Saturday, 30 May 2015

Treecreeper - Rowsley

Ken found a Treecreeper nest in a section of dead Ivy on an old Ash tree. The nest appeared to have several entrances but provided a good opportunity to photograph what can be quite a difficult species, they were certainly well camouflaged on the dead stems.

Honey Bee swarm - Rowsley

Came across this swarm of Honey Bees by the river at Rowsley this morning, not something I have seen locally before.
Honey Bees

Brown Hare youngster - Beeley Moor

I've seen this young Brown Hare several times this week and finally managed some photos in decent light.
Brown Hare youngster

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Long-eared Owl - Beeley Moor

I had brief views of a Long-eared Owl in flight over the moor this evening. This is my first sighting since last summer and it is testament to their secretive nature that they can remain hidden for so much of the year. 
I saw it land in the base of an old birch, it took me 10 minutes to locate where it was sat and another hour to position myself, without disturbing the owl,  so that I had a clear view with no branches obscuring it - the light was poor under the tree but well worth the effort to get a photo of this iconic hunter of the moorland edge.
Long-eared Owl

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Brown Hare on a wall

You can see a lot of wildlife perched on the dry stone walls but Brown Hares are not generally in that group.
Brown Hare

Early Purple Orchids - Cressbrook Dale

A fine display of Early Purple Orchids in Cressbrook Dale, no sheep in there at the moment so they should be ok for another week or two.
Early Purple Orchid - Cressbrook Dale

Common Snipe drumming

The sound of the Snipe's drumming display flight is a common feature of early morning walks on the moors but they can be surprisingly difficult to see as the aerial display is usually high in the sky. 
The drumming sound is created by fanning the outer tail feathers during a rapid dive and is the sound of the wind passing these feathers. In normal flight the feathers are retracted and the vibrating sound stops.

Snipe in drumming display

Willow Warbler - portrait

On the edge of the moor this morning and this Willow Warbler appeared and stood in this pose for 60 seconds which is extremely unusual for a warbler. It flew off with another which I presume was a female so was presumably intent on courtship. 
Whatever the reason it provided a great opportunity to capture a portrait.
Willow Warbler

Friday, 22 May 2015

Ancylis badiana

Slight increase in temperature last night produced a few more moths. My first Poplar Hawkmoths of the year plus Alder Kitten, V-Pug, Dwarf Pug, Rivulet, Pale-shouldered Brocade, Small Angleshades and the tiny Ancylis badiana,which is a common micro moth but easily overlooked at only 6-7mm in length.
Ancylis badiana

Thursday, 21 May 2015

First Dipper young - Chatsworth

My first Dipper fledgling of the Spring at Chatsworth today.
Dipper - juvenile

...and first Mandarin ducklings

First Mandarin ducklings on the river at Chatsworth today, a small brood only two of them.
Mandarin duck with ducklings

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Reed Warbler - Ogston Reservoir

My first visit to Ogston Reservoir for a few weeks. Added Sedge and Reed Warblers to my local year list, this bird was gathering nesting material. At least 8 Ringed Plover and several Little Ringed and a single female Wheatear.
Reed Warbler

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Little Owl update

I haven't managed to keep track of the Little Owls at Bakewell but called in this morning and managed to locate one of the adults, it's a lot harder now that the trees are covered in leaves! They will hopefully have young now but there was no sign this morning.
Little Owl

Goosander with young - Bakewell

I mentioned that Martin Derbyshire had seen a female Goosander with a couple of youngsters on the river at Bakewell. This is his photo of them attempting to get up the weir which Martin says they gave up on after several attempts.
Goosander female with young (Martin Derbyshire)

Brown Hare - Leveret

Ken photographed this young Brown Hare back in April on Beeley Moor. This youngsters can't be very old.
Brown Hare leveret (Ken Smith)

Saturday, 16 May 2015


Only my second ever garden record of Chocolate-tip, the first was in April 2011. Still generally too cold at night for decent moth catches.

Added Spotted Flycatcher, a pair at Rowsley, Garden Warbler at Stanton and Grasshopper Warbler on Beeley so there are not many migrant birds unaccounted for now.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Corn Bunting - male

Whilst I was away the only notable bird record I am aware of locally was that of a male Corn Bunting found by Steve Mann on agricultural land SE of Beeley Moor on the 8th May. It has been seen by several observers since, and fortunately was still present today. 
This is the first Corn Bunting I have seen in Derbyshire and to quote from Roy Frost and Steve Shaw's  The Birds of Derbyshire;

"The status of the Corn Bunting in Derbyshire has undergone various fluctuations over the last 100 years or so, but never before has it been so close to extinction as a breeding bird as it is now."

Although there are still occasional winter records there were no records of any singing males in Derbyshire last year so the chances of this male attracting a female must be slim. Let's hope that the distinctive song of this once common farmland bird is not lost from the County.
Corn Bunting - singing male

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Common Sandpiper back at Chatsworth

My first local Common Sandpipers of the year, and it's the same colour-ringed bird I have recorded for the past three years. Nice to have them back!
Common Sandpiper

Grey Heron - Chatsworth

This Grey Heron feeding below the weir at Chatsworth made an interesting composition.
Grey Heron

Grey Wagtail feeding young

I have just returned from co-leading a birdwatching trip to SW Turkey with Roger Barnes for Bird Holidays. It was a fantastic trip and I have started to upload photos on my Flikr site here.
Returning to the UK after an absence of just 10 days and the season has already moved on with many more leaves on the trees and birds already feeding young. Whilst I was away Martin Derbyshire e-mailed to say he had seen a brood of Gooseander in Bakewell and a trip to Chatsworth this afternoon produced Grey Wagtail feeding young.

Grey Wagtail feeding young

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