Monday, 31 August 2015

Black Redstart female - Peasunhurst

Ken has done it again! Finding a Black Redstart at the old farm on the B5057 towards Stonedge. This is the same place as the bird he located last July so it's probably the same bird. The last one stayed through September so hopefully it will do likewise this year.

I took some distant photos today using the 500mm lens and 2x converter in the rain, the farm is private so there is not much chance of getting close views I'm afraid. Also the B5057 is busy here and vehicles travel at high speed on this straight section of the road. There is a pull in opposite the farm.
The bird is moulting with missing tail feathers and tertials it also shows an orangey cast to parts of the breast which is strange and it will be interesting to see what the bird looks like in a few weeks time if it stays in the area.

Black Redstart - female

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Cormorant with colour ring

No sign of yesterday's Osprey at Rowsley this morning but a couple of Cormorant included a bird with a yellow colour ring. It looks like the inscription is Z74. This looks like a ring used by the Rutland Water Ringing Group which would make sense, I'll e-mail the details and see if I can find out more.
Confirmation that Z74 was ringed as a chick in May this year at Rutland Water, with its record details showing it was still there in early July.

Place of ringing        Grid Ref            Date              From brood of 
RutlandWater             SK8808              15/05/2015       3
Sighted at                  Grid Ref            Date              Distance travelled Direction Duration
RutlandWater              SK8808             10/07/2015     0 km                                      56 days

Rowsley, Matlock        SK2565              29/08/2015    85 km                     NW         106 days

Friday, 28 August 2015

Osprey - juvenile Rowsley

Ken took these superb photos of a juvenile Osprey on the River Wye just north of Rowsley earlier today, he watched it fly away in the Chatsworth direction having caught a fish. Whilst it may stay in the area for a few days the best chance of seeing an Osprey at the moment in Derbyshire is at Ogston where 1 to 2 birds have been present for several weeks and there were 3 seen today.

Osprey juvenile Rowsley (© Ken Smith)

Common Lizard - adult with young

Several Common Lizards sat out in the sunshine on Beeley Moor including this youngster. The adult didn't pay any attention to the youngster and at one point was sat on top of it. The youngsters look completely black at a distance but show paler markings, like the adults, when seen close.

Common Lizard - adult with young

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Scarce Bordered Straw - a migrant moth at last!

Caught my first Scarce Bordered Straw in the garden last night. A rarity in Derbyshire, although there have been years with a significant influx, the last was 2006. The moth is resident in southern Europe so could have flown over a thousand miles to get to Darley Dale. 
This has been a good year for migrant moths on the south coast and some have bred so it may have come from closer to home. 

Scarce Bordered Straw

Monday, 24 August 2015

Garden Orb Spider - Beeley Moor

Came across this beautifully marked female Garden Orb Spider (Araneus diadematus) spinning her web on a fence bordering the moor.

Garden Orb Spider (Araneus diadematus)

Eupoecilia angustana - Beeley Moor

The tiny Tortrix moth Eupoecilia angustana is common on the heather moorland at the moment. It is the smaller, whiter form fasciella which is found on the moors and the larva feed on the heather.
In Derbyshire it is common on the gritstone moors but scarce elsewhere and despite living close to the moor I have never caught it in the garden.

Eupoecilia angustana f. fasciella

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Whinchats - Screetham Lane

A grey, wet and misty start to the day but it brightened by mid-morning. The only birds of note on the moor were a family party of 4 Whinchat on Screetham Lane. 
They have been in short supply this year so nice to see at least one family party.
Whinchat - juvenile

Friday, 21 August 2015

Barred Chestnut - first of the autumn

The last couple of days the moth trap has been swamped with Large Yellow-Underwing making it quite difficult to pick out any other species but I have caught a couple of Barred Chestnut. It's reasonably widely distributed in the gritstone moors but scarce in other areas of Derbyshire, the adult is on the wing August - September so should get one or two more.
Barred Chestnut

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Wall Brown - second brood Clough Wood

Several Wall Brown butterflies enjoying the sunshine at Clough Wood this morning.
Wall Brown

Redstart - male after post breeding moult of body feathers

This is clearly a male Redstart, photographed this morning at Clough Wood and looks like an adult which has completed the post breeding moult of its body feathers. The pale fringes to the head and breast will wear over the winter in Africa to reveal the bird in full breeding plumage next Spring. 
Redstart - adult male

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Grey Dagger - caterpillar Beeley Moor

Superb photo of the Grey Dagger caterpillar taken by Ken on the moorland edge yesterday. A widespread and fairly common moth the caterpillar feeds on a range of trees and shrubs including sallow, hawthorn, rowan and elm.
Grey Dagger - caterpillar (c. Ken Smith)

Monday, 17 August 2015

Little Ow - Bakewell

I've neglected the Little Owls over the past month but Ken saw at least one youngster a week or so ago. I had a look this morning but only saw one of the adults.
Little Owl -adult
Little Owl - adult (c.Ken Smith)

Willow Warbler juvenile

Nice to see the recently fledged juveniles around now, all in bright fresh plumage. Plenty of Willow Warblers and Redstarts around at the moment.
Willow Warbler - juveniles

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Hobby chasing Sand Martins between Chatsworth and Rowsley

Great walk between Rowsley and Chatsworth this morning with Green Woodpecker, between 50 - 60 Mandarin flying down river and this adult Hobby chasing Sand Martins.
Hobby - adult

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Polecat road casualty - Rowsley

Another record from Ken, this time of a dead Polecat found as a road casualty on the Chatsworth Road leading out of Rowsley. 
According to The Mammals of Derbyshire the Polecat became extinct in Derbyshire at the beginning of the 20th century but was recorded again in the late 1980's and sightings have increased since then to around 20 per year. It's not clear how many are pure Polecat and how many are Polecat - Ferret hybrids and it's possible that this record could be of a hybrid. Some records may also refer to feral Mink but the colouration of this individual looks like Polecat.
Simon Roddis has previously reported a sighting of Polecat or Polecat-ferret in Darley Dale but I'm not aware of any other local records.
Rabbits are generally the main prey item but we have noticed a significant decline in the number of Water Vole from the Rowsley area recently, so its possible that Polecat in the area could be a factor.
Polecat road casualty (c.Ken Smith)

Friday, 14 August 2015

Vapourer moth caterpillar - Chatsworth

June Oliver came across this Vapourer moth caterpillar at Chatsworth. The adult moth is not strongly attracted to UV light and I have only occasionally caught it in the Darley Dale. It is probably reasonably common in a wide-range of habitats from the moorland to parks and gardens
The caterpillar is very striking and therefore easily identified.
Vapourer Moth - caterpillar (c.June Oliver)

Brown Hare photos

I've just returned from a couple of weeks away but Ken sent me these photos just before I left and they are particularly nice portraits  of a local Brown Hare at Rowsley.

Brown Hare (c.Ken Smith)

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