Monday, 30 November 2015

Nice weather for ducks!

With almost continuous rain for the last couple of days I have not seen much in the way of wildlife but sitting in the hide at Ogston Reservoir this morning the Teal were busy displaying. There were over 100 which is a decent count, although they spent most of the time hidden in the vegetation.
A male Sparrowhawk made a brief appearance unsuccessfully chasing Reed Buntings.
Teal - displaying male
Sparrowhawk - male

Friday, 27 November 2015

Black Redstart - Peasunhurst last sighting 20th November and final photos

The Black Redstart at Peasunhurst was last seen by Ken on the 20th November when he took the photos below. These are probably the best ones taken during the birds 83 day stay in the area, having been first found by Ken on 30th August.
We are assuming that it was the same returning Black Redstart that was present from 28 July - 27 September 2014 at the same farm at Peasunhurst. 
It was always difficult to photograph as it was on a farm with no public access and it seldom strayed close to the busy B5057 road.
Coincidentally a Black Redstart was recorded at Ogston at Brackenfield Church on the afternoon of the 20th, could it have been the same bird?

Black Redstart (©Ken Smith)

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Dunlin - East Moor

A surprise this morning with a Dunlin amongst just over 50 Golden Plover on East Moor. My first for the Beeley Moor area although regular at both Ogston and Carsington. I think it probably bred locally in the dim and distant past but it's now restricted to the higher moors north of Bamford as a breeding bird.
Dunlin with Golden Plover

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Whooper Swan - Middleton Moor

In rather inclement weather conditions I made my first visit of the winter to see the Starling roost at Middleton Moor this morning. Just to get an idea of the number of birds I find the morning easier as birds arrive over a couple of hours coming in to roost but depart in a couple of minutes the following morning. The birds departed in three groups this morning at 07:40 and I estimate that there were no more than 10,000 birds which is much less than I've seen at this time in the prior two years. It is still quite a sight though.
There is no problem with visiting the site with parking on the roadside at Moisty Lane. The landowners, British Fluorspar, request that visitors stick to the footpath and viewing area as the settlement pits are dangerous.
Having seen the Starlings I visited the open pools and was greeted by the sound of calling Whooper Swans at the hide with two adults present until about 9:10 when they left to the SE. A single male Stonechat and 17 Golden Plover were the only other birds of note.

Whooper Swans

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Shag - Linacre Reservoir

I was disappointed not to see the Shag at Carsington yesterday and surprised to hear, as I was leaving, of first one, then four and finally eight birds at Linacre Reservoir.
Originally found by Peter Stoppard of Linacre Blogger fame, more birds were found by subsequent visitors with 8 the final total.
The birds were initially dispersed this morning but 5 were eventually located preening together by the water inflow on the middle reservoir with a 6th bird in the water. All 8 from yesterday could well have been there. All the birds seen this morning were juveniles.
Described as a rare visitor, usually in winter in The Birds of Derbyshire the highest recorded count is of 11 birds at Ogston Reservoir in 1993, so this looks like the second highest count.
A pair of Kingfisher, at least 10 Mandarin, 3 Great-crested Grebe and three Teal were also on the reservoir.
If they stay it will be worth a visit in better light.

Shag - juveniles

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Great Northern Diver - Carsington Water

An adult and juvenile Great Northern Diver have been present at Carsington Water since the start of the week and the juvenile showed very well this morning under a blue sky, but it was very cold with the first snow of the winter overnight.
There were also 9 Whooper Swans on the reservoir and a Red-throated Diver was seen earlier in the day but I missed this and 4 Little Gulls and there was no sign of the juvenile Shag which had also been present for several days but I was happy to leave with several hundred photos of the diver.

Great Northern Diver - juvenile

Friday, 20 November 2015

Great Grey Shrike - Wragg's Quarry

Just back from a week in the Alps, so making my first visit back to the moor. Met Ken by Wragg's Quarry to hear he had just seen a Great Grey Shrike flying to the back of the quarry. We soon relocated it on the fence posts on the quarry perimeter from where it was repeatedly flying down in to the heather and looked to be feeding on beetles.
We took a couple of distant record shots and left it hunting.
This is the sixth Autumn in a row that a Great Grey Shrike has turned up at the quarry. If it behaves similarly to the previous birds it will hopefully remain in the area over the winter.

Great Grey Shrike

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Barn Owl - Beeley Moor

A surprise for George Briggs this morning, mist netting for thrushes on the edge of the moor when a Barn Owl paid a visit.
It's amazing how secretive the owls can be in the Darley Dale/ Beeley Moor area. For both Barn and Long-eared Owl I generally only see them in the latter part of the breeding season.

I hear that the Crag Martin is still present and showing well today in Chesterfield, which has remained in the area despite the weather.
Barn Owl 

Monday, 9 November 2015

Crag Martin - Chesterfield

Slightly outside my normal reporting area but worth it for Derbyshire's first and Britain's tenth Crag Martin.
First reported at mid-day yesterday, and found by Roy Frost who was doing some survey work on urban Peregrines, I arrived a little late, around 14:00 to hear it had been last seen around 13:50. Along with 70-80 others I waited until dusk but there was no further sign.
I didn't hold out much hope of it reappearing but thanks to the Norfolk birder who came up early morning on the off chance, it was reported again around 8:15 and it was on show when I arrived 20 minutes later and remained so until 10:00 when I left as it had started to rain.
Crag Martin
It spent most of the time whipping around around the tower just below the clock occasionally going further afield over the town but returning within a few minutes. I can only assume it was catching insects from the walls or perhaps coming out of the vented openings in the tower.
Crag Martin
It was extremely active making it very difficult to photograph but I eventually managed enough to show the main features. I didn't get much on the upper side but it looked to have pale tips to the coverts and scapulars so is presumably a first winter.
I can only speculate that it may have arrived in Britain with a small influx of Pallid Swifts which was noted from 31st October onwards and could therefore have been in the Country for a few days. Two of the earlier records were in October but this is the first for November. The Crag Martin has been extending it range northwards from the southern Europe but most winter either around the Mediterranean or in Africa.
Excellent write up on ageing here.
An amazing sight to see it around the twisted spire in Chesterfield and my first rarity there since the Black-throated Thrush in 1998.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Wild duck bonanza - Chatsworth

I don't usually visit Chatsworth in the afternoon, especially on the weekend, as it is so busy but the weather has been so bad recently that this was my first opportunity. However I may have to rethink as on the river in front of the house I saw a fine drake Shoveler and whilst photographing the Shoveler a drake Pochard swam in to view and then a Gadwall appeared, a first winter drake I think.
Both Gadwall and Pochard are new records for the immediate area for me and although all three species can generally be seen at Ogston and Chatsworth they are great records for the Matlock/ Bakewell area. 
The Pochard has recently been listed as vulnerable on the European Red List of Birds due to a significant decline in numbers in recent years which is rather worrying.
Pochard - male

Gadwall - 1st male
Shoveler - male

Friday, 6 November 2015

Goosander - Bakewell

Another grey day but nice to see three Goosander still on the river at Bakewell. I assume these are siblings from a local breeding pair.


Thursday, 5 November 2015

Scarce Umber - first of the winter

Caught several Mottled Umber last night plus my first Scarce Umber of the winter. The catch included several Red-green and Juniper Carpet plus another December Moth, also caught my first Winter Moth of the season earlier in the week.
Scarce Umber

Monday, 2 November 2015

Brocken spectre effect - Beeley Moor

With plenty of mist around at the moment there is a chance of seeing the Brocken Spectre effect again. I was on East Moor this afternoon with the sun behind me and the mist rising from Holymoorside when I witnessed the mist halo effect. It didn't last for more than a few minutes but was quite striking. 
Brocken Spectre - East Moor

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