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A pleasant morning at Padley Gorge

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Old Saturday 18th June 2005, 14:26   #1
digi-birder
 
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A pleasant morning at Padley Gorge

Following a mention of Padley Gorge, in the Derbyshire Peak District, at the Oop North Bash the other week, Keith, myself and Benjismum (Dawn) decided to meet up there today and have a little walk along the river. After some helpful tips from deboo, who unfortunately couldn't join us, we met at 8am on the road out of Grindleford and set off on our walk.

As we were there quite early, the day-trippers hadn't yet arrived, so we had the place almost to ourselves. We walked down the path from the road and across the footbridge, where we spotted a Green Woodpecker flying across the field, and wandered slowly along the riverside path, listening and watching. Almost immediately, we heard a bird singing in the tree to the side of us. After some scanning Keith managed to get the scope on a lovely Redstart, who entertained us for a few minutes before flying off. Lifer number one for Dawn.

All around us were Blue Tits, Great Tits, Robins and Chaffinch. A little further along the path we spotted a Pied Flycatcher flitting between the trees and coming to rest on the same branch each time, so we quietly went a bit closer and managed to see a lovely male. There must have been a nest out of sight round the back of the tree, as he was disappearing with food in his mouth and coming back without. Keith was very pleased indeed, and it was another lifer for Dawn. Keith and Dawn also saw Spotted Flycatcher, but I missed out there.

We also had lovely views of Treecreepers, one of which landed on a tree trunk right next to us, and there were loads of Nuthatch around. Several times we saw a small brown streak fly past, and managed to identify one of them as a Wren. There were a few Grey Wagtails flitting around the rocks, too.

We heard and then saw a Mistle Thrush in the woods and then I spotted a nest box up to the side of us, so we decided to watch and see what happened. Straight away we saw a female Pied Flycatcher come to the hole, followed by the male. We stood there for some time watching them come and go, and even saw a glimpse of a young one just inside the box. I decided to get the camera out of the back-pack and take some photos, despite the poor light and the distance to the box from the path. One came out not too bad (below), but I had to increase the ISO setting to 800 and get the cable release out. Even then it was only about 1/20 second exposure at 400mm (Canon 10D + Sigma 135-400mm zoom). We weren't as close as it looks - the photo is approx 50% crop and unsharp mask applied.

Dawn's bogey bird was the Dipper and we were determined to see one, so as we walked we kept scanning the river, but to no avail. After we left the flycatchers, we found a place to sit near the river and a likely looking waterfall. No sooner had we arrived, when Dawn said that she'd seen a Dipper disappear behind a large rock. I managed to see something just as it was going out of sight, but we waited and it never reappeared. As we were being bitten to death by tiny little midges, we decided to walk up to the rock and see if we could find the Dipper. After a bit of searching, we did manage to find it again and had good views as it flew down the river to where we'd been sitting a few minutes before! It landed on a rock in the middle of the river, where we managed to get some reasonable views before it went out of sight again. Lifer 3 of the day for Dawn.

I'm afraid we dipped on Wood Warbler, despite Keith's fine rendition of the song as read from the Collin's Guide! On the way back to the car we saw Meadow Pipit and one Curlew circling around and calling above the valley. As we were talking before parting, we noticed a Great Spotted Woodpecker down in the field, but it didn't hang around long to get really nice views. By this time there were walkers and day-trippers arriving, so we decided to call it a day. Just as we were about to drive off, a Pied Wagtail was spotted on the stone wall just in front of us.
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Last edited by digi-birder : Saturday 18th June 2005 at 19:06.
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Old Saturday 18th June 2005, 14:32   #2
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One of my favourite local places - though I bet it's as busy as Blackpool front at the moment.
Did you have a look for the Dartford Warbler on the way back Diane?

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Old Saturday 18th June 2005, 14:41   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M N Reeder
One of my favourite local places - though I bet it's as busy as Blackpool front at the moment.
Did you have a look for the Dartford Warbler on the way back Diane?

Mark
It wasn't too busy until we were about ready to leave, so we were OK.

Dartford Warbler? No we didn't. Didn't even know there was one. Obviously haven't been paying attention to my Bird News emails! Just checked the sightings page, though, and it hasn't been seen since the 11th.
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Old Saturday 18th June 2005, 14:46   #4
Edward woodwood
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lovely place Diane
i do miss the hills and valleys...
one of my former birding haunts as a youth

Hopton Quarry near Cromford, a bit further south, used to be great for Wood Warbler...
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Old Saturday 18th June 2005, 14:48   #5
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Originally Posted by digi-birder
It wasn't too busy until we were about ready to leave, so we were OK.

Dartford Warbler? No we didn't. Didn't even know there was one. Obviously haven't been paying attention to my Bird News emails! Just checked the sightings page, though, and it hasn't been seen since the 11th.
It's probably still there Diane it's a real bugger to see especially if it's not singing. Only the fourth record in Yorkshire.

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Old Saturday 18th June 2005, 17:24   #6
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Nice report Diane.

Dawn was well chuffed if her text was anything to go by.
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Old Monday 20th June 2005, 09:14   #7
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Yes it was a lovely morning - thanks to Diane and Keith. I haven't updated my lists yet but it was 3 lifers and 2 year birds I think... and I can hold my head up in the office again - I've finally seen a Dipper.
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Old Monday 20th June 2005, 09:58   #8
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Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
lovely place Diane
i do miss the hills and valleys...
one of my former birding haunts as a youth

Hopton Quarry near Cromford, a bit further south, used to be great for Wood Warbler...
Padley is good for Wood W's, Timmmeh, but Hopton doesn't have them any more.

Padley is probably one of the best places to get a feel for Peak birding, and a dawn visit there at the start-middle of May is not to be missed.

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Old Monday 20th June 2005, 15:03   #9
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I can see that I will have to give this place a try. I am still to see Wood Warbler this year and my usual place to get them (Wyre Forest) doesn't have any this year.

BTW I may go to Anglessey next weekend. Does anyone have any really good Wood Warbler sites on the way to there from Coventry.
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Old Monday 20th June 2005, 15:09   #10
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Let me know when you're thinking of coming up, Reader.
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Old Monday 20th June 2005, 15:23   #11
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Sounds a nice spot.
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Old Monday 20th June 2005, 15:59   #12
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Originally Posted by digi-birder
Let me know when you're thinking of coming up, Reader.
Hi Diane

Will do.

I'm not sure of whether to go to Anglesey this weekend or possibly Padley Gorge, but if I thought that there was a reliable Wood Warbler site on the way to Anglesey then I might favour doing that.

Iwill let you know later in the wekk.

BTW would you be free that weekend if I did come up?
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Old Monday 20th June 2005, 17:25   #13
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BTW would you be free that weekend if I did come up?
I'm working on Saturday (final day of a conference we're running), but I have nothing planned up to now for Sunday.
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Old Monday 20th June 2005, 22:15   #14
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Great report from a lovely place d-b. Haven't yet managed to see a Dipper there though, so I'll keep my eyes peeled next time!

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Old Tuesday 21st June 2005, 08:16   #15
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I'm working on Saturday (final day of a conference we're running), but I have nothing planned up to now for Sunday.
Cheers Diane.

I will know a bit later in the week if I can make it as at the moment my missus isn't very well still.

If we managed to come would dogs be allowed as well. We just don't seem to go to many places lately where dogs are allowed. We have two very sloppy dogs. One Golden Retriever and an Alsation X Collie. Both of them very friendly.
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Old Tuesday 21st June 2005, 19:45   #16
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The dogs will be fine, Reader. It's a public footpath and plenty of people take dogs there.
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Old Wednesday 22nd June 2005, 08:07   #17
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The dogs will be fine, Reader. It's a public footpath and plenty of people take dogs there.
Thanks Diane

I have answered your PM with a bit more info.
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