Monday, September 1, 2014

Birding Derbyshire, August 26-28, 2014

A good place to undip a dipper...
Burbage - Whinchatteriffic
The perils of birding
  I spent a very pleasant and crisp (not freezing cold, as the locals claimed) few days in the Peaks District, in Derbyshire. It definitely felt like a halfway-point between Amersham and the Lake District - with fields of grain, rolling green hills, and more impressive rocky features covered in gorse and heather. There was some great bird action about in the hills!
  I was pleased to finally catch up with the elusive White-throated Dipper, and got long and satisfying, if distant views, as it sat there like a blob of chocolate-covered marshmallow. Dipper undipped, very nice. It was spotted on a very small section of faster-moving water on a long stretch of mostly stagnant river.
  Common Redstarts seemed to be ‘everywhere’, as I encountered at least five on a hike near Monyash. One female was following a Spotted Flycatcher around quite closely, to the seeming confusion of the latter.
  My bird of the trip was definitely the Whinchat. As I was making my way around the circular valley feature at Burbage, I kept looking at the habitat thinking ‘There have GOT to be Whinchats around!’ Several hundred metres before returning to the parking lot, I spotted a small brown bird perched on a rock, and it didn’t feel like another Meadow Pipit. I wish I could bottle the feeling that washes hot and cold over me when I get my first bino-view of a long-awaited lifer (and it looks just like it does in the book!) - if I could, I reckon I’d be rich.

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