Thursday, 31 March 2016

Roe Deer Buck - Beeley Moor

Doug Aston sent me this rare photo of a Roe Deer on Beeley Moor taken recently.
Sounds like Spring is finally underway in the Darley area, Ken has reported Swallows and Sand Martins around Rowley.
Roe Deer buck(Doug Aston)

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Spring is on it's way - Dipper feeding young on River Wye

Real signs of Spring appearing now with a pair of Dipper already feeding young on the River Wye this morning.
I will be missing the Spring in the UK this year as I am travelling abroad until the Summer but you can follow my progress on my Wildlife Diaries blog and on the Twitter feed in the two blogs.
I will post any interesting wildlife photos received from the Matlock/Bakewell area whilst I'm away on the Darley Dale blog and normal service will resume on my return!


Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Continental race of Cormorant - Ogston Reservoir

Spent this morning sat in the hide at Ogston, whilst the rain continued outside. My only diversion was the Cormorants sat in front of the hide. Two were white headed adults showing characteristics of the continental race sinensis. I took quite a few photos then, when I got home, thought I would check for the latest thoughts on separation of nominate carbo from the continental race sinensis, I knew most of the obvious field characters; extent of white on the head and flanks and plumage colouration had now been discounted as unreliable but knew there was something about the gular pouch angle.
Continental Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis

The most detailed analysis on the subject was published back in 2004 (Sub-Specific Differentiation & Distribution of Great Cormorants in Europe Stuart E. Newson et al). The study concluded that a bird with a gular patch angle <65 degrees was likely to be P c carbo and those with an angle > 73 degrees was probably sinensis. 
The bird photographed today at Ogston looks to have an angle of 90 degrees and is probably therefore the continental race sinensis
Comparison of gulag patch angle in P c carbo and P c sinensis
For comparison the photo below is of a bird photographed at Chatsworth last November, it is bearing a ring which identifies it as having originated from Rutland Water. The gular pouch angle is around 60 degrees which accords with it being the nominate race carbo although it should be noted that the number of sinensis has increased in the inland breeding population during the past few decades.
Cormorant P c carbo

Monday, 7 March 2016

Water Rail - Cromford Canal

Made another trip this morning to look for Water Vole on Cromford Canal, this time with James. We had just passed Whatstandwell Station and we were nearing the sewage works when I mentioned to James that walking this area a few weeks ago I had met someone who had seen Water Rail here last winter. No sooner had I said it than a Water Rail appeared on the edge of the reeds just across the canal from us.
Beautiful blue sky and an obliging Water Rail, who could ask for more?
We took several hundred photos and some video (see below), pointed it out to various passing walkers and left it to continue its feeding.
Water Rail

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Curlew in the snow

A lone Curlew on the moor this morning, looking like it wished it had stayed on the coast a bit longer.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Short-eared Owl landing

Ken took this superb photo of a Short-eared Owl coming in to land on Beeley yesterday. 
No sign this morning with snow settling across the moors.
Short-eared Owl (©Ken Smith)

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