Thursday, 31 December 2015

Tufted Duck x Pochard hybrid back at Bakewell

The male Tufted Duck x female Pochard hybrid has returned for at least its third winter and was by the island in Bakewell this morning and giving great views in the sunshine. For the past two winters I've seen it around Chatsworth but it's certainly easier to view at Bakewell.
It has been occasionally reported as a male Scaup but it's more likely to be confused with Lesser Scaup although with views like these it shouldn't be a problem. 
The extensively black-tipped bill and grey back with fine black vermiculations separate the two. Lesser Scaup has just the nail of the bill black and the back is white with coarse black vermiculation. 
You can see these differences on the Lesser Scaup photographed at Ogston in March 2013, click the link and view below.

Tufted Duck x Pochard male hybrid

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Geese on the move

A skein of 350 - 400 flew west over Darley Dale at around 12:15 today, presumably heading up to the Southport area from the Wash.
Pink-footed Geese
Whilst at Peak Village yesterday I noted that one of the Canada Geese was colour-ringed. Not sure where this bird originates from but I've contacted the ringing group I think is responsible so will hopefully get an update. See below;
Canada Goose
5272507 Ad F 02/07/2013 Bowness-on-Windermere: 54°22'N 2°55'W (SD4097) (Cumbria) 
AAAH VV 29/09/2014 Bakewell: 53°12'N 1°41'W (SK2168) (Derbyshire)   153km SSE 1 yr 89days
VV 26/12/2015 Rowsley, near Bakewell: 53°11'N 1°38'W (SK2566) (Derbyshire)   156km SSE 2 yrs 

Canada Goose

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Wigeon - Rowsley

A pair of Wigeon with Mallard by Peak Village at Rowsley is quite unusual, there was also a male Shoveler which has been present in the general area up to Chatsworth for several weeks, and a drake Mandarin but nothing else of note on a drive around the moor. 
It was 13 Centigrade at sunrise which is very mild. 

Wigeon - male and female

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Winter Blackcap

I noted a male Blackcap in the garden at the start of the week and it is still present today. It is feeding off the fat feeder and has been making fairly regular visits but it has taken until today to get a photo. This is the first time I've seen Blackcap in the garden in the winter and is no doubt a reflection of the very mild weather we have been experiencing.
The number of Blackcap wintering in Derbyshire, according to The Birds of Derbyshire, has risen steadily from around a dozen in the 1970's to more than 70 in recent years, most are recorded in gardens and generally in the lower lying south and east of the county.
Nationally and regionally the Blackcap population is doing well and may be benefiting from a reduced migration with many now wintering in Europe. There is some evidence that our wintering birds are not of British origin but migrate here from northern and eastern Europe.

Blackcap - male

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Stoat - Middleton Moor

A much brighter day today and still very mild, ran the moth trap overnight but no moths.
This Stoat at Middleton Moor ran in front of the hide, I don't see many so pleased with this, they are so quick. Nothing much else though; 56 Teal and a single Greylag Goose were the only birds of note.


Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Red Deer river crossing - Chatsworth

I just caught the Red Deer herd at Chatsworth crossing the river this morning, it looked like just over 50 animals which is most of the herd I think.
There is still a male Shoveler on Emperor Lake along with single female Goldeneye and Goosander but no Crossbill. It must be a month since I've seen any. and then it was only a couple of birds, so it's not looking like a good year for them locally.
Red Deer

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Short-eared Owl - Beeley Moor

There have been occasional sightings of a Short-eared Owl on Beeley Moor during the past couple of weeks but the weather has been so poor that it has been difficult to look for it. I finally caught up with it last night in the murky gloom at around 15:30 and took a record photo.
For the photographers this was taken at ISO 4000 at f4 1/250 and was still a stop and a half under exposed. It was so dark that I could barely see the bird with my naked eye but, with a bit of processing,  the photo is good enough to confirm the identification showing the black wing tips, pale trailing edge to the wing and boldly barred tail of Short-eared.
It's assumed that Long-eared Owls leave the area in favour of communal roosts in the winter, I've never seen one locally in the winter months.
Short-eared Owl

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Marsh Tit - Monsal Dale

The Marsh Tit is the least common member of the tit family in Derbyshire, it was reported from just 25 locations in the 2014 Derbyshire Bird Report compared to 62 locations for the Willow Tit. This is the reverse of the national situation where there are estimated to be six times as many Marsh Tit territories as there are for Willow Tit (52,800 and 8,500 respectively in 2000).
Sadly both species have suffered a more than 50% population decline since the 1970's and both are now red listed as species of most conservation concern in the UK. 
I photographed this bird this morning in a very gloomy and damp Monsal Dale.
Marsh Tit
The Peak District holds a significant proportion of the Derbyshire population and Monsal, Millers and Chee Dales are still amongst the best areas to listen for its distinctive 'pitchou' calls which are the best way of separating it from its very similar cousin.
Various features have been suggested for separating the two species; the Marsh Tit tends to have a smaller bib and a dull rather than glossy black cap but these features are often unreliable or difficult to determine on a lone bird. 
A pale mark above the cutting edge at the bill base in Marsh Tit has been relatively recently described (2008 and 2009) as a reliable way of separating the two. Where present this may be helpful as shown in photo above and the cropped image below.
Marsh Tit on left showing pale mark at base of bill generally absent on Willow on right

Marsh Tit (left) and Willow Tit showing the black bib
Pale edges to the secondaries and tertials form a pale panel in the wing of the Willow Tit which, when present, is a good indicator of Willow as can be seen in the photo below taken at Carsington on Friday. 
Willow Tit

Locally the best places to look for Willow Tit are the feeding stations at Carsington and Ogston Reservoirs or slightly further away at Carr Vale.
There are occasional Willow Tit records from Flash Lane, Darley Hillside and Clough Wood but I have never come across Marsh Tit in the immediate Darley Dale area.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Leucistic Common Snipe - Carsington Water

A leucistic Common Snipe  has been present at Carsington Water for over a week. I haven't managed to see it yet but Roger sent me these photos taken in the last couple of days. It has generally been seen in front of the visitor centre in company with anything from 7 to 30 Common Snipe.
Whilst Common Snipe are normally very well camouflaged it shows that they don't have to rely entirely on that to avoid predators.

Common Snipe exhibiting leucism (©Roger Carrington)

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Lapwing arrival

Earlier today I picked up a large flock of very distant birds heading towards Screetham Lane from the SW, they turned out to be Lapwing as they got closer. I estimated that there were 400-500 birds, which briefly joined a group of around 70 which were already on the ground. 
This is one of the largest Lapwing flocks I have seen locally and is a welcome sight and hopefully reflects improving fortunes for this species which has declined sharply since the 1980's.
Lapwing - part of the large flock

Monday, 7 December 2015

Mountain Hare - Bleaklow

Made my first trip of the winter to Bleaklow for Mountain Hare with James. The weather has been so bad recently that this was the first opportunity in the last few weeks.
Most of the hares were in their winter pelt but a couple still had brown on the face. 
They are beautiful animals and well adapted to survive in what can be a very hostile environment. The wind increased in strength whilst we were on the moor making it difficult to stand. 
A skein of Pink-footed Geese and single Golden Plover and Raven were the only birds seen.

Mountain Hare

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Goldeneye - Ogston Reservoir

Very windy and heavily overcast all day making it difficult to stand, never mind look through binoculars particularly on the moor, so made another visit to Ogston. 
Nothing new on the reservoir but a Goldeneye came reasonably close inshore and a second bird flew past. I put them both in the log as female/ immature but looking at the photos the top bird is an immature with all dark bill and largely grey wing coverts whilst the inset photo of the second bird is an adult female with yellow tipped bill, brighter yellow iris and white wing coverts.
Goldeneye - 1st winter
Goldeneye 1st winter and inset adult female

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Lesser Redpoll - Carsington Water

A nice flock of Lesser Redpoll on Stones Island at Carsington Water has been present for several days and, helpfully, mainly feeding low down on Rosebay Willow-Herb seeds enabling decent views. There are at least 40, and with them there has been a single Mealy Redpoll although I couldn't find it this morning. 
The Mealy Redpoll is now considered a separate species (Acanthis flammea) from the British Lesser Redpoll (Acanthis cabaret) so it's worth looking for.
Separating the various species and races of Redpoll is quite a challenge, the starting point is a thorough knowledge of the structure and plumages of the Lesser Redpoll.

Lesser Redpoll

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...