Sunday, 31 July 2016

Peregrine - juvenile Darley Dale

For the past eight or nine days I've seen, or more correctly heard, a juvenile Peregrine flying up and down the valley. It follows an adult whilst making very loud begging calls which are usually the first indication it's in the area. Typically it's gone, or flys out of view, before I can get the camera but managed a decent shot of it today.
Peregrine - juvenile

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Probable Hoary Footman - re-identified as Scarce

Last July Simon Roddis trapped a moth in Darley Dale which he thought was probably the Hoary Footman and I agreed with him, there are more details here along with some general info on its occurrence in the UK. 
One year on and I caught a moth in the garden trap yesterday that looks like another Hoary.
Probable Hoary (left) with Scarce Footman
The hindwing is white on Hoary whereas it's more buff on Scarce. This is impossible to see on the sat moth but I was able to knock these out with Ethly Acetate and carefully spread the hindwing before the moths woke up. 
Not entirely conclusive but the hindwing on the probably Hoary is paler. I will canvas opinion from those who regularly trap this moth.
Scarce (left) and probable Hoary Footman
Footnote: Jon Clifton at Anglian Lepidopterist Supplies has dissected the moth and confirmed that it is a male Scarce Footman, demonstrating how difficult Hoary can be to identify in the field

Monday, 25 July 2016

Grasshopper Warbler - Beeley Moor

I don't see many Grasshopper Warblers so was lucky to hear this one singing on the edge of the moor today, and even luckier to see it. 
It had dark feathers below the eye on both sides of the head which I've never seen before.
Grasshopper Warbler

Metalampra italica - first record for Derbyshire?

Another unusual micro moth. The Field Guide to the Micro Moths of Great Britain and Ireland describes it's distribution as ' very local. First found in Britain in 2003, otherwise known only in Italy'. So it looks unlikely that this moth has been recorded in Derbyshire before. Difficult to understand what it's doing in Darley Dale, unless it's hitched a ride on ornamental trees at a local garden centre?
Footnote: on the same day Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust caught one at their Head Office at Horncastle which is potentially the first record for Lincolnshire.

Metalampra italica

Osprey - Beeley Moor

There is still at least one Osprey in the area. I photographed this bird over Beeley Moor yesterday morning, it has a blue Darvic ring on its left leg. Catching a fish in the river and then coming up on the moor to eat it is something I have seen several times now.
 There were still two Osprey at Ogston Reservoir over the weekend and it's possible this bird could be one of those although I think the latest bird to arrive there has a blue ring on its right leg.
Osprey with fish

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Common Lizard - pregnant female Beeley Moor

The warm weather has been good for seeing lizards, I had seven or eight this morning on a short stretch of dry stone wall including this very pregnant female plus a rather unusual orange coloured individual, which also looked a bit thick around the waist.
Quiet bird wise but another Red Kite sighting indicates they are still in the area.
Common Lizard

Morophaga choragella - Large Clothes Moth

It's possible that this moth caught last night, the Large Clothes Moth, could be as rare in Derbyshire as the Caspian Tern but it's not as easy to check recent records. It's not listed in Butterflies and Moths of Derbyshire which was published in 1988 but there are doubtless some records in the intervening years. Although it doesn't look like there are an dots for Derbyshire on the National Biodiversity Network map it doesn't look like Derbyshire data is included in the data set.
It's quite large for a micro, the wing length was 12mm which helps to separate it from many similar moths 
There is one record for Yorkshire in 1999 published in the Millennium Review by the YNU in 2002 which might indicate the moth is spreading northwards which is also suggested in the Micro Moths of Great Britain and Ireland. 
It's a good record in any case but I don't think it can compete with the Caspian Tern!
Morophaga choragella

Friday, 22 July 2016

Caspian Tern - Carr Vale

After the Sabine's Gull was last seen at Carr Vale on Wednesday you might have thought it would have quietened down but news of an adult Caspian Tern there today put the the site firmly back on the UK national rarity map.
According to The Birds of Derbyshire this is just the eighth record for the County. 
It will be interesting to see if it stays. It didn't appear to be having any trouble catching fish, is it a Perch? Once it had eaten it was happy to sit with the Black-headed Gulls at some distance.

Caspian Tern

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Swammerdamia Pyrella - new for the garden

With the warm weather I've been catching plenty of moths but nothing too exciting. I did catch this Swammerdamia pyrella last night which I've not identified in the garden previously, although it's a fairly widespread micro moth. 
I caught the first Diamondback moth since the influx at the start of June so this could be offspring from that arrival, it was much darker than those involved in the influx.
Four Large Twin-spot Carpet is a record number for the garden of this relatively recent incomer to the area.
Swammerdamia pyrella 

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Yellow Wagtail juvenile - Carr Vale

I went back to have a look at the Sabine's Gull in this morning's sunshine, it showed well again as did a family of four juvenile Yellow Wagtails. I don't see many around Darley Dale, just the occasional flyover so it was nice to see this party.
Most of the youngsters lacked any yellow so looked surprisingly pipit like and I can see why they can be mistaken for Tawny Pipit at this age. 

Yellow Wagtail - juvenile

Monday, 18 July 2016

Water Vole - Cromford Canal

I think it's about two years since I have seen a Water Vole on Cromford Canal. Granted I haven't been that regularly but I did spend some time along the full length of the canal at the start of the year.
This evening James and I had a single animal at High Peak Junction but there must have been at least two as another couple had just seen one further down the canal. 
I don't think there is any doubt that the population crashed a couple of years ago and I have heard several theories why this may have occurred, particularly surrounding the use of the barge but I find it hard to believe that this would have had such an effect.
Hopefully they are making a come back.
Water Vole

Friday, 15 July 2016

Sabine's Gull - Carr Vale

I've just returned from a week in Iceland and was very surprised to hear that a Sabine's Gull had turned up at Carr Vale on Wednesday. Fortunately it was still there this morning and showing very well. 
It's outside my normal 'Darley Dale' range but only 13 miles as the Sabine's Gull flies and I could be waiting a long time for one on the River Derwent!
It's been reported as a first summer bird but the amount of yellow on the bill and large white wing tips  indicate to me that this is probably an adult or may be second summer. Adult's should be on the breeding grounds round the Article Circle now whereas second calendar year birds are thought to stay on the wintering grounds in the southern oceans.
There are just 5 prior records in the 20th Century in Derbyshire and one older record, so it's worth a look.

Sabine's Gull

Monday, 4 July 2016

The Forester moth - Flash Lane

In July 2014 Ken photographed a Forester moth at Stiches Plantation. I searched for it there immediately afterwards and again the following year without success. On Saturday Alan Stewardson contacted me to say he had seen at least two off Flash Lane so I went to have a look this morning and quickly located several feeding on clover and bird's-foot trefoil in the sunshine. I saw at least 7 in the immediate area but there is similar grassy habitat on Flash Lane and across to Sitches Plantation so it may be reasonably common in this area. 
In the Butterflies & Moths of Derbyshire Fred Harrison indicated that there were just two known colonies of the Forester in Derbyshire in the Moss Valley and at Unstone, although the latter is thought to have disappeared due to development. In 2006/2007 a colony was discovered near Ashover but this is clearly a scarce moth in Derbyshire and is reported to be in decline nationally as a result of agricultural intensification.
Forester Moth

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Marbled White - Clough Wood

Very pleased to see at least two very fresh looking Marbled White butterflies at Clough Wood this morning. These must be the off spring of those present last summer indicating that there is a small colony established at the site.
Marbled White

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Common Lizard - Flash Lane

Despite the intermittent sunshine and very strong NW wind I saw my first Common Lizards of the year on Flash Lane this morning with at least 4 poking their heads out of the dry stone wall. All were quite small and I assume they are one year olds. 
The appearance of Common Lizards sunning themselves in this area always seems to be quite a bit later than elsewhere in the Peak District presumably due to temperature factors.

Common Lizard

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