24 May 2008

Now, this is more like it!

Back in March I decided on a new approach to my birding and set about seeing as many birds as I could within 10 miles of home. I wasn’t expecting to see a huge list of species; I was hoping to learn a little more about the birds in my local area and also to find new birding sites. This morning I was able to add a couple of new birds to my list, one of which was a lifer for me, and also visit a rather nice area of Southern Derbyshire that I didn’t know existed.

After a quick check of the local map to find exactly where I was going, I headed off to Ingleby this morning in search of the Red-footed Falcon. By 7:00AM I had located the bird, to the delight of three other birders that had followed me along the footpath, and over the next couple of hours it showed very well. I had hoped that last night's rain would have cleared to bright sunshine this morning but, even though the rain had gone, the cloud cover was still a little heavy first thing and the wind had increased quite a lot. This meant that I had little or no chance of getting any photos through my ‘scope. Thankfully, a quick search of the Internet this afternoon provided some superb pictures that had been taken of the bird yesterday!

Photos courtesy of Nick Sismey - Thank you for allowing me to use your photos, Nick!

Visiting Ingleby also gave me a chance to have a quick look at Anchor Church, a small cave dwelling that dates back to around the 14th century. I’m not so sure I could face living there myself but the views were rather nice. When I get the time I will be checking up on the footpaths in the area and making a return visit. It may not provide too much in the way of birding but the walk and views will make up for that.

Anchor Church.

Field near Anchor Church.

Old tree stump in the wood.

Whilst walking back to the car after leaving Anchor Church, I stopped for a while to watch a large group of House Martins, Swifts and Swallows feeding over the river. At times, the birds were coming within 10 or 12 feet of me as they swooped around in search of insects - a magical experience.

It was whilst I stood amongst this feeding frenzy that I was “gifted” my second great bird of the day, a Red Kite! Seeing the Red-footed Falcon was good but, for me, the Kite was better. I’d known the falcon was there, and almost expected to see it, but the Red Kite came totally out of the blue. It was my first ever in Derbyshire and it also falls within my “10-Mile Zone”.

A bad photo of the Red Kite!

After Ingleby I decided on a quick visit to Willington Gravel Pits - come on, where else would you expect me to be? Although much of the excitement of the past month or so is now over, at Willington, it did still throw up a couple of patch ticks for me; two male Ruddy Duck and a single Turnstone were both new birds for the year. In just over 3 hours I located a total of 55 species with Common Sandpiper, Dunlin and Wigeon being the only other birds of note.

To be honest, I wasn’t all that bothered by the lack of birds there today; I had a “lifer” in the bag, I had my first ever Derbyshire Red Kite and I had also picked up two extra ticks for my “10-mile List”. The sun was also shining at Willington, the clouds had gone and the walk down the lane was rather pleasant. This is what birding is all about for me now.

The lane at Willington.

White Hawthorn.

Pink Hawthorn.

My “10-Mile List” now stands at 117 species.

1 comment:

  1. Nic (birdnerdblog)27 May, 2008 23:00

    Sounds like you had a fantastic day, two great birds there, I'm very jealous!! That Red-Footed Falcon is beautiful. Never seen a Red Kite, don't get them round my way.
    Hope you've been tuning into Springwatch, they've had Treecreepers in hidey-holes just like me at Pennington lol that Oddie's been reading my blog methinks...