Moorland Birding

Sheffield’s all-reet

Staying local in the last week, I was reminded how much there can be to see. Just need to keep getting out (even when it feels like there’s nothing to see)!

Sheffield, where I live, is on the edge of the Peak District National Park = moorland birding. I squeezed in some very enjoyable vis. mig. (visible migration), grouse watching (Black and Red are easy to see) and new non-avian experiences.

female Red Grouse. Moscar. nr Sheffield. September 2010. Female = lots of mealy spotting on head and neck, obvious white eye-ring and NO red comb above eye (or tiny one like here I guess).

male Red Grouse, Agden, nr. Sheffield. September 2010.

Small Copper butterfly on Yarrow, at the vis.mig. spot, Rod Moor. My favourite Butterfly. This one is fading fast…

Ashley Watson is an expert forager. I was out birding with him t’other day. So when we found some Larch boletes (wild mushrooms you can eat)  it was the obvious thing to do to pick a bunch and take ’em back for lunch on toast – new experience for me.

Larch boletes – these were ‘all-reet’ baked and placed on buttered toast!

male Black Grouse. Moscar, nr. Sheffield. September 2010. Locally males are easy to see but females usually much trickier. I was pleased to come across both sexes together in a field. Not easy to get close to.

female Black Grouse. Moscar, nr. Sheffield. September 2010. Sort of in-between the Red Grouse and typical female Pheasant in colour (both nearby) with loads of these black crescent all over the underparts and thin pale bands of white across closed wing.

Visible Migration

Up early this morning as wind had died. Vis. mig. at Rod Moor. The coldest morning this month. Clear big skies with the moon to the west and inspiring sunrise to the east:

Some highlights:

22nd Sept: Rod Moor. 1.5 hours in light SW. Plenty finches best was 30 Redpoll in 2 flocks (plus c 30 distant Siskin/Redpoll) and 6 Tree Sparrow – very good local vis. mig. record. Also 10 Snipe in 2 groups (7 and 3).

Orgreave in evening – tipped off by Mark (Leach’s killer) Reeder (see to 800-900 large gulls coming in to roost. Most LBB Gulls but 5-6 Yellow-legged Gulls of different ages. No hoped-for Caspian.

25th September, Rod Moor. 3 hours icy cold N. Few birds, best 28 Pink-feet (see below), Marsh Harrier (thanks to hawk-eye Andy Deighton), Great Spotted Woodpecker racing through SW (where’s that from and going to?).

Pinks and Moon this morning – easy to point out where they were, even at long-range!

Lots more of these to pass over Sheffield in next couple of months

Common Snipe over Rod Moor. Father figure to Sheffield’s migration watchers, Keith Clarkson motivated me with his own observations. These included Snipe which were tracked flying from NW vector through the Hebrides to  Sheffield – must be faeroeensis. So thanks to Keith I began to look. Found a faeroeensis Snipe , ‘on the deck’ in the Sheffield area, last winter. It all began with visible migration on Rod Moor.

This young Grey Heron came through this morning. Grey Herons are ‘proper migrants’ and usually the first of the migrant ‘land birds’ in late July/early August in Shetland, which is where I will be this time next week!!

Distant birds of prey from Rod Moor included Marsh Harrier, several Buzzard, lots of Kestrels and some displaying accipters. This young Sparrowhawk came close nearby – no colours visible with sun almost above it,  but useful illustration of shape.

About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
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4 Responses to Moorland Birding

  1. thedrunkbirder says:

    Vismigging from the Mammoth at WCPS today and we had 160 Pinks going east plus our first Redwing of the autumn going SW. There seems to have been a trickle of Redwings toady. I guess they will have come from Iceland given the wind direction for the past few days.

  2. thedrunkbirder says:

    Trickle of Redwing today even!

    • Martin Garner says:

      Had my first today too, plus a Fieldfare – “of pies” got a Redwing before me at some ridiculously early hour over his house- twitchers!

  3. Ashley Watson says:

    I spotted a flock of Pinks from the comfort of my study window as they were flying over Burngreave.

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