Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley
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Dearne Valley

  • Sunny Sunday and the Sightings...

    Hello, I had a short visit to Old Moor this aft and had a lovely wander down to the reedbed screen in the sunshine. I was hoping to see a water rail but didn't manage it. Instead I bumped into a couple of friends that I hadn't seen for a while, it was lovely to see them both and hear how much they both enjoy all your photos in our blogs. 

    On to the sightings from the book from today.

    The tree sparrow farm was very busy with yellowhammer, redwing, a wren, goldfinches, greenfinches, bullfinches, male and female reed buntings, blackbirds, robins, magpies, pheasants, wood pigeons, blue tits, great tits, a willow tit and a male brambling. Unfortunately I didn't manage to catch a glimpse of said brambling...next time!

    Our bird garden was also very busy with all the usual suspects...

    A weasel was seen from the reedbed screen along with coots and 3 stock doves...and no water rail for me, but maybe you did? A peregrine was also seen here.

    A goldcrest was seen on the oak tree before the Family Hide.

    On the Mere were 11 goosander, teal, wigeon, gadwall and pochard.

    On to Wath Ings now where there were sightings of a redshank, 11 snipe and 2 pied wagtails.

    On Bolton Ings there were sightings of the following & thanks go to Nigel Smith for these counts...  35 gadwall, 7 shoveler, 16 teal, 57 tufted duck, 13 pochard, 39 coot, 3 moorhen, little grebe, 2 great crested grebe, 4male and 6 female goldeneye, 20 Canada geese, 9 mute swans, 28 black headed gulls, 10 common gulls, a lesser black backed gull, a grey heron, a pair of stonechat and a little goldcrest.

    There's a post in our forum that says there might be a fix happening this week for our photo gallery...fingers crossed it'll work again soon! 

    In the meantime here's a lovely blackbird photo from the bird garden from Kevin Wakelam. Thank you Kevin :) 

    From Pat Yates, a redwing from the tree sparrow farm, thank you Pat!

    Finally from me from today, a yellowhammer peeking over one of the logs in the tree sparrow farm...

    Please do comment below if you have other sightings from your visit today. Enjoy your evening :) 

  • Planets and Pintails - Sightings, 24 Jan.

    Hi Folks! What a day it’s been at Old Moor today. The reserve was very busy indeed – probably in part due to it being the Big Garden Birdwatch weekend but also because the sun shone and at times it almost felt – well, spring-like.

    Speaking of the Big Garden Birdwatch, I note that over two hundred thousand people have taken part so far and nearly a million birds have been counted. Pretty impressive I’m sure you’d agree but there’s a day left, so why not set aside an hour to add your count to the total?

    The other reason why Old Moor was humming today was of course, our stargazing event – Planets and Pintails. More of that later, but first the sightings from today.

    In the Bird Garden were pheasant, blue tit, woodpigeon, greenfinch, reed bunting, collared dove, blackbird and long-tailed tit. With them were chaffinch, stock dove, wren, great tit, robin, bullfinch and “Daisy!” I’m really hoping that someone can explain that last sighting. I’ve re-checked my notes, yep, “Daisy!” is what the book said. Anyone?

    In the Tree Sparrow Farm were plenty of reed buntings and that rather fine male brambling. With them were eight yellowhammers and approximately thirteen tree sparrows.

    On the Wader Scrape were two stock doves with eleven goosander and two goldeneye. The latter were even displaying on and off. Now, that is something to see!

    Wath Ings hide gave us reports of six snipe, redshank, linnet, wigeon and pochard.

    The new Bittern Hide was the place to watch two weasels or, if you missed those, there was another at the Bittern Bus Stop. Also from the Bittern Hide were sightings of a sparrowhawk and (hooray!) a kingfisher! Regular readers of the sightings will know that we have not had a report of a kingfisher for weeks so it’s great to see them back on the reserve.

    Lastly, a buzzard was seen from the Reedbed Screen.

    That’s it for sightings from the book, but do feel free to add any in the comments that you think we may have missed.

    Now to return to what happened after the reserve closed this afternoon – that amazing stargazing event. More than 100 people arrived at Old Moor for guided walks of the reserve and a fantastic series of events laid on by the remarkable Mexborough and Swinton Astronomical Society. Thank you so much to the society and all its members who helped out tonight.

    I had the privilege of leading one of the walks and a chance to share observations and chat to some of the visitors who were ready to brave the cold in order to enjoy the reserve from dusk to darkness.

    With his family was young Louis, aged 10, eager to help find tracks and footprints on the walk to Wath Ings. I also bumped into Helen who told me that she had come to the event last year as a novice, loved it and bought a book. With great excitement, she and her friend Monica now narrate the night sky like experts!

    So, I shall leave you with a few images from the night. The first, was taken by – well, not one, but two Andrews – yours truly and Andrew from Mexborough and Swinton Astronomical Society. It shows just what detail you can see, if you hold a mobile phone to a very powerful telescope. Thanks for the help Andrew!

    Here's Helen helping me to trace the constellations.

    The reserve at night, looking east from the new pond dipping area. The bright object in the sky (top right) is Jupiter.

    And lastly, the constellation of Orion. Those three bright stars in the middle of this image are the collectively known as Orion's belt. Above them shine Betelgeuse (top left) and Bellatrix (top centre).

    As it's gone nine o'clock, I better sign off now but just to let you know that, if you missed it, there will be another of these incredible stargazing events later in the year. We'll keep you posted. Until next time.

  • Friday 23rd January & The Sightings...

    Hello, my turn today and the sightings are from the book, thanks go to Craig for emailing them to me :)

    I'll start in the bird garden where there were sightings of pheasants, blackbirds, robins, greenfinches, goldfinches, long tailed tits, dunnocks, collared doves, wood pigeons, bullfinches, great tits, blue tits, magpies, chaffinches and a wren.

    A water rail was seen once again from the reedbed screen and a pintail was seen on the Mere.

    From the tree sparrow farm there were sightings of a male brambling, yellowhammer, reed buntings and redwing.

    Seen from the reedbed hide were tufted ducks, gadwall, shoveler and a buzzard.

    From the Barnsley Birders via Twitter today there were sightings at OM (that haven't been mentioned already) of a little egret, 6 golden plover, a peregrine and 50 tree sparrows. from Bolton Ings there were sightings of 7 goldeneye, 2 buzzards and 2 sparrowhawks.

    So on to a couple of photos...

    Here's one taken by Ian Butler of a weasel in the snow... thank you Ian :) 

    Margaret Smith took this photo of a female goosander on a recent visit. Thank you Margaret :) 

    That's it for today - Stargazing (Planets & Pintails) is on at Old Moor tomorrow and this weekend it's the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch, it would be great to hear what you have seen in your home gardens :) 

    Have a lovely evening...