Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Peak District Wanderings

Now that Easter is done I can follow up the Coombes Valley post with a few bits and bobs from the subsequent couple of days that we spent in the Peak District with Buxton as our base.

Our first port of call was to have a walk around the Upper Derwent Valley, for me this was more an historical exercise rather than a birding one as as you may see from the odd post I am also a bit of an aviation nut and wanted to see where 617 Squadron did their practices before raiding the dams in Germany. Of course there may have been a few birds about too! First the historical bit,
The 617b Squadron Memorial
 A bit of info,
 The Derwent Reservoir Dam

We did get our first Chiffchaff of the year while walking around,
as well as more Willow Warblers, an obliging Wren,

a couple of Buzzards over the trees and loads of Chaffinch, but with all the people there wasn't much else about.

We then went for a drive and explored the countryside,

We ended up back near Buxton towards the end of the day, looking for somewhere to park up admire the view and perhaps see some birds, we ended up on one of the roads into the Goyt Valley, where we initially saw a couple of Curlew, before parking and watching our first 'English' Red Grouse.

The next day we checked out of the hotel and went back to the Goyt Valley for a walk around the reservoirs, we didn't see much on the first leg of the walk, just some Mallard, Canada Geese, a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and distant female Goosander. Things perked up on the second leg walking through the woods, Treecreeper and Goldcrest being the stars,

Followed by a Coal Tit

Before heading home we ended up driving over the Moors near Goyt, where we had an excellent showing by a male and female Red Grouse, though the female was very camera shy.

We then took the scenic route home, seeing our first Wheatear of the year in one of the gorges. So a really lovely couple of days with kind but at the end cold weather. Lets hope our next trip is as kind as we are hoping to get to Cape Wrath up the north west tip of Scotland and also visit Handa Island, for both of which we need calm days!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

RSPB Coombes Valley

We have just had a couple of days up in the Peak District staying in Buxton, but on the way up we thought we would give Coombes Valley a try, never having been before.

First impressions were good the volunteers were friendly and helpful, we had hoped that the resident Woodcock might already be active, but we were a bit to early in the year for that and the Pied Flycatchers and Redstarts that breed here hadn't arrived yet, never mind!

We set out with the aim to walk the whole reserve, not realising how steep the paths are in some places, but we made it round. The birds were pretty elusive, but the scenery was brilliant,
So very few bird photographs, but we did see;
Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Chaffinch, Pied and Grey Wagtail, Buzzard, Kestrel and our first Collared Dove of the year, plus all the usual suspects and two Canada Geese who had built a nest on the side of the pond in the middle of the woods!
A lovely but very tiring day, before our final 30 minute drive to our hotel in Buxton.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

New Species for Our Garden

The other morning as went into the kitchen to make a cup of tea I had a real surprise, with a new visitor to our garden, not a rare species by any means, but considering our pond is only about 5 foot by 4 foot and a 2 foot deep, it will hold meager pickings for this Grey Heron:
It gave me time to dash upstairs and get my camera, before it spotted my movement in the kitchen and flew off, much to the relief of our resident frogs!

Friday, 7 April 2017

Afternoon Stroll at Haden Hill

I can't believe that it is over 2 months since we last went to Haden Hill and I did the last post about our walk. But with limited time we spent a couple of hours there on Wednesday afternoon in lovely sunshine. The walk got off to a very quiet start, last time on the first bit of the walk we had seen Goldcrest, Treecreeper and Nuthatch, but not this time. Of course there was plenty of spring singing going on, roughly translated as 'Look at me!' This coming mainly from Blue & Great Tits, Chaffinch and Robin, with Blackbird adding to the chorus.

Eventually when we moved away from the paths to the top of the reserve things got a bit busier, with our first 2017 sighting of Willow Warbler, although they wouldn't stay still long enough for a photo.

Goldfinch and a single Bullfinch put in an appearance, before I spotted a Nuthatch on a distant dead tree,

There were a couple of Starlings gathering nesting material, one took the opportunity to have a breather and pose for the camera.

A chap we spoke to told us he had seen a Kingfisher down at the pool but no sign of it when we looked, never mind. A nice couple of hours, with 23 species seen, not too shabby!