Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley
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Dearne Valley

  • Sunny Sightings - 26th August

    Hello! What a fabulous day at Old Moor I've had. I got there early doors and left around 5pm. The reserve was pretty busy today with lots of families enjoying the 'Free Friday' today. That's free entry for children on Fridays during the school holidays. 

    Early doors at OM was a magical sparkling world with dew and spiders webs.

    Other early sightings today were - 570 lapwing, ruff, common sandpiper and 3 snipe on Wath Ings and on the Mere/'Death Island' were ruff, 6 ringed plover, 5 green sandpiper, 2 common sandpiper and a herring gull.

    I started off today in the Bittern Hide where I saw 2 grey herons, a little egret, a great crested grebe, a little grebe, a jay (over the ponds to the left of the hide), a buzzard and of course, a kingfisher. I saw this kingy perched on the post in front of the hide, fishing and hovering. It then flew to the 6 posts to the left of the hide and fished from there. Other visitors also saw kingfishers from here too today.

    Russ Bridges shared a few of his photos from today on Twitter. Here's his kingfisher photo from the Bittern Hide. Thank you Russ, beautiful.

    A further sighting from the Bittern Hide today was of a common sandpiper.

    Roland Rodgerson shared his photo with us on our FB page. Thanks Roland.

    A visitor told me today that he had seen a kingfisher on the post in front of the reedbed screen, good news! I also saw one fly right in front of the reedbed hide this morning. Also seen from here today were 2 great crested grebes, 2 little grebes, cormorants, tufted ducks, gadwall, mute swan, a little egret, reed warblers and great views of migrant hawker dragonflies.

    Here's a lovely great crested grebe from here today.

    Next I'll go to the sightings from the Family Hide - cormorants, lapwing, common and green sandpiper, a yellow wagtail on the sand martin bank, kingfisher and pied wagtails and Canada Geese.

    I really enjoyed my time in the Field Pool West hide today, I saw 2 kingfishers fighting! As I went into the hide, a kingy was sitting on the T-bar. It then flew to one of the posts to the left of the hide. Very quickly it was joined here by another kingfisher. Kingy 1 (to the front of the photo) didn't like that one bit! (Photos distant & into the morning sun...)

    This is what happened next, an all out, beak & wing scrapping scrap!

    After a bit of scrapping here, they then carried on in the tree to the right of the hide before flying off. Fantastic to watch!

    Also seen here were goldfinches, chaffinches, linnets,  a wren, robins, blackbirds, a little grebe,  the mute swan family, little egrets, grey herons, brown and migrant hawkers, common and ruddy darters and a fox.

    Visitors told me a about scrap 'that went on for quite a bit' between a marsh harrier, a kestrel and a sparrowhawk from the Wader Scrape today. Other sightings from here today were of a juv shelduck, 15 ringed plover, ruff, common and green sandpipers.

    Butterflies seen today were a male brimstone, speckled wood, green veined white and holly blue.

    Dragonflies have been brilliant today - many brown, migrant and southern hawkers as well as common and ruddy darters.

    That's it for today, have a great Bank Holiday weekend...

  • Soggy Sightings

    A fairly dull start weather wise today but when I arrived at Old Moor around 2pm the heavens opened and it just poured – what a soggy afternoon.

    We made it to the Tree Sparrow Farm before the real downpour started and it was lovely to see lots of smaller birds around.

    Sightings from the book today were:

    Bittern Hide: Kingfisher – fishing for an hour this morning and then 5 sightings in 40 minutes 13.20 – 14.00. I managed to see it at around 15.30 but there were 2 kingfishers who were flying around frequently this afternoon.

    Mere: The book said ‘Death Island’ but I’m not sure which one that is? Anyone? Ruff and 3 Ringed Plover

    Wader Scrape: Blacktailed Godwit, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper 2, Green Sandpiper 4, Ringed Plover

    Wath Ings: Dunlin and Snipe

    Green Lane: Chiffchaff and Whitethroat

    A special mention today to Louis Brown aged 11 (Photography Volunteer) who wrote that he had spotted 3 Kingfishers in the Family Hide and a Snipe at the Wader Scrape Hide. Thank You Louis

    The sightings from Barnsley Birders via twitter really made me smile today

    Graham Speight posted that at Edderthorpe Thurs am- good conditions but nowt new. Garganey 4, Shoveler 140, Greenshank 3, Ruff 1, Canada Geese 775, Greylag 220

    Love the idea that there are hundreds of birds but ‘nowt new’ thank you Graham for brightening my morning .

     Alan Whitehouse reported that at Wombwell Ings there were  Mute 2,Little Egret 5, Heron 4, Shoveler 11, Teal 43, Dunlin 2, Greenshank 1, Lapwing 75, Gadwall 46, Mallard 39


    The fox has been seen around Old Moor both by Andrew and Nicola (see previous blog posts from earlier this week) these are Nicola’s amazing photos seen from the field Pool West Hide on Tuesday.

    As I said earlier it was so wet and soggy today I thought I’d upload an atmospheric ‘arty’ shot! I hope the gentleman sitting next to me made it back to the Lakes (and more rain) safely!

    A bit tongue in cheek but 10 things I’ve learnt about nature watching whilst helping out with the blog at Old Moor.

    1. There is a higher percentage chance of rain on Tues, Thurs, Fri (my blog days)
    2. My waterproof raincoat isn’t waterproof
    3. It doesn’t matter what time of day or what day I arrive at the Bittern Hide I will always be greeted with the words ‘You’ve just missed the Kingfisher’
    4. The person sitting next to me will always be more organised and have a flask of coffee.
    5. Coffee always smells amazing when you are next to person in point 4
    6. Herons always look grumpy.
    7. Herons look extra grumpy in the rain
    8. The Chocolate and caramel Magnum ice creams in the VC are worth breaking any diet for!
    9. Hawkers never land and however hard I try I can’t photograph them
    10. Nature lovers are a hardy crew and a bit of rain never did anyone any harm!

    Until Tomorrow J


  • Warming Up Nicely - Sightings, 24 Aug.

    Hi Folks! It was another glorious sunny one in the Dearne Valley today with acres of sunshine and hardly a breath of a breeze. Ice-cream sales were through the roof and I’m very glad to say that Old Moor was very, very busy. Visitors today included a very enthusiastic group from Wetherby U3A. Chatting with them in the Wader Scrape hide, it sounded like they’d had a crackin’ day with a pretty decent day list of over forty species! Nicely done!

    So, starting in the Bird Garden, today there were collared dove, chaffinch, woodpigeon, magpie, greenfinch, great tit, robin, dunnock, wren and bullfinch. That’s ten species right there.

    Linnets bathing by Ian Byrom. Thanks Ian!

    The news from Adwick Washland today was of a ‘sparrowhawk, buzzard and red kite’ variety. Meanwhile at Edderthorpe were two buzzard, a peregrine, three raven, three sparrowhawk, a common sandpiper, a ruff and a kingfisher.

    On Broomhill Flash were two (or more) garganey, two ringed plover, six (or more) common sandpiper, a green sandpiper, a dunlin and a greenshank. Thanks to John Seeviour for those sightings.

    The sound of the curlew is one of my favourite of all bird calls and this one called as it flew from Wath Ings today.

    Alan Whitehouse tweeted the sightings from Wombwell Ings. There today were four little egret, a grey heron, two dunlin, a ringed plover, a greenshank, forty-three lapwing, twenty mallard and ten teal. Thanks Alan!

    Back at Old Moor, the Bittern Hide provided spectacular views of kingfisher and those lesser whitethroat were showing well on Green Lane as were the two cream-crowned marsh harriers over the reedbeds.

    A charming little wheatear on the Wader Scrape today.

    On the Wader Scrape were black-tailed godwit, wheatear, four green sandpiper, four common sandpiper and a kingfisher. On the Mere today were three ringed plover (on ‘Death Island’) and a black-necked grebe.

    A great comparison shot between green and common sandpipers from Ian Byrom. The common (foreground) is quite a bit smaller. Thanks Ian!

    Lastly, at Wath Ings today were two common sandpiper, a spotted redshank, a black-tailed godwit, a ruff, a curlew, a female sparrowhawk, a hobby, a peregrine, two little egret, two buzzard, a dunlin, three little grebe and a reed warbler. Oh and two hundred or so lapwing and a growing number of starlings.

    A young spotted redshank on the main marsh this afternoon.

    Now I’ve lost track of the species count there but it seemed like a pretty good day to me! I shall leave you with one last image from the day. Yes, I know, we really do spoil you.

    I watched the reed warbler (above) today pick over the reeds to find a beak full of grubs. It then flew back to the point where it had first emerged from cover. Yes, on the 24th of August there are clearly still some youngsters being raised!

    And on that note, until next time.