Old Moor welcomed the High Peak Local RSPB Group today and they picked a great day to explore the Dearne Valley! Not only did the early rain soon clear, but they timed their visit to Old Moor’s reedbeds to perfection!

Here’s today’s summary of sightings…

In fact, there were so many sightings today, that I couldn’t fit them all on the map. So, here’s a few extras.

At Wombwell Ings were: Mallard (42), Gadwall (12), Shoveler (10), Wigeon (24), Teal (82), Goosander (1), Mute swan (5), Canada (18), Coot (3), Moorhen (6), Lapwing (15), Golden Plover (10), Black-headed gull (26), Common gull (1), Lesser black-backed gull (2), Cormorant (3), Little egret (1), Stonechat(1) and  Peregrine (1).

And at Broomhill Flash were: Mallard (35), Gadwall (3), Wigeon (16), Teal (3), Shoveler (13), Tufted duck (12), Pochard (6), Canada goose (91), Mute swan (2), Coot (23), Moorhen (6), Black-headed gull (111), Common gull (3), Herring gull (1) and Cormorant (2).

Nearby, on Manvers Lake, the recent scaup was still present and a water pipit was seen at Wombwell Ings albeit briefly.

Plenty of common gull around the Mere today

As you can see, there were a lot of birds recorded in the valley today and no doubt the High Peak Group saw plenty of them. But I doubt they got so lucky as they did on their visit to the reedbeds.

The sky had only recently cleared and there was very little breeze as the group made its way towards the Reedbed Screen. Meanwhile at the screen, myself and a couple of other visitors had just begun to pick up those tell-tale pings!

As the High Peak birders arrived, we quickly shared where we supposed the beardies were. And then, as if at a signal, four birds began to feed across the small channel of water near the screen. A male provided truly excellent views and then three females showed off their acrobatic skills.

A male bearded tit at Old Moor carefully watching the sky

It was almost as if it had been organised to order: the wind dropped; the sun came out; the beardies arrived and fed and were unbothered by tripods and scopes and cameras and excited chatter.

To the High Peak birders it might have looked like this happens every day, but those of us who visit Old Moor frequently know that such perfect alignments are rare … but if you’re going to get them anywhere...

- Until next time.