Monday, 18 April 2011

Birding at it's Peak

Sunday was our latest RSPB outing. This time to the wonderful Peak District.
 Our first stop was at the extremely picturesque Goyt Valley in North Derbyshire. Here Willow Warbler song filled the air as there seemed to be one in every other tree. Another song however stood out just yards from the mini-bus - a stunning male Redstart almost glowing in the bright sunshine.
 Siskins, Redpolls and Coal Tits flitted around the tops of the many conifer trees and a couple of Buzzards and  a pair of Kestrels drifted around. Nuthatches were very vocal and several were seen including one pair that were putting a lining into their mud adapted nest hole.
 The water level of the reservoir in the bottom of the valley was very low and thus held very few birds but 2 or 3 Common Sandpipers flitted about.
 We continued up the valley where another songster had us peering up into the trees. A Tree Pipit which was eventually located and gave good views before it flew off.
 The bird we were hoping to see at this location was Pied Flycatcher and we were not to be disappointed when first a male bird was located, then another and then a very obliging pair flycatching in a tree over our heads.
 A look across the valley to the moorland on the other side gave us a distant view of a Red Grouse that posed briefly on the top of a derelict wall.

 Next stop was a site just over the Cheshire border that we had visited a couple of years ago and seen Ring Ouzels feeding young. This time it took a while but a female bird was seen to fly into an area of rushes. After a brief wait a bird emerged but this time a male which showed pretty well until disturbed by a couple of walkers. Several Wheatears were present here as well as Meadow Pipits, a pair of Mistle Thrushes and some more distant Red Grouse. Over the road on the hillside above, a Mountain Hare gave an all too brief view until it disappeared into the Heather.

 Finally we parked up at Axe Edge and took a wander along the road. Here many Red Grouse were seen, some of which were very close to the road. Displaying Curlews were heard and seen over the moors and several Butterflies that flew rapidly by appeared to be some kind of Fritillary.

 I didn't manage any bird photos this time, but for the second post running I'm putting on a reptile. This time a Common Lizard that was sunbathing on a wall at the Goyt Valley.
Common Lizard

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