• View from the Shed by Shaun Finnie - COUNT YOURSELF LUCKY


    Cast your mind back if you can (or imagine ancient history if you can't) to January 1979. Britain is in the grip of the economic 'Winter of Discontent' which will soon lead to the downfall of James Callaghan's Labour government and the election of Britain's first female Prime Minister. Punk rock has shaken up the establishment but is already on the wane as a new kind of music known as 'rap' begins…

    • 20 Jan 2022
  • View from the Shed by Shaun Finnie - STOP, LOOK AND LISTERN


    An Introductory Note.

    This week's blog is a little longer than usual and a little more serious. I make no apologies for that, it's about a serious and important subject. Please bear with me and try to make it to the end. And if you can't, don't worry – the usual fun and frivolity will be resumed next week. You know how I love a good frivol. Right, here we go....
    • 11 Jan 2022
  • View from the shed by Shaun Finnie - LISTERMANIA



    How's your year list going? You know, the list of birds you've seen in a calendar year?

    What do you mean you don't make one? I thought all birders did. A year list, a life list, perhaps a separate list of little brown jobbies that have only been seen around their particular home patch on alternate Thursdays? No?


    I've just read on the internet (so it must be true) about an eminent birder who clams…

    • 6 Jan 2022
  • View from the Shed by Shaun Finnie - HERE BE DRAGONS


    Once upon a time at a nature reserve well documented in these blogs there was an evil looking big black bird. It had an oily sheen to its plumage, its wings were strangely placed in the middle of its body and it held its flexible neck stiffly outstretched during flight. To me it looked as if it had come straight out of the pages of an old fantasy novel. It looked, strange as it may sound, like a dragon…

    • 1 Jan 2022
  • Christmas Special - View from the Shed by Shaun Finnie


    I'm sure that you're all familiar with the festive song 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'. You know, the one with the Five Gow-wold rings. There's a lot of confusion as to when these twelve days are, with many people erroneously believing that they're the twelve days leading up to Christmas Day. That's wrong. The Big Day itself is not the end of, but actually the start of (or as some believe…

    • 22 Dec 2021
  • RSPB Old Moors New Year Day List 2022

    Send your 2022 new years day list to:


    And get your bird listings published here.

    Happy New Year to G Joinery:

    Magpie, Blackbird, Bullfinch, Moorhen, Great tit, Blue tit, Robin, Cormorant, Wigeon, Pochard, Shoveler, Coot, Gadwell, Common gull, Canada goose, Long tailed tit, Pheasant, Chaffinch, Shelduck, Crow, Mallard, Pied wagtail, Lapwing, Teal, Mute swan, Tufted duck, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Reed bunting


    • 21 Dec 2021
  • View from the Shed by Shaun Finnie - LONG DISTANCE VOYAGERS


    I have been known to take a few birding trips around the UK in my time. I'm not one of those people who react to a sighting of a rare bird species by dropping everything and haring across the country in hopes of spotting an infrequent feathered visitor before it continues on its way or (Heaven forbid) a predator gets it. Good luck to those who enjoy their birding like that, they're sure to see far…

    • 15 Dec 2021
  • View from the Shed by Shaun Finnie - YOU CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT



    I was sitting at the Reedbed Screen here at Old Moor, scanning the sea of gently swaying reeds in the hope of seeing a kingfisher, bearded tit or maybe even an elusive bittern. Anything really, it didn't matter. I was just pleased to be out on a mild end-of-the-year day, away from the stresses of home or office.


    I try not to take my birding too seriously. Of course I'm really…

    • 9 Dec 2021
  • View from the Shed by Shaun Finnie - WINTER IS COMING


    Game Of Thrones fans will recognise the title of today's piece as the House of Stark's family motto. The weather forecasters would say that Winter is already here, meteorologically speaking. The first of December equals the start of Winter according to them. Most of us normal folks say that the seasons don't change until the Winter Equinox, the 21st of this month. Some Scandinavians claim that…

    • 3 Dec 2021
  • View from the Shed by Shaun Finnie - HALCYON DAYS


    We've been doing a lot of work at RSPB Old Moor recently, most obviously in starting to create a new path alongside Green Lane so that, fairly soon, visitors will be able loop around this section of the reserve rather than simply walking up Green Lane and back again. We're also reforming the area around our Field Pool West hide in the hope of increasing the number of wading birds on the reserve, especially…

    • 20 Nov 2021
  • View from the Shed by Shaun Finnie - THERE ARE ELK AT OLD MOOR


    Here at RSPB Old Moor we have a great big cob (male) MUTE SWAN. If he sees an interloper in his territory or a threat to his pen (female) and any young they have then he'll fluff up to his full size and make a great show of fake charging, just like a grizzly bear would. If that fails, then he'll go into full flappy attack mode. This is again similar to what a grizzly would do but he's whiter…

    • 20 Nov 2021
  • Celebrate your inner Robin on our adventure trail this Christmas

    Celebrate your inner Robin on our adventure trail this Christmas

    Credit Aardman/Netflix.

    We’re delighted to be partnering with Netflix and Aardman on Robin Robin, a half-hour, stop-motion, festive story for the whole family, about a young robin trying to fit in. It’s debuting on Netflix on 24 November – get the date in your diary!

    To celebrate, we’re inviting you to join exclusive Robin Robi…

    • 16 Nov 2021
  • View from the Shed by Shaun Finnie - Its not Just Birds


    To steal an old joke, what's the difference between a WEASEL and a STOAT?
    A weasel is weaselly identified. A stoat is stoatally different.

    RSPB Old Moor isn't just a great place to walk, relax and see plenty of beautiful birds. If you're lucky enough you might also spot a mammal or two as you stroll around the reserve. The ones that you're most likely to see are of course GREY SQUIRRELS or…

    • 9 Nov 2021
  • Jane Wilkinson's RSPB Dearne Valley Eye Opening Blog #4

    The Dearne Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)


    Earlier this year the news broke that the Dearne Valley had been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and we thought we might cover this in this edition of the blog, and speculate as to what it means for the area.

    Richard Barnard is the RSPB’s person in charge of the reserves in this area, and at the time the designation…

    • 7 Nov 2021
  • View from the Shed by Shaun Finnie - Initial Views


    Welcome to VIEW FROM THE SHED, a new blog from the RSPB's Old Moor reserve in South Yorkshire. I'm Volunteer Shaun and each week I'll be providing my views, be they sightings around the reserve or my opinions based on them. They're my views and mine alone. I hope you enjoy them.

    Come and have a chat with me at Old Moor's entrance courtyard. I'm there a few days each week. I'm the 'big-boned…

    • 7 Nov 2021
  • David Pritchard's Weird and Wonderful World of Dragonflies

    Willow Emerald damselflies: What’s all the fuss?


    If you happened to be at the reserve on the 7th of October, you’ll no doubt have been told that we saw Old Moor’s first Willow Emerald Damselfly that day. While I failed to photograph it on the day, I do have these images from another location earlier this year.

    Willow Emerald, Cleethorpes, July 2021

    This was an exciting find for me, as the species…

    • 20 Oct 2021
  • My Lunch Time Break by Harriet Day

    My Lunch Break Birding by Harriet Day

    A quick hour at one of my favourite nature reserves, Old Moor after work, ties and other responsibilities, it had begun to to feel like there weren't enough hours in the day, to spend time on my favourite hobby, bird watching! After 12 months of not visiting Old Moor I appreciated the changes. Within my time I was fortunate to watch a Little Grebe that appeared to be having his lunch…

    • 27 Sep 2021
  • David Pritchards weird and Wonderful World of Dragonflies

    Spotlight Species - Southern Hawkers

    Banking Southern Hawker        D Pritchard

    I’ve never seen more Southern Hawkers than I have at Old Moor this year. They are a fairly common species, but tend to disperse from their breeding ponds quite quickly, so it’s unusual to see them interacting regularly. However, there are several individuals to be seen around the visitor centre at the moment.

    They have a presence…

    • 23 Sep 2021
  • RSPB Dearne Valley - Eye opening #3 by Jane Wilkinson

    Adwick Washland - a potted history

    As our regular visitors will know, RSPB Dearne Valley is made up of Old Moor, Adwick Washland, Edderthorpe Flash, Bolton Ings, Gypsy March, Wombwell Ings, and Houghton Washlands. This time, the blog focusses on the transformation of Adwick Washland into the wonderful reserve it is today.

    Adwick Washland             Matthew Capper


    In 2007 Natural England (NE), the Environment Agency…

    • 14 Sep 2021
  • David Pritchards Weird and Wonderful World of Dragonflies

    Dragonfly Behaviour


    We’re now roughly halfway through this year’s dragonfly season, and there is no better time to watch the behaviours of these fascinating creatures. While the first half generally has a slightly greater variety of species, the second half carries its own advantages.

    From now until late October, even into November if the weather is mild, Old Moor is host to high numbers of Common Darters…

    • 12 Aug 2021
  • RSPB Dearne Valley, Eye Opening #2 by Jane Wilkinson

    Welcome to the second instalment of RSPB Dearne Valley - Eye Opening

    To follow the journey some of the key species in the Dearne Valley, I recommended that you read the first blog by following this link: 

    #1 RSPB Dearne Valley - Eye Opening

    Bittern in the Dearne Valley: Eggs and things:

    The management of the reeds at Dearne Valley has led to fantastic success for bitterns, but it is also a success for other species too…

    • 27 Jul 2021
  • David Pritchards Weird and Wonderful World of Dragonflies

    What’s in a name? - The trouble with Hawkers


    Let’s talk about the names of dragonflies.

    While there are some romanticised names out there, such us Demoiselle or Emperor, most dragonflies are named for characteristics that seem stupidly obvious once get to know them.

    Chasers defend an area and chase away anything that comes near. One of them has a noticeably wider body than most of the others, so in the…

    • 18 Jul 2021
  • David Pritchards Weird and Wonderful World of Dragonflies

    Eye for an Eye

    Common Darter. Basically a flying surveillance system.           D Pritchard

    It’s not just the wings that make dragonflies and damselflies such successful predators, it’s the fact they’re attached to some of the best image capture systems that nature has come up with.

    The arrangement of the large compound eyes can help you tell the difference between the two groups of…

    • 8 Jul 2021
  • David Pritchards Weird and Wonderful World of Dragonflies - Wings

    It’s all about the wings

    Freshly emerged (or ‘teneral’) Common Darter - D Pritchard

    Let's be honest: if a dragonfly crawled through the grass running down other creatures to eat, most people would find them utterly terrifying.

    There's something about the addition of wings that adds a layer of magic to them, and has us marvelling at their beauty and agility.

    As with things in nature though…

    • 24 Jun 2021
  • David Pitchard's Weird and Wonderful World of Dragonflies

                      The Weird and Wonderful World of Dragonflies - an Introduction

    Hi, I am David Pritchard and I've been visiting Old Moor since I moved here ten years ago. I don't own a pair of binoculars. I don't have a scope. I've only recently acquired a telephoto lens. Only in the last year have I started to build an interest and understanding of birds. This tends to confuse a lot of people as I walk around.…
    • 16 Jun 2021