Author Archives: Dorothy Evans

All Day Watch at Middleton Moor

Mary and Mike were on the first shift and arrived in mist at 06.50.

Early morning is probably the best time as everything starts to stir.  They started with Raven, 2 juv Sparrowhawks being harassed by magpies, Kestrel and a Buzzard.  Approx 200+ Starlings flying off.  Plus of course the usual stuff.

Judith and myself arrived at 9am and saw a nice flock of around 30 Meadow pipits and a couple of Wheatear on the bund but quite a lot of coming and going

Derek was next to arrive heard the meadow pipits in the field and had a stonechat near to the hide.  A bit of excitement as 6 mallard took to the air as a sparrowhawk buzzed overhead then flew off over the lagoon not catching anything.  On the way back to the car he saw 3 Curlew.

I arrived mid afternoon and Stuart soon after.  Late afternoon/early evening is always very good too.  We were kept quite busy finding what was around on the lagoons and flying over. From around 6pm the starlings first and then the gulls started coming in, first in small flocks building up to at least 1000 starlings dropping in the reeds to roost (after a few spectacular displays) by 7.35pm

We were able to count the gulls until just after 7pm but with being distracted by the starlings gathering and displaying we looked at the gulls on the water and we were only able to estimate numbers!   The last estimate before we left, of those on the water in front of the hide was: LBBG’s:C600 and BHG’s: C400.  There was also a field full of gulls at the far side that had settled there and not included in this count.

Going back over the field, on the lagoon near the gate we were able to do a rough count of another 200+ LBBG’s AND 250+BHG’s roosting there – altogether, so at least 1500+ Gulls altogether.

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7 Ravens flying over my garden (Bakewell) mid-morning 29th August. Lots of noise and some aerobatics. Possibly adults pushing this years young out of their territory?
Alan Gladwin

Osprey at Haddon

An Osprey seen with a fish over the river at Haddon on Tuesday 20th August (per Rod Askew) and a Roe deer seen at Meadow Place Farm (also per Rod Askew) on the same date.
As far as I am aware this is a new location for Roe deer.

from Alan Gladwin

Froggatt Edge


It’s been an exciting year in my bit of woodland on Froggatt Edge despite a slow start as a result of the late spring. Usually a pair of tawny owls would have taken up one of the owl boxes by mid March but this year a pair of mandarin ducks took over.  A non birding neighbour who lives next to the wood called me at the end of April to say there was a colourful duck sitting in a tree by the box. I immediately rushed up with the camera and got close enough to get a reasonable photo. The same neighbour, at the end of May, said he hadn’t seen any activity for a while so I climbed up and stuck the camera in the box, one handed, and clicked. The result was a perfect picture of the female sitting on her eggs. It transpired there were 10 of them. Later in June I cleared the box and found lots of egg shells and two infertile eggs.  The wood is a kilometre from the river Derwent, across a main road, so I wondered how the ducklings had fared. No worries it would seem: I spotted the duck and eight ducklings on the river a couple of weeks later, of course I could be adding two and two and getting eight but I like to think they were mine..


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It was a reasonable year for pied flycatchers, one pair in the wood fledged 7 young and four pairs in total from boxes which I look after. Spotted flycatchers nested for the first time, only 10 meters from the pied flycatchers, but unfortunately the young were predated by a jay. The last great tit fledged on July 16th, a very late date.

Perhaps the most unusual occurrence was an immature crossbill which spent a few days at the end of June hanging off the bird feeder right in front the shed. Very tame it was too: here it is sharing the feeder with a siskin.


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Right now the swallows are congregating on the wires outside my house, many of them young birds which is encouraging: the warm summer seems to have paid dividends.