Patch update 31/08/08

Not a spectacular way to end August… the walk started out OK, with a dipper and a grey wagtail at the Fisheries, a great spotted woodpecker on the path south of the Fisheries, and a grey heron and tufted duck at Old Wheel Dam. Unfortunately then the rain that’s been threatening to come down for the last few days decided to do so big style, and I barely saw anything else for the soggy remainder of the journey. The exception was a mixed flock of house martins and swallows over Low Matlock Lane – it was a bit too wet to stop and start counting hirundines, but I estimate there were about 40, and mainly martins.

A few pics…

Another amazing picture of a dipper
A bloody awful picture of a dipper. Despite the bird posing quite well, the FZ18 has some difficulty with brown birds on brown rivers in poor light…

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker

Mallard and Heron in the rain
Mallard and heron as the rains start…

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Stanage

Stanage Edge

I had a great walk on Stanage Edge today. Not too much birdwise, though, but there were loads of meadow pipits, a kestrel, a smattering of red grouse and six wheatears along the route, including the photogenic individual below (last photo a meadow pipit).

Wheatear

Wheatear

Wheatear

Meadow Pipit

There were also several dragonflies around – not what you’d necessarily expect on the moors, but the semi-permanent ponds up there are of course as good a place for them as anywhere.

Down towards Redmires, there were a small party of four spotted flycatchers in the plantation, and two goldcrest showing well. I could have probably got some photos, but the vast swarms of nasty biting things and huge red flying ants made me decide not to linger too long…

Down Redmires Road there was a flock of 160 starlings, and a loitering kestrel.

Starlings

Kestrel

Patch update 25/08/08

 Swallows

I visited a very neglected patch today. Not many highlights, partly due to a large volume of people taking advantage of the Bank Holiday sunshine, but managed to get a kestrel perched on a roof at the Hepworth site, four tufted duck at Old Wheel Dam, and a kingfisher heard but not seen somewhere near Old Wheel Dam.

The house martins and swallows seem to be gathering, especially the house martins that are spending a lot of time skimming Old Wheel Dam and feeding near the farm. I only saw one swift as well. They’ll all be off soon – doesn’t seem long since I was scanning the skies for the first ones!

Dragonfly-wise there was a brown hawker at Loxley Fisheries, and on Black Lane and Low Matlock Lane I saw a hawker and a darter of some description, both of which didn’t stay still long enough to identify. Why can’t they just land for a couple of moments!

As I didn’t manage many photos, here are a couple of bees that I took when I got back.

Pollen!

Bee

Old Moor

Well, the rain wasn’t so bad and I had a trip to Old Moor yesterday. There was quite a lacklustre start to the day bird-wise, but things picked up over the course of the day with a greenshank (my first of the year), 3 green sandpipers, 7 ringed plovers, a common tern, a juvenile shelduck, great views of a kingfisher perched by the Family Hide (which flew off just before I pressed the shutter on my camera…) and bullfinches and a stock dove among the birds on the feeders.

I see on BirdGuides that today a little egret’s turned up. Damn it!

Here’s some pics from yesterday:

Green Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper

Green-veined White
Green-veined White

Juvenile Shelduck
Juvenile Shelduck

Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover

Common Tern
Common Tern

Grey Heron
Grey Heron

Sand Martins
Sand Martins

Collared Doves
Collared Doves

Patch update 14/08/08

Sorry I haven’t updated for a while – a summer cold, bad weather and other commitments have meant I haven’t been out as much as I’d have liked over the last week or so.

Last night I had a bit of a walk round my patch. There really wasn’t anything of note, the exceptions being some calling stock doves and jays on Black Lane.

The baby coot at Old Wheel Dam really isn’t a baby any more:

Young Coot

And the only other interesting picture I took was of this common green shieldbug nymph.

Common Green Shieldbug (nymph)

I was planning on a bit of birding this weekend but it looks like I may be rained off. Bah!

Patch Update 06/08/08

A quick one tonight, with no photos (I forgot to charge the camera battery…), but one very good and unexpected bird!

I was walking from Stacey Bank towards the Fisheries, and saw a couple of birds flitting about in the trees. One perched in the open, and I thought to myself, “spotted flycatcher, very nice”. But on training the binoculars on it, it showed some very distinct white wing bars, proving itself to be a female pied flycatcher! After all that fruitless searching round Padley Gorge, Agden and Wyming Brook one shows up right on my doorstep. Typical!

I can’t say for definite the other bird was a pied flycatcher as I never got a good look, but it’s definitely worth keeping my eyes open for more as they start to move away from their breeding territories.

Only other highlights were a large dragonfly on Black Lane that I can’t decide betweem common and southern hawker for (I really should learn the difference between these…); 2 x heron flying together over Loxley Road; 2 x jay on Low Matlock Lane.