Friday, 31 March 2017

Oystercatchers at Chatsworth

Still feeling very Spring like with warmer temperatures over the last couple of days but apart from an increase in the number of Sand Martin on both the Wye and Derwent I've not added any summer migrants. 
A pair of Oystercatcher at Chatsworth is interesting though, I had a single bird around Chatsworth last year but perhaps this is a breeding pair which would be the first time in the immediate Darley Dale area I think.

Another bird which looks like it could breed in the area is the Greylag Goose which I am seeing more frequently in the area with 5 seen this morning.
Greylag Goose

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Sand Martin back at Rowsley

On a rather grey morning the Sand Martins finally returned to Rowsley. I say finally because they have been in the south of the County for about ten days but the cooler weather since the middle of last week appeared to slow the northerly passage of our Spring migrants. At least 7 birds over the river and it's good to have them back.

Sand Martin

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Cladonia lichen - Beeley Moor

The weather was sunnier than forecast today but I didn't manage to get out until the afternoon. There were several Crossbill on Flash Lane but mainly in flight. On the moor I came across this Cladonia lichen with strikingly bright red fruits. I regularly see the British Soldier Lichen (Cladonia cristatella) but I think this may be Cladonia diversa although the identification and nomenclature of members of the Cladonia family seems to be rather complex.
Cladonia diversa

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Long-tailed Tit nest - Rowsley

The nest of the Long-tailed Tit is one of the most amazing constructions in the birding world. It can take a month to construct and it is reported that there can be over 6000 individual components, usually lichen, moss and feathers bound with spiders webs. Once the leaves on this Hawthorn hedge open the nest will be completely hidden.
Long-tailed Tit nest

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Waxwing - Stone Edge

A call from Ken put me on to a flock of 23 Waxwing at Stone Edge this morning, just before the Red Lion by the public phone box. Can't imagine these hanging around for too much longer. There were hundreds of Fieldfare moving North this morning over the moor.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

First Chiffchaff

Always nice to see and hear the first Chiffchaff of the year and I got mine today on Flash Lane. The first birds arrived back at Carsington around 10th March so it's taken me a while to catch up. Also had my first of the day flying Orange Underwing moth and the first Wheatear was seen on Beeley Moor today.


Caloptilia falconipennella (Scarce Alder Slender) - Darley Dale

With the sudden increase in both day and night time temperatures I ran the moth trap on 11th March and was rewarded with 11 species of macro moth, including a couple of Yellow Horned and an Oak Beauty. 
I also caught two micro moths, one was clearly Acleris cristana but the other was an unfamiliar Caloptilia. After some searching on the internet I'm fairly certain it is the autumn form of Caloptilia falconipennella, which over winters as an adult moth. It's common name, Scarce Alder Slender, indicates both its food plant and its national status. It's another moth which appears to be spreading northwards with records in Bedfordshire (2004), Northamptonshire (2011), , Leicestershire (2011) and in Nottinghamshire in 2012 and again this year at Attenborough NR. 
It is just 6mm long, so easily overlooked and I suspect that this may be the first record for Derbyshire although if it has managed to get to the Derbyshire Dales it must also occur further south in the County.
Caloptilia falconipennella
UK Records of Caloptilia falconipennella ©NBN Gateway

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The Rook in Darley Dale

One of the first avian signs of Spring is activity in the local rookeries. My impression is that the number of Rooks nesting locally in Darley Dale is stable, which is a similar status to elsewhere in Derbyshire. There are four small rookeries in the village;
Seven nests at the Red House Riding Stables,
Five nests at Darley Dale Station,
Twelve nests at St Helen's Church, and
Seven nests by the A6 at the northern edge of the village.

Rookery by the A6 at the Northern entrance to the village

Monday, 13 March 2017

Adder - Big Moor

I was expecting a cloudy start to the day so was pleasantly surprised to see blue skies first thing this morning. I decided to take the opportunity to have a look at the Adder on Big Moor. Although it was a cold wind there were at least seven male Adder basking in the sunshine.

Adder - male

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Goosander, male - Bakewell

The presence of Goosander in the centre of Bakewell is very unpredictable, but when they are there it's a great chance to get closer to a bird that is normally very shy and unapproachable. 
What a difference it makes to see the male in sunshine!

Goosander - male

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Hooded Crow still present Uppertown

One or two Crossbill along Flash Lane this morning and my first Curlew calling on the moor, the first birds returned about a week ago. Stonechat numbers have increased with 7 or 8 birds seen this morning.
Had another look at the Hooded Crow on Cullumbell Lane but despite much improved weather the crows were feeding well away from the road so the photo isn't much better than yesterday.
Hooded Crow

Friday, 3 March 2017

Hooded Crow - Alicehead Road

A surprise this morning to hear that a Hooded Crow had been present for a couple of days around Alicehead Road and Cullumbell Lane, Uppertown. I couldn't get there until this afternoon but soon located it, in the constant rain. It was feeding loosely with a group of around 30 Carrion Crows in a sheep field.
Although it was once a fairly regular visitor to Derbyshire it has become much rarer during the last couple of decades to the extent that the last record in the County appears to be in 2007. The reduction in numbers which has been seen throughout England is though to be linked to northern populations becoming less migratory. 

Hooded Crow

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Bullfinch in the garden

Although Bullfinch are widespread in the area, I usually see them feeding on the moorland edges particularly in the Autumn and Winter sometimes in double figure flocks. They are a scarce but welcome visitor to my garden at this time of year, feeding on the fresh Hawthorn buds.
Bullfinch - male
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