Having had an upsetting day on the Thursday (see previous posting), I thought a change of scenery was necessary on Friday and decided to do a bit of off-patch birding by heading into Derbyshire. Dovedale was my destination, with Dipper as my target. The start of the walk (I walked for approximately four hours) is quite open and extremely beautiful, as shown below. Then you enter the tree-lined gorge, and this is beautiful in a different sort of way, and is where the Dippers can be found.
The area by the stepping stones is good for Crows and Rooks.
Once out of the open area, and into the trees and gorge, it did not take long to find a Dipper. There was an adult with two juveniles, but they kept to the far bank and in deep shade, making photography extremely difficult, and I got very poor results. On previous visits I have been lucky enough to find them close to the near bank, and in the sun. However, today was busy with dog walkers who allowed their dogs off the leash (in spite of notices saying the dogs should be on a lead) and even encouraged their dogs to jump into the water, so I'm not surprised that the birds were keeping as far out of the way as possible.
Common Blue (male)
A short way further on, I found a female Goosander with four chicks. Goosander are another speciality of Dovedale, but I have never had a proper sighting of them before. What a treat!
Continuing my walk through this beautiful place, I stopped to photograph more insects.
Further on, I found another Dipper - this time a juvenile on its own. This one was even further away and kept in very dark shadow. You will probably have to double-click on the image to enlarge it before you can spot it!
There were many Mallards on the Dove, but several of them were exhibiting signs of hybridisation. These chicks had a hybrid mother in attendance.
Mallard (hybrid) chicks
On my way back, the Goosander and chicks had moved closer to the near bank, but the light had moved round to a more adverse position.
There were plenty of Brimstone butterflies in Dovedale. At one point I came across four fluttering about together. I managed to get three of them in flight in one shot - I've never tried butterfly flight shots before! No, this is not a Photoshop photo-montage! I must try this again sometime and try to perfect the technique.