Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Merlin - Beeley Moor

I was away over the weekend but it doesn't sound like I missed much. A few Pink-feet moving, I did see a female type Merlin yesterday on Beeley. 
I've produced a new blog for observations away from the Darley Dale area called Wildlife Diaries, I was at Spurn over the weekend so there are photos from there.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Black-tailed Godwit - Ogston Reservoir

Whilst sat at Ogston in the the rain earlier today a Black-tailed Godwit flew through, an occasional visitor to Ogston during Spring and Autumn I have once seen one on a small pond by Screetham Lane. 
In addition to the Ospreys, see photo below, I also had Hobby and an adult Yellow-legged Gull so well worth the trip.
Black-tailed Godwit
Yellow-legged Gull - adult

Osprey - Ogston Reservoir

Raining all morning so decided to sit in the hide at Ogston. Over about 3 hours both juvenile Ospreys took fish from the reservoir. I just managed to catch the second bird although it was a bit distant. It has a blue Darvic ring and is thought to have been ringed on 9 July near Crieff in Perthshire.

Osprey juvenile

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Black Darter - better photo Wragg's Quarry

A better photo of a male Black Darter in Wragg's Quarry today. There were at least three males but they spent most of the time resting on the rocks or dead wood. They are quite confiding, this photo was taken with a 100mm lens.
No sign of any females yet.
Black Darter - male

Common Hawker male attacking female

Came across a female Common Hawker ovipositing this morning and was surprised to see a male repeatedly attacking her. I've not noted this previously and wonder whether it's the male impatient to find a partner?

Common Hawker male and female

Common Lizard shedding skin

Common Lizards shed, or slough, their skin annually and I caught an adult this morning half way through the process. This looks like a male appearing more spotted than striped.
Also had this youngster, just a few weeks old I think, napping in the sunshine.
The dry stone walls are fantastic habitat for the lizards, I counted at least seven of various ages on one stretch of wall bordering Beeley Moor.
Adult Common Lizard sloughing
Common Lizard - a few weeks old

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Peacock Butterfly

Plenty of insects on the wing in today's sunshine; Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood butterflies and a good number of dragonflies with Black Darters still looking like they are emerging along with many Common Darters and Hawkers plus Brown Hawker.
Peacock Butterfly

Friday, 18 September 2015

Osprey still at Ogston Reservoir

There has been up to three Osprey at Ogston over the last few weeks. Martin Derbyshire called in this morning and got a nice shot of a juvenile with a fish.
Osprey juvenile (© Martin Derbyshire)

Ring Ousel - Beeley Moor

The weather forecast was for rain first thing this morning so I was pleasantly surprised to wake up to a blue sky, above the mist in the valley. 
Plenty of Meadow Pipits around indicated that a few birds had arrived overnight and this was confirmed when a male Ring Ousel alighted with a customary 'chak' in a Mountain Ash. There was mist drifting up from the valley but it still made a reasonable photo. A couple of Stonechat and Wheatear added to the feeling that birds were on the move.
Ring Ousel - male

Small Wainscot

Although it can be quite common on Beeley Moor the Small Wainscot is a rare visitor to my garden and this is only my second or third record. It is small with a forewing length of just 10mm.

Small Wainscot

A trio of Sallows

Although its tended to be quite cool during the night I'm still catching a few moths, nothing particularly unexpected but these three sallows are quite a colourful trio. 
From left to right Barred Sallow, Angle-striped Sallow and Pink-barred Sallow.
Barred Sallow, Angle-striped Sallow and Pink-barred Sallow

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Common Hawker with prey

A female Common Hawker with its prey, which I think was a female or immature Common Darter. I've regularly seen them taking damselflies but Common Darter must be at the top end of what they can catch and carry.
Common Hawker - female with prey

Hummingbird Hawkmoth - Matlock

Ken had a lucky encounter with a Hummingbird Hawkmoth yesterday in his garden in Hackney yesterday. Although I had of several reports locally in the summer, and had one briefly in my garden this is the first report I have heard of in September.
Hummingbird Hawkmoth (© Ken Smith)

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Black Darter - Wragg's Quarry

A Black Darter put in a brief appearance in Wragg's Quarry today, my only record for the year so far and it's getting late now.
Black Darter - male

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Angle-striped Sallow

Another moth that has become scarcer in recent years, and not caught every year now so nice to catch one on National Moth Night.
Angle-striped Sallow

Quail - Beeley Moor

Wow!! Doug Aston sent me this photo which he took yesterday evening at Beeley Triangle. Doug said he was parked up in his usual spot and the Quail walked out on to the grass verge. A few hours earlier all the verges were covered in cars as the Tour of Britain came up on to the moors from Beeley Village.
A great reward for Doug for all the hours spent watching the area. 
I posted a photo in Spring of a distant Quail in flight near Elton and commented that that was probably the only photo of Quail that would make it on to the blog. It just goes to show what's possible if you spend the time looking.
I have looked this morning without success but the weather is very poor so far today.
Quail (©Doug Aston)

Friday, 11 September 2015

Raven in the mist

Misty start to the day but I came across three Raven on fence posts on the edge of the moor, two birds took off but one remained and one of the departed birds returned and appeared to be encouraging the third bird to leave. I'm guessing that the bird left on the post was a youngster.


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Short-eared Owl and Nightjar

I set off this evening to do some moth trapping on Beeley Moor, it was slightly warmer than it has been and the wind appeared to have finally died down. 
On the way I thought I would check for Nightjar and, just as it was getting dark a bird flew over calling with a second bird churring in the distance. When do they migrate? I had it in mind that it was August but it is clearly later, I will have to check the dates in Birds of Derbyshire.
As I then drove across the moor I saw something flying ahead of me and thought it may be another Nightjar but, as I got closer, I saw a Short-eared Owl sat on the tarmac at the edge of the road. I grabbed the camera but as look would have it another car was coming the other way. As the car approached another owl flew in front of me. I thought the owl on the road was about to be run over but it lifted just in front of the approaching car.
I got one fuzzy record shot through the car window.
I've posted this update from my car so apologies for any errors.
I originally post this as Short-eared Owl but thinking back have corrected it to Long-eared, I don't think there is anything in the photo to help with the identification but the eyes were definitely orange not yellow. This is my first September record for Long-eared, I'm still not sure whether they are resident locally or leave the area in the winter.
Back to Short-eared following discussion with various folk, face pattern, light streaking on belly and structure/jiz
Checking in the Birds of Derbyshire August is given as the departure date for Nightjar but there is a single reference to a bird at a breeding site on 10th September, so this is a late record.
Long-eared Owl

Peregrine juvenile

I haven't seen much of the local juvenile Peregrines since they fledged in July but there were two youngsters on the moor this morning chasing the Kestrels.
The juveniles will retained their streaked underparts until next summer when they will moult into the barred plumage of the adult.
Still several Stonechat and Whinchat on the moor this morning but its definitely starting to feel autumnal.

Peregrine Falcon Juvenile

Monday, 7 September 2015

Emerald Damselfly

Good numbers of Emerald Damselfly today on the Cupola Ponds at Stonedge.
Emerald Damselfly

Speckled Wood

A well marked example of Speckled Wood with a lot of white in the wing. Still plenty of butterflies around in the sunshine at least half a dozen Wall yesterday at Longstone Edge.
The female Black Redstart still present this morning on the B5057 at Peasunhurst. Also Wheatear today, three Whinchat and two Stonechat on the moor.
Speckled Wood

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Family portrait - Common Lizard

As the weather cools the lizards will be spending less time basking in the sunshine readying themselves for hibernation. 
This is often communal and, locally, is most likely in the bases of the drystone walls lasting from the end of September through to mid-March. 
Males can be distinguished from females by their orange or yellow, black spotted belly which is pale and unspotted in females. From above females are generally striped whilst the males appear spotted, so it looks like a female on the right in the photo but it's not clear if the other adult is male or female.
Common Lizards - adults with young

Something to Chat about

A nice loose party of chats on the moor this morning, at least 8 Stonechat and 4 Whinchat. The Stonechats looked like they included a family party as there were several youngsters, these looked quite comical as they are moulting their grey and white spotted juvenile feathers for the smarter oranges, browns and blacks of the adult. Most of the head was still in the grey spotted juvenile feathers.
The heather is still in full flower making a great background.
Stonechat - moulting juvenile

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Mouse Moth

When I caught a rather tatty example of the Mouse Moth last year I mentioned that it had become a rare visitor to the garden and that was my first in three years, I caught another last night and its a much fresher example showing the distinctive double dot on the forewing.
Mouse Moth

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