Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley
Do you love visiting our Dearne Valley reserves? Share your thoughts with the community. Or if you're thinking about visiting and would like to find out more, ask away!

Dearne Valley

  • Quite a lot...

    Hello, there's going to be 'quite a lot' in the blog today so I better get started!

    First more photos from Dave Simmonite of the juv bittern that was seen from the monitoring hide yesterday. It's such great news! Thanks for the photos Dave :)

    Dave said... 'Dave, our Warden, confirmed it as a juv bird.Typical throat pattern of a juv on the shot where it has its' head in the air and other aspects ie moustachial stripe when compared to shots taken of the adult female.'

    The little bittern has been seen today in the reedbeds, also from the monitoring hide and in the book from the bittern hide. More good news!

    Kingfishers were seen around OM today, from Wath Ings, Field Pool West and the Bittern Hide. Ian Butler was there when it landed on the branches in front of the bittern hide and took this lovely pic. Thanks Ian :) 

    On the Mere today we had sightings of a little egret, sand martins, lesser black backed gulls and a barn owl!.. Presumably around their box at the back. As Andrew reported in the blog from yesterday, I was on Wath Ings yesterday evening watching a barn owl hunting. What a delight that was! I managed a distant pic :) 

    Also seen on Wath Ings today were lapwing, common sandpiper, a little egret, grey herons, lapwing, snipe, greylag geese, oystercatchers, common tern, cormorants, Canada geese, gadwall, tufted ducks, a little grebe + juv, redshank, a kingfisher and teal.

    To the Wader Scrape next where there were sightings of approx 50 greylag geese, a shelduck, common sandpiper, avocet + chick, 14 dunlin, a sanderling, lapwing, linnets, swifts and little ringed plover.

    From the field pool west hide we have sightings of the male redstart again (not for me), kingfisher, a little grebe + juv, a grey heron, goldfinches, a juv willow warbler, linnets and redshank.

    To the Tree Sparrow farm next where we had sightings of tree sparrows, song thrush, greenfinches, goldfinches, long tailed tits, dunnock, blue tits and great tits.

    Our bird garden had all the usual birdies.

    It's been a bit of a grey, wet and windy few days but the forecast says we are due some sunshine very soon! That will hopefully mean more butterflies, damselflies & dragonflies will be out and about. John, one of our members of staff, asked me for a few butterfly pics for an ID chart he wanted to make for OM... This is the result... if you right click the pics you can save them and print them off should you wish to...

    The only butterflies I saw today were gatekeepers, a large skipper and no dragonflies at all. There were a few bees out and about on the knapweed, Here's a solitary bee that I found, I'm sure it looked at me and said 'I've had enough of grey, where's the sun?!'

    Yesterday (also a grey day) I found my fav ruby tailed wasp sheltering from the rain in a bush...even on a grey day you can find sparkle at Old Moor!

    Last night we had another record breaking little egret roost...29! Here's one of them on Wath Ings yesterday having a bit of a stretch.

    I'm going to finish today with a photo of 2 very lovely friendly people, Richard and Linda, who have been regular visitors to Old Moor for a few years . They use the electric buggies to get around and I saw them coming down Green Lane last weekend. It made me smile and I think we could do with a caption! They kindly agreed to let me use the photo on our blog. :) 

  • A young 'un! - Sightings, 27 July.

    Hi Folks! First of all tonight my hearty congratulations to the one hundred or so people today who braved the (frankly appalling) July weather in order to enjoy a bit of wildlife watching at Old Moor. Excellent work there all!

    Sadly, conditions did not make it easy to see very much but we do have some sightings for you. A special thanks to Emma and Steve for adding the following list from their visit to Broomhill Flash, The Garganey Trust’s reserve just up the road from Old Moor. They saw: a shelduck, ten little grebe, two snipe, a cormorant, one common sandpiper, a water rail, twenty lapwing, two yellow wagtail, seven mute swan and twelve swift. That’s a pretty good list there. Well done!

    The ever-reliable Chaz added a juvenile shelduck to the day’s list along with sightings of two green sandpiper and two kingfisher at Wath Ings.

    Also seen at Wath Ings today were ten black-tailed godwit, a bittern and a barn owl – I thought they didn’t hunt in the rain? - Perhaps it was just seeking a drier perch.

    Stop by Grandad's Shed right now and enjoy the fragrance of those bi-coloured sweet peas - 'Cupani' if I'm not much mistaken.

    A male redstart was seen again at Field Pool West and the Wader Scrape was home to a wisp of five snipe.

    Just in case you thought the beastie had moved on, there WAS a sighting of the little bittern this afternoon but I have no other details beyond the location of ‘reedbeds’.

    And lastly, an adult great bittern was seen today and RSPB Old Moor is pleased to announce that it was not alone – a juvenile has also been seen among the reedbeds. Yes, that’s right “It’s a young ‘un!” Honestly, some days you just forget about the rain and the long hours and realise it is all worth while!

    But, you know us here at Blog HQ, we don’t just want to tell you about these things, we want to show you so…

    Huge thanks to Dave Simmonite for the photo and for the wonderful Jo Hindley for winging it our way. What a team!

    How do we know this is a juvenile? Well I am reliably informed by Jo that it is to do with the breadth of that brown stripe running down the bird's breastbone and the fact that this bird of more heavily marked - for maximum camouflage among the reeds whilst it was growing up.

    So, there you have it, not much more to be said today except that I’ve just had a text message from the marvellous Nicola who is still hard at it, watching and photographing at Wath Ings. She reports that a barn owl is hunting right this minute in the twilight.

    Go get your coats!

    Until next time.

  • Audible Shorts – Sightings, 26 July.

    Hi Folks! If Mary Shelley had been into birding then this afternoon at Old Moor would have been right up her street. Although the morning was pleasant enough – well, dry at least – the afternoon cast a Gothic gloom over our favourite RSPB reserve.

    As I was walking by the wildlife ponds, the sky darkened and a rhythmic buzzing crackled and fizzed overhead like something from Dr Frankenstein's lab. Foolishly, I thought at first this might be confused (and monstrous) crickets but then realised that it was just the rain hitting the pylon wires creating audible shorts.

    Even so, from the Bittern Hide, there were views of great crested grebe and two juveniles, moorhen and their offspring, coot, little grebe, cormorant, barn owl fledglings and an adult together with a male kingfisher. Sadly, there was no sign of either little bittern or night heron from here at least. However, a great bittern was seen today flying towards Bolton Ings at 9.26am.

    On a better day, Alan Foster spotted this juvenile sparrowhawk from Field Pool West hide. Thanks Alan!

    Away from the electrical crackling, at the Wader scrape, there were sightings of linnets, ringed plover, common sandpiper and snipe.

    Those well-waterproofed souls who ventured as far as Wath Ings hide saw ten black-tailed godwits, four redshank, juvenile shelduck, two green sandpiper, four grey heron, two little egret and a spectacular show of sand martin and swift skimming only a matter of inches from the surface of the slate grey waters.

    From the Family Hide, a kingfisher was seen sheltering on the sand martin bank and in the relative calm of the Bird Garden there were views of goldfinch, robin, reed bunting, collared dove, chaffinch, tree sparrow, woodpigeon and a bullfinch family with the adults teaching their youngsters how to use the bird feeders.

    The intrepid Mr Smith reported from Adwick Washlands today (via Barnsley Birders Twitter feed - @Barnsleybsg) that there were four little egret, lapwing, snipe, four avocet – two adults and two juveniles, four green sandpiper and approximately 75 goldfinch. Thanks Nigel!

    Redshank and raindrops - from today at Wath Ings.

    As I squelched my way back to the visitor centre, there was one hardy bird singing amid the gloom: a greenfinch sitting at the top of the hedge on Green Lane sang his strident and breathy song oblivious to the unseasonable conditions. If we needed it, it was a little reminder that Nature never stops and that there is always so much to be seen and heard whatever the weather.

    Until next time.