The run of good weather we've been having came to an end this morning with low cloud, rain and poor visibility at Dove Stone this morning. On the plus side, rain is what we need at the moment as the reservoir levels at Dove Stone are very low at the moment.
We've had a busy weekend on the Peregrine watch. The two Peregrines that have fledged are still being seen regularly on the crag from Ashway Gap. The remaining two young Peregrines on the nest ledge haven't fledged this weekend - we'll give you an update during this week as it won't be long before they too are fledging. We're still seeing the adult Peregrines on the crag, including seeing them fly in with kills for the young birds, so there's still plenty of Peregrine action to see.
Elsewhere around Dove Stone this week there have been recent sightings of Swallow, Grey Wagtail, Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Oystercatcher, Common Sandpiper, Curlew, Blackcap, Golden Plover, Short Eared Owl, Wheatear, Red Legged Partridge, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Spotted Flycatcher.
My bird of the week is the Cuckoo, one of which gave us great views by posing for quite sometime on one of the telephone cables running along the fields adjacent to the main car park. The fields adjacent to the main car park at Dove Stone are actually quite a good spot. As well as our Cuckoo I've seen Curlew, Oystercatcher, Sparrowhawk, Grey Wagtail and Great Spotted Woodpecker in those fields. Down in the main carpark you might also look out for one of wildlife action zones. Our feeders are attracting a good number of Goldfinches and Greenfinches amongst other seed feeding birds. A local artist has also made some feeders for us cleverly disguised as bracket fungi - see if you can spot them.
More soon . . .
How does getting muddy. making friends, getting fit and learning about nature conservation sound ?!
The RSPB and United Utilities at Dove Stone are looking for dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers to help with a whole range of tasks. We're looking for people who will help us with practical work tasks such as felling trees, planting wildflowers and putting in fences; with face-to-face visitor work, including showing visitors the Peregrine Falcons; with wildlife surveying, from birds to plants to mammals to insects; and with trail checking.
The RSPB and United Utilities partnership is in it’s fledgling stage right now so this is a chance to be involved right from the beginning.
What do you get in return ? We’ll offer you the opportunity to meet like minded people, learn about nature conservation, gain practical experience, see some fantastic wildlife as well as the opportunity to work in one of the most spectacular landscapes in the Peak District. Plus volunteering with us is good for fitness - it has to beat going down the gym any day !
If you want to be involved or just want to find out more then feel free to contact Mags Martinez-Alzate on 01457 899614. You don’t need any experience in volunteering, practical tasks or in visitor work just lots of enthusiasm.
It's incredible how fast the chicks are developing. Two weeks ago they were all white down ; now most of the four chicks have more feathers then down. I say most, because two of the chicks seemed to have developed a little more quickly than the other two. Will they be the first to fledge ?
Talking of fledging, it won't be long now. Sometime over the next week to ten days we're expecting them to take their first flight. The young birds are getting more active on their ledge daily and there's a lot of wing flapping going on ! Despite this, it's amazing how well camouflaged the chicks can be up on the ledge as with their brown feathers and little bits of white down they blend in really well with the rock face.
Meanwhile, the adult birds are still bringing in food for the chicks but it looks like they're not feeding the chicks with little pieces of their kill as much as they were. Instead they're leaving bits of the kill on the nest ledge for the chicks to tear up themselves.
Elsewhere around Dove Stone there have been recent sightings of Spotted Flycatcher, Ring Ouzel, young Dipper, Coal Tit, Grey Wagtail adults with young, Oystercatcher, Common Sandpiper, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Curlew. Earlier in the year we were seeing a lot of Wheatear but we haven't seen as many recently. Perhaps they were passing through ?
Keep watching with us - we'll bring you any Peregrine fledging news as soon as we have it.