Brilliant sunshine but cold, brisk winds brought a scattered picture of sightings today in the Dearne Valley.

Here is the summary…

It was good to see that the great white egret was once again showing at Edderthorpe Flash and to hear that the scaup was still being reported on Manvers Lake.

An extra male stonechat joined the recent pair at Adwick Washland and it was good to know there were still plenty of fieldfare and redwing to be seen on the reserve.

There was a bittern sighting at Bolton Ings today along with goldeneye and pochard.

Meanwhile at Old Moor, though there were bearded tit seen today, the richest sightings again came from the Wader Scrape.

Once again it was the larger gulls that created a lot of interest. A pair of lesser black-backed gulls waded patiently for ‘their’ island to be revealed from beneath the flood waters. An adult great black-backed gull slept the afternoon away while all around, hundreds of black-headed gulls jockeyed for – what will become – the best breeding spots.

Shelduck displaying this afternoon on the Wader Scrape

On the banking that separates Mere from Scrape, in the shadow of a bramble, an adult Caspian gull tried very hard to sleep. Some watchers struggled to pick it out so here’s a guide from none other than Dave Waddington, Old Moor’s warden.

The adult Caspian seen today is ‘a more typical Caspian’ with a ‘flat head’ and a ‘long snout’. Think herring gull then look for that perfect white, elongated head with a tiny, dark eye. The mantle is a shade darker and – if it ever stands up – the bird is long-legged. Dave seemed to think it was most likely a male.

And there was another surprise in the Old Moor gull colony today – an Iceland gull! Around 11am, and only for a few minutes, this distinctive gull dropped in. Luckily for those of us who missed it, Sam Prettyman, provided a photo…

The iceland gull in question. Thanks Sam!

STOP PRESS: Even as I type this, Jeff Wragg has just tweeted that the Iceland gull returned at 17.50 along with three Caspians (two adults and a first winter) and a yellow-legged gull!

Jeff also added a roost total of around 4000 black-headed gull, eighteen goosander, 43 cormorant, a peregrine and 5500 starling!

Probably worth mentioning at this point that Old Moor opens at 0930 tomorrow!

And with that, I shall sign off. Surely there can't be anything further from the day now! Until next time.

Anonymous