maandag 25 juni 2012

Rainy birding up in the moors

The wind was too strong and the chance of rain was still to high to give ringing a chance. That's why we chose to do birding up in the Derbyshire moors south of Manchester, yesterday morning.

Menzie and I had a calm start and after an hour drive we arrived up in the Derbyshire moors around 11:30. On our way we had encountered some rain and also up in the highland moors the clouds were hanging low above the land, dropping some rain every now and then.

As the heathland came in sight the search for, amongst others, Red Grouse. It didn't took long before Menzie shouted: I see one! A male was perched on an outcrop of heather next to the road. A good look at the male revealed a female just behind. Last week we failed to see any Red Grouse in Wales, so it was a welcome lifer for me! The light was horrible, with a high iso I was able to take a few decent shots of the birds though.

Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica); male on the right, female hidden on the left
The female, popping up her head above the heather

We continued to 'The Bridge' where we parked the car and took a walk through the moors. A Grey Wagtail was showing well on a fence:
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

Further up the moor Menzie found a couple of Red Grouse. It turned out to be a group of at least 10 birds, of which some were juveniles. great to see! While enjoying the grouse a splash shower suddenly appeared, and completely washed out, we headed back to the car. 
Male Red Grouse sticking its head out of the heather.

After the rain we took a walk along some small river, finding a very nice Dipper. The one here is the 'red-bellied British' subspecies.
 The Goyt valley
Dipper (Cinclus cinclus gularis)

Back at the car park a male Lesser Redpoll was present in some trees next to the car, showing well from a close distance.

Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis cabaret); male

Not much later a Short-eared Owl was found by Menzie, hunting above the heathland. An unexpected observation. 
 Derbyshire moors
Upland sheep fields preceding the moors

With the Red Grouse in the pocket we drove back to Liverpool!

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