Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley
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Dearne Valley

  • Threes - Sightings, 31 Aug.

    Hi Folks! Crikey, it’s a busy blog today so I shall get right to it but first I just have to thank Jenny Gray for going the extra mile in response a question I raised in yesterday’s blog. As an aside I asked what the collective noun for kingfishers was. No, don’t worry, I have put aside my disappointments around missing out on a view of three kingies yesterday. Honestly, I’m over it.


    In fact, one regular blog contributor suggested ‘disappointment’ as the group term for kingfishers - especially when NOT seen!

    The marvellous Jenny, spotted I was floundering for a group noun and did a bit of research. You see, Jenny works in the Visitor Centre Shop and had noticed we had a greetings card with a list of group terms for birds on it. Anyway, she tells me the correct term for a group of kingfishers is either “a crown” or “a concentration”. Nice work Jenny! Thank you. It’s one of the things that makes Old Moor really special – a super team effort!

    Now, I promise, no more shilly-shallying, on to the sightings.

    Well, that’s not completely true. I just have to share a smashing photo and a late sighting from yesterday. Here is a female great spotted woodpecker seen by the Wildlife Ponds.

    A great spotted woodpecker by the Wildlife Ponds. Photograph from Lilian Hatch. Thanks Lilian!

    Top of the page today was the great white egret and its recent pattern of spending the early morning at Wath Ings and then going to Bolton and returning at about four o’clock was repeated.

    Not a science experiment gone mad! The bird on the right is the great white egret. The others are truly little egrets!

    Not so predictable was the arrival of a female wheatear which was seen by many on the Wader Scrape. With it were two common sandpiper, eight ringed plovers, four little egret including everybody’s favourite, FJ, twenty-two shoveler, two little ringed plover and four yellow wagtail.

    A great photo of the female wheatear by young Louis Brown. Super work and thanks Louis!

    Field Pool West continued to be a popular hide today and the sightings were: the family of redstart – particularly the female who was showing well; a kingfisher, grey heron, little egret and little grebe.

    Wath Ings was also pretty busy. I’ve already mentioned the great white egret but there were also nine black-tailed godwits, eight ruff, six dunlin, two ringed plovers, three barn owls, a kingfisher, three green sandpiper, three common sandpiper, four little egret, a garganey, two golden plover, six snipe, a water rail, the odd grey heron and approximately 750 lapwing.

    Some of the dapper-looking ruff seen today at Wath Ings.

    On the Mere today were twenty-eight wigeon, a few sand martins and swift and twelve –yes, that’s one two, twelve great crested grebe! Jenny! I feel another collective noun crisis coming on!

    Out at the Reedbed Screen those three wily young kingfishers continued to provide only tantalising glimpses! (I really am over it). A water rail was also heard but not seen here today.

    A great photo of one of the three barn owls seen today at Wath Ings by Louis Brown. Thanks Louis!

    Last but certainly not least, Alan Whitehouse reported a marsh harrier out at Bolton Ings today. Thanks Alan!

    If you remember, last night I reported a single golden plover from Wath Ings with the caption 'more to come' or some such. Well today it had found a friend.

    Let's hope tomorrow there will be three.

    Until next time.

  • The Three Alcedos - Sightings, 30 Aug.

    Hi Folks! A day that starts with a peregrine sighting on the pylon just outside the Visitor Centre can’t be all bad! And indeed it wasn’t. Sunshine came and went a bit, but this is a bank holiday weekend after all so perhaps we should just be glad it wasn’t tipping it down.

    The great white egret turned out to be a bit like the sunshine too. One couple I met couldn’t track it down at Old Moor so went over to Bolton with still no luck. Another pair headed to Wombwell and came back similarly disappointed. Others got it straight away at either Bolton or Old Moor’s Wader Scrape. Such is birding I fear.

    If I was a grey heron, I would drag my toes through the water too!

    Which brings me to my own trials and frustrations today. After a stint in the Bittern Hide, I headed for the Reedbed Screen. There it was pretty busy with numbers of visitors peaking at around eighteen at one point - all trying to hide behind the screen! The object of our interest? Well, not one or two but three kingfisher youngsters sitting on the right-hand bank. The trouble was that they were ‘just’ out of view, behind some thick reeds. All that could be seen was an occasional flash of aquamarine that kept watchers pinned to the spot waiting for that kingfisher group sighting!

    Like many others, I waited and waited and then waited a bit more. Nowt. Eventually I gave up and stomped back the visitor centre muttering dark curses about my lack of luck. On the way there I received a text message from a friend saying she was at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (where I’d been yesterday) asking me to guess what she’d just seen. That’s right, excellent views of a kingfisher!

    It took the lovely Lauren’s smile – and the promise of two chocolate biscuits – to improve my mood. Some days eh?

    Not a kingfisher but a pair of ovipositing common darters and their reflections.

    Anyway, enough of my troubles! At Adwick Washlands today were seven little egret, a pintail, nine shoveler, sixty-eight teal, one avocet, a juvenile ruff and either fourteen dunlin or ringed plover (heard only). Thanks to the remarkable Nigel Smith for the sightings there!

    In Old Moor’s Bird Garden there were chaffinch, pheasant, great tit, greenfinch, magpie and collared dove.

    There were reports of garganey from Broomhill and Edderthorpe today but sadly, I have no more detail than that.

    Field Pool West was the busiest hide on the reserve today with visitors all hoping for a sighting of that redstart family. They were not disappointed and both mature and immature male birds were showing well. In fact, I paid a visit at one point and it was great to see both birds but even greater to hear so many visitors saying that this was a first for them!

    A juvenile redstart from Field Pool West today.

    I stayed a while and was able to point several people in the right direction and help them get a photo. Sadly, my innovative suggestion of ‘tipping the guide’ did not bear much fruit - even when I lowered the rate!

    Along with the redstarts were grey heron, little egret, willow warbler, chiffchaff, little grebe, a family of long-tailed tits, a wren and a greenshank.

    The aforementioned greenshank. Thanks to the friendly couple from Lancashire for pointing me in the right direction for this one.

    Wath Ings was also busy. The salient sightings here were six ruff, six dunlin, seven black-tailed godwit and two snipe. There were also a goodly number of lapwing, common sandpiper, green sandpiper and a lone golden plover. Now that’s the fourth or fifth goldie of the season at Old Moor but at the moment they seem to be arriving in ones and twos.

    A lone goldie. More to follow no doubt!

    Of no fixed abode today, there was a report of a hobby and, if I had to guess, I would say probably over the Wader Scrape.

    So that’s it for today. Another busy one crammed with excellent sightings – just don’t talk to me about groups of kingfishers! (What is the collective noun?)

    Until next time.

  • Three Redstarts....

    Hello again, I'll explain the title very soon but first, what a gorgeous morning we had at OM today. I don't know about this afternoon though, where I was it was sunny with frequent heavy showers....very heavy showers!

    Glorious morning from the bittern hide.

    There were a few kingfishers seen from here today, I think I had 3 separate ones, not landing but great to see. Also seen from here were 2 marsh harriers!

    Next let's go to the ponds area, I don't know if you've seen it but there's a juv grey heron around that likes fishing here. Yesterday we startled each other twice and today once. Yesterday it was in the pond by the bridge to the reedbed trail as well as being by the shelter where Jo does her membership stall. Today it was fishing in the Toyota pond. Don't think it's 'Grumpy.'

    Also in the ponds area was this great spotted woodpecker. It was calling for quite a while and then climbed to the top of the dead tree.

    Have you noticed the gorgeous water lilies around the ponds?

    So to my title today. As you may have gathered, I haven't been very lucky with redstart sightings. Today was different, I saw three! There are two males and one female, all viewable from the field pool west hide - apologies to those of you on Twitter who followed my tweet saying they were in the field pool east hide...  #getyoureastandwestrightNicola :)

    There is that stunning male you've seen from Andrew's fab pics, a female and a first winter male. Here's a pic of the latter taken today by Ian Butler. Thank you Ian.

    I really enjoyed my time in this hide this morning. The wires to the right were very busy with many birds. There were 2 adult robins with their juv, a juv willow warbler, long tailed tits, blue tits, great tits, blackbirds and goldfinches as well as those 3 redstarts.... 

    Also seen from here were little grebes, a kingfisher, a little egret, mute swans and a grey heron.

    I left this hide and made my way down Green Lane where I was amazed to see a kingfisher fly off right in front of me. It had been sitting in a tree/bush to the left of the path. I hadn't seen it at all until it flew off. It did a lot of beeping as if to tell me off for disturbing it's time in the sunshine! Also on Green Lane I saw a little robin hiding away.

    Next to Wath Ings where there were sightings of green and common sandpipers, shoveler, little egrets, ruff, dunlin, kingfisher, kestrel, cormorants, lapwing, mallards, coots, teal, gadwall, grey heron, moorhens and a lovely greenshank near to the hide.

    On the Wader Scrape there were sightings of greylag and Canada geese, mute swans, a black tailed godwit, shoveler, teal, lapwing and little egrets.

    Here's a little egret that landed for a few seconds and then flew away. Obviously it didn't want to pose for the camera for very long....

    Butterflies seen today were common and holly blues, meadow browns, gatekeepers, speckled wood and peacocks.

    Dragonflies spotted today were common and ruddy darters, migrant and brown hawkers.

    The great white egret was on Bolton today along with 2 marsh harriers.

    That's it for today so have a great bank holiday weekend and fingers crossed we don't get much more of this for a while.. from the family hide yesterday....