Saturday, 18 March 2017

Linacre Year Tick

The weather forecast for this morning wasn't great, but Luke and I decided to have a few hours around Linacre anyway. The forecast was right, and we walked around all 3 reservoirs in the wind and rain!

Despite the rubbish conditions we still managed to hear 6 singing Chiffchaffs around the site along with Mallard (39), Tufted Duck (37), Moorhen (9), Coot (10), Great-crested Grebe (5; 2 pairs and a single bird), Cormorant; 2, one breeding plumaged bird and a younger bird, Grey Wagtail (2),  Mandarin Duck (9), Black-headed Gull (4) and, the Linacre year tick, Canada Goose (6).

Canada Geese

Other birds recorded around the site today were: Siskin (heard), Goldcrest (singing), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1 drumming), Song Thrush (3 singing), Magpie (2), Mistle Thrush (2) and Redwing (4).

The last species of note from today's trip was another fish species, following on from last week's Perch. This time the fish was, again, found dead in the overflow. It was a little trickier to photograph, but Twitter users (thanks) point to it being a Trout, a species that Linacre was apparently stocked with in the 1990s. Unfortunately, we can't be sure whether it's Rainbow or Brown.

Trout species

Monday, 13 March 2017

Whooper Swans at Holmebrook Valley CP

After walking around Linacre yesterday morning I decided to pop down the road to Holmebrook Valley CP in Chesterfield to check on the ringed Mute Swan and his partner that Luke and I recorded a few weeks ago (see blog post here). The Mute Swans were still there, but what was more of a surprise was the 2 Whooper Swans that were also present!

089, the ringed male Mute Swan, was acting very aggressively towards both birds, driving both of them out of the water, as can seen in this photo. He was particularly aggressive towards one bird, grabbing it by the neck on many occasions.

Whooper Swan and 089

I left at about 9:30am and the birds were reported on another 2 occasions, but they had gone this morning, allowing 089 and his partner time to calm down. Hopefully, the 2 Whoopers  are now well on their way to Iceland.

Whooper Swan

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Linacre WeBS - 12th March 2017

Today was the date for this month's BTO WeBS count, so I popped down to Linacre for 6:45am to see what was about.

As soon as I arrived into the car park I had a nice surprise as there were 2 Stock Doves feeding on the ground, my first Linacre record for 2017. Unfortunately, they both flew up as I drove in, so I didn't get a photo. Walking down to the bottom reservoir I had a couple of Great-spotted Woodpeckers drumming, along with the usual Tits, Chaffinches, Dunnocks, Wrens and Blackbirds all singing. Tufted Ducks were on the bottom reservoir, and in total I saw 47, along with 49 Mallards, 4 Great-crested Grebes (2 pairs), 12 Coots, 10 Moorhens, 1 Cormorant, 2 Grey Wagtails, 9 Black-headed Gulls, 8 Mandarin Ducks, including 5 together in trees by the Rangers' Base, and, best of all, a male Wigeon - a "year tick" and my first here since December 2015. Here's a heavily cropped photo, because, as usual, it stayed in the middle of the reservoir!


As well as counting the waterbirds I also managed to record my first Linacre Chiffchaff of the year, with 1 singing on the south side of the middle reservoir. Other signs of Spring included a lovely big patch of frogspawn on the top reservoir, a flowering Marsh Marigold, also on the top reservoir, Wild Garlic leaves, some lovely Daffodils and at least 4 singing Song Thrushes.


Marsh Marigold


One final sighting of note today was this dead fish, found in the overflow from the middle reservoir. I think it's a Perch, which, unsurprisingly, is a species I haven't recorded here before.


Saturday, 11 March 2017

Siskins and a Redpoll

I haven't been out ringing for a couple of weeks, so this morning's session at our private site in Wingerworth, Chesterfield was a nice chance to get back out again. We met up at 6.30am and ringed 44 birds of 12 species over the next 4 hours. As the title suggests, the highlights were the Siskins and a single Lesser Redpoll. We don't ring lots of these species, so when they're around, it's nice to catch a few. We've also had some good recoveries of Redpolls ringed at this site when they return to Scotland to breed. Hopefully, some of today's birds will turn up there later in the year.


Today's totals were (new/retrap): Siskin 4/0, Lesser Redpoll 1/0, Goldfinch 14/0, Chaffinch 4/0, Bullfinch 3/0, Robin 0/1, Blue Tit 3/4, Great Tit 2/1, Long-tailed Tit 1/1, Robin 0/1, Wren 1/0 and Goldcrest 1/0.

Other birds seen and heard this morning were: Song Thrush (singing), Blackbird, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Stock Dove (year tick). There were also at least half a dozen Common Frogs spawning in the pond.

Year List update:
110 - Stock Dove

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Great Grey Shrike

I spent a couple of hours at Greave's Piece, near Owler Bar on Sunday morning looking for a Great Grey Shrike. Unfortunately, I didn't see it, but Jayne and I popped back up this evening and got lucky. It was quite distant, but we managed a quick photo.

Great Grey Shrike

Also present were a couple of Meadow Pipits, a Snipe, a couple of Crows and a singing Song Thrush.

Year List update:
107 – Meadow Pipit
108 – Great Grey Shrike
109 - Snipe

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Hooded Crow - new Derbyshire Tick

Hot on the heels of this morning's Iceland Gull, I was out again this afternoon to try and catch up with a Hooded Crow that had been reported on Birdguides website (see here). The bird was reported near Beeley Moor, and I dropped lucky again, seeing the bird within 5 minutes of our arrival. It was perched up distantly in a Hawthorn hedge. Here's my very best shot!!

Hooded Crow

As the post title indicates, this is my first record of this species in Derbyshire, so I was very happy to see it. Looking in the Derbyshire Ornithological Society's  The Birds of Derbyshire, it's interesting to note that this species was much more common here in the 1920s, when it was described as "numerous", and then again in the 1960s and 1970s, with up to 24 records in the latter period. Between 2000 and 2010 there was just 1 record in Derbyshire, a single bird at Carsington Reservoir on 21st October 2007, making this bird only the second record of the millennium.

Year List update:
105 – Lesser Redpoll (3 on the garden feeders on 1st March)
106 – Hooded Crow

Sheffield Iceland Gull

A couple of weeks ago I was in Newcastle birdwatching, and managed to get a brief view of an Iceland Gull at North Shields Fish Quay. Unfortunately, at the time, I was unable to get a photo, so I popped across to Sheffield this morning to see a 2nd winter bird that had been reported on Effingham Street.

Luckily, this bird was much more cooperative, and sat on a rooftop by the River Don, allowing me to get some decent shots.

Iceland Gull and Herring Gull

Also seen were: Black-headed Gull (c.150), Herring Gull (c.10), Great Black-backed Gull (2), Kingfisher (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Moorhen (1), Mallard (c.10), Feral Pigeons, Domestic Geese (5)and a single Chiffchaff (thanks Andy).