Day 2 | Train Trip

Today we went to Hope Valley in Derbyshire, with the intention of seeing Redstart and Pied-Flycatcher. After two trains we set off across the farmland, and within a matter of minutes James had spotted a pair of Redstart. I got great views of the male and can now say that it is one of my favourite British breeding birds; absolutely stunning! The walk between Hope and the Ladybower reservoir was abundant with invertabrates. The first invert of interest was a lovely White-pinion Spotted (Lomographa bimaculata), a new moth for me (though what isn't...). Other species of interest were a Comma (first for the year for me), and a gorgeous Green Tiger Beetle (Cicindela campestris).We walked around the the reservoir, which had little in the way of birdlife, to the woods, which bordered on an area of Moorland. Red Grouse
provided a nice addition for the day and as Robert and Emma sorted out travel arrangements, James and I went ahead to the woods. After listening to the Pied Flycatcher call to jog our memories, we sat down on a log and minutes later began to hear the call. Emma and Robert joined us, and soon after I spotted a beautiful male on a branch down further into the woods, and James went on to find a female. Unfortunately, no extremely sustained views were had, but we managed to get some long enough to appreciate how beautiful they are. Definitely much more satisfying to see one on breeding territory and self-found than the young bird we twitched last year at Holy Island after a weekend of no sleep. By the time we arrived back at the station we were all out of energy, but unfortunately a non-existent train meant an extra hour in Hope so we ended the day with a nice cold drink at the village pub, ready for yet more trains. . .

Thanks for reading!


Day 1 | Train Trip

The other week I was fortunate enough to recieve a free weekend's travel from Northern Rail to make up for delays and being rubbish etc. I emailed my good friends James and Robert, and after a few weeks planning (by them) this weekend was time for the excursion!
       We were up bright and early on Saturday morning, planning to go to Askham bog, and set off for the station at 6.30 am. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived at the station James had vomitted up most of his insides and so he decided to head back to Robert's. At the station we met up with Emma, Robert's friend and the three of us pondered what to do now. After looking at the leaflet for a space of 5 seconds Emma and I decided that Appleby looked nice so a couple of hours later and after a hopeless search for a map, we set off for Cumbria. The journey between Leeds and Appleby was stunning, and was a successful nature trip in it's own right with Green Woodpecker and Fox. Three and a half hours later, we arrived at our destination. Within 30 minutes of leaving the station the day had already peaked with a surprising Red Squirrel being spotted by Robert. It was very obliging, much more-so than any I had seen before and I even managed to get an (albeit crap) record shot with my iPad! After this we carried on through the woods for a while, eventually arriving at a farm with a river running next to it, which yielded a stunning Grey Wagtail but not much else.
        A quick stop for lunch, and then it was on to the castle. Unfortunately, yet again our plans fell through as this was closed so we decided to return to the woodland to try for another look at Red Squirrel, but to no avail. Nuthatch and Treecreeper were a nice end to the day though, along with a second Fox for the day!

iPad Red Squirrel record shot

Train-trip Day 2 to follow!