Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley

Old Moor & Dearne Valley
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Dearne Valley

  • Steely Golden Light – Sightings, 29 Nov.

    Hi Folks! Not even my optimism can help me describe today’s weather in the Dearne Valley as anything other than a bit grim. There were brighter moments and some dry spells but the wind was fierce and there was also quite a bit of squally rain.

    Having said that, it was surprising just how many folk did enjoy the wild weather on the reserves and the cheerful chatter of the visitors especially those from Stockport was a welcome distraction from the gales. In fact, tonight’s blog title comes from one visitor’s description of one of the brighter spells.

    I never managed to get to Adwick Washlands today but fortunately, the intrepid Mr Smith did. Today’s sightings included one little egret, seventy wigeon, forty-eight teal, eleven gadwall, six shoveler, one tufted duck and ten fieldfare. Thanks Nigel!

    In the absence of the cows, wigeon have been employed at Old Moor to keep the grass down.

    Early at Old Moor there were reports of seventy golden plover, a green sandpiper, a shelduck and a Cetti’s warbler.

    By the time I arrived, the plover had moved on but, at the Reedbed Hide, there were moorhen, coot, mute swan, wigeon, gadwall, mallard, shoveler, tufted duck, cormorant, wren and a merlin at about 10 am.

    I wonder if they knew? (If not, you know where to dig tomorrow.)

    At the Family Hide were lapwing, mute swan, wigeon, forty-nine cormorant, teal, gadwall, little grebe, a ‘mini-murm’ of starling and a male sparrowhawk.

    From Field Pool East, the ruff could be seen and on the Wader Scrape there was a shelduck and seven goosander, four males and three females.

    At Wath Ings Hide today’s sightings included Canada geese, wigeon, teal, mallard, little egret, shoveler, snipe and black-headed gulls.

    Thirty-seven lapwing did a few, er laps over the Visitor Centre this morning and in the Wildlife Ponds a grey heron took shelter – and a few fish.

    One of the advantages of a dark sky! 35 of the 37 lapwings looking splendid!

    In the Bird Garden today were magpie, woodpigeon, eight long-tailed tits, a robin and a reindeer! (With his nose so bright no doubt).

    Finally, in the Tree Sparrow Farm were bullfinch, greenfinch, chaffinch, goldfinch, tree sparrow, reed bunting, blue tit, great tit, willow tit (hooray), dunnock, wren, robin, blackbird, magpie, pheasant, woodpigeon, collared dove, stock dove, mallard, long-tailed tit and moorhen.

    And that’s almost your lot for this evening. I shall leave you with a photo of a kerfuffle from the Family Hide today as the starlings held auditions for their next murmuration.

    Until next time.

  • Early one afternoon...Sightings 28th November

    Hello! I'm still 'netless' but borrowing one to bring you a blog today. Craig has written us a fab list of birdies so off I go!

    From the busy Tree Sparrow Farm there were sightings of blue tits, great tits, long tailed tits,  tree sparrows, blackbirds, a song thrush, bullfinches, chaffinches, goldfinches, greenfinches, moorhens, wood pigeon, collared doves, magpies, a kestrel,  a female sparrowhawk, dunnocks, robins, a wren, crows and a willow tit! :)

    Here are a couple of greenfinch photos from last weekend in the tree sparrow farm when the weather was a bit kinder.

    This one was enjoying a sip or two from a nice puddle :)

    While this one was asking us nicely shouting at us to stop taking photos so it could have a drink in peace. :) 

    From the TPT and the bridge over Knoll Beck, there was a sighting of a grey wagtail.

    Visitors in the car park saw a siskin and a great spotted woodpecker flew over the Visitor Centre.

    Another (the same mebbe) female sparrowhawk was seen from the reedbed hide and there were 3 goldeneye on the Mere.

    On Wath Ings there were sightings of ruff, a redshank, shelduck, little egret, 4 snipe and 10 golden plover.

    This little gathering was on Wath Ings last weekend.

    Also from here last weekend we saw a fieldfare fly into the willows. You can just about see it in this pic.

    Over next to the Wader Scrape where there was a green sandpiper, 2 goosander and fox was seen to catch a Canada goose.... He'll be having a nap after his tea this eve then.....Do tell us more if you saw this.

    I have a bit of a sweet little tale next. A small tortoiseshell butterfly was found in the ladies toilet today. Jo has housed it in Grandad's Shed... Nice one Jo!

    Finally for today comes the news from the Craig that we have a mini-murmuration at Old Moor! Or at least a mini-mu..... of approx 50 starlings, hopefully that might grow a bit more :)

    I'll end with another photo from last weekend in the Tree Sparrow Farm. A magpie keeping it's eye on us.... 

    Hopefully, fingers crossed, back later this week...

  • Ruff and Reddy – Sightings, 27 Nov. 15

    Hi Folks! I should have learned by now; the Met Office forecasts are not always spot on and the vagaries of the Dearne Valley’s weather can be surprising. You see, I set off for Old Moor expecting it to be a grey and overcast one but found a mild and surprisingly bright day with little of the forecast rain.

    And it wasn’t just the weather that was surprising. As ever, there was much to see and be enjoyed and some fantastic people to meet too. Which reminds me, before I go any further I owe a debt of thanks for tonight’s blog title to the wit of Mr Rob Robertson. Thanks Rob!

    The titular ruff and redshank from Wath Ings Hide today.

    Starting at Adwick Washlands, today there were sightings of a little egret, 45 wigeon, four shoveler, sixty plus greenfinch, two siskin and two willow tit (hooray!).

    Early this morning at Old Moor, there were four little egrets and two Cetti’s warblers in the reedbeds.

    From Field Pool West, there were excellent sightings of goldcrest in the gorse that surrounds the hide.

    A little gold with some silver - a beautiful close up of a goldcrest by Ian Revitt. Thanks Ian!

    A great spotted woodpecker was seen near the pond dipping platform and a barn owl was showing nicely from the Bittern Hide.

    On the Mere today were fifty plus pochard, a kingfisher and four goldeneye (three female and one male).

    Four goosander (two males and two females) could be found on the Wader Scrape along with plenty of teal and wigeon and a dunlin.

    From Wath Ings Hide visitors enjoyed twenty plus snipe, three green sandpiper, four grey heron, fifty plus lapwing, a barn owl, a male sparrowhawk, a dunlin, a redshank and a ruff. With these were cormorant, teal, wigeon, coot, moorhen, black-headed gull, pheasant and a flock of twenty-five linnets.

    Flying just inches above the ground for cover, a male sparrowhawk tried his luck on the Main Marsh today.

    A few seconds later, he hesitated and changed direction, heading towards a group of snipe to the right of the hide. [click for a larger view]

    Finally, I had the pleasure of meeting Gary Prescott today at Old Moor. If you don’t know, Gary is currently engaged in fund-raising for the RSPB and other charities by visiting every RSPB and WWT reserve by bike! (Yes, you read that correctly). He began this odyssey in January from his home near Bromsgrove and today made it as far as Old Moor – via Worcestershire, Kent, Land’s End, Wales, Northern Ireland, East Anglia, Lancashire, Scotland, Orkney and Shetland to name but a few stops on his tour! Now, that’s some journey!

    Even more impressive, Gary has already completed this feat once, in 2010!

    As he visits each reserve, Gary is recording every species of bird that he sees aiming to beat his own 'green' record for the number of species seen by bike!

    If you’d like to know more about Gary and his incredible expedition, have a read of his blog at Or, even better, why not visit his Just Giving page here. I'm sure you'll join with me in wishing him well on the last legs of his journey.

    And that is just about it for tonight. Until next time.