The South Peak Raptor Study Group was formed in early 1998 and its aims are to monitor the breeding performance of the area’s birds of prey, to collect small numbers of feathers to use as DNA samples in the case of species threatened by egg-collectors and falconers and to ring pulli wherever possible. Ringing is carried out on behalf of the Sorby Breck Ringing Group, under the scheme administered by the BTO.
The group covers the following areas:
In the north: National Trust land in the Upper Derwent Valley, west to the River Alport and east to the National Trust boundary.
In the south: all of the White Peak (with the exception of the Goyt Valley), which includes the Staffordshire Moorlands, the Eastern Moors Estate, the North Lees Estate, the Chatsworth Estate and the Haddon Estate. In addition the Group covers central Derbyshire as far as the Nottinghamshire border and south Derbyshire [mainly for Hobby].
There are long-term studies on Goshawk, Merlin and Peregrine, with excellent coverage where all sites are monitored annually and further long-term studies on Hobby, Buzzard and Raven; there are monitoring studies too on Barn Owl and Short-eared Owl. Substantial reports by our members on various species have been published in the Derbyshire Bird Report and British Birds as detailed below:
The Status of the Raven in Derbyshire (Lacey, DBR 1999)
The Return of the Buzzard (Lacey & Messenger, DBR 2001)
Breeding Hen Harriers in the Upper Derwent Valley in 2006 (Messenger & Taylor, DBR 2006)
The breeding population of the Hobby in Derbyshire (Messenger & Roome, BB, October 2007)
Apparent nesting association of Goshawks and Firecrests (Mawson, DBR 2009)
The status of the Peregrine in Derbyshire & the Peak District (Grimshaw, DBR 2010)
Breeding Birds on the Eastern Moors in 2010 (Frost & Taylor, DBR 2010)