Friday, 27 January 2017

Redwings - Matlock

No sign of any Waxwing this morning by the M&S car park in Matlock but still plenty of Redwing feeding on the rapidly diminishing berries.


Thursday, 26 January 2017

Waxwings - Matlock

There were 30 Waxwing yesterday feeding on a large Cotoneaster bush by the entrance to the M&S car park but I don't think they were there for long. This morning there was still a single Waxwing feeding on the berries with several Redwing but another 5 Waxwing landed on a bush nearby.
Ken sent me one of his photos from this morning which is amazing given the heavily overcast conditions.
Waxwing (© Ken Smith)

Friday, 20 January 2017

Whooper Swan's on the move

A significant movement of Whooper Swan in the area this morning. I had just 5 flying west over Harland Edge but there were 15 at Long Eaton, 12 over Leash Fen, and two groups totalling 38 at Carsington of which 16 landed on the reservoir.
The count for the Ouse Washes a couple of days ago was 7,885 Whooper and 2,813 Bewick's Swans so there will still be plenty left!
Whooper Swan
The mist was patchy at Chatsworth early on, which was quite dramatic at times, and a singing Dipper put on a nice show but it was quiet otherwise.
Mist over the River Derwent
Dipper in song

Objections to the inclusion of New Parish Quarry in the Local Minerals Plan

Having spent almost all of my working like in the quarrying industry I am better placed than most to appreciate the positive impacts that quarrying and quarry restoration can have on wildlife. Locally the success of Peregrines Falcons and Ravens is largely due to the nesting habitat provided by both current and former quarries and there are many old quarries that are now managed as wildlife reserves both locally and nationally in recognition of their conservation value.
Peregrine Falcon

Derbyshire County Council is currently consulting on proposals to include a new quarry on Bent Lane in Darley Dale in the Minerals Local Plan which would be known as New Parish Quarry. The proposed site would cover 15.7 hectares and produce 500,000 to 800,000 tonnes of building stone between 2019 and 2039. 
I think the negative impacts of the proposal to open this new quarry on local wildlife far out weigh the benefits in this instance.
Proposed site of New Parish Quarry
Some details and a very limited impact assessment for the quarry are available on the Derbyshire County Council website along with details of where to send comments, which should be submitted by Sunday 29th January (all though I understand that this date may be extended due to the late inclusion of these proposals in to the draft Minerals Local Plan).
I have written to object expressing my concerns about the negative impact of the quarry but also about proposals to widen Bent Lane for HGV traffic which I think would devastate this quiet lane. Many bird watchers will have enjoyed watching Brambling feeding on Beech mast under these beautiful trees and its hard to imagine how these could survive the widening of the road to enable the passage of quarry vehicles.
My letter is reproduced below and I encourage you to read the details provided by Derbyshire County Council using the link above and submit your own letter of objection.
There have been several meetings recently organised by Darley Dale Parish Council to discuss the proposals but I have missed these having just returned from France.
A facebook page has been set up which will contain updates on the proposals.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Shoveler - Bakewell

Having just returned from clear blue skies in the French Alps it was a bit of a shock waking up to the grey skies and mist in the UK but there are generally more birds here than in there rather inhospitable winter alpine climate.
I took a walk around Bakewell this morning and came across a drake Shoveler, which I assume is the bird seen around Rowsley last winter. 
Shoveler - drake
There were more Tufted Duck around than I had seen prior to Christmas, I counted 24, which presumably moved here during the recent cold spell. The Tufted Duck x Pochard hybrid was with them so guess they haven't travelled very far.
Tufted Duck x Pochard hybrid
Finally had nice views of a Grey Heron, already in breeding plumage by the footbridge on the north side of town.
Grey Heron

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Great Grey Shrike - Beeley Moor

I'm packing for a trip to the French Alps tomorrow but a call from Ken to say he had the Great Grey Shrike on the Holymoorside road soon had me heading in that direction. Although the shrike has been around since mid-October it has been very elusive and I've only seen it 4 or 5 times, plus it's the start of a New Year. 
It was sat preening when I arrived and as usual it was rather distant. It made a couple of short hunting flights before gradually moving down the valley. I took a couple of records shots with the 500mm + 2x converter but it was still tiny in the frame.
There were 3 Waxwing by Forest Garden Centre in Darley Dale yesterday but I couldn't find them this morning but a flock of 30 Lesser Redpoll was the largest I've seen locally in recent weeks.

Great Grey Shrike

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

More Waxwing - Chesterfield

Still at least 18 Waxwing in Chesterfield this morning near Lidl at the Victoria Club by the A61 at Whitington Moor. They have been in the area for about three days I think.


Monday, 2 January 2017

Great start to the year - Hawfinch, Great Northern Diver & Dusky Thrush

Started the day at Cromford and, stood by the entrance to Willersley Castle, was very pleased to see a flock of at least 14 Hawfinch flying towards me from the church. They turned before crossing the river and landed in the tops of the trees between the church and the Arkwright Mill Car Park. I walked round and the birds were still in a loose group in the tops of the trees before flying off together over the road in the Rugby Club direction but I quickly lost sight of them. I had a single bird in the trees by the Willersley entrance but didn't see the flock again by 10:00 when I left. Are the birds roosting in the church area then feeding elsewhere? This is the largest group I have seen at Cromford.
At Carsington I had distance views of the Great Northern Diver from the Millfield car park then left for Beeley. The Dusky Thrush was in it's usual area in the grassy field on Pig Lane and showed well to the 40-50 birders who were present. Apparently it had been in the same area since at least 09:30.

Bird watchers on Pig Lane
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