Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley
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Dearne Valley

  • Sightings via Twitter - June 28th

    Hello again, I'm afraid I don't have the sightings from the book for you as I didn't have time to ring up today. So the sightings I do have are solely taken from Twitter.

    There is good news in that the little bittern has been seen today. After a day of no sightings it was heard barking behind the bittern hide this morning. I had a great 'hearing' of it last Saturday from here but it didn't show. The next thing we knew was that it had somehow flown off to the reedbeds and was seen there. Elusive bird! 

    It did just that this morning too, flew from behind the bittern hide to the reedbeds. Thanks go to Paul Thomas on Twitter for this news.

    From the Barnsley Birders we have sightings from Old Moor today of -  a great bittern, a marsh harrier, 12 teal, 7 avocet, a black tailed godwit and a common sandpiper.

    From Adwick via Paul Gould we have the following sightings - 8 redshank, 2 oystercatcher, 2 ringed plover and 30 lapwing.

    Yesterday at Adwick Karen Williams - one of our assistant wardens - spotted a painted lady butterfly. 

    Here's a photo Karen took of it. Hopefully if the sun shines more often, we will get more of these at Old Moor. 

    We have sightings from Edderthorpe today via Alan Stonier. They are - 3 little egret, 2 kingfisher, many high flying swifts, a 2nd brood a grey wagtails and 7 grey herons.

    Thanks to all who share their sightings on our social media + the sightings written in the book at Old Moor.

    That's all the sightings I can find for now so on to a few other things...

    You may or may not know that we have a moth trap at Old Moor. A moth trap is basically a box with a very bright MV light that is left on overnight. The box has an open top and is partially covered with clear perspex (or similar). The light sits on top of this. Inside the box are egg boxes. The trap doesn't harm the moths, instead, they are drawn in by the light and then rest or sleep on the egg boxes. The trap is opened early on before the moths warm up and fly away. 

    Last Thursday I asked Karen if it would be ok to set the trap on Friday eve as it was forecast to be dry, not cold and a sunny morning start. Ok she said!

    Well, it rained and it wasn't that warm and it wasn't a sunny start so it was great to see quite a few moths in the trap.

    Did you know that there are over 2500 species of moth in the UK? I didn't!  I had a look at www.ukmoths.org.uk and found their 'Top 20 Moths for Beginners.' 

    Number 1 on that list is the poplar hawk moth. There were two of them in the trap! Here's one of them. It's a large moth and pretty strong...

    Also seen that morning was a beautiful buff ermine moth. Here's one resting on a leaf.

    Here's one just 'hanging around!'

    Also seen, but not to be confused with, was the buff tip moth. It looks a bit like a twig!

    And a different view - from inside the egg box.

    Then there was the grey dagger moth! 

    I rather liked this lovely looking moth with all the shades of green. It's a pug moth ( I think).

    We also found this rather fine looking beetle. I think it's a black sexton beetle which has orange tips to its antennae. From  http://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/black-sexton-beetle   comes the following information, and I quote directly.

    'The Sexton beetles are the undertakers of the insect world. They fly to carrion, attracted by the smell. If the dead animal is small, such as a mouse, they crawl underneath and excavate the soil so that the corpse gradually sinks into the ground. They then lay eggs nearby, and stay until the larvae hatch, and even feed them.'

    If you have ever been pond dipping at Old Moor then you may have found a caddisfly larvae. They look like bits of twig, but if you look closely, the twig is moving! Here's the webpage about them from the Wildlife Trusts for more info. 

    In the moth trap, there was an actual caddisfly!

    From the moth trap this morning comes this fine looking moth from Carrie House (Old Moor warden intern) on Twitter. It's a burnished brass moth. In the lower image, Carrie used flash to bring out the brass look!

    Finally for today, a photo of a day flying moth - the cinnabar moth. It was flying around the garden near the Visitor Centre. It landed long enough for me to take a photo Brilliant flash of red on a bit of a gloomy day!

  • Another First - Sightings, 27 June

    Hi Folks! It was another great day in the Dearne Valley today. When I got to Old Moor, I headed straight for the Bittern Hide to pick up the latest news. It was great to see the place was packed with visitors all eager to catch a glimpse of those bitterns.

    The atmosphere in the hide was one of quiet determination punctuated by the raucous caws of the black-headed gulls and some cheery banter. Whilst waiting, we contented ourselves with views of twelve rapidly maturing Canada goslings; the odd charge of a coot; the chirpy song of a reed bunting; the covert flights of the reed warblers; and the shenanigans of those magpie families.

    Then, all at once, someone called ‘Bittern’ and, almost simultaneously, someone else called, “Marsh Harrier” and twenty-odd adults were frantically scanning the skies trying to locate both. Sometimes birds, like busses, seem to defy the timetables and present us with the delightful dilemma of not knowing which to choose first.

    Don't let him tell you this is a corncrake chick! A beautiful young pheasant from Ian Butler. Thanks Ian!

    When things calmed down there was time to reflect on today’s other sightings. At Wombwell Ings today Alan Whitehouse reported eight mute swans, a little egret, four grey heron, nineteen lapwing, a little ringed plover and a hobby overhead at 09:35. Thanks Alan!

    Gary Stones brought the news from Adwick Washland of little egret, three avocet, two oystercatcher, two ringed plover and seventeen redshank. Thanks Gary!

    Meanwhile at Bolton Ings a common gull and red-legged partridge were spotted at 11:30 by Paul Gould. Ta Paul!

    Three black-tailed godwits on the Wader Scrape from yesterday.

    The early birders at Old Moor had reported great bittern, marsh harrier, Mediterranean gull, two black-tailed godwits and a common sandpiper.

    Later at Old Moor the sightings continued with avocet and chicks, common sandpiper, black-tailed godwits, redshank, two Med. gulls (the latest a second summer bird) and shelduck with chicks on the Wader Scrape.

    From the Bittern Hide, a great bittern made a grand entrance across the Mere at 14:30 pursued by an entourage of black-headed gulls. The little bittern wasn’t seen at all today though that didn’t stop many wonderful, optimistic people looking very, very hard.

    Mary Wilde posted this wonderful photo of the little bittern to our web gallery. Thanks Mary!

    At the Family Hide an oystercatcher family with chick entertained watchers and there were great views of a cream-crowned marsh harrier today.

    A cuckoo was also spotted today, flying from the reedbeds towards Wath Ings at about 12:45.

    A reed bunting at full throttle from the Bittern Hide.

    Add to those sightings a kestrel, two curlews over the Visitor Centre at 14:26 and brimstones with red and buff-tailed bumblebees and that just about covers the sightings from the book today.

    To finish this evening, I want to share another first for Old Moor. Last Friday fellow volunteer and all round good egg, Ian Butler had the good fortune to find a green tiger beetle on the reserve. It turns out that this is a new species to the site so congratulations to Ian and those sharp-eyes of his!

    Now, what will tomorrow bring? Until next time.

  • Gathering Wits - Sightings, 26 June

    Hi Folks! Raincoat? No, shorts. Thick jumper? Maybe just a T-shirt. I dunno. Perhaps, all of the above… just in case. This June seems to want it all! I mean yesterday some of us had hail for goodness sake.

    And speaking of having it all, our favourite wildlife reserves had a veritable smorgasbord of delights for us to enjoy today. Starting at Adwick Washland, a hobby was reported early this morning by Malcolm Gough. Thanks Malcolm!

    Over at Broomhill Flash, six black-tailed godwits in beautiful summer plumage entertained watchers. Later (probably the same) six turned up on Old Moor’s Wader Scrape with another bird who had been there since very early on. Probably L. islandica, these birds cut quite a dash in the Dearne Valley today. Later Chris Harris upped the ante and reported that there were now eight godwits!

    Six black-tailed godwits in flight over the Mere.

    At Old Moor, the little bittern was seen at 09:50 flying to the willows and reeds by the bridge near the Bittern Hide. From here it was heard ‘barking’ until at about midday it headed towards the Reedbed Screen. Watchers picked up the bird later, around the 17:00 mark and it was heard 'barking' again until rain stopped play at 18:30.

    Unless anyone knows any different, there was no sign of the great bitterns today.

    Also enjoyed from the Bittern Hide were reed warbler, little grebe, great crested grebe, common tern and magpies. Now I know that last sighting will make some readers shudder but the fact remains that the magpies were top entertainment today, especially as they had some fairly demanding youngsters with them.

    "Feed me!" It turns out a magpie fledgling is even more alarming than the parent!

    Finally, from this neck of the woods, whether you saw them from Bittern Hide, Family Hide or Wader Scrape Hide, there was no missing the two marsh harriers today. A male and female quartered the reeds in the rough vicinity of the ‘cuckoo tree’ throughout mid-morning.

    A beautiful marsh harrier quarters the reedbed as seen from the Bittern Hide.

    On the Wader Scrape today were avocet, two oystercatcher, a common sandpiper, a Med. gull, a redshank and those godwits.

    The Field Pool provided a ringed plover and a juvenile peregrine was seen on the closest pylon to the Visitor Centre at 14:00.

    I was clearly in a reflective mood today. This one's a reed warbler.

    In butterfly, damsel and dragon news today there were quite a few headlines. Ringlet, small skipper, common blue, meadow brown and large skipper were all seen today. Blue-tailed, large red and common blue damselflies were seen along with four-spotted chaser and black-tailed skimmers.

    There was one other damselfly sighting today and it’s one that I’ve been eagerly anticipating. Charlie put Old Hilmian and me onto the fact that the banded demoiselles were showing well on Knoll Beck behind Old Moor’s car park. We saw two males and a female near the bridge and enjoyed a good half-hour watching these beautiful and fascinating creatures. At one point, I watched an ant annoy a perched male banded demoiselle to the point where he reached out a rear leg and kicked the offending ant into the drink! Charming! And all without even turning that striking blue-green head.

    So, I shall leave you tonight with a shot of one of these incredible damselflies. This one is having a rest after chasing off a rival. Until next time.