Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley
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Dearne Valley

  • Abuzz - Sightings, 30 Sept.

    Hi Folks! Surprise! Yes, it’s not normally me on a Friday but Nicola and I have done a swap for this evening so there you are. The day was just as the Met Office promised: full of ‘sunny intervals’ though they did not especially mention the array of wonderful wildlife sightings available in the Dearne Valley. Now I think about it, there’s an idea – a bird forecast. “Cloudy with outbreaks of golden plovers and scattered godwits, some chance of dunlin.” That type of thing.

    I digress.

    Those early birders at Old Moor this morning found song thrush, kingfisher, male and female pochard, eight green sandpiper, six black-tailed godwit, four little egret, three snipe, three ruff, seven dunlin and eighty-four golden plover.

    A stunning ruff from Ian Byrom. Thanks Ian!

    Also up early, Chris Harris tweeted that at Wombwell Ings there were four ringed plover, a wood sandpiper, a greenshank, a ruff, seven golden plover, a dunlin and a yellow wagtail. Thanks Chris!

    On Broomhill Flash today were pochard, cormorant, twenty little egret, little grebe, mute swan and a kingfisher.

    A stunning female kestrel from Ian Butler. Thanks Ian!

    Before I investigated Old Moor this afternoon, I took a stroll along the Trans Pennine Trail via Broomhill Park to Wombwell Ings. On the way, I was stopped in my tracks by an incredible cloud of dragonflies. There were easily thirty common darters and maybe six or so migrant hawkers congregating in a patch of sunshine little larger than a few walking paces. The crimson darters mingled with the sky-blue hawkers as they made impossible mid-air turns to stay within the bounds of the sunlight. And the buzzing of their many wings drowned out even the rumble of distant traffic. It was quite a remarkable and dazzling encounter I can tell you!

    A male, Southern Hawker sunning himself by the Bird Garden today.

    Back at Old Moor, the ivy at the gable end of the Visitor Centre buildings was also abuzz with hundreds of insects including four red admirals. Nearby, at the dipping ponds there were a number of small tortoiseshell too.

    At the Bittern Hide the main attraction, beside kingfisher appearances, was that of some great views of a pair of stonechat. Both male and female birds showed beautifully throughout the day.

    A bright, male stonechat from Ian Butler. Thanks again Ian!

    For fans of the world of the small, bronze and green shield bugs could be found around the wildlife ponds and there were some bronze shield bug eggs too. If you have never seen these up close they are well worth looking out for. Almost other-worldly, the spiny eggs like a cluster of map-pins reveal stunning, metallic blue interiors when 'vacated'.

    Bronze shield bug eggs - see what I mean? Thanks to Ian Byrom for the image.

    At Wath Ings today there were sightings of marsh harrier (towards Bolton way), four little egret, twelve black-tailed godwit, nine dunlin, four ruff, five green sandpiper, two sparrowhawk, a buzzard, a kestrel, a female kingfisher, three snipe and 240 golden plover. With these were lapwing, teal, shoveler and ten separate sightings of jay!

    Was it something he said? - the stonechats seem to have fallen out in this image by Ian Byrom. Thanks again Ian!

    For me however, there was one bird that drew my attention away from the spectacle of Wath Ings. Regular readers will know that a certain small passerine always gets my attention in the Bird Garden at Old Moor. I speak of course of the willow tit and today two were seen feeding there (hooray!) We have not had recorded sightings of willow tits on this blog for some time and it is great to have them ‘back’. Look out for these dapper little birds among the chaffinch, bullfinch, wren, robin, blue tit, dunnock, green finch and great tit that seem to be enjoying a feed in this area of the reserve at the moment.

    Sunflower seeds seem to be the favourite of the willow tits at present.

    Sadly, that’s it for this evening. Tomorrow’s forecast is fair with more ‘sunny intervals’ and a warmer than average temperature. Time to enjoy a bit of Autumn wildlife? I should say so. Do remember though that, as it’s the first of October tomorrow, the visitor centre and reserve will close at 5pm.

    Until next time.

  • Blustery! Sightings 29th Sept

    Hello again, a bit of a blustery one today and the sightings are from the book and Twitter.

    Starting with the sightings from the Main Marsh today - 10 black tailed godwits, a blackcap, kingfisher, 8 ruff, 6 green sandpiper, a ringed plover, 7-9 dunlin, 102+ golden plover, 900 lapwing and 20 snipe. Then we had 17 little egrets leaving the roost, 220+ wigeon, 400+ teal and approx 300 gadwall. These counts will be from first thing at Old Moor.

    On Wath Ings there were sightings of 2 greenshank and a wood sandpiper as well as 2 ringed plover and a ruff.

    A chiffchaff was heard/seen in the play area and 2 stonechats were on reedbed 2. I've been hearing a bit of chaff-chaffing too which has stopped me in my tracks a bit to say 'Chiff-chaff!'

    Sharon Beevers visited this week and took a pic of the male stonechat. Thanks Sharon :) 

    This lovely photo of a kestrel was taken by Kevin Wakelam from the Bittern Hide. Thanks Kevin.

    Finally from the book today we have a sighting of a kingfisher from the car park this morning and 2 painted lady butterflies near the Family Hide.

    Next to Twitter and from Wombwell today via John Seeviour came sightings of a  wood sandpiper, 3 ruff, a greenshank, 2 dunlin and 7 ringed plover.

    A couple of photos of the great white egret that has been around the Dearne Valley recently.

    From Rod Rolt at Adwick - great to see a heron, the great white egret and a little egret in the same photo. Thank you Rod.

    And finally for today, the great white egret at Harlington this morning - thanks go to Russ Bridges for this photo via Twitter.

    Kingfishers are still being seen regularly around Old Moor. Here's a recent one from the Bittern Hide ( probably the best place to see them if you haven't as yet...). It was taken on a dull day so I fiddled with the photo a bit. 

    That's it, enjoy your tea!

  • "Wader Heaven" - Sightings, 28 Sept.

    Hi Folks! Brilliant sunshine and mild temperatures for the time of year were clearly too tempting for many watchers today and I’m glad to say that Old Moor was pretty busy for a Wednesday. The elephant in the hide however was an acknowledgement that dark nights are coming. This Friday will be the last 8pm closing for a while and from Saturday 1st of October both the Visitor Centre and the reserve will close at 5pm.

    Those early birders at Old Moor this morning spotted eleven black-tailed godwit, five green sandpiper, a kingfisher, five dunlin, seven little egret, eight ruff, eight snipe and a song thrush. Nice to see the thrush in the mix there.

    "You ain't seen me, right?" A grey heron from Cyril Turner. Thanks Cyril!

    Over at Wombwell Ings were five ringed plover, a dunlin, two greenshank, a male peregrine, a female wheatear, three ruff, a wood sandpiper and an osprey over at 11:05. Sadly, the latter did not stay around and left towards Worsbrough.

    Also this morning, there were reports of a pink-footed goose on Broomhill Flash and later two greenshank were reported there too.

    A very nice shot of male kingfisher by Cyril Turner. Thanks again Cyril!

    Before the rest of the sightings today, some sad news. People may remember a while back that an otter was found dead on Wombwell Ings. The Environment Agency sent it off for a post mortem and the results came back recently. It was very hard to be conclusive but their best guess was that the otter, an adult female, was involved in a road traffic accident and, due to its injuries, appears to have been put out of its misery by someone. It was then carried downstream by the river and washed up at a later date on Wombwell Ings where a member of the public reported it to us.

    So unfortunately our first confirmed otter on site turned up after it had died and in rather sad circumstances. Hopefully the next one will be swimming in the Mere!

    A disdainful look from a passing kestrel today.

    Almost all the rest of the sightings from the day come from Old Moor’s Wath Ings described by one visitor today as ‘Wader Heaven’. There were eleven black-tailed godwit, two greenshank, nine dunlin, eight ruff, twenty-five snipe, two common gull and 192 golden plover. With these were five green sandpiper, a jay, a kingfisher, a kestrel, a sparrowhawk, seven mute swan, a ringed plover and fifteen swallow speedily heading south. Lastly, there were some great views of buzzard patrolling the edges of the marsh and sending all the rest skyward.

    Two greenshank landing on the main marsh this evening.

    Lastly, at the Bittern Hide today were sightings of kingfisher, little grebe, grey heron and two stonechat, a male and a female today. I tried and failed to get pictures of the chats but fortunately Ian Byrom had better luck. So I shall leave you tonight with a bird that just might draw attention away from the kingfisher.

    A dashing stonechat vying for attention at the Bittern Hide today. Thanks Ian!

    Until next time.