Friday, 10 April 2015

Ring Ouzels and Wheatear

Living just 20 minutes from the Peak District National Park you'd think that "year ticking" Ring Ouzel and Wheatear would be quite easy, but for some reason (mainly a lack of effort on my part, if I'm honest!), I don't get them every year. With this in mind, I set out to Stanage Edge this morning to try my luck. I arrived at 6.30am, and in the next 2 hours, I managed to notch up 7 new species for the "year list", including my two target species.

When I arrived, I parked in the car park, and walked up to the Edge. At first, it was quite quiet except for several Meadow Pipits, Red Grouse, Wrens, Dunnocks and a single singing Willow Warbler. I walked right up onto the top of the Edge and heard a calling Ring Ouzel! I managed to get my bins of the bird, which turned out to be a female, but she then jumped off the Edge and disappeared! Whilst waiting to see if she'd reappear, a Raven flew over being mobbed by a Carrion Crow. I then decided to walk back down to the area below the Edge. Whilst walking back a male Wheatear appeared, and  I managed a rather distant record shot. Here's a heavily cropped photo.

I walked along the bottom of the Edge for another half an hour or so before spotting any more Ouzels, but this time, I didn't see 1, 2 or 3 , but an amazing 5 birds!! There were 4 males that were flying around, chasing each other trying to attract the attention of the single female bird. Luckily they flew right over my head and landed on some boulders about 40m away from me. They were so busy squabbling with each other, that they completely ignored me, and I managed to get some half decent photos, including this one of all 4 males together (click to enlarge and see if you can spot all 4 birds).
Male Ring Ouzels

Female Ring Ouzel

Male Ring Ouzel
The whole episode only lasted for about 5 minutes, but I don't think I'll forget this experience for quite a while! Walking back to the car I had my last "year tick" when a Snipe flew across the moor. Quite a morning!

Year List update:
95 – Meadow Pipit
96 – Red Grouse
97 – Willow Warbler
98 - Raven
99 – Wheatear
100 – Ring Ouzel
101 - Snipe


  1. You lucky bugger, nice photos too. I couldn't believe the numbers of Meadow Pipit, 100's up there.

  2. Thanks. Very pleased with the Ouzels and the other ticks too! Thanks for the tip off

  3. Thanks. Very pleased with the Ouzels and the other ticks too! Thanks for the tip off