Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley
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Dearne Valley

  • Abuzz - Sightings, 23 May

    Hi Folks! It was another glorious day in the Dearne Valley today with brilliant sunshine for most of it and occasional cloud providing a little relief from the warmth. After a cool start, spring is certainly hotting up nicely!

    In fact the evidence for all that spring activity can now be found just about everywhere around the reserves – lapwing chicks at Adwick, cygnets, moorhen and black-headed gull chicks at Old Moor. Not to mention those young bitterns who are no doubt growing apace.

    Gull chicks go walkabout on the Wader Scrape by Ian Byrom. Thanks Ian!

    Possibly the newest bird family to grace Old Moor was found at the Tree Sparrow Farm. It seems the first fledgling sparrows were out and about today and providing some entertaining views for visitors.

    'Treesper' Family by Keith Saunders. Thanks Keith!

    Sightings from Adwick Washland last night included two little egret, nine avocet, two oystercatcher, two ringed plover, a dunlin, three yellow wagtail and more than twenty-five redshank! My thanks to Nigel Smith for those numbers via Twitter.

    The early birders at Old Moor reported a Mediterranean gull and eight avocet. Later in the day, I’m afraid I could only find one but then we know how hard it is to see the back of those islands on the Wader Scrape. Other sightings from here today included four common tern and the odd redshank.

    At Old Moor’s Family Hide, a little ringed plover could be seen for most of the day but this was not an easy sighting. In the leigh of the sand martin bank is a small mud flat. Look for it there.

    At least three Redshank could be found on the Field Pool today and Green Lane was a ‘hot spot’ with backcap, reed warbler, willow warbler, chiffchaff, whitethroat, sedge warbler and song thrush all proclaiming their territories.

     Song thrush on Green Lane by Keith Saunders. Thanks again Keith!

    A grass snake was also seen on Green Lane and pair of buzzard spotted over the woods. A kestrel gave a good show over the visitor centre and there were various bittern sightings today including one over the pond dipping platform!

    In insect news, a four-spotted chaser was seen behind the Bittern Hide and common blue and large red damselflies were found all around the wildlife ponds. After so many cold months, it was great to see the place abuzz again.

    A newly-emerged four-spotted chaser at the Bittern Hide pond today.

    Finally, butterflies recorded today included orange-tip, small white, small tortoiseshell and brimstone.

    And that’s it for this evening. I shall leave you with an image of a little grebe swimming at full speed into the calm waters of Wath Ings. Until next time.

  • Driven - Sightings, 22 May

    Hi Folks! An early blog today as I’m off out later, so if you read this sharpish you might still be able to get to Old Moor for the vintage car rally! I’m not kidding. I thought the cars in the overspill carpark were a little unusual but, such is my befuddled state on a Sunday morning, I thought no more of it. It was only later, in the afternoon sunshine when I was nearly blinded by the gleaming chrome, that I realised what was going off!

    It would be fair to say, Old Moor was pretty busy today: the sun shone and families pond-dipped and picnicked, enjoying all Nature’s spring wonders. With plenty to look at, it was a proper fiesta, so best motor on!

    A black-headed gull feeding at the Bittern Hide.

    Starting at Adwick Washland, today there were a pair of garganey, five avocet, two oystercatcher, about twenty-five redshank, mallard with seventeen young between them, two buzzard and a little egret. My thanks to the ever-reliant Mr Smith for those figures!

    I note that Nigel’s report for last night at Adwick also included two ringed plover and two yellow wagtail. They’ll be cruising around somewhere.

    It's not just the reedbeds you have to watch! A bittern flies high over the Mere.

    Early birders at Old Moor might have spotted a yellow-legged gull, three herring gull, fifteen lesser black-backed gulls, a Mediterranean gull, seven avocet, a little ringed plover and six common tern.

    When I left Old Moor, the sightings book was a little thin but a song thrush had been revving-up nicely and entertaining visitors in the car park and lapwing chicks (peewitlings?) had already been seen racing around Field Pool East.

    It wasn't just bitterns who needed an escort away from those black-headed gull chicks!

    A blackcap was at full throttle near the Family Hide and there was an entire fleet of butterflies out today. Green-veined white, orange-tip, a nettle top moth and three dingy skippers were all recorded. So too were large red, azure and blue tailed damselflies. Those cobalt blue, alder beetles also seemed especially dazzling today.

    For me the place to be was the Bittern Hide through at one stage there was a fair bit of congestion in there. However, there were plenty of bittern flights to be seen along with those mini wonders, the common terns on frequent fishing trips. Later, a female marsh harrier could also be seen quartering the reedbeds near the 'cuckoo tree'.

    Common tern with catch in front of the Bittern Hide today.

    With these were sightings of great crested grebe, little grebe, blue tit, jackdaw, grey heron and reed warbler. In fact the reed warblers, who can be heard all over the reserve at present, were just that bit more visible today from the Bittern Hide and gave visitors some great views of their understated beauty.

    A wary reed warbler keeps an eye out for trouble.

    And that’s me done for now though I appreciate the day is only just half-over. If you happen to see something from later in the afternoon perhaps you could give me a lift and add it in the comments below. Until next time.

  • Sightings 20th May

    Hello, the book is rather bare with sightings today.....

    Of no fixed abode we have a female marsh harrier, 2 buzzards and a kestrel and the med gull was seen from the Wader Scrape.

    A sanderling was on the Mere today and a female blackcap and 2 dunnock were seen at Knoll Beck on the TPT today.

    We have had many bittern sightings today from the bittern hide as well as a sightings of a bittern flying over the Family Hide and landing in the pool at the back of it.

    And that's it from the book today...

    From Twitter we have the following sightings - A spotted flycatcher by the entrance gate to Broomhill plus a family group of mistle thrush. Thanks to Adam Hutt for those.

    And from early on at Old moor via the Barnsley Birders we have sightings of - a sanderling on the Wader Scrape, also a cuckoo, a dunlin, 6 common terns and the med gull.

    That's it so far today that I know of, if you know any different then please leave a comment.

    I'll leave with another photo of a female bittern. Here I saw it in the channel from the screen before the path closed.

    The next blog is on Sunday.