Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Garden Warbler - Clough Wood

I've struggled to find Garden Warbler so far this Spring but finally came across a singing male this morning at Clough Wood, which like the Wall Brown below, is one of the local strongholds for the species. I'm not sure if they are just late arriving or numbers are down (or I have just failed to see them!)

Garden Warbler

Wall Brown - Clough Wood

At least three Wall Brown on the wing this morning at Clough Wood despite a rather overcast and windy start to the day.

Wall Brown
The Wall Brown has suffered very mixed fortunes during the past decade or so. One theory that has been suggested is that the butterfly may be a victim of climate change as warmer weather is causing a further generation to hatch too late in the year for their ensuing caterpillars to survive to the following year.
I've copied the distribution in Derbyshire from a short article published by Ken Orpe on the East Midlands Butterfly Conservation web site.
Wall Brown in 2000 recorded in 110 tetrads
Wall Brown in 2008 recorded in 19 tetrads
Wall Brown in 2013 recorded in 54 tetrads
He went on to comment that;

'During 2014, only 10 of the 59 sites that had transects carried out in the County had sightings of this species and the overall total was just 43 individuals, half of which were seen at the Clough Wood site.'

Which shows how important Clough Wood has been for the butterfly in Derbyshire.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Stictea mygindiana, Cowberry Marble - Wragg's Quarry, Beeley Moor

Several of the beautiful micro moth Stictea mygindiana flying in Wragg's Quarry this morning. It's new for me, the adult is recorded as having a fairly short flight period (late May to early June) so presume I have overlooked it.
Nationally it is only found on heathland in Scotland and the Midlands. The Butterflies & Moths of Derbyshire says;
'This species is commonest in the county on the moors above Chesterfield, especially Beeley Moor'. 
So it looks like that's probably still the case.

Stictea mygindiana

Stictea mygindiana ©NBN Gateway

Dingy Skipper - Wragg's Quarry, Beeley Moor

At least 10 Dingy Skipper on the wing in Wragg's Quarry this morning. I've only seen them in the quarry over the last 4 or 5 years but last year didn't see any so it's good to see they are still there.
Dingy Skipper on the larval food plant Bird's-foot Trefoil

Friday, 27 May 2016

Hobby - Harewood Moor

Better views of Hobby this evening with an adult present for at least two hours on Harewood Moor. Not always easy to see though, it was hunting low over the moor with occasional towering flights and I assume it was after Emperor Moths which have been flying in good numbers during the past week.


Thursday, 26 May 2016

Long-tailed Tit - juvenile Bakewell

Lovely to watch a family party of at least 10 recently fledged Long-tailed Tits this morning by the river in Bakewell. Eighteen Tufted Duck is a good count for the river including the hybrid male but no sign of the Goosander family although they have been seen in recent days.
Long-tailed Tit - juvenile

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Oystercatcher - Beeley Flash

There is a small area of flooded grassland on the Chatsworth Road just beyond Beeley village. In the winter it can be quite a large lake but it generally dries up quickly in the early Spring. At the moment it still contains water and looks ideal for a passing wader or egret. This morning there was a lone Oystercatcher, a local rarity, which departed just before I got to the pool unfortunately. There were three broods of Mallard, a couple of Grey Heron, pair of Coot and several Black-headed Gulls along the shore.
Further on, it was nice to see Common Sandpiper again, I'll be interested to see whether its mate is the colour-ringed female I usually see on the river. 
Beeley Flash
Common Sandpiper

Monday, 23 May 2016

Short-eared Owl

Came across this Short-eared Owl yesterday. 
Given that we are now in the breeding season I'll not disclose the location although there was no indication of any breeding behaviour. Superb bird!
Short-eared Owl

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Osprey and Hobby - Harland Edge, Beeley Moor

The prospects didn't look good when I left the house in a persistent drizzle this morning but the rain eased off and I ended up on Harland Edge again. A couple of Buzzards were hunting along the edge when a larger bird appeared from the East. Even in the murky conditions it was clearly an Osprey. It drifted slowly down the edge before disappearing over Bunkers Hill much as the Red Kite had done on Thursday. Two Osprey were seen in the same area on Tuesday so it's possible that this could be one of those birds remaining in the area.
About 20 minutes later a Hobby appeared moving in the same direction until a Peregrine appeared and looked like it chased it off heading back towards Holymoorside. 
I took some photos for the record but all the birds were very distant.

Hobby above a Peregrine

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Goosander with young - Bakewell

Martin Derbyshire sent me this photo of a female Goosander with her off spring. He says it was taken the same date as he saw them last year which makes it around 17th May.
Bakewell is probably one of the best places to see Goosander as they tend to be tolerant of people walking past.
Goosander - female with young (©Martin Derbyshire)

Red Kite - Harland Edge, Beeley Moor

A Red Kite flew over me at around 09:15 this morning as I was walking down the Cathole. It came from the Chesterfield direction and followed Harland Edge before gaining height over Bunkers Hill Wood before being lost to view. 
Not entirely sure on its age but I think second calendar year with the pale tips to the greater underwing coverts and the state of moult, having already lost 4 inner primaries on each wing.
Red Kite

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Moth trap - Early-tooth Striped, Waved Umber

Ran the moth trap last night, first time this year having missed March and April, it was cool but with some cloud and there were a few moths around. No surprises though but nice to see The Streamer, Brindled Beauty, Early-tooth Striped and Waved Umber for the first time this year. 
Early-tooth Striped
Waved Umber

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Grey Wagtail - just out of the nest

This Grey Wagtail at Rowsley must have just left the nest I think.
Grey Wagtail

Redstart - adult female

Nice view of a female Redstart at Rowsley this morning, looked like she was collecting nesting material.
Redstart - fetale

Monday, 16 May 2016

Pied Flycatcher - Darley Dale

I was away when the Pied Flycatchers returned to the local Oak woodlands in mid-April so I have been keen to catch-up with them, especially whilst the sunshine persists! 
I came across several singing males this morning and witnessed a food pass from male to female, part of their courtship ritual. 
The female is quite interesting as she shows a bit more white at the base of the primaries than is typical for Pied, showing that caution and additional features are needed when looking for other female flycatchers.
It looks like nest building is underway but the females are not incubating just yet.
Pied Flycatcher - female
Pied Flycatcher - male
Pied Flycatcher - female
Pied Flycatcher - male passing food to female

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Common or Smooth Newt

Good numbers of Common Newt in my garden pond, counted at least 7 today but there could be more. This is a male with bright orange underparts and crest.
Common Newt

Tawny Owl - Clough Wood

Although I hear Tawny Owls on an almost daily basis during the winter and early spring I don't see many so it was good to come across this bird unexpectedly at Clough Wood. 
Tawny and Barn Owls have a dark iris making it harder to get a decent shot of the face and this bird was in the shade but modern cameras help with their high ISO capability, this photo was taken at ISO 2500.
Tawny Owl

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Tree Pipit

Tree Pipits are back on the moor and with plenty of recently cleared conifer plantations there is plenty of new habitat for them this year. Whitethroats and Willow Warblers are in good numbers and several Cuckoo calling from the moorland edges.
Tree Pipit

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Wood Warbler - Darley Dale

I returned to the UK at the weekend after my two month tour of southern Europe. On my first trip out today I came across one, maybe two Wood Warblers in the wood running up to the moor from my house in Darley Dale. Amazing to think that less than two weeks ago I was watching a migrant Wood Warbler in Greece on the shores of the Aegean Sea at Porto Lagos. That bird wasn't singing, but this one was in constant song.
They are fantastic birds and it's good that we can still see them locally.
Wood Warbler

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