flock, Stonechat at Wragg's and several Red Grouse displaying. I caught this bird just before it took flight. The light was fantastic.

Red Grouse

Friday, 26 December 2014

Mountain Hare - Bleaklow

My first visit to see the Mountain Hares for several months and they are now in predominantly white coats, which certainly makes seeing them a lot easier. I counted 15 in a scan of the hillside in this one area.
The light was poor and these two photos were both taken with the 300mm lens fully open at f2.8, but the hares still look impressive.

Mountain Hare

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Golden Plover numbers increasing

I counted just over 300 Golden Plover with the Lapwing flock on Screetham Lane this evening. The numbers appear to be steadily increasing at the moment and this is now one of the largest flocks I can recall locally.
I haven't seen the Great Grey Shrike today but it has been around earlier in the week.
Golden Plover

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Barn Owl - Beeley Moor

The Barn Owl was hunting again this morning on the edge of Beeley Moor. I managed a single shot of it just as it was starting to get light. This was taken at ISO 10000 at 1/40th of a second but still captures something of the bird.
I had brief views of the Great Grey Shrike on Beeley Triangle and several Brambling on Bent Lane before the poor weather got the better of me and I headed home.
Barn Owl

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Partially albino Jackdaw - Peak Village

The day started with strong winds and intermittent rain, a Barn Owl hunting by the roadside at dawn on the edge of Beeley Moor was unexpected otherwise it was quiet on the moor. Thirty Golden Plover flew over and Roger located 180 on Screetham Lane. I came across this partially albino Jackdaw at Peak Village. I see a lot of Jackdaws but albinism appears to be less common in the Jackdaw than the Carrion Crow and Rook population.

Jackdaw - partially albino

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Winter Moth

I'd given up moth trapping for the year but it has been so mild today I thought I'd give it a go and caught this fresh male Winter Moth (females are wingless).
Also caught 3 Mottled Umber and a Pale Brindled Beauty which is my earliest record.
Winter Moth

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Great Grey Shrike - Sitches Plantation, Beeley Moor

Clear blue skies this morning and a heavy frost, Two parties of Crossbill on Flash Lane, totalling 14 birds, were a welcome sight first thing. The first I have seen since the Spring but hopefully this marks a winter arrival.
Looking at the finches and larks on Streatham Lane I came across a Great Grey Shrike again and it gave fantastic views in the sunshine. Difficult to be certain that it's the same bird that's been around since October but I would assume so. Last weekend it was around Bent Lane and Wraggs Quarry but its also been over on The Triangle so it's covering quite an area.

Great Grey Shrike - disgorging a pellet

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Goosander display - Chatsworth

In between the heavier rain I managed a trip to Chatsworth this afternoon and came across 9 Goosander on the river, including three males. The males were doing the 'saluting' display, preening and then pointing their bills skywards. Unfortunately the light was poor but it was nice to see this party which is the largest group I have seen since the Spring.


Flock of Teal at dawn

Heavy rain early this morning with a strong NW wind. A nice flock of around 80 Teal at Ogston which took flight several times, perhaps a Fox on the bank nearby.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Great Grey Shrike - Bent Lane

I mentioned below that the Great Grey Shrike spent most of the day around Bent Lane, when it appeared to be actively hunting it moved along the stone walls with occasional sallies on to the ground. Otherwise it was stood on the tops of trees and bushes in the area.

Great Grey Shrike

Lapwing and Golden Plover

A nice flock of several hundred Lapwing on Screetham Lane with around 30 Golden Plover which have been present for over a week now. This years Lapwing are very colourful in the sunshine at this time of year. 
Over 100 Skylark, several hundred Linnet and around 30 Yellowhammer in the fields with Chaffinch and a few Brambling.
The Great Grey Shrike spent most of the day on Bent Lane on either side of the road just north of Bumper Castle. 

Lapwing and Golden Plover

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