Saturday, 1 May 2010

Derbyshire Day

Had a lovely day off around the county of Derbyshire on Wednesday. The Peak District has a wonderful scenery and it was a pleasure to explore some of it. I spent the morning visiting Lathkill Dale National Nature Reserve with the main aim to see and hopfully photograph Dippers - a songbird that i have never seen before! The river system was beautiful with crystal clear water and plenty of photographic opportunities...


Much exploring was done and it was nearly 2 hours before i finally had my first good views of a Dipper. I found these birds to be really comical as they bobbed up n' down on rocks, i also found them quite tricky to photograph. They seemed tame like a Grey Wagtail but i soon found out they behaved a little more like a Kingfisher, tolerating me watching them from a certain distance but not allowing me to get too close. I was fine with this but the skies were grey and the Dippers had a great habit of sitting close to the opposite of the river under dark vegetation....hard to get a nice photo! Here are my best attempts...





This waterfall was really nice to sit around and have lunch!


Grey Wagtails were constantly flitting around and they are a good indicator species of a healthy river and also of the presence of Dippers, although this rule doesn't always apply when thinking about other parts of the UK!


Greenfinch


My next port of call was Stanage Edge, part of a series of gritstone edges in the Peak District that is popular will hill walkers and rock climbers. Being high ground covered in vegetation such as Heather and Gorse makes this Moorland a great place for such bird species as Short Eared Owl, Curlew and Mountain Hare. It also has the instantly likeable Red Grouse...my next photographic mission!

Whilst climbing i noticed this lovely male Wheatear!


After reaching the summit i was yet to see any Grouse but had heard their call plenty of times, it was just a matter of spotting them through the vegetation. It was windy up there but not cold and was a really pleasant way to spend the afternoon. I scanned the scenery just hoping to catch a glimpse of a head but then suddenly my eyes were drawn to a large grey slab of rock and lying on top of it was a lovely male Red Grouse! Result! He allowed me to get really close and i spent some 20 minutes watching him, again another comical bird and the mixture of his colour, the light and the surrounding vegetation made for some lovely photos....







A really big thank you to Anthony Dixon and Thomas Melton for sharing their knowledge of the area, here is the view from Stanage Edge, a wonderful day!


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