Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Lower Derwent Valley ramble at Xmas

Yeah yeah yeah, a very merry Christmas to all ..... I'm looking forward to the social but have to say everything else is just way way OTT for me!

Here's another celebration and one which gladdens my heart no end ... as of today we get more daylight hours, hurragh! 'Bout time too and if more needs to be said then nature itself spoke today with glorious sunlight and 1 extra minute of it!

I was out and about in the Lower Derwent Valley (LDV) to soak it all up along with approximately 4000 Wigeon, lots more ducks, 50 or so Whooper Swans a hoopin and a passing Peregrine a preyin!

LDV flood plains at Ellerton
The 2 villages of Ellerton and Aughton and their respective churches are 2 of the best spots for viewing the flood plains of the LDV

LDV flood plains at Ellerton

Whooper Swans, LDV, 23/12/15

The Whoopers were distant but present and correct and in their usual haunts, no Berwick's Swans ..maybe they'll come in the next cold snap (if we even have one!). Here's an opportunistic long distant shot that more or less came out ok.





At some point some local shooting put up just about every wild duck and goose in the entire place (the Whoopers couldn't be bothered ...shame 'cos you can't beat a good wild swan in flight shot!).

2nd prize ... a great Wigeon 3some!
Wigeon, LDV, 23/12/15
Golden Plover, LDV, 23/12/15
A single Barnacle Goose in amongst the Greylags was noteworthy, as was a count of 75 Shelduck on the river bank at Ellerton. In amongst the many Lapwings (c1500) there were some sizeable groups of Dunlin (I reckoned c70 in total), a possible Ruff and about 100 Golden Plover - good to see but numbers are way down from the flocks of 2000+ I remember a couple of decades ago.



Golden Plover, LDV, 23/12/15
I was half expecting it with all those birds up in the air but wasn't quite ready for a swift and close Peregrine fly by ... it was a big 'un!

Peregrine Falcon, LDV, 23/12/15


Peregrine Falcon, LDV, 23/12/15
Common Kestrel, LDV, 23/12/15
Compared to that big docker above this Kestrel seems dwarfed but for the 30 minutes or so I spent at Aughton church watching the comings and goings, this little thing remained in situ perched .. waiting for a meal to appear from below

Common Kestrel, LDV, 23/12/15
He won't be interested in Turkey or mince pies but lets hope he nabs an extra vole or 2 on Christmas Day because he sure wasn't having much luck today!





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