• Tug-of-war - Sightings, 16 July

    It was another glorious warm summer’s day in the Dearne Valley and one chock-full of bird sightings. Here’s today’s summary…

    It’s worth mentioning that not only were there bittern seen today, but that juvenile bearded tits were seen (again) on the Reedbed Trail. Sadly, I don’t have a number for that sighting but I do know that these young birds brought a smile to many visitors’ faces throughout…

    • 16 Jul 2019
  • Sightings, 14 July 2019

    Here is today’s summary of sightings from Old Moor…

    Sadly, there was no sign of yesterday’s black-necked grebe today. However, there was news from the remarkable Adwick Washland courtesy of Nigel Smith. Thanks Nige.

    He reported three grey heron, two little egret, five little grebe, 310 greylag geese, one teal, a brood of tufted duck, around 180 lapwing, three avocet, a ringed plover, three little ringed…

    • 14 Jul 2019
  • Gull-Billed Tern – Sightings, 11 July

    One Bird ID guide says there are only ‘around 400 recorded sightings of gull-billed terns in the UK’. Ever. In an average year, they’ll be about three. So when the news broke that a gull-billed tern was at Adwick Washland last night… well, you can imagine the excitement!

    Here is the summary of sightings from Old Moor today …

    The gull-billed tern is a very rare migrant here in the UK and…

    • 11 Jul 2019
  • Usually Secretive - Sightings, 9 July

    Overcast skies but over SIXTY species of birds at Old Moor today! And among them some absolute crackers! Here’s the summary of sightings…

    On the drive in to Old Moor today, three green woodpeckers could be seen feeding on the ants there. These are large and colourful birds but shy. That said, those folk prepared to loiter around the overflow car park this morning were rewarded with excellent views.

    The

    • 9 Jul 2019
  • Far From Ordinary - Sightings, 7 July

    It was one of those days. The kind of day when so much seemed to happening around the reserve, that it was hard to know where to look first.

    Here’s the summary of sightings from Old Moor…

    Before I crack on with Old Moor, Nigel Smith provided the sightings from Adwick Washland. These included: five grey heron, four little egret, 102 greylag geese, 155 lapwing, three oystercatcher and seven avocet. Thanks…

    • 7 Jul 2019
  • Business As Usual - Sightings, 4 July

    Another beautiful summer’s day here in the Dearne Valley! Warm weather, cool hides and plenty to see. Who could want more?

    Here’s the sightings summary from Old Moor today…

    Since Tuesday, seventy-eight of those black-tailed godwits have moved on (though more will almost certainly be on their way). Today watchers counted four on the Wader Scrape, occasionally feeding alongside a lone avocet.

    Great…

    • 4 Jul 2019
  • At Least Seventy-Two! - Sightings, 2 July

    Counting mobile groups of birds is never easy but today one species gave everyone here a headache. The question was, just how many black-tailed godwits do we have at Old Moor right now?

    Here’s what was seen out there today…

    The first count this morning was ‘nineteen’. Then ‘twenty-eight’. By midday this was ‘six’. Then ‘seventeen’ a short while later. By the time we got to 14:45, no one could quite believe…

    • 2 Jul 2019
  • Moths, Chicks, Wits and Terns - Sightings, 30 June

    At this time of year Old Moor surveys some of its most beautiful and intriguing nocturnal creatures, the moths. Moth traps are left working overnight and the contents are examined and then released the next morning. In fact, every Friday morning until the end of August you too can see what has been caught from 10am (more details on our Facebook page).

    Here’s the summary of sightings from today…

    One of last…

    • 30 Jun 2019
  • June WEX - Bugs!

    Hello there, our WEX group met again recently and the theme for June was 'Bugs.' Freddie was there and has written his latest report for you to read. Simon, Freddie's dad, was in charge of the photos. Thanks go to both of you and great job as per usual Freddie!  

    This time at WEX we did a bug hunt. We were meant to be having a visit from the Bug Lady but unfortunately it was cancelled so we decided to find…

    • 29 Jun 2019
  • Learning - Sightings, 26 June

    Thankfully, after yesterday’s rains, today Old Moor blossomed. I’d describe it as peaceful except today was also the day that the young black-headed gulls chose to take their first flutters around the place. Cue frantic squawking parents and (slightly higher pitched) anxious squawking youngsters. Ah well, we’ll miss them when they’re gone!

    Here’s what else was seen around the reserve today……

    • 26 Jun 2019
  • Beat the Street - Sightings, 25 June

    The parks and streets of Barnsley have been turned into a giant walking, cycling and running game this month and Old Moor is proud to be hosting a small part of it. The game, called ‘Beat the Street’, runs from 5 June until 17 July and is being funded by The National Lottery on behalf of Sport England, and Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.

    Here’s today’s summary of sightings from Old Moor……

    • 25 Jun 2019
  • Great and Small - Sightings, 23 June

    Just beside Old Moor’s Visitor Centre is a small garden. It is managed for wildlife by one of the reserve’s most unassuming volunteers, Martin. It is he who is the ‘grandad’ of ‘grandad’s shed’ fame.

    Not only is Martin’s garden looking absolutely beautiful at the moment, but it’s also teeming with wildlife. Next time you visit, bring a magnifying glass (oh, alright, a mobile phone…

    • 23 Jun 2019
  • Peckish - Sightings, 20 June

    For the wild, summer provides a feast! For once there’s enough food not only for the adults but also for the next generation. At Old Moor right now, that new generation seems to be just about everywhere – and always hungry.

    Here is today’s summary of sightings…

    Around the Mere, the black-headed gull chicks are growing up fast and no wonder as they seem to spend a lot of time calling to be fed…

    • 20 Jun 2019
  • On the Map - Sightings – 18 June

    Exactly one year ago today I tried out the ‘summary map’ idea on this blog for the first time, following a great suggestion from an Old Moor regular. The idea of the map was to give readers a clear and straightforward way to get information.

    And, to prove the point, here’s tonight’s summary…

    150 ‘maps’ later, I do mix things up a bit by adding drawings and pictures (I got bored seeing the…

    • 18 Jun 2019
  • Flitting Phalaropes! – Sightings, 16 June

    Sleepy Sunday strolls were abandoned today when, just before midday, there was some exciting news from Wombwell Ings. Not one, but two red-necked phalarope had dropped in and looked to be staying.

    These small but colourful waders breed in the Arctic regions of North America and Europe. In the whole UK, we tend to see only a few on their migration, so a chance to see two of these charismatic birds was a rare treat.

    Here…

    • 16 Jun 2019
  • Undampened – Sightings, 13 June

    The recent spell of wet weather may still be lurking but there was still plenty to see at Old Moor. Or just down the road where visitors to nearby Edderthorpe Flash are still reporting a spoonbill in the North West corner along with seven avocet.

    At Old Moor itself, probably the biggest change today was the arrival of a small flock of dunlin, seven in total feeding on the Wader Scrape.

    Here’s what else was seen……

    • 13 Jun 2019
  • Screams - Sightings, 11 June

    A rainy day in late spring brought some unexpected bonuses to the Dearne Valley. Any insects on the wing flew nearer the ground. With them came their hunters. Swift, sand martin, house martin and a handful of swallow chased their prey over the hedges, banks and waters of Old Moor.

    Over the patter of rain, you could hear the excited screams of the swift and the occasional chirrups of the martins.

    Here’s what else was noted…

    • 11 Jun 2019
  • Familiar and Exotic - Sightings, 9 June

    The promised rain held off this afternoon and provided a perfect, warm, early summer’s day. Damsels and butterflies seemed to be everywhere and there was even one report of the dazzling, orange and black, painted lady.

    Here’s what else was seen today…

    Although no-one has yet got a photo of them to my knowledge, there were at least two young bearded tit near the Bittern Hide today.

    Common tern with…

    • 9 Jun 2019
  • Two Of The Three ‘Legs’ – Sightings, 6 June

    ‘Shank’ is an old-fashioned word for ‘leg’ and links two birds found at Old Moor today. Most visitors reported just the one red 'shank' on the Wader Scrape but the other, a ‘greenshank, was a new arrival. [I can only think of three UK birds with ‘shank’ in their name - but I’ll leave you to ponder what that last one is!]

    Here’s what else was seen today……

    • 6 Jun 2019
  • Spoonbill and Sanderling - Sightings, 4 June

    Add two more surprises to the Dearne Valley list! The first was a report of a pair of spoonbill at Adwick Washland this morning from Dave Abbott. Sadly, the pair left, heading north at 09:15.

    The second was that four sanderling were spotted on Old Moor’s Mere and reported by Pete Walsh. These small waders are ones that are normally associated with the coast but they, like all our migrant birds, do sometimes turn…

    • 4 Jun 2019
  • Tons! - Sightings, 2 June

    Barely space for an introduction tonight – 66 species of bird seen at Old Moor today and a few surprises, so best crack on…

    With the weather warming up nicely, it’s time to give a bit of space on this blog to ‘odonata’ – the order of carnivorous insects that includes dragonflies and damselflies. All around the pathways of Old Moor you can find common blue and blue-tailed damselfl…

    • 2 Jun 2019
  • And Orchids - Sightings, 30 May

    With half term coming to an end, there were plenty of families enjoying Old Moor today and small wonder as - stop me if I’m repeating myself - the reserve is looking fantastic at the moment!

    Here’s what was seen today…

    Last time, I mentioned looking out for young bearded tit especially around the Reedbed Trail and then – of course – nobody saw a single one today, adult or juvenile! Ah well, just goes…

    • 30 May 2019
  • Three Four Ten - Sightings, 28 May

    To be precise, it’s three years, four months and ten days since the bearded tits first arrived at Old Moor (not that I'm counting). Since then, we’ve had fairly consistent reports of them although it’s also true to say that sightings do ‘go quiet’ every once in a while.

    But not today! In the sightings book this afternoon there were three separate records, each of ‘two birds’ seen along…

    • 28 May 2019
  • Swifts and Starlings - Sightings, 26 May

    A thick blanket of low cloud lay across Old Moor this morning, keeping airborne insects trapped beneath it. Hunting them were hundreds of swift, hawking this way and that across the reserve.

    Here’s what else was seen today…

    For me, one of the highlights of a visit to Old Moor today was to stand on Green Lane and watch the skies above it. Sickle-winged rockets swept from horizon to horizon, screaming as they…

    • 26 May 2019
  • Little Tern - Sightings, 23 May

    Imagine the warden’s surprise. You are doing your rounds of Old Moor first thing in the morning and find – of all things – a little tern! More on that in a minute, first, here are the sightings from today…

    Little terns are – and I’m quoting the RSPB website here – “a strictly coastal species”. Yes, well spotted - Old Moor is nowhere near the coast!

    As their name…

    • 23 May 2019