• 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
  • Perfect - Sightings, 21 May

    The perfect late spring? How about sunny, warm weather; a profusion of wildlife; and cool, green lanes to wander down. Right now, Old Moor and its satellite reserves have it all!

    Here’s what was seen at Old Moor today (with a little flavour of Adwick Washland, Wombwell Ings and Edderthorpe Flash thrown in)…

    As I was photographing the sightings book tonight, one visitor asked about bittern sightings. She…

    • 21 May 2019
  • Song Contest - Sightings, 19 May

    I often wonder just where people travel from to visit Old Moor? Well, I can’t offer you any official statistics but one group visiting today signed in as ‘London and Enfield Bird Group’. Now that’s a fair distance!

    Here’s the summary of sightings from the day…

    It’s not hard to see why folks travel so far. Old Moor looks incredible in May; spring flowers are at their peak and the place…

    • 19 May 2019
  • Or Listen - Sightings, 16 May

    It’s hard not to be enthusiastic when the lanes of Old Moor are looking so full and verdant right now. Each one invites you to take some time, to stand and watch – or listen. None more so than ‘Green Lane’ – the route between the Family Hide and Wath Ings.

    More on that in a moment, but first today’s sightings…

    One visitor, Cathy Thornton, was exploring the path to the right…

    • 16 May 2019
  • And Damsels - Sightings, 14 May

    The rising temperatures of the last few days meant that Old Moor's lanes were dotted with butterflies and - according to one visitor - the first of the damselflies, the blue-tailed, were "everywhere"!

    Here's the summary of what was seen today...

    From Adwick Washland, Gary Stones provided sightings and John Seeviour tweeted the update from Bolton Ings. Thanks both!

    On the subject of insects, the first…

    • 14 May 2019
  • Speeding Blackcap - Sightings, 12 May

    At last a day of warmth! Okay, possibly over-reacting there but the combination of a sunshine AND a bit of heat really made a difference to the lanes of Old Moor. Here’s what was seen…

    I didn’t get a chance to visit today but luckily Nigel Smith provided the picture from a busy Adwick Washland. Forty avocet, around twenty redshank, four ringed plover, one little ringed plover, a dunlin, one black-tailed…

    • 12 May 2019
  • Thirty-two - Sightings, 9 May

    Copying the sightings from Old Moor’s record book tonight, there was one that gave me pause. Can you see which one? Ay, did the recorder really mean 32 dunlin? I mean, that’s a lot of dunlin – for us anyway.

    Here’s the summary…

    But then a quick check on Gary Stone’s tweet from Adwick tonight revealed twenty of these tiny waders over there!

    While I’m on, here’s the Bolton…

    • 9 May 2019
  • Just to their right - Sightings, 7 May

    Last Friday Old Moor welcomed Branston U3A Natural History Group. Its eleven members clocked up an impressive list of 59 bird species. Well done all!

    Here’s what was seen around the Old Moor today…

    For the record, 57 species of bird were seen by visitors today. But before I go on to that, remember that unusual roe deer sighting from Sunday? Here’s a photograph from Matthew Christou. Thanks Matthew…

    • 7 May 2019
  • Bufflehead and Doe – Sightings, 5 May

    ‘Buffle-what?’ ‘Is that even a bird?’ - Two of the responses this morning when – at least for the very earliest visitors – the news was shared that yesterday’s female bufflehead was still on Wath Ings.

    Here’s what else was seen today…

    It’s strange to think of it now, but collared doves only began breeding in the UK sixty-odd years ago. There’ll be plenty of…

    • 5 May 2019
  • April WEX - Planting Wildflowers

    Hello! Last weekend our WEX group had their monthly meeting and had a great session as per usual. Freddie was there and he has written another of his excellent, and very informative, blogs reporting what they did.

    Over to Freddie and enjoy. :) 

    This month at WEX we were planting wildflower seeds for birds and other wildlife. Insects are on the decline so its really important to help them on their way by planting wildflower…

    • 5 May 2019