So ..Here we are ..My final posting for 2010 ...Another year bites the dust ..
Unfortunately I didn't manage to get back in time to ring Cold Moor for today's sightings but I have just had a text from Dave the warden to let me know that there were 126 goosanders and 14 goldeneyes in to roost on the Mere.
Doubtless this year has been like other ones in that it will have had some great bits and some not so great bits for most of us.Such is life .. All part of growing up I guess ..From a birding point of view, highlights for me personally which spring to mind for Old Moor and the surrounding areas are:My first brambling on Jan 31st at the garden feeders.The handsome barnacle geese which visited the Mere on the 19th of February.The Mediterranean gulls which successfully bred on the Mere. A seriously brilliant result for old Moor there !!The early April excitement of the male marsh harrier which decided to build itself a roosting platform in the back of the reedbeds!! Hopefully he will return .. I was proud member of the 'Harrier Watch' team .. Cool !!! It was either that or stay at home watching TV ... No contest ..My first grasshopper warbler on the 25th of April in the field beside the Old Moor car park .. (and chasing it around in the bloody dark until I saw it!) The whimbrel seen visiting Wombwell Ings on the 25th of April.My first red kite on Edderthorpe Flash on the 2nd of May.(Thanks to Dave Waddington for the phonecall to tell me it was heading my way :-)A Temminck's stint was on Wombwell Ings on the 11th of May.A couple of turnstones graced the Wader Scrape on the 16th of May.The very rare sighting of a broad-billed sandpiper which was found on the 23rd of May by Dave Waddington. I'm sure glad that I arrived early for this one as you couldn't get into the hide a few hours later !!Katie Thorpe's discovery of a Savi's Warbler a few of days later. Another brilliant find and there were at least 130 people who turned up on the first evening to try and see it ! I was one of them but I failed !! .. Fortunately an early morning visit the next day brought me a bit more luck (but less sleep) and I drove to work feeling a 'happy chappy'.. All credit to the Old Moor guys and the volunteers for keeping the reserve open late for the days following the find in order to give people plenty of opportunity to get a view of this one ... Respect !!A gorgeous red-backed shrike was at Broomhill on the 7th of June and then a marsh warbler visited the river behind Edderthorpe Flash on the 15th .. A rush to get to see them straight from work for me on both occasions !!A grey plover was on Broomhill flash on the 27th of September ..The Cetti's Warbler found by John Goddard in the reedbeds on the 24th of October .. Another great find and surprisingly a 'first' for the reserve (and for me too !!)All of the above were very special moments for me as they were all a part of my 'first sightings'.My thanks go out to the many people who were responsible for sharing these great birds with the rest of us.. I managed 39 'firsts' in total this year ..There is always something special about your very first sighting and regardless of how many more of any species you see, the first is always the best .. Your highlights ? ... Post them and lets share them together !!Becoming hooked on 'birding' is quite easily done .. Or at least it was in my case ..Buy yourself a good book on birds (The new Collins Bird Guide takes some beating for a starter) and then begin by making a list of all the species you have ever seen. You could have a Lifelist .. A Yorkshire list .. A Garden list .. Even a Yearlist !! .. Or all 4 !! .. Any list that you want really ..I have made myself a spreadsheet using Microsoft Excel to save mine ... Species, where seen, date seen and a column for any comments..You could even have a competition with your partner..Then get out there and try to add to your list .. Different places will produce different birds for you .. woodland, heathland, wetland, the coast, and so on ..Please .. please .. please .. try not to just 'tick a bird off' and then run to find the next one though .. My personal take on this is that it is quite disrespectful towards the bird and is not really birding. Take the time to enjoy its beauty and appreciate it, learn about the species you are watching .. the difference in plumage between a male, a female and a juvenile for instance or the difference in winter and summer plumages, its call, does it migrate?, where to?, when ? .. So much to learn and so much enjoyment to be had while doing so .. The more you can learn about birds the more you will enjoy watching them ..There is nothing more satisfying than finding your own new bird after putting in a bit of 'homework' and going to the right place at the right time .. I did that this year to find a ring ouzel and it makes finding it all the better !!My next target is a whinchat !!There is a saying .. 'If in doubt .. Leave it out' .. If you cannot be sure that you know what you are looking at, please don't cheat yourself by counting it as a new sighting ..If there is someone else there to help you out then thats all the better. I find most of the regulars on Old Moor to be very helpful when I am there for instance. Lots of places to see and lots of things to be seen there ..It's a great way to pass your time !!Getting out and about will introduce you to more than just birds too .. Plenty of wildlife to enjoy but if you aren't out there, you wont see it ..My own birding career is still very much in its infancy but I love it .. I love the many beautiful places I see, the different people I meet and I love learning new things about the birds I am watching ..The more I learn about birds the more I realise I dont know !!!So go on .. Give it a go !!We might even meet on Old Moor one day my friends .. I will embrace you in my arms and suffer the punches as a result ..!!Special thanks go out to 'Titchers'.. 'The Dark One' .. Or better known as Steve Rutherford, who to be fair has had some 'stick' but he does a great job in making sure that the visitors to Old Moor have a good time .. The friendliest vampire you could ever wish to meet !!Have a chat with him .. A great guy !!So .. the time has come for me to wish you all a very happy New Year !I hope you have enjoyed the last 12 months of my, sometimes very odd, ramblings and apologies to all of the poor sods who must have wondered what was going on if they joined half way through some of my strange stories !!Our 'gang' is now 90 strong !!Health, Wealth and Happiness to you all ..It's been a hoot !!Dave Simmonite ... A.K.A Bert xxxx
Hello fans ..
Fatbert here again to bring you today's goodies ..
Due to having run out of chocolate and cakes I decided to leave the house and take a trip out to Cold Moor this afternoon ..
A good start as I saw a flock of 8 waxwings in the trees next to the driveway leading down to the Visitor Centre !
A flock of 14 was also seen beside the car park later on in the afternoon but these were spooked by a heron flying overhead ....
Loadsa waxwings !!
The reserve was shrouded in a blanket of thick fog which made views from any of the hides very difficult and in some cases impossible !
The garden feeders were no problem though and seen here were woodpigeons, bullfinches, chaffinches, great tits, blue tits, moorhens and a squirrel !
The Tree Sparrow Farm had moorhens, a brambling, chaffinches, greenfinches, goldfinches, reed buntings, yellowhammers, great tits, blue tits, a song thrush, robins, blackbirds and magpies.
A squint through the fog revealed mallards, gadwalls, teals and moorhens on the Field Pool .. A sparrowhawk was also reported from here ..
There were 2 lapwings seen on Wath Ings but that was about all really ..
I sat in the Wader Scrape for half an hour or so and the fog lifted just enough for me to make out a single lapwing, mallards, gadwalls, 2 shovelers, wigeons, teals, coots, moorhens, Canada geese and 2 pheasants .. A pied wagtail was also seen here ..
The Mere was pretty impossible as all of the ducks were at the far side in the thawed area of water .. I did manage to make out mute swans, mallards shovelers, tufted ducks, coots and goosanders though when the fog cleared slightly ....
But then the fog thickened again and that was the end of my 'squintings' for today ...
Other stuff from the 'Sacred Diary'' were .. 1 mistle thrush and a song thrush near to the play area and then 6 fieldfares and 2 redwings near to the Family Hide..
One more recent sightings left for this year !!!
I'm off out tomorrow but will try to get back in time to phone Cold Moor for the contents of the diary ..
If I do fail I will still be here to have a last natter though ..
Ah well .. its looking like I'm going to have to make a start on the packet of dates my Mum bought me ....
Night all ...
I'm back !!!! ....
Hello fans ... 'Fatbert' here bringing you today's sightings from Cold Moor ...
I decided to treat myself to an afternoon in the hides as opposed to sitting on my settee listening to all the nuts, chocolate and lager shouting to me from the kitchen ..
I try real hard to ignore it all but its just so .. well .. persuasive! .. I now sit on the settee wearing earmuffs in order to prevent it all forcing me to eat it ....
Anyway .. here is today's news ..
The garden feeders had a song thrush, 2 bramblings, greenfinches, bullfinches, chaffinches, great tits, willow tits, blue tits, tree sparrows, pheasants and a great spotted woodpecker ..
The Tree Sparrow Farm had tree sparrows, reed buntings, yellowhammers, a dunnock, blackbirds, greenfinches, chaffinches and woodpigeons..
The Field Pool had mallards, teals, 2 snipe, fieldfares and a couple of pheasants ..
Wath Ings had mallards, teals, wigeons, moorhens, coots, black-headed gulls, 2 redshanks, pheasants, stock doves and a handsome peregrine falcon !!
The Wader Scrape had mallards, teals, wigeons, shovelers, 2 gadwalls, moorhens, coots and pheasants ..
The Mere was busy as usual and seen here were coots, moorhens, mute swans, Canada geese, mallards, teals, wigeons, a drake pintail, tufted ducks, pochards, shovelers, black headed gulls, 3 herring gulls, common gulls, a great black-backed gull, cormorants and a single lapwing .. The count of roosting goosanders was a pretty good 100 birds by the end of the visit !! ... Late visitors were 13 goldeneyes..
Other reports from the diary were of fieldfares and redwings seen along the footpath, a weasel, snipe seen near the Mere Hide and a sparrowhawk seen near to the playground area ..
Not such a bad day !!
Hang on .. whats that? .. I can hear something .. Its coming from the kitchen cupboard ... Sounds like a ......
Gotta go !!
What I need is a woman to nag me .. Any offers ??