It is with great pleasure that I can announce to you all that we have bitterns breeding at Old Moor!
This is fantastic news and I can't tell you how pleased we all are.
The chicks are anything up to 2 weeks old and I suspect it will be the end of June before they fledge. We have our fingers firmly crossed that they succeed as there are no guarantees in this world.
We know there is an active nest out there because the female keeps making regular flights around the reedbed to look for food. This is very typical behaviour and is enough for us to say that a female must be feeding chicks somewhere. Hopefully we will see fledged birds or be able to find the nest once the breeding season is well behind us. For now though, we will not be going anywhere near the nest.
The female's flights get less frequent as the chicks grow and we are already noticing a bit of a drop in frequency. But we are in the process today of setting up specific viewing arrangements for visitors to the site. Hopefully we can maximise your chances of seeing a bird but please do follow the on site instructions.
The best chance of a good view is actually on the flood bank before you start the reedbed trail. We have set up a gazebo here to show people the birds and will be looking for volunteers to help us. Please get in touch with Jo (Tree Sparrow) if you are interested.
From here you can see the bird whenever it flies and the views are excellent. In fact there is no need to actually go all the way out to the reedbeds for the best views.
Out in the reeds, we are still happy for people to use the hides, but what we are asking is that you don't stop and watch from the area that we have taped off (red and white tape along the fence line) because the female is regularly flying into here to exploit a food source. Once landed you would never know she was there but if a crowd were to form in that area, it might make her divert her flight and we want her to act as naturally as possible.
So, please keep on walking and there is a good place to watch from just before Bittern Hide that we have clearly marked.
Bitterns have a habit of returning to the same food source until it is exhausted and then moving on to the next good spot. Things may therefore be subject to change so watch this space. Please respect the birds and do not trespass in search of a view or photo.
Matthew (the extremely chuffed Site Manager)
Thought you might appreciate some sightings news in the absence of Dave.
I haven't seen the diary at all today so the following is based on either things I have seen or heard about.
There is still plenty to see at the moment - stuff is moving through on migration so the offer changes daily.
Old MoorThe Bittern was seen flying over the reedbeds this morning. It was being mobbed by Black Headed GullsDown at Wath Ings there was a Grey Plover and a Marsh Harrier went through about lunch time.The Avocets are still around in number on Wader Scrape and we still have the Med Gulls.
EdderthorpeThere is now mud showing again at Edderthorpe and this is drawing in the birds. Sanderling, 5 Avocet, 2 Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Several Ringed Plover and a couple of Little Ringed Plover. But the best bird here today was a drake Garganey.
AdwickTwo Whooper Swans flew over West early morning. A very late record for this species. On Adwick itself, two Quail were calling. These were back from the new flooded fen on the north side of the bridleway. Listen for the distinctive "Wet my lips" call early morning or late evening. Hirdundines (Swallow, Swift and House Martin) were very evident, hawking low over the fen and there were two different broods of redshank chicks and lots of lapwing chicks. In the afternoon a Hobby paid a visit and 2 Avocet dropped in for a while.
Some good birds in there and lots of other stuff on top of the brief highlights I have trawled up from the memory bank..
Have a great weekend everyone
Hi readers :-)
Here I am once more .. inside your PC ... It's a mess in here !!
You need to 'defrag' at once !!
Old Moor had some good stuff to report again today and there was plenty to see all over the reserve ..
Beginning on the Wader Scrape ..
Reported from here were 2 little-ringed plovers, 2 ringed plovers, 3 turnstones, 7 avocets, 4 dunlins, a sanderling and 3 common terns ...
Over on Wath Ings were 5 dunlins, 2 black-tailed godwits and a whitethroat ..
The Field Pool had a redshank, a snipe which was heard drumming (very talented snipe we have here), little grebes, yellow wagtails (no numbers) and a flock of linnets ..
The Mere had 2 Mediterranean gulls (An adult and 1 first Summer), 2 lesser black-backed gulls and a common sandpiper .. The 'lessers' are already making inroads into reducing the number of black-headed gull chicks too !!
Seen on Green Lane were a reed warbler, a sedge warbler, a lesser whitethroat and reed buntings .. You'll also be thrilled to know (as I was) that the bog bean is now in flower !!
A stoat was spotted near to the Visitor Centre and a last report was of a family of 6 kingfishers which were seen on the River Dearne near to Wombwell Ings .. Great stuff !!!
So there you have it ..
I will now depart from your screen and leave you to enjoy the rest of your evening in peace ..