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
I'll second that Bert, many thanks for been the "eyes and ears" of Old Moor for those of us who cant get down so often. I totally agree on your comments about not "just ticking off a bird on a list", it go's much deeper than that! All the Best and heres to a great birding 2011!
Your blog is always a joy to read. Happy New Year! x
I would like to add my thanks for your ramblings, they have brightened up the long winter evenings. A very happy and successful "birding" new year to one and all
I would like to add my thanks for your reports you post my first click when I log on. a happy new birding year. My year list starts tomorrow
That's so lovely, thank you for writing that, Jo & I have just read it and we both think the same, we're currently enjoying fish pie and wine!
I personally can't believe that a year ago I had never been in a hide, volunteering at OM since March has been brilliant, I love it and am completely addicted and I've learnt SO much from so many lovely people...
Happy New Year x