Sunday, 27 November 2016

Mottled Umber

With the relatively mild weather continuing there are still one or two moths on the wing. I caught this Mottled Umber last night. This is a male and they will continue to fly on mild evenings in search of the flightless female through to January.
Mottled Umber

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Lesser Black-backed Gull - Middleton Moor

The Lesser Black-backed is by far the commonest of the large gulls in the Peak District, currently there are around 500 to 600 roosting at Middleton Moor. They can then be seen feeding in grassy fields in the area during the day.
The increase in number of birds wintering in Derbyshire is a relatively recent change, and can number several thousand at Carsington. Prior to the 1970's is was mainly a migrant with most records in the Autumn.
Almost all the birds are of the western European race Larus fuscus graellsii which breeds around much of the British coastline.
Lesser Black-backed Gull - adult graellsii

Starlings leaving the roost - Middleton Moor

I made my first visit of the winter to Middleton Moor last night. Plenty of Starlings but they all flew straight in to the reed bed without even a suggestion of a murmuration. There were both Peregrine and Sparrowhawk on the hunt which sometimes causes them to fly around more, but not last night. Very difficult to estimate the number of birds, last night I was thinking it was around 15,000 but I went back this morning to watch them leave the roost and the numbers seemed much higher. I saw a Sparrowhawk take one bird at first light but no sign of the Peregrine this morning. 
There was a Water Rail squealing in the reed bed last night.
Starlings leaving the roost

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Raven - Bent Lane

Glorious sunshine this morning but just 2°C on the moor and rather icy first thing, with snow visible on the higher slopes above Stanege Edge. 
Not many birds about but I caught this Raven flying over the dead bracken on the edge of the moor. It has clearly just eaten with extended crop and still with some blood on the bill. It's a difficult bird to photograph being all black but with the sun on it and a coloured background the feather detail shows up nicely.


Friday, 18 November 2016


There appears to be a few more Brambling about this week. I had 30-40 along Bent Lane yesterday and at least six visiting the feeders at Shillito Wood on Big Moor this afternoon. 
With some sunshine today the birds at the feeders looked fantastic.


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Red Deer river crossing - Chatsworth

On Sunday there was a report of a Great White Egret at Chatsworth which is the first record I can recall from this area. Given the exponential increase in the population in the south of the country and their gradual spread northwards its a bird that we can expect to see more of in the future. Anyway, no sign this morning, but I did just catch a group of Red Deer crossing the Derwent which is always nice to see. 
The Great Grey Shrike was still on the moors this afternoon at the northern end of Flash Lane but otherwise a rather dull, grey day.
Red Deer

Friday, 11 November 2016

Water Rail - still showing well

The Water Rail was still in the Whitworth Park this morning and with a little patience it was possible to get very close views as it fed in the muddy channel by the seat overlooking the pond.
In addition to the resident Grey Heron we had Kingfisher and Crossbill which is not bad for such a busy park.
Water Rail

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Water Rail - Whitworth Park, Darley Dale

I mentioned a couple of days ago that a Water Rail had been seen in the Whitworth Park. I finally managed to see it this morning and it gave fantastic views from the seat by the pond.
A scarce winter visitor and rare breeding bird in Derbyshire this is the first I have seen in Darley Dale.

Water Rail

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Crossbill - Flash Lane

I've seen Crossbills flying over Flash Lane for the past 3 or 4 weeks, usually just ones or twos but there were 13 on 22nd October. This morning a party of 10 landed in trees at the moorland end of Flash Lane but didn't stop for long. Quite a few red males in the group which is unusual.
No sign of any Waxwing this morning nor of the Great Grey Shrike.
Common Crossbill

Friday, 4 November 2016

Waxwings arrive in Darley Dale

Following a large arrival of Waxwing down the east coast yesterday the first Waxwings were seen in Darley Dale this morning on Park Avenue. After an absence of several years, let's hope this is going to be a good winter for them locally.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Great Grey Shrike - Beeley Triangle

Glorious morning but much cooler today. The Great Grey Shrike was again around the Triangle briefly but was clearly in hunting mode, very active and always distant. Despite having been in the area for more than two weeks it's still very unpredictable and doesn't stay in one place for long.
Another good movement of Pink-footed Geese with several thousand passing directly over the moor.
A Water Rail has been photographed in Whitworth Park at the start of the week which is a very good local record and the first I have heard of in Darley Dale.
Got some better shrike photos this evening so have updated.

Great Grey Shrike

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