Heather Burning

They have started burning the heather on the peakland moors.  It has been customary for centuries to burn small patches of heather during the early part of the year.  This started in the days when grouse shooting was important to the local economy.  To thrive, Red Grouse need a mixture of different heights of heather and low growing plants.  They nest in the older deep heather and feed on the new shoots of young heather.  As these birds never travel very far from their birth place, the buring of heather in small patches ensures that they always have the right mixture of … Continue reading Heather Burning

The high moorlands in July

After several days of rain, the high moorlands in the Peak District are looking beautiful.  The peat bogs which has been drying out are now wet and spongy again.  Ling heather is just starting to come into flower, and bilberry bushes are starting to bear fruit.  We have seen an unusually large number of young red grouse this week on Stanage Edge, Bamford Moor, and on Kinder Scout.  We have also seen several Golden Plover, known as the ‘watchmen of the moors’.     Continue reading The high moorlands in July

Ring Ouzels have arrived

We were lucky enough to see Ring Ouzels on our walk today on Derwent Edge.  These birds which look a bit like a blackbird with a white ring around the front of their neck, spend the winter in Spain or North Africa and migrate north each year in April to nest.  Their numbers have declined substantially over recent years and there are now believed to be only around 7,000 breeding pairs returning to the UK each year.  They favour rocky hillsides for their nesting grounds, and in the Peak District as we usually get a few nesting pairs on the … Continue reading Ring Ouzels have arrived

White Stoat on Beeley Moor

Stoats are widely distributed throughout rural Derbyshire.  They are a small mammal with a sausage-shaped body and short legs, and are usually coloured gingery brown.  On our walk today the stoat we saw moving amongst the heather on the edge of the moorland was pure white with just a black tip to its tail.  Stoats in upland areas do sometimes turn white during the winter to camouflage themselves against the snow.  This little creature had been left highly conspicuous as the moorland snow in this area has now melted.  Unfortunately it was camera shy so we didn’t manage to get … Continue reading White Stoat on Beeley Moor

Grouse about the snow

View Full Album While many people have been grousing about the snow which has lingered for many weeks in the Peak District, last Sunday we were up on Derwent Edge watching the grouse make their way about in the snow!  (Red Grouse to be precise)   There are estimated to be over 5,000 breading pairs of Red Grouse in the Peak District, so it is not unusual see see them on our moorland walks.  The males can be instantly recognised by their distinctive red ‘eyebrows’.    It really was a great day to be out walking, with brilliant sunshine, fantastic … Continue reading Grouse about the snow