Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley
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Dearne Valley

  • Little Bittern Again - July 21st

    Hello again! I was at Old Moor for a long time today and thoroughly enjoyed the sunshine, the warm weather, the insects, the birds, the chats with people and everything else. A good day!

    Early on at OM via the Barnsley Birders via Twitter, we had sightings of -  a ruff, 4 green sandpipers, 2 little ringed plover, 1 ringed plover, a snipe, 210 lapwing, 5 oystercatchers, 78 teal, a Cetti's Warbler and a barn owl.

    If you are wondering how to tell it is a female kingfisher then look at the beak. The female has an orange colour on the lower park of the beak. The beak of the male is all black.

    I had a good thought whilst watching this kingfisher. I said to myself 'Take a video'.... so I did. Or at least I thought I had. I had a great view of 'live view' on my camera and quite forgot to switch it to video... yes, how on earth? Next time :)

    Also from this hide were sightings of a great bittern, a great crested grebe with one large juv,  a tufted duck with 5 very young juvs, reed warblers, cormorants, sand martins, lapwing, a little grebe and 2 grey herons. One sitting on top of the monitoring hide and the other on top of the reedbed screen. Keeping an eye out for those bitterns no doubt.

    Speaking of which... Trevor (one of our optics volunteers) spotted the little bittern today. A good job he had his binoculars as it was quite a way off in the reedbeds.

    The puss moth caterpillars are still around and growing nicely.

    The tiny one today, already vastly different to how it looked on Tuesday.



    Many visitors thoroughly enjoyed watching the larger puss moth caterpillar today. Stunning creature!

    I even managed to take a small video.

    We were fascinated by the movement on its head. Maybe to do with eating? But it wasn't eating at the time... any ideas?

    On with the sightings. On Green Lane today there were sightings of reed warbler and willow warbler in the book. I'll add to that with a brown hawker, gatekeeper butterflies, long tailed tits, blue tits, blackbirds and dunnocks, as well as sand martins flying overhead.

    Next to the Wader Scrape, here there were sightings of lapwing, tufted ducks with broods of juvs, cormorants, great crested grebe, little grebe, ruff, common sandpiper, green sandpiper, mute swans, jackdaws, lesser black backed gulls and gadwall.

    On Wath Ings today were little grebes and little egrets.

    Little egrets were also seen from the Field Pool West and the Family Hide. I didn't see FJ today but maybe you did, look out for those leg rings.

    I saw this little egret from the Family Hide.

    Dragonflies seen today were brown hawker, common darter and male emperor.

    Butterflies today were gatekeeper, ringlet, meadow brown, green veined white, large white, small skipper, small tortoiseshell and comma.

    Here's a lovely small tortoiseshell on the lavender by the courtyard.

    Lots of burnet moths flying around the ponds today. Here's one of them, a 6 spotted burnet moth. :)

    I have seen this next bug flying around fairly frequently. I haven't ever seen it stop so I could get a good look at it. Today it landed!

    It's a fine looking bug with a dashing band of yellow. I'm happy to be corrected but maybe it is an Ichneumon wasp, possibly Ichneumon extensorius, the male.

    Heather, assistant warden, tweeted that it had been a great night for moths.

    Here's a beautiful swallowtail moth from Heather.

    That's it for the sightings today so I'll finish with a bit of 'blog news.'

    Last summer, our blog went on holiday for 2 weeks or so. This summer it's staying put, but not showing quite as well as some of the current fav birds and bugs are...

    In other words, there will be gaps in the blog, it will not be as regular as usual.

    I'm signing out pretty much until September with my usual 3 weekly blogs. I will do one 'sometimes' but not regularly as per usual. That will start up again in Sept. Andrew will also have gaps but I'll let him tell you about that. The good news is that we have found a wonderful lady to do a few blogs this summer to keep things going. Her name is Jane, and all being well, her first blog will be next Tuesday. I'm sure you will make her feel very welcome and a big thanks from me to her for volunteering to do this :)

    Enjoy Old Moor this summer, that's it. The next blog will be from Andrew on Sunday.


  • Of Moths and Waders - Sightngs, 20 July

    Hi Folks! Phew, another scorcher in the Dearne Valley today with temperatures around the 29°C mark. Many visitors to the reserves sensibly carried bottles of water or made use of Old Moor’s excellent café. Either way, as the heatwave continued, there was much to be seen especially, it turned out, in the number of waders on the reserves today.

    Alan Whitehouse reported that at Wombwell Ings today were seven mute swan, five little egret, sixty-five lapwing, two oystercatcher, a ringed plover, thirty-nine mallard and a skylark. Thanks Alan!

    Over at Edderthorpe Alan Stonier spotted a black-tailed godwit, two whimbrel, a dunlin, two little egret and a buzzard. Thanks Alan!

    More youngsters on Wath Ings - three of ten mallard chicks.

    Meanwhile at Adwick Washland Gary Stones reported three adult little egret and two juveniles, a black-tailed godwit, two snipe, an oystercatcher, a little owl and more than 120 lapwing. Thanks Gary!

    Those Early Birders at Old Moor spotted one avocet, one black-tailed godwit, six little ringed plover, two green sandpiper, four common sandpiper, seven oystercatcher, a greenshank, seven snipe and Eff-Jay, the little egret.

    Emperor Dragonfly on the furthest wildlife pond today.

    Eff-what? Well, for newer readers that last item might need a bit of explanation. A colour-ringed little egret with ‘F’ on one leg and ‘J’ one the other is a known bird to Old Moor. According to Mr Smith, first ringed as a nestling on 14th May, 2011 at The Laurels Farm, Terrington St. Clement, Norfolk she was first seen at Old Moor on 14th March, 2012. Thanks Nigel!

    Since then, she has been visiting the reserve regularly and is now over five years old. Sadly, that’s the typical lifespan for a little egret although one was recorded as living to over nine years and six months. Look out for her on your next visit to Old Moor.

    Other sightings from Old Moor today included a jay in the Bird Garden and both bittern and kingfisher from the Bittern Hide.

    Black-tailed skimmer by Ian Byrom. Thanks Ian!

    Finally, this afternoon on the Wader Scrape were one black-tailed godwit, one greenshank, three ruff, a little ringed plover, four green sandpiper, a common sandpiper and one avocet. There were also shelduck and four ducklings, oystercatcher, teal, shoveler, white wagtail and linnet.

    One of the often-overlooked linnet on the Wader Scrape. A little beauty.

    In dragonfly news, sightings today included common darter, emperor, brown hawker, black-tailed skimmer and southern hawker. There were also damselflies aplenty but the star of the show form the world of the small today, were the fantastic burnet moths. Between the two pond-dipping platforms at Old Moor, there were hundreds of these spectacular day-flying moths around today. At one stage this afternoon, the tops of the meadows of Old Moor almost took on distinctly red tinge as their wings flashed in the summer sun.

    Dinner for two? Burnet moths at Old Moor.

    I shall leave you today with one last dramatic image from the day. Here a lesser black-backed gull attempts to make off with a black-headed gull chick. You'll no doubt be glad to know, the chick survived thanks mostly to the efforts of its parent.

    Until next time.

  • Little Bittern Heard - 19th July

    Hello, what a fab day! Very warm, dare I say hot?!

    I spent a couple of hours at Old Moor after work - then I wilted.. I did however hear the little bittern barking twice from the willows behind the Bittern Hide. The first time I heard it I was rather engrossed in watching a little yellow bug and then it registered. Little bittern! Thankfully it barked again so I was sure.... Then nothing for the next 25 mins or so that I waited. Our wardens heard it early on last Saturday so it is still at Old Moor. Good news!

    So the sightings from the book today.

    On Wath Ings there were sightings of shoveler, teal, a grey heron and linnets. On the Wader Scrape today came sightings of - 2 common sandpiper, a marsh harrier, a black tailed godwit, a little egret, shelduck and a great bittern in a short flight over the reedbeds.

    On the Mere there were sightings of lapwing, cormorants, common sandpiper, sand martins, little grebes, peregrine, greylag geese and lesser black backed gulls.

    On the Field Pools we had sightings of lapwing, little ringed plover and green sandpiper and on Green Lane, a reed warbler was spotted and no doubt heard!

    A kingfisher, 3 common terns and a bittern were seen today from the Bittern Hide.

    It's not been a great year so far at Old Moor for butterflies and dragonflies but the warm weather has seen a few emerge.

    Today I saw a brown hawker, a male black tailed skimmer and common darter dragonflies. From the book we also have a 4 spotted chaser.

    Butterflies today - I saw, small skippers, ringlets, a small tortoiseshell and large whites. Also in the book were sightings of speckled wood, meadow brown and gatekeepers. Also on the wing tday were 6 spotted burnet moths.

    Last weekend I was lucky enough to find a newly emerged 6 spot burnet moth. It was drying its wings....gorgeous! It was a bit grey so I took this one with a flash.

    Maybe the star of the bug-world at the moment at Old Moor is the puss moth caterpillar. What a fabulous beast!

    I was lucky enough to see one shed its skin and then eat it last weekend... 

    1) With shed skin.... 

    2) Eating the tail of said shed skin...fab recycling in my book!

    That's it.... have a good evening.