Saturday, 19 March 2011

Raptor Fest - Upper Derwent Valley- 19th March 2011

The last time I blogged about the Upper Derwent Valley back in January the news wasn't good. I was reporting about raptor persecution during the 2010 breeding season. Thankfully today's post is a lot more pleasant and hopefully enjoyable.

Today's walk was organised by the Derbyshire Ornithological Society and involved a morning watching raptors dispalying above the skies of Howden and Derwent Water. Unfirtunately no pictures of the birds as they were too far away and too high up!

We met at Fairholmes Car Park at 9am and the first raptors soon put in an appearance, when an enormous female Goshawk was identified flying high over the moors. This wasn't to be our only sighting of this iconic species, however, and several more were spotted throughout the morning. Common Buzzards lived up to their name,with numbers in double figures. A pair of Kestrels were also recorded and several Sparrowhawks were noted high up in display. One Peregrine Falcon was seen in the company of two Buzzards amd the honourary raptors, Ravens, were also recdorded, when four birds were seen together at the top of the valley. The final raptor of the day was a "ringtail" Hen Harrier, which was found from Windy Corner, high over the moors.

Other birds present included a beautiful male Red-breasted Merganser preening and feeding on Howden Water, my first Meadow Pipit of the year, Siskin, Red Grouse and a pair of Pied Wagtail.

Pied Wagtail

These sightings prove that the area is still a very popular one for many different birds of prey. Let's hope this year's breeding season is a lot more productive than last year's!!!

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