• 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
  • RSPB Dearne Valley, Eye-opening by Jane Wilkinson



    Bittern in the Dearne Valley:

    Readers of Nature’s Home magazine, and watchers of BBC’s Autumnwatch will be familiar with one of the star species at RSPB Dearne Valley, the Bittern. And current visitors to Old Moor will notice that the path from the Bus Stop to the Reedbed Hide is not open.  Here’s why.  

    In 1997, there were only 11 booming males in the whole of the UK. A key…

    • 10 Jun 2021
  • National Volunteering Week 2021

    This year's National Volunteer Week (1-7 June) has given me a bit of a pause for thought. 

    We have of course taken the opportunity to celebrate some of our wonderful existing volunteers, (If you haven't seen the daily posts on our social media channels, have a look at our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/OldMoorRSPB) and highlight some of our available volunteering opportunities (https://cutt.ly/fnt19Rc)

    • 7 Jun 2021
  • What does "Site of Special Scientific Interest" mean for the Dearne Valley? With a Nod to the pioneers of Wath Ings.

    The Dearne Valley Green Heart Partnership comprising of The RSPB, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Garganey Trust and Environment Agency along with Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster Borough Councils, have been working with Natural England (the governments advisors on the natural environment) towards the accreditation of SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) status that officially protects vital habitats along the Dearne…

    • 12 May 2021
  • What’s going on at Wombwell?

    The sharp eyed amongst our visitors may have spotted a mysterious path that has appeared in the grass around Wombwell Ings, one of the satellite sites managed by the team here in the Dearne Valley. This isn’t a mysterious crop circle, but it is marking out the path of an essential piece of habitat improvement work on the reserve.

    Giving Nature a Home at Wombwell Ings, an NLHF funded project.

    As part of the Giving…

    • 19 Apr 2021
  • The Dearne Valley's original birders - say hello to Sid!

    Sid Renauf’s emotive interview in the first episode of this season’s Autumnwatch touched hearts and minds, so we thought you might enjoy reading a little more of the backstory to the miners who first realised the wildlife potential of Wath Ings.

    Sid’s a familiar face at RSPB Old Moor; a much-loved volunteer and avid birder, his connection to this special place goes back far beyond any RSPB involvement with…

    • 10 Nov 2020
  • Locked-down, but not out!

    We are once again entering a lock down across England. 


    Although we were expecting this, it doesn't mean it's easy. We have picked through the legislation and we are making some changes to the offer here at Old Moor

    First of all, our shop. 

    From 5 November until further notice, the shop and visitor centre will be closed. Our retail store is classed as non-essential, and so we have had to pack…

    • 4 Nov 2020
  • New members of the team in the Dearne Valley.

    For anyone that uses our Little Houghton reserve, you may see the newest members of the Dearne Valley team. 

    Konik's being unloaded at Little Houghton - Paul Gould

    Meet Ada, Trevor and Col

    Settling in nicely - Lucy Kucharik

    The ponies are a modern strain of the original European wild horse – the Tarpan. The wild Tarpan died out at the end of the last century, but a programme in Poland is trying to breed them back…

    • 3 Nov 2020
  • Tier 3 in South Yorkshire, what now?

    The timing couldn't be more perfect, as we enter the local half term and we're about to welcome the BBC's Autumnwatch on to the reserve, we get news that we're entering Tier 3 at 00:01 on Saturday morning. 

    But what does this mean for the reserve?

    Well, operationally, not a lot. We are still open, the shop and café will still operate as it has been, using one way systems and a take away only model. The…

    • 22 Oct 2020
  • Autumn arrives in South Yorkshire as RSPB Old Moor reserve hosts BBC Autumnwatch!

    For the last few weeks, the team on the reserve have been getting very excited, and we can now finally officially confirm, Old Moor is to be one of the base sites for this years Autumnwatch. 

    The RSPB’s dynamic Old Moor Nature Reserve, has been chosen to host Gillian Burke along with a small team from the hit BBC TV series . Gillian first showcased the Old Moor reserve back in 2018, sharing rare footage of the bitterns…

    • 20 Oct 2020
  • Autumn Reedbed Management

    Lucy has an update for us from the warden team:

    Now that the Bittern have finished nesting and the reeds have gone dormant for the winter, you’ll notice our wardens and volunteers have begun work in the reedbeds, cutting down young trees and clearing areas of reed. This can sometimes look quite dramatic, even destructive, but is an essential part of habitat management for the reedbed specialists we treasure at Old Moor…

    • 1 Oct 2020
  • Update, sightings update from Lucy and a fond farewell.

    We have another update from our fantastic intern Lucy, but first a couple of practical updates...

    We have now opened up Field Pools West hide and Wath Ings hide, meaning that all of green lane is now open. There is hand sanitiser in all of the hides and we are asking that those who are able to wear face coverings in the hides in line with current legislation.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to say a massive…

    • 6 Sep 2020
  • Covid-19 Update, Fancy a Cuppa?

    As parents prepare for their children’s imminent return to school and we are noticing the gentle shift from summer into autumn on the reserve, I’m back, with another access update from Old Moor.

    Firstly, some welcome news! We have opened another hide, and it’s a goodie! Wader Scrape hide is now open. This is one of our larger hides and offers fabulous views out across the mere, and it happens to be my favourite…

    • 25 Aug 2020
  • Another covid-19 Update; a little step forward

    It feels like at the moment I am spending all of my time talking and planning and thinking about how to keep visitors staff and volunteers safe as we navigate this brave new world. We do however have some good news for visitors to the reserve.

    *Some* hides are open!

    Taking advice from our health and safety team at HQ, and with some ingenious problem solving from Dave and the warden team, we have been able to open three…

    • 20 Jul 2020
  • Old Moor and Covid-19, an update

    With shops opening and plans for pubs and hairdressers to open soon, it feels like the world is slowly beginning to find its feet in this new normal, and in some ways it feels like the RSPB and Old Moor have been lagging behind. We know how desperate people are to visit our reserves and we know how important getting your ‘nature fix’ on our reserves is to so many people and we are desperate to share it with you, I’m hoping…

    • 25 Jun 2020
  • Introducing Lucy.

    Lucy is our all rounder intern, and is having possibly the oddest introduction to the RSPB! 

    Here she shares with us some of her highlights;

    With the reserve only partially open, I thought I’d share some updates on some of our breeding successes, as well as some other wildlife that can be found in the parts of the reserve that are currently accessible.

    Our nesting Bittern has been busy raising her chicks during…

    • 18 Jun 2020
  • Old Moor’s Reserve Team, the story this year up until lockdown March 2020 - plus a few updates.

    I thought I’d put together what we had been up to and some of the other activities, done by contractors, on the reserve up until lockdown in mid-March … plus a few updates.

    Since I originally wrote this and before I could post it to the website, the reserve has partially reopened and we, the Reserve Team, have been back working. This has been things like checking the site is safe, maintenance of the paths…

    • 5 Jun 2020
  • Openish

    As you may have heard already, Old Moor is open once again. Well, as ‘open’ as it can be in the current circumstances.

    The Visitor Centre (and all its facilities) is closed. Entry is by the side gate; free for members and non-members – though I noticed a donations box near the entrance.

    The Bird Garden hide is closed but the Discovery Trail is open, though subject to a one-way system around the Wildlife…

    • 31 May 2020
  • We're opening... tentatively

    Like a lot of people across the UK and indeed the world, 2020 has not turned out quite as I had expected. 

    Like many of us I have found myself in a very different world as restrictions on movement and contact between people are put in place. Understandably, the RSPB were forced to close many of our reserves.

    As we are now beginning to see the easing of some of the restrictions on travel and spending time in green space…

    • 27 May 2020
  • Closure of Old Moor - 18th March

    Evening Folks. This is just to repeat the message that was posted on Old Moor's Twitter feed and Facebook page. The message is that...

    "Following the latest government advice we have made the difficult decision to close our nature reserve RSPB Old Moor including hides and trails, to visitors by the end of today, Wednesday 18 March. This is to prioritise the health and welfare of our staff, volunteers, supporters…

    • 18 Mar 2020
  • Pintail and Kite - Sightings, 17 Mar

    Old Moor was a quieter place than usual today. But thankfully, there were enough like-minded and determined souls in the Dearne Valley to provide a sightings update.

    Here’s the summary…

    As you can see, not a huge amount of change today, though a pintail on the Wader Scrape is always a welcome sight. Also welcome at any time is the distinctive outline of a red kite sailing across the valley. Is it me, or…

    • 17 Mar 2020