Saturday, 22 March 2014

Stanage Edge

Today was less of a birdwatching day, as I decided I would go with some friends from church for a walk in the peaks, since one of them had not been yet. She decided to do a walk from Hathersage to Stanage Edge so that she could get into the peaks.
Of course, Stanage Edge has breeding ring ouzels but it was rather early in the season so I did not see one. On the way up there was not much on the bird-front; Meadow Pipits, Curlew, Common Buzzard and smashing views of a Nuthatch pair, which were the highlights. 
Up on the top the weather, which had started nice, began to deteriorate, and the wind was certainly an issue, especially near the edge. The view was pretty impressive though, stunning views of the whole valleys, and this time I had the correct lens
-Stanage Edge
From the edge we decided to go to the Stanage Pole for lunch on the way we had our best birds of the day with good numbers of Red Grouse on the moors. They were reasonable to approach, but I still could not get that close so I only got a few shots
-Red Grouse
After lunch we began to make our way back home. The weather gradually got worse, the wind picked up, then it started to rain, and then finally it began to snow, and then the snow got worse. It was soon snowing pretty badly, with giant flakes. It made it very atmospheric, but since it had been blue sky when I awoke I was hardly prepped for this. Either way it was the first snow of the year, which was nice...
-Snow on Stanage Edge
After we left the edge though the snow died down and soon it returned to blue sky, which felt rather surreal. On the way down however I did manage to spot my only year tick of the day, a pair of mandarin. I heard a small peep in the valley on the other side of the road, so I wandered over and spotted two orange ducks flying up the river. Initially I thought they were wigeon, but after about a second I realised that was ridiculous and then it hit me what they were. They settled down on the river so I was able to get great views through the binoculars, but I had the wrong lens on so I managed no real record shots. Thats 90 species for the year.
So that was a nice climax for the day, a day in which we had been the victim of pretty much every form of British weather.

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