Sunday, 28 February 2016

Siskin in the garden

Mentioned yesterday that there are plenty of Siskin about now, and up to a dozen regularly visiting the garden feeder. Some of the males are starting to look very smart as the pale feathers tips, hiding the black and green plumage, are worn away.

Siskin - male

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Male Sparrowhawk - Darley Dale

A rather distant photo of a male Sparrowhawk but it shows the lovely blue-grey head and orangey face and barring on the underparts. Otherwise a fairly quiet day, but plenty of Siskin around now and coming regularly to my garden feeders.
Sparrowhawk - male

Friday, 26 February 2016

Whooper Swans - Middleton Moor

Six adult Whooper Swans at Middleton Moor this morning. Looking in the log it looks like they have been present since the 21st February. They drifted around the eastern edge of No 4 lagoon and showed well from the hide, calling occasionally. Also 2 Shelduck there today.

Whooper Swans

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Brown Hares active at last

I've mentioned before that, locally at least, the Brown Hares disappear in to the woodlands over the winter and I therefore have very few sightings between November and February but with the Spring like weather they have returned to the fields during the last week and several animals put on a fine show in this mornings sunshine.
First Curlew calling on the moor this morning!

Brown Hare

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Long-tailed Tit

Great to watch a party of Long-tailed Tits in the sunshine today. This particular bird kept coming back to a small Hawthorn bush and was happily feeding no more than 5m away. Tricky getting a photo with no obscuring branches though.
Long-tailed Tit

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Juvenile Shag Bakewell

Went in to Bakewell this morning looking for a male Goosander I had seen on Friday where they feed the Mallard and gulls. No sign of the Goosander, so I walked up river a bit and was very surprised to find this juvenile Shag on the narrow island by the A6 opposite Lumford Cottages.  Looks like it's starting to get some green adult scapulars. 
I think there are still three at Linacre Reservoir, which are the last of the original 8, which turned up there last November. The other 5 went to Carr Vale in December and there was still one there in January so it's possible that this bird is one of the original 8.
As I returned to the town centre the male Goosander was out in the feeding area.

Shag - juvenile

Goosander - male

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Short-eared Owl back on Beeley Moor

I was surprised this morning to come across this Short-eared Owl hunting in the bright sunshine on Beeley Moor. I put 'back' on Beeley Moor in the blog post title but it's not clear if they have ever left. They were definitely very nocturnal in their hunting towards the end of January but I have had odd reports of owls being seen in fading light since then.
I can only assume that the continual rain yesterday has forced it to hunt during the daylight so I was pleased to see that it successfully took at least one vole.

Short-eared Owl

Friday, 12 February 2016

The Water Vole by Christine Gregory

My copy of local author Christine Gregory's new book, The Water Vole arrived through the letter box this morning. 
It looks superb with 240 pages of text and colour photographs, nearly all taken by Christine, in a similar format to her publication Brown Hares in the Derbyshire Dales.
In addition to covering the lives and ecology of the Water Vole there is a large section entitled Derbyshire's Water Voles with many photographs taken locally. 
Sadly the book also maps the decline of this iconic resident of our waterways, both Nationally and specifically in Derbyshire. I've mentioned previously my own observation on the Water Voles disappearance from many local sites in the last few years and as Chris Packham writes in his foreword to the book;
 'What would life be like without the characteristic 'plop', that little cork-pulling wet plop, which, if we are lucky , we can still hear as we wend along a wilder stream?' 
What indeed!
I'm looking forward to reading the book in the coming weeks, and well done Christine!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Starling murmuration - Middleton Moor

My first visit this year to Middleton Moor. Starling numbers were quite low, I estimated 6-8K birds, but what they lacked in number they certainly made up for with the murmuration. They circled the reed bed for at least 15 to 20 minutes before finally dropping in to roost.
The first birds arrived about 16:30 and they dropped in to roost at about 17:15.

Starling murmuration

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Common Buzzard - first display

First signs of the changing seasons this week with Buzzards displaying. Typically circling and then closing their wings in a steep swooping dive before opening their wings, often with legs dangling, as this bird. The process often accompanied by the characteristic mewing calls.
A Chiffchaff calling in Bakewell will be one that has over wintered, benefitting from the mild winter, rather than a migrant at this time.
I've posted a short write up on a trip to Holland last weekend on my Wildlife Diaries Blog.
Common Buzzard - display

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