Saturday, 3 April 2021

Ring Ouzel in the Peak District

Ring Ouzel are one of the first species to arrive in their breeding habitat from Africa and birds tend to appear from the end of March. 

We set off when it was still dark and arrived on site near Hathersage, a few minutes after sunrise, so there was time for a cup of tea. My friend had brought some Lemon Drizzle Kitkats and I contemplated this with a degree of trepidation, expecting a sickly zing, clashing with chocolate and wafer.  However, Nestles seem to have got the balance right and they're actually okay.

Suitably replenished, I set off up the hill and realised I had got out of shape, stopping for a couple of puffs and pants before I reached the top. It took just 10 minutes before I had located a male Ring Ouzel doing the familiar 'chack chack' from a rock below the ridge.  I had deliberately set my ISO quite low, as I knew the light was going to be dodgy, and cranked down the shutter speed to a positively sluggish 1/250, but managed a nice shot of the bird in its surroundings.

Male Ring Ouzel

A wander along the ridge produced at least three more birds, but none perched up for long enough for a picture. The position wasn't helped by climbers that were scattered along the 'Edge.'

Turning my attention to the adjacent moorland, I heard the 'clucking' of Red Grouse and located a male not too far off, partly obscured by heather.  I edged closer, without flushing the bird and got some nice shots before the hen appeared. As they flew off, I got a nice snap of the male in mid glide.

A quick stop at Grindleford produced a singing male Siskin but it was too high in the tree for a photo.

Male Red Grouse

Female Red Grouse


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