Crossbills and Bouncing Bombs

Crossbill (male) in the Pines by the 7km marker post, Howden Reservoir

Crossbill (male) in the Pines by the 7km marker post, Howden Reservoir – Peak District

After what seems like one of the wettest winters for years the clouds finally parted long enough to make the trip up to the upper Derwent Valley and a search for Parrot Crossbills.

I’d like to say I’m 100% convinced this is a male Parrot Crossbill but I’m not sure. However, it certainly looks a better candidate then a lot of the iffy photographs being posted online. The fact that the Crossbill was feeding in Pines rather than the Spruce’s and Larch is another encouraging sign. Likewise it was with approximately 6 other birds unlike the larger flock of 30+ Crossbills higher up the slope on top of the hill.

Common or Parrot Crossbill ?

Common or Parrot Crossbill ?

...... and watching over the Crossbill's regular drinking pool a stakeout was taking place

…… and watching over the Crossbill’s regular drinking pool a stakeout was taking place

Meanwhile on top of the hill the Common Crossbills were almost outnumbered by the twitchers. Over the previous few weeks the Crossbills had been drinking from a deep puddle on the edge of the plantation. Several birds flew over but with an inconsiderate photographer less than 20ft away perhaps unsurprisingly they weren’t keen on coming down.

Bengal Match Lichen, Peak District

Bengal Match Lichen, Peak District

Cladonia polydactyla or the Bengal Match Lichen. One of our more common lichens found on a rotting tree stump in the moorlands above Howden Reservoir.

More Bengal Match Lichens complete with male fruiting bodies and female cups

More Bengal Match Lichens.

Howden Reservoir and Dam, Peak District

Howden Reservoir and Dam, Peak District

If there’s something a little bit familiar about this view then you’re probably old enough to have seen “The Dambusters.” The upper Derwent valley reservoirs were used for the practice runs of Barnes Wallace’s infamous Bouncing Bomb.

The original Hollywood Poster.

The original Hollywood Poster.

A classic Second World War film that recreates Operation Chastise when the RAF’s 617 Squadron attacked the Möhne, Eder, and Sorpe dams in Nazi Germany with Barnes Wallis’s bouncing bomb.

The Dambusters and Barnes Wallace's infamous "Bouncing Bomb"

The true story of Dambusters and Barnes Wallace’s infamous “Bouncing Bomb”

The inspiration for George Lucas and the scene towards the end of Star Wars where Luke Skywalker takes out the Death Star ?

One of the iconic dams located in the Derwent Valley, Peak District

A more tranquil view.


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