This morning a Ringed Plover flew over the site towards the flooded fields by the Trent. A Raven was being mobbed by five or six Carrion Crows as it investigated the sheep and lambs across the river. A stunning male Brambling was in the Deep Pit, close to the bird table, showing really well and a Willow Warbler was singing from the Slurry Lagoon hedgerow. PS
This morning a male Marsh Harrier was seen hunting over the Slurry Lagoon reed bed, but was later seen off by three Carrion Crows. A Grasshopper Warbler was heard reeling close to the railway bridge. PS.
This morning at about 10.00 a Bittern was seen flying fairly high over the Slurry Lagoon reedbed. Two Common Terns attacked it as it tried to circle, and forced it lower and then two Carrion Crows joined in, forcing the Bittern into the reedbed. During the next twenty minutes the Bittern tried twice more to get airborne, but with the same result both times. There were also four male Cuckoos and a male Emperor was seen. PS.
A superb male Marsh Harrier was quartering the Slurry Lagoon reed bed this afternoon. Unfortunately it was pestered by Carrion Crows and eventually gave up and continued up the valley. PS.
As I walked towards the river by the railway bridge I heard a deep croak so looked all around to see if I could see a Raven. There were about 250 Carrion Crows on the field across the river but no sign of a Raven. Then I heard another rattling croak and two Ravens flew from behind me, over the signal box and out over the river. One was in pursuit of the other and both held their bills open with their exertions. They flew right overhead giving good views of their tails and towards the pylon, where they started to gain height. Some of the Carrion Crows took exception and joined in the chase, calling loudly and there was a melee of black wings as they dashed at each other. Soon the two Ravens broke away, still intent on their own dispute, and then they locked feet and cartwheeled towards the ground. At the last moment they disengaged and landed on the ground, taking off again immediately before flying back across the river, over my head again and back the way they came, towards Colwick. PS.
Padley Gorge – May 2010
On what was to be the hottest day of the year so far, Deryck, Jackie and I left Nottingham at about 0730 to meet Brian, Norman and Steve in Baslow, Derbyshire. While we waited a Garden Warbler was singing near the stream. We looked for Dipper, as this was a spot I used to see them regularly but not today.
We moved off to our first stop at Padley Gorge. We parked up, dosed up with sun cream and donned our sun hats then set off down the Gorge. Our target birds being Spotted and Pied Flycatcher and Common Redstart. It wasn’t long before Redstart was heard but not seen. Continuing down the path we soon had views of 2 pair of Redstart at two nest boxes, close to each other. A few yards on down the path we were soon enjoying views of Pied Flycatchers, again at a nest box. A few of the group went a little further down the Gorge to see if they could connect with Wood Warbler but to no avail. Cuckoo could be heard calling all round but not seen. We had good views of a Nuthatch, a Treecreeper and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. With the weather so warm there were Wood Ants all along the woodland path. Also seen were Small & Green-veined White Butterflies along with Orange Tip and Peacock. We returned to the cars, the day trip list now standing at 22 birds, 2 mammals and 4 butterfly.
We moved on about a mile to Surprise View Car Park were after a coffee break we moved onto the open moor for the first time. Here we added Tree Pipit and Carrion Crow to the day list along with a fleeting glimpse of a Green Hairstreak butterfly.
We moved on again, this time to Stanage Edge, taking a slow walk up to the edge over the open moorland. On the way we could hear a Reed Bunting calling from a gully and Curlew were heard across the moor. As we approached the Edge brilliant views of Green Hairstreak were obtained and photographed. Then the next target bird was spotted sat on a rock – a male Ring Ouzel. 3 males and a female were seen before we left the Edge. A Buzzard was seen being mobbed by Curlew.
Wearily and hot we returned to the cars to move on the Cutthroat Bridge, near the Ladybower Dams were we stopped for lunch.
After a refreshing break, another load of sun cream applied we set out on what I believed to be a steady walk around the moors. I had done a similar walk about 10 years ago and had found it very pleasant. Oh how the memory fades! The path we took was not the path I had taking all those years earlier. We were however rewarded with fine views of a Whinchat. A little further on we entered the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust reserve – Ladybower Wood. The track here was very rugged but again we were rewarded with the first sighting, on our trips, of a Grizzled Skipper. These are tiny butterflies, about 22 – 26 cms
(about 1 inch or less)that can easily be over-looked. (See article – Dingy and Grizzled Skipper) Three more were found a little further on along with a Small Copper. While in the wood a peregrine glided over the treetops.
We continued on the path past the rear of The Ladybower Inn were Jackie had a visit from a strange little creature on her camera case that Brian and Norman did their best to photograph. Jackie and I later identified it as a House Longhorn. Also in this area were a few Rose Chaffers.
While going through a conifer plantation we had views of Siskin and Goldcrest.
The path seemed to go on and on, out of the trees and on to the open moor, getting steeper all the time. We were all shattered on getting to the top but here we were rewarded with fine views of Red Grouse and two chicks. After a well-earned rest we continued down hill on a well-worn path towards the cars. On the way down Stonechat were heard but we could not locate them.
Although it had been a very hot and tiring day, all agreed that it had been worth the effort with good views of the surrounding countryside and some wonderful wildlife.
I would like to thank Neil Matthew for providing us with such a good itinerary.
The yearly trip lists now stand at: – Birds – 145 (117) : Butterflies – 8 (10)
Mammals – 6 (5) : Dragonflies – 0 (0) : Others – 3 (0)
2009 in brackets.