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Post Info TOPIC: Ladybower/Derwent Reservoirs and environs


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RE: Ladybower/Derwent Reservoirs and environs


4th to 9th June 2023. Birds seen included:

Ring Ouzel (3) 2M and 1Juv - Lead Hill - south of Whinstone Lee Tor
Redstart (2) 1M and 1F - Woodland north of Ashobton
Willow Tit (1) - Woodland north of Ashobton
Whinchat (1) - Upper Burbage Bridge
Spotted Flycatcher (1) - south of Shatton
Redstart (2) 1M and 1F - south of Shatton
Redstart (1) 1M - woodland between Brough and Shatton
Stonechat (2) and Linnet (1) - Overdale
Red Grouse (5) 1 adult and 4 chicks - Cuthroat Bridge area
Lapwing (2) - Cuthroat Bridge area
Oystercatcher (2) - Cuthroat Bridge area
Curlew (2) - Cuthroat Bridge area
Whitethroat (1) - Bradwell Edge

Cuckoo heard calling every day during my weeks holiday/walking in Derbyshire (based in Bradwell)


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Roger Baker 3 wrote:

Good to bump into you again Sid ... you were a bit unfortunate this morning, missing the Bearded Vultures first showing by only minutes , it actually showed again briefly up at Back Tor ... the best part of this for me was when a buzzard attempted a dig and gave a good size comparison .. David and Goliath !

As for best viewing I may be a bit biased as I have had some good birding along Mortimer Road over the years and as Mike C says you get a good view from an 100 yds up from A57 ... all over Strines Moor from Back Tor to looking down on Cutthroat Bridge ... I was leaning on my car watching bird today ... so it's you pays your money and you takes your chance ?

Roger.


Yes Roger I did think I was a touch unlucky to start the day but as I said in my report I was fortunate enough to get the later sighting at c13.00. A great bird to see on my first trip out of the yearbiggrinbiggrin

As far as I can see there are no reports of the bird up to now this morning. Hopefully it will turn up again for those who have not had the chance to get up to the hills.

PS later :- the bird was reported to be around Cutthroat Bridge late on this afternoon.

 



-- Edited by sid ashton on Saturday 25th of July 2020 08:31:16 PM

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Good to bump into you again Sid ... you were a bit unfortunate this morning, missing the Bearded Vultures first showing by only minutes , it actually showed again briefly up at Back Tor ... the best part of this for me was when a buzzard attempted a dig and gave a good size comparison .. David and Goliath !

As for best viewing I may be a bit biased as I have had some good birding along Mortimer Road over the years and as Mike C says you get a good view from an 100 yds up from A57 ... all over Strines Moor from Back Tor to looking down on Cutthroat Bridge ... I was leaning on my car watching bird today ... so it's you pays your money and you takes your chance ?

Roger.



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markwoodhead wrote:

Must have just missed you Mark! Think I arrived just before and left just after you. I took John Rayner's advice (eternally grateful, John) and made the short ascent to Hordron Edge. You get a much better all round view and I must have been closer to the bird at 07.50 (see image) - I would recommend this to all, although it was noticeably colder up there!. Having nearly killed myself last week trekking up to Lost Lad and getting only distant views of the bird, this morning was much better. Nice supporting cast of Curlews, Kestrels and passing hirundines, but the Lammergeier is special.





Glad you got it Mark and you too Sid. Yes, we were contemplating climbing up onto Hordron Edge and in fact I was just telling someone how good that spot is when a guy, scoping from there, turned to us and waved frantically, indicating that he had it. Up until then, we were all facing north/north west and looking in the wrong direction. That was the 7.50am sighting. Absolutely cracking scenery everywhere.

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Must have just missed you Mark! Think I arrived just before and left just after you. I took John Rayner's advice (eternally grateful, John) and made the short ascent to Hordron Edge. You get a much better all round view and I must have been closer to the bird at 07.50 (see image) - I would recommend this to all, although it was noticeably colder up there!. Having nearly killed myself last week trekking up to Lost Lad and getting only distant views of the bird, this morning was much better. Nice supporting cast of Curlews, Kestrels and passing hirundines, but the Lammergeier is special.



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Arrived at the Mortimer road view point via the Cutthroat Bridge car park this morning just in time to miss your 07.50 Bearded Vulture sighting Mark then had to wait until almost 13.00 before I saw it over Derwent Edge to the west, that is a big bird!!!!!

It was cold waiting around up there this morning, glad I took Mike C's advice on the warm gear.

Nice to see Roger Baker and to meet Phil and Sally Latham from Hazel Grove.

The only downside of the morning was the traffic congestion - first caused by an accident at the entrance to Cutthroat Bridge car park mid morning then the horrendously slow journey home of more than 2 hours caused by traffic build-up in Glossop/Mottram.

 



-- Edited by sid ashton on Friday 24th of July 2020 10:30:54 PM

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Saw the Lammergeier this morning at the second attempt, after dipping on Wednesday. Relief.

On Wednesday, we spent over four hours at Cutthroat Bridge car park but, by the time we had arrived, the bird had already flown over an hour or so earlier. Early afternoon, we made our way up Mortimer Road to the track that leads west, three miles north of Strines Bridge. A three mile trek brought us out half a mile or so north of the original roost site. This gave us clear views, due south towards Back Tor and beyond and kept us well away from the bird possibly coming in to roost. We had missed the bird by ten minutes and a further two hour scan brought no joy. It was a disappointing three mile walk back to the car.

A pattern has developed over the last few days whereby the Lammergeier is seen very early, south west of the Cutthroat Bridge area, then spends time around Derwent/Howden Moors before returning to Cutthroat later in the afternoon. This gives credence to the thought that it is now roosting behind CB, possibly around Bamford/Mostar Moors. So, this morning I arrived at the Cutthroat Bridge car park at 7am and was determined to stay there until I had got the bird on my UK list. At 7.50 it duly obliged with a fairly distant fly past, disappearing north towards Derwent Edge. Half an hour later, it appeared briefly and very distantly to the south west of CB and at 12 noon it was spotted very high up above us, again heading north west towards Derwent Edge. Gliding at speed with wings half closed. Not the best views but still superb to see.

The attached record shots wont win any awards.



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Mike:
For info, "Strines Road" is Mortimer Road - I just couldn't remember its proper name
I reported that spot specifically for those not willing or able to stomp up mountains

Bizarrely, the Reservoir road (I mentioned the CP 2km up it, also for those not walking far) doesn't seem to have a name - I've looked hard !

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Return to the Peak District (Lammergeier 2) 22nd July 2020

  After the slog up to Back Tor in the Peak District last Sunday all my body wanted to do was rest and return to status quo but, as one of our number Kevin C, had not been able to enjoy Sunday`s stroll another trip was organised. Now John R, of GM Birders fame, had found what looked like an easier vantage point above Cutthroat Bridge car park. As the Bearded Vulture (still of unknown origin) seemed to like hanging around this area in the early mornings a trip was decided upon. Also Mark R of GM and avid Rochdale football supporter fame, was also making the trip. Rising at 5am and being ready to set off from Castleton at 6am on a nice morning has its advantages. Kevin drove through the deserted bottle necks around the Glossop area and we soon reached the parking area. Mark R was already there as we climbed up the path to join him at around 7-10am. We had a good chat about all things wrong with the world we live in and then, at around 8-50am, a signal from other birders in the area alerted us to the vultures presence. For the next 35 minutes the vulture mesmerised us all with its flying ability as it searched the area for food. At one point it flew very low over a small flock of sheep, one of which jumped in the air as the vulture cast a huge shadow over the terrified animal. It really was a very special moment for us all to be enjoying this truly amazing wildlife spectacle, the time flew by and the bird drifted off north to check out other parts of this splendid national park. We headed down to our cars for some well-earned refreshment.

Dave O.

 



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For anybody who would like to see the bearded vulture but doesn't fancy the long walk or is not capable of doing the walk to the roost site, Cutthroat Bridge car park is a good bet, assuming that you can get parked.  You don't have to walk in the dark for hours over miles of blanket bog to see this bird.

I went on Sunday, the whole trip including the drive from leaving home to arriving back took 3.5 hours, I saw the bird within 30 minutes of arriving on site and had it directly overhead and then on the ground at a carcass about 200m away. It was in view for 30 minutes at least. I did walk about 100m west of the car park and then onto the side of the moor for 1/4 mile but even that isn't necessary, the bird flies over the car park three or four times most days. You could probably see it from your car.

There's a full report from Sunday on my blog with photos and a video.



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By the way, it was pretty cold even when the sun popped out for a few minutes - take your big coat and a warm hat



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Showed really well again this morning.

Anyone put off by the possibility of a "Royal Marine challenge" of yomping  across virgin moorland - fear not


It is possible to park about 50 yards along Mortimer Road which is about a mile further along the A57 from Cutthroat Bridge car park (which was full by  08:20 this morning).

Mortimer Road is at a higher elevation than John's recommended spot and it is possible to view over most of the valley from the elevation it gives. The real bonus for those who are less mobile, is that you can watch from or just next to the car.

We could see it circling above the ridge John mentions, views from there would have been astonishing.


edit for spellong 
-- Edited by Mike Crawley on Wednesday 22nd of July 2020 03:51:19 PM



-- Edited by Mike Crawley on Wednesday 22nd of July 2020 03:52:18 PM

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My third visit for the Lammergeier today and what a day. Waiting at Cutthroat Bridge Lay-by is an OK position but climbing a couple of hundred yards to the SE and watching from Hardron Edge is much better. Here you have a 360 degree panorama. Today I could twice watch the bird on the deck below Stannage Edge, which was out of view for those below. It was on show for nearly an hour this morning, perched, directly overhead, tussling with Buzzards and crows, but best of all it flew past me slightly below eye level at 25m range. The attached photo has been photoshopped to remove electricity wires. Category E my backside - it's a stunner!

Important: Even in July it was bitterly cold up there. Take plenty of warm clothing.

Cheers, John

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I had a distant view of the Lammergeier from Back Tor on Sunday 19th.

Also, just a note to say that Mortimer Road was fully open on Sunday, but this could be a weekend thing.

Steve.



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Monday 20th July 10:20 - 15:30 hrs.

Big thanks to John Watson for his invaluable advice.

Circular walk from Cutthroat Bridge car park - walked path parallel to A57 towards Moscar House - turned left over Highshaw Clough - right along Derwent Edge (including Wheel Stones and Back Tor) - and return past Hurkling Stones / Whinstone Lee Tor - Ladybower Wood - and return to Cutthroat Bridge Car park.

When we arrived a birder told us that the Bearded Vulture had flown over Cutthroat Bride Car Park at 09:00 hrs. We thought - "Oh no - not another one of those 'nearly seen' days"!

At 12:50 hrs. fantastic view of Bearded Vulture / Lammergeier right above our heads on Derwent Edge between Cutthroat Bridge car park and Back Tor. Three Carrion Crows looked tiny as they tried to chase it off! A magnificent sight which will stay with myself and my wife Paula for the rest of our lives. A fantastic "lifer". Well worth the 80 mile round trip!

Other birds seen included:

Golden Plover x 1 looking splendid in its breeding plummage.
Raven x 3
Kestrel x 5
Wheater x 1 (juvenile)
Stonechat x 1 stunning male
Red Grouse x 2
Lapwing x 1 (juvenile)
Meadow Pipit x lots
Nuthatch x 1
Swift x 30
House Martin x 15
Robin x 1
Blackbird x 1
Carrion Crows x 3




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Bearded Vulture/Lammergeier in the Peak District. Sunday 19th July 2020

  The appearance of a vulture in this country is a strange occurrence at the best of times and with it came the tag presumed wild bred from reintroduced but not self-sustaining population in the Alps no great rush to see it set in. Now as pictures and video of the bird emerged the chance to see such a magnificent creature got us all thinking about a trip to see it!

  With Chris B and son Isaac, myself, Steve B and Bob K aboard, we set off from Newhey at 10-30am, news that the bird was still present and going into its 9th day of residence, our hopes were high. On such a sunny Sunday afternoon lots of traffic, cyclists and walkers made our journey to Cutthroat Bridge on the A57 Snake Road car park very interesting. Our intention to have a look for the Bearded Vulture/Lammergeier for 20 minutes just up a very rocky path, where the bird had been watched sat on rocks one hour before we arrived, revealed nothing. We carried on and chose not to go for the shorter track up to Back Tor having already completed a good mile. Going was hard but what a lovely view from all angles. On the uphill slog we passed: - Whinstone Lee Tor, Wheel Stones, White Tor, Salt Cellar, Dovestone Tor, Cakes of Bread and finally arriving at Back Tor after around 2 hours walking. At one point on the way up we saw a very large bird of prey over Howden Moors that we identified as the Bearded Vulture. At Back Tor lots of bird watchers and general walkers seemed to be searching the skies or just enjoying the sunshine and the superb views from this vantage point. After numerous warnings about not encroaching too close to the birds roosting place, it defies logic that one man was sat over the rocky escarpment and another family within 200 yards, preventing the bird to land!! After a nice rest the shout went up that the bird was flying around over Abbey Bank and Howden Moor area, it was quite distant, but great to watch. About 20 minutes later the vulture re-appeared this time to the south beyond Derwent Moors giving better yet still distant views, it was good to follow the bird as it occasionally banked over and more detail could be seen. On the return journey down we saw: - Kestrel, Buzzard, Raven, Meadow Pipit and Stonechat. By now our legs and feet had gone into automatic mode as we finally made it back to the car park after a two hour decent. Was it worth it, well of course it was!

Dave O.



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After a failed attempt from Derwent reservoir on Friday returned today and went straight to Cutthroat Bridge CP, was quite busy with many people there for the Lammergeier so it may be difficult to park there for others we were lucky to get a space as someone was leaving.

After only being there around 5 minutes (12.45) Lammergeier was spotted in the distance SE of the CP slowly gliding towards us. Had great views as it soared high above the car park, really is a magnificent bird. Watched it slowly drift NW over a57 toward derwent moors and out of site.

Was very chuffed to have managed to see it today (lifer for me), looks incredible in flight. If it sticks around I'll definitely be returning to try and see it at the roost site. 



-- Edited by Sean Molloy on Monday 20th of July 2020 03:00:57 PM

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On 11th July evening I made the long trek in to Abbey Brook as the Lammergeier had been reported to be roosted on its ledge at Crook Clough. Beautiful weather and excellent views of the perched bird and a late return to the car at Strines Bridge with Woodcock roding overhead.

It was a wonderful experience but I wanted to see it in flight as well, so yesterday morning I drove to Cutthroat Bridge lay-by. Parking there was impossible, the world and his dog seemed to be out, but I managed to get off road on the A57 at Strines Corner (at the junction for the turn off for Strines).

Within a short time the bird was picked up at distance perched on rocks SW of Cutthroat Bridge. It would not have been visible from Cutthroat lay-by. I decided to leave the car parked and walk up an obvious track that leads above the lay-by. During the walk the bird was out of sight but as I approached a small group of birders it was obvious that the bird had moved. I picked it up soaring high in the sky and managed an appalling phone to scope photo, so not the flight pictures I wanted but a decent enough view.

Later the police were out to do some traffic control at the crowded junction but they were very amiable and chatty. I waited a while and although the bird was reported through the afternoon it didn't come back to that area. In fact it roosted again at its favourite site at Crook Clough. If you wish to see it both perched and in flight the best bet is to act on news of it roosting at Crook Clough and get there for dawn. Beware it leaves its roost early most days, 05.37 today.

Cheers, John

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I knew I'd read it somewhere

Those roadworks have gone (on Friday 17th)

The Bearded Vulture was seen at Edale y'day, but returned to its favourite area later

-- Edited by John Watson on Monday 20th of July 2020 08:23:59 AM



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Doc Brewster wrote:

Beware anyone going from now on is that Mortimer Road, which you need to go up to park at the now recommended place (SK245946), is closed from the south so you need to access from the north and park just past the road closed sign. I did a q.lengthy diversion but arrived at this location and headed out over the moors. This parking and route gives the gentlest route to the bird, being 2.8mls on a wide track, even topped off with a covering for most of its length! Then at an obvious cairn by a dry stream you turn R.and head over moorland proper. Approx 4 small gulleys need to be crossed, a bit wet in places but it never even went over my boots at all. Eventually you arrive at a gentle hillside opposite the roost site but a good distance away to minimise disturbance.

 


 These are directions from the location N.of the Strines Pub, John, posted earlier in the thread. I walked from here & it is easier albeit longer!



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It seems to roost recently just S of Cutthroat Bridge CP, but not visible from there - you might need to hike a short way NW up the track to view back S across the rise

When it leaves this roost, it drifts N, so view from 500m along Strines Road where much of the moor is visible from the roadside

Alternatively, view the crags opposite from the CP just 1km up the reservoir road - get a good wide view of the hills to the E

If you've the energy, go to Back Tor for a wide view of the whole moor. It's a 2km steep-ish walk from a spot just N of the Strines pub. Do not park at the pub, the owner has gone off birders, I hear

To view the earlier roost site, which I think it still sometimes uses (that's where the pics were taken), you need to be at the E end of Abbey Brook. This is a hefty walk N from Back Tor. There is another slightly easier access route from ~2km N of Strines pub, but I'm not clear on the exact location

If you visit the Abbey Brook site, don't be a d*ck and get too close - it's reported that some photographers have done this, which is why it relocated

All this is hearsay - I visited and dipped, but heard a lot of info about where I should have gone to get crippling views. In fact, it flew over the very spot where I made the decision to leave - just 10 minutes after I left

PS, it might be possible to see it if you drive up the Ladybower reservoir road, but there aren't any decent viewpoints except possibly a low-probability spot opposite Abbey Brook. Unlikely to be the best use of your time



-- Edited by John Watson on Sunday 19th of July 2020 04:54:29 PM

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Got to see the Bearded Vulture today.  Albeit it was a brief view it was very satisfactory.  Not quiet matching the size of the Lancaster bomber of a few years ago but huge for a bird!

I knew I would struggle doing the long walk so I viewed the moors from the big layby on the A57 between the res and the turning for Strines. A wise choice.  After a 3 hour wait, and as I was about to leave, it came into view and floated towards Bamford Moor. If you cant do the long hike it may be worth a try from here. It worked for me.



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As previous people have already said the lammergeier is an amazing bird and well worth the visit despite the aching limbs. I managed to take a few shots (definitely a novice photographer). I particularly like the one of the sheep gazing out behind the rock.

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The Lammergeier  showed well  today on and off over the day.  I got there for 7am and stayed till 4pm and got 4 decent flybys in that time . Dull day so not the best for photos but you gotta work with what you get



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Did you see it? It was small and brown and flew that way.........................


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I finally couldn't resist and had the time to dedicate a day to the quest if needed so I set off from home at about 5.45am after getting up at 5am. I headed across the Snake Pass to approach for the south, mistake No.1!! Beware anyone going from now on is that Mortimer Road, which you need to go up to park at the now recommended place (SK245946), is closed from the south so you need to access from the north and park just past the road closed sign. I did a q.lengthy diversion but arrived at this location and headed out over the moors. This parking and route gives the gentlest route to the bird, being 2.8mls on a wide track, even topped off with a covering for most of its length! Then at an obvious cairn by a dry stream you turn R.and head over moorland proper. Approx 4 small gulleys need to be crossed, a bit wet in places but it never even went over my boots at all. Eventually you arrive at a gentle hillside opposite the roost site but a good distance away to minimise disturbance. As always folk were across the valley from us getting far too close to the cliff and standing above the roost, all of which wasn't great for the bird returning as when I arrived it had gone!

So then ensued a long wait.... and more waiting.... and more waiting.... folk were giving up and leaving, even some who hadn't seen it yet! Interest was kept alive by a Buzzard and a Kestrel. About five and a half hours after it had been last seen a shout went up and there it was a juvenile Lammergeier soaring majestically towards us, magnificent, I'd swear it blocked out the sun wink The bird performed well, soring nearly to us before cutting off north to disappear behind a ridge. Another hour or so passed before the next sighting, this time the bird coming (like Rob says) really close, just above us and at eye level along the valley. its eye & even its beard showing up so so well! It landed several times on rocky outcrops and we even saw it swallow a bone, cracking behaviour. as we watched I picked up a smart Hobby over too, and got everyone on it including a birding mate for who it was a yeartick. Other birds around included Ring Ouzel, Raven, Red Grouse and Stonechat, but to be honest one bird was taking all of our attention!!

I agree with all the previous sentiments expressed (as did the gathered throng of birders) it is our hobby, we can count what we like, this bird was born in the wild and made its way over under its own steam as a wild individual, so whatever BOU say, as Rob says - Lifer!! biggrin

 



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Hi Chris,
I saw the requests on Twitter from a Vulture ecologist / conservationist for DNA feathers or samples.

I think they would probably be able to tell the geographical origins of an animal from faecal samples. Although the main contents would be the digested remains of carcass bones (just to add that contrary to popular belief- Lammergeiers also take live prey) which would determine what and where the prey was from...

eg. Deer / Hare / Sheep from Derbyshire

...I think they can also identify the type and amount of intestinal bacteria in the sample thus leading to determining which population the Lammergeier has originated from.

As regards the feather samples, obviously the DNA is there. But another point to consider is that Lammergeiers are known to dye themselves purposely using their bill and talons with carcass blood, rock dust, soil, etc to add to the rich orangey red plumage around the head, breast and legs. So much in the same way that a forensic scientist could probably determine if soil on a shoe linked a suspect to a particular area by measuring exact mineral composition, it suggests that that could also be a possible test for any mineral build up on the feathers.

Just a thought!

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Couldn't agree more with Rob, that whatever category the Lammergeier is placed in, if you can get there it is one great birdwatching experience. 

On Sunday afternoon walked up to Back Tor from Strines Bridge and after 4 hours waiting was rewarded with distant flight view, so after hearing it was roosting on Monday I decided to rush up to Fairholmes car park from work yesterday. 

The walk from there was a lot harder than from Strines, but a little quicker apparently. 

Arrived at the roost site to the East of Howden Dam at 18.15 and had excellent views of it perched. Image attached. 

Enjoyed it for 40 minutes before trekking back, but just as we were re crossing the Gorge it took to the sky and myself and Vicky had 15 minutes of  'time stood still' moment where we marvelled at it's aerial manoeuvres as it dodged 2 Kestrels around the Gorge. It then flew over the ridge and out of sight. One of the birding highlights of my life so far.

Got back to Fairholmes by 20.45. Knees paying for it today.

Other birds over the 2 days

Golden Plover, 6 Kestrel, 4 Buzzard, Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, 3 Stonechat, 25 Meadow Pipit, 4 Raven, 2 Curlew. 



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You clearly had a much steadier hand than me yesterday, Rob, when the it suddenly appeared over the edge of the hill at our feet!

We came in the other way (from beside Fairholmes carpark) also a substantial hike, though a bit less wet by the sounds of things. Despite setting my alarm for 0330, it was obvious pretty rapidly that that was way too late for getting there anywhere near dawn. Fortunately, as you say, the bearded vulture showed little inclination to move until nearly half past 8, reminiscent of a lazy teenager as someone I spoke to afterwards suggested before realising that I was there with my teenage daughter... You missed out her favourite bit that preceded its leaving its ledge at 0828 though, when it turned round and defecated impressively out from the cliff. I'm not sure whether collecting that would be as good as a feather for checking origins (??).

 



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Sunday 12th July

Howden Moors and Back Tor.

Had to give it a go for the Lammergeier.
Beware...this is a 4.5 mile walk to the roost site over some fairly rough terrain, not for the faint hearted, I was in 2 minds with my arthritic knees but I had to do it. Uphill all the way to the trig, then a flattish long walk before another bit of a climb, then dropping down over a wet boggy heath with raised sods creating pot holes that left many people picking themselves up, then crossing a ravine and back up climbing over another boggy heath to view the crag roost, aching legs and soaking wet feet before Id even seen the bird, worth it though!

Parked the car sensibly at Strines bridge / Mortimer Rd at 5am, reached the trig roughly 6am, then best part of an hour again to the roost site.

- Lammergeier - Lifer!!!
What a bird this is. Initially roosting on a crag face until 8.28am when it flew out of view but was located in seconds basking on a closer rock in full view. It lasted only a few minutes when at 8.34am we were treated to the most spectacular aerial views you couldve ever wished for.
Photographers ran forward to the edge but they needn?t have done, within seconds of it flying it rose up level with us then circled right over our heads a few times, within 10-20 feet of us. Unbelievable!
It then glided effortlessly low over the hill and out of sight, and that was that!

Other birds of note...
- Common Buzzard
- Raven
- Curlew
- Golden Plover
- Red Grouse
- singing Willow Warbler
- Meadow Pipits

Thanks to Steve Nelson for some info on Saturday, and nice to see familiar faces up there including Seaforth patcher Jon, and then Andy Makin & co at the trig when we were on our way back.
A truly memorable morning but Im paying for it with aching legs.



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Hearing the news that the Lammergeier roosted late on yesterday, I couldn't resist trying this morning and an early start saw me on Back Tor by 5.30am and was in the right place at the right time as the juvenile Lammergeier flew and landed right in front of a few of us. Fantastic to see this bird so close, up to 7.40am when it flew low NW out of sight.

-- Edited by Simon Warford on Saturday 11th of July 2020 02:59:07 PM

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Alarm set for stupid-oclock and up and out. After an hours drive and a further 1 hour (4miles - then 4 miles back!) yomp from Strines Bridge and over the moorland, I finally caught up with the spectacular immature Bearded Vulture (I prefer Lammergeier) thats been touring the country recently. It had roosted overnight in a rocky ravine on Howden Moor, so an early start was needed before it became active. There were already plenty of birders up there by the time I arrived. The bird had flown around briefly before I got there but was then located sat on a prominent rock with the sunlight on it. I had great scope views but its so big you could see it with the naked eye. It stayed on its ledge for quite a while, moving around a bit and even coughing up a pellet. Then it was flushed by a fell runner and the bird took to the skies. Its huge size dwarfing the 2 Kestrels that then tried to mob it. It gave great views as it cruised around for a few minutes before eventually heading off over the distant hill. The missing secondary feather on its wing is noticeable.
What ever this birds origins (the thinking is its the offspring of a reintroduced pair from the Alps or the Pyrenees), its awesome and Im counting it! As were probably most of the other 80+ birders up there!

Also:
A flock of c12 Crossbills over as I parked up
2 Curlew
2 Raven
Numerous Red Grouse- including one in the middle of the road on Snake Pass that nearly didnt make it!
Somebody else reported a singing Ring Ousel
terrible phone scope picture as the Vulture took off from its ledge.


-- Edited by Steven Nelson on Saturday 11th of July 2020 12:45:18 PM

-- Edited by Steven Nelson on Saturday 11th of July 2020 12:53:52 PM

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10.00-16.00

Open Hagg area to view over the valley looking West.

1 Kestrel, 10 Ravens (Including 7 soaring together over the valley, some in display flight)and 1 Buzzard.

Masses of House Martins mixed with fewer numbers of Swallows flying over the valley, more martins kept arriving

throughout my stay. This appeared to be a mass movement with the birds slowly drifting off towards the West.

At one point I noticed what appeared to be a large raptor soaring very high up, but it turned out to be a Grey Heron.

The only birds seen on the expanse of moorland at Rowlee Pasture were 1m Stonechat and 5 Meadow Pipits.

At it's northern end, the water level on Ladybower Reservoir appears alarmingly low, with a couple of Grey Herons

wading in the middle.

On the hillside opposite Ridges Coppice another Buzzard and 1 more Kestrel were keeping a close eye on the cereal harvest.

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Up on moorland woodland edge in freezing stiff northerly wind 15:10-16:30

No sign of any crossbills let alone parrot!!!! As very expose I walked slowly down track checking scots pines along the way and by lay you to no avail

8 siskins in larches below path from puddle to 5 bar gate

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Rob, it is exactly that description you gave below which made me question.  Photo number 3 is the closest we had to a Parrot Crossbill sitting on the branches/tops of trees.  It's bill was bulkier than some of the other Crossbills but not bulky enough in my eyes.  The size of the Common Crossbill's bill varies quite a bit from what I am seeing.  This is the closest I have seen Crossbills and with such dedication.  I forgot to mention their call in flight and we could hear the difference.  It will be nice to have a walk in the Peak District again. 



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I'm no expert Sarfraz but I'm inclined to agree with you in that they look like Common Crossbills, partly based on features shown in your images (and I appreciate it's sometimes difficult to ID from images) but more so based on what I saw on the few occasions I've been to see them (and I dare say Simon or Chris may agree with us too?).
The individuals that we saw and identified as Parrot Crossbills had large heads that literally blended into the shoulder area and gave the birds a big bulky appearance up top with no neck if that makes sense. Also the bills on the Parrot C's were altogether different than on the Common Crossbills, the depth and protrusion of the Parrot C's bill were of fairly similar proportions giving it a deep but slightly blunt effect.
You didn't mention their call Sarfraz, we heard them call too and compared it to the Common C's, and although a little bit similar, the Parrot C's had a deeper tone to it.
Hope this helps you mate.


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Managed to go up on Sunday - walked form Fairholmes to  the spot - just took over 1 1/2 hours with frequent stops to take photos.  We definitely had 2 of the species in flight.  A few of the birds landed but on Sunday they were not that showy.  If anyone is planning to go I would advise that make sure you have all day and do not expect to get a space at that layby.  

I have photographs of 3 different birds of which 2 are almost certainly Crossbills and the 3rd I am inclined to think so too.  Most of the people I showed it to said more likely Parrot Crossbill but no one could say for certain.  Here are the photographs - I would love forum members opinions.  Thanks to forum members for your help in getting there. 

 

  



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I went up there yesterday in the snow flurries. After an hours wait at least 4 flew in to the bare trees by the track with Common Crossbills. Interestingly the bills on these birds though definitely big are not as huge as those possessed by a group photographed somewhere down south which are on Birdguides. Individual birds in this flock are identifiable. I took a digiscoped photo of a particular male with very ruffled feathers and it was the same one taken (rather more professionally) by Martyn Jones. Also briefly present was a Merlin which landed on the gate at the top of the track. Only two others present yesterday and a bloke with 2 teeth in shorts and flip-flops when I got back to the car who asked me Is that Freddy Parrotface still there?

-- Edited by Tim Wilcox on Tuesday 6th of February 2018 07:50:04 PM

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Lucky with the Crossbills today as they flew in just as I arrived at 11.10.
Flew to the bare tree nearest the track and drinking puddle but I think folk were a little too close and they flew and circled.
On a return flyover they had merged with another group of (presumably) Common Crossbills and the flock was now around 25-30 strong.
I hung around till 14.00 but only a flyover by 2 Crossbill sp. (probably Parrots) at 13.20.

The other highlight was a flyby from a Lancaster Bomber which flew north up the reservoir before heading east.

Cheers,


-- Edited by John Rayner on Friday 2nd of February 2018 11:35:19 PM

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Thanks Mark, John and Rob.  Will keep an eye out for reports.  I did the whole walk back in 2013 in the summer.  It never ended.  I am torn between driving up there and having an easy ride on another day OR enjoying the Peak District as they should be enjoyed and quite possibly (unless I saunter faster than I drive) limiting the time spent waiting for the Parrot Crossbills to appear. 

 

I bet they will move on the 3rd of February now that I have decided to go on the 4th. 



-- Edited by Sarfraz Hayat on Wednesday 31st of January 2018 10:22:12 PM

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The Parrot Crossbills are still there Sarfraz. 12+ reported tonight as being present today.

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Wednesday 31st of January 2018 09:04:42 PM

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Sarfraz Hayat wrote:

Thinking of going to see the Parrot Crossbills this Sunday.  Looks like I will have to do the 7km walk to that spot from Fairholmes.  Are the birds still around?  


 The Parrot Crossbills were photographed yesterday,so they are still there.



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Keep checking @SheffBirders Sarfraz. Last reported four days ago on that Twitter feed but that doesnt mean theyre not around. Try Bird Guides also. Prepare yourself for the walk as Im glad I drove!

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Thinking of going to see the Parrot Crossbills this Sunday.  Looks like I will have to do the 7km walk to that spot from Fairholmes.  Are the birds still around?  



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Fantastic, that is very helpful indeed, Simon. Really appreciated, hopefully the weather changes and I can provide a report back over the weekend. Again, many thanks.



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Hi

You keep driving up the road along the side of the reservoir, rather than turning into the Fairholmes car park. There are blue marker posts at each km. Having driven fully past Derwent Res you should be heading up around the edge of Howden Res and having climbed a bit and then curved around the inlet as you head up you will see a small layby near the 7km marker. The birds could be anywhere around that area. That road is closed on Sundays

Hope this helps

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Evening all,

Logistics question, not sighting - As a newbie and unfamiliar with this area how do I get to the famed 7km sign? Assuming this is a track from the Fairholmes Visitor Centre? Guidance on which direction to take would be much appreciated. Couldn't see to find and detail within sub-forum.

Good birding weekend to all!

 



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Had a great couple of hours at the usual spot, up the track from the Km7 marker, twenty yards or so before the puddle. After twenty minutes three Common Crossbill came in calling then, ten minutes later, in came four Parrott Crossbill. Great scope views in the conifers in front of us. The latter were noticeably chunkier birds with fuller bills and a more near 50/50 split between lower and upper mandible width. I was just about to leave, happy with what I had seen, when a flock of eighteen Crossbill flew in. At least ten were Parrott. They then moved in further to the tree adjacent to the puddle and, not put off by us four birders nearby, some came down to bathe and drink. Absolutely superb and the best views of Crossbill that I have ever had. Pity I didn't take my better camera, a few bridge camera shots attached.

-- Edited by Mark Jarrett on Wednesday 24th of January 2018 05:39:12 PM

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Went today with Malcolm, at 12.30 around 23 Crossbills arrived to drink from previously described pool on path and at least 3 were definitely Parrot Crossbillbiggrin, lifer for me even though it meant me missing the Hooded Crow in GMcry, such is lifehmm
Cheers Ian

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Saturday 20th Jan -
Early afternoon visit after work with Simon Gough and Chris Chandler.

- 1 probably 2 Parrot Crossbills
We started climbing the path from the layby but could hear Crossbill calls around us and we soon got on a couple flying over towards the plantation near the layby. We had 5 maybe 6 Common Crossbills moving through the Pines.
We picked up on 1 bird and then another that both seemed heavier built and bigger headed than the others and I was quite satisfied they were Parrot Crossbills. Another birder present was also happy with the sighting.

Incidentally a Birdguides report came through later that 2 Parrot Crossbills were seen before lunch so the fact we only had 2 also was reassuring we'd got it right.

Also
- 1 Siskin
- plenty of Goldcrest and Coal Tit
- 3 Raven over
- 2 Goosander (1m 1f)

...and Simon got more than he bargained for needing a year tick of Red Grouse. I told him not to worry and sure enough we saw plenty on the journey over The Snake Pass, you couldn't miss them on the solid blanket of snow still present up over the tops.

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pete berry wrote:

Popped over today to see Xbills and was well rewarded with approx dozen Parrot Crossbills giving prolonged views as they perched up in the bare trees above their "drinking puddle" and watched as they appeared to take lichen off the bark and ate it? Also a couple of Commom Crossbills came in a gave brief views but did not stay to drink.Well worth the hassle of negotiating the horrendous amount of traffic around Glossop/Mottram.




I was in Dumfries and Galloway last week trying to find some Parrot Crossbill among a flock of Common Crossbills but with no luck. But the Common Crossbill were foraging on, or in, the Lichen on the tree and the lichen/mosses on a corrugated roof of the bothy below the tree. My assumption was they were looking for fallen pine seeds/insects caught in the lichen/moss. Interesting you saw then eat the lichen itself. I will look harder next time !
Chris

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