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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Trooping Deceivers

Once again I am indebted to 'Derbyshire Harrier' for aiming me in the direction of a natural history gem on the Eastern Moors. Well... almost on the Eastern Moors as this subject is on a road verge passed by hundreds of motorists every day when going over towards Longshaw.

So, yet another fungi picture, so what is special about that?

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Red Deer Quiz Answers

For those of you who came along to our totally mad Bolving Competition this weekend, please find below the answers to the Red Deer Quiz. Hope you all enjoyed yourselves and we'll see you again next year. 12 months to work on those bolves!

1.     Which species of deer are native to the UK? Red Deer and Roe Deer


The second year of the Eastern Moors Bolving Competition was once again a great success. Photos from the evening will follow in due course or can be seen now on our Facebook page if you click the link on the right.
In the meantime here is The Bolving 'Anthem', a tribute to our competitors

Thursday, 8 October 2015

A sunny summer volunteering on the Eastern Moors - Jake Hagyard, student placement

As my fourth and final year of university approaches and it’s time to knuckle down with the paper work, I’m taking the opportunity to reflect on my experiences of an interesting summer volunteering.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

More about our Bee Orchids

We are lucky on Eastern Moors to have at least one patch of bee orchids. These plants prefer an alkaline soil, and there is not much of that at the surface on our moors. The bee orchid's name comes from the flower's attempt to mimic a bee in order to attract real bees. They arrive with the intention of mating with the mimic and finish up covered in pollen to transfer to another flower.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The Windhover

A few weeks ago, we had a call from our friends at the BMC after a climber had reported a kestrel nesting on Curbar Edge.

I headed down to have a look, and was tiptoeing towards the nest site when a female kestrel swooped low with a vole to the base of the crag. She disappeared from view before flying off, minus the vole, several seconds later. A chorus of screeching struck up, the unmistakable sound of hungry young birds of prey. I crept closer, and was surprised to see a bundle of feathers perched contentedly on a boulder beside the footpath, chugging down the remains of the unfortunate vole, freshly flown in just moments earlier. 

"What are you looking at?"

I suspected that this chick had fallen from the nest. It was a good sign that it was still being fed, but it was very exposed, and I wondered if it would make it through the night's perils and predators. Up in the crack, two more bundles of fluff looked down at me keenly, before shuffling back comically into a sheltered crevice.

When I returned the next day the young fallen chick was no-where to be found and I began to fear the worst.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Youth Rangers survive a night in the woods

The ultimate shelter
Last weekend the Eastern Moors Youth Rangers braved an entire night in the woodland below Froggatt Edge.

We’re pleased to announce that despite searing sunshine, pouring rain and an awful lot of spiders, we all survived.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Summertime in the meadows

Self heal

Summer is here and the wild flowers are looking great as we have already seen in the recent orchid post. During the summer we carry out monitoring in the meadows so that we can get them in the best condition possible.

Youth rangers helping with meadow monitoring at Curbar
This habitat has been created over time by human management and the assemblage of plants and the wildlife they support depend on the continuation of this management. If these areas are over grazed then many of the plant species can be lost as they are unable to reproduce as they are not given the chance to flower. If abandoned courser grasses will out-compete the wild flowers and succession will eventually lead to development of scrub.

Sunday, 28 June 2015


This month has seen an explosion of orchids on the Moors.
At just one site on Big Moor I counted over 100 bee orchid -

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Curlew monitoring - a final update

I am very pleased to report that the curlew breeding season this year has been very successful, with all the nests that we have monitored hatching chicks. The eggs in the forth nest began hatching on Monday, when I went to change the batteries on the camera I could just see tiny cracks beginning to appear in the eggs.

I returned to the nest on Wednesday to find the nest camera knocked over, the nest was right next to an obvious track through the vegetation so the camera could quite easily have been knocked over by an animal passing through.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Welcome to the world little ones

Some great news from curlew cam this week, we have three chicks, hatched over the last couple of days. The chicks are from the third nest found, the nest was one of two nests located last week, making 4 nests, 12 eggs and 3 chicks.
Three chicks in the nest

So nest monitoring is now in full swing, each nest camera recording unit is checked every three days, this is how long the battery power and memory on the SD cards will last.

Friday, 15 May 2015

The Ring Ouzel

It's early on a bright May morning, and I'm standing in a holloway beneath a gritstone edge once known as "Wildmoorstones". Around me, the bracken is beginning to push through the peat and unfurl, and purple lanterns of bilberry flowers are blooming. The scent of peat is in the air, as is the distinctive sound of a ring ouzel in full song.It is a song that is at home here, in this landscape of rugged crags, blanket bog, windswept heather and running water. A wild sound that compliments the acoustic qualities of quarries past. A sound that ricochets off boulders and forgotten millstones, and is echoed down in the gurgle of Burbage Brook. It is a sound that flows from high places and floods to pool in the natural ampitheatre of the valley.

The gritstone edges of Derbyshire support a localised population of this rare and beautiful bird. Known to many as the “mountain blackbird”, the ring ouzel can be easily mistaken for it’s more common relative of the thrush family. But look closer, and you will see a telltale white crescent, or “gorget” adorning it’s breast. Silvery wingstreaks and a piping song as clear as mountain springwater distinguish it as the blackbird's secretive, upland cousin; a ring ouzel.

A male ring ouzel 


Just over a year ago, I met Bill Gordon, North Lees and Stanage ranger with the Peak District National Park.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Our curlew monitoring season has begun once again. This year we are supporting the RSPB national curlew management project that aims to understand the recent declines in population and aims to redress this.
Eurasian curlew, Numenius arquata   

The UK has an estimated 66,000 pairs of curlew, which are Amber listed in the UK due to recent decline. Globally the species is classified as near threatened by the IUCN red list due to the declining population trend.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Volunteering gets a helping hand on the Eastern Moors

Over the last couple of years the Eastern Moors Partnership has relied heavily on their dedicated but limited number of volunteers. With the help of a three year grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), volunteering on the Eastern Moors is about to get big! 

Existing volunteers for the Eastern Moors Partnership, a joint venture between the National Trust and the RSPB, have dedicated their time, sweat and skill delivering high level conservation, visitor experience, access, ecological and archaeological monitoring projects, but with limited resources.  Katherine Clarke, Visitor Experience Manager for the Eastern Moors Partnership said, ‘The HLF grant means we can now build our capacity to deliver projects by expanding the number of volunteers helping to look after this special part of the Peak District National Park. We can also provide volunteers with the kit and equipment they both need and deserve, when carrying out vital project work.”

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Red deer after sunset

When most animals are getting their heads down for the night, there are some that just keep going.  The red deer rarely sleep for long stretches at a time and as dusk falls they come down off the high moors in search of the more nutritious grasses at lower levels.
We often see red deer on the skyline from the road but....

...after 6.00 this evening I watched at least 50 wild red deer without leaving the car. Some were close to Sheffield Road but most of them were within 100 meters of the road between Owler Bar and Longshaw.

Friday, 13 March 2015

First sightings and water vole

It seems that every day some old friends are returning to the Moors or coming out of hibernation.
First it was the adders and then this week I have seen skylarks, curlew, lapwings and snipe. Friends have reported seeing grass snakes and lizards as well as all 3 types of newt.

Frogs - Don't call me Common

The Common Frog - Rana Temporaria

I was getting a bit worried that the frogs had not reappeared in Ramsley.  Last year I saw them first on the 6th March, and 2 days ago there was still no sign whatsoever.  But… you wait for one frog and then 200 appear all at the same time! Another week or so and the toads will be putting in an appearance.

Monday, 16 February 2015


Volunteer archaeology monitors do not only inspect and report on the condition of the many recorded archaeological sites on the Eastern Moors, but also attempt to carry out some research to increase our knowledge and to correct any errors which have been made when recording features.

A case in point is the dilapidated brick structure (SK 2791 7950), which lies approximately 200 metres to the North East of the prominent Totley Tunnel Ventilation Shaft (SK 2773 7940).  The structure had been described in the ArcHeritage database as the remains of a tunnel surveyor’s observatory but, as it does not lie directly above the line of the tunnel, this was clearly incorrect. What could it have been used for?

Friday, 9 January 2015

Clearing up a fallen giant

This week the wardens went to deal with the fallen oak tree in the last post:

Windblown trees like this can be dangerous to clear up as the root plates can move when you sever the main part of tree, and sometimes even stand back up in the hole, but due to the immense weight of the oak stem, this one was stable: