Chee Dale Charmers

While no expert birder, I impressed my son-in-law last week by identifying a grey wagtail just from the description that he'd done a walk in Chee Dale and saw an unusual bird!  Chee Dale really is a hidden gem in the Peak District, and a great place to spot dippers and yes, grey wagtails. Scores of people walk and ride bikes on the Monsal Trail above not realising there's a beautiful limestone gorge below that's a haven for wildlife.

Anyway yesterday we revisited the dale and saw all the usual culprits, at least 4 species of butterfly and, just above the gorge, a pond full of newts and tadpoles.

In parts the path becomes a series of stepping stones (occupied by a dipper in the photo below) under the cliffs which becomes impassable after heavy rain. We watched several dippers, two of which were popping in and out of the nest we spotted in the cliffs. The grey wagtail below is presumably a fledgling waiting to be fed but which was surprisingly chased off by a dipper (which I failed to photograph as I was changing the camera battery!).