It is hard to describe just how beautiful Old Moor is at present - but I’ll have a crack at it! Trees in scarlet, green and gold; sharp skies the colour of a starling’s egg; amber reeds catching the low sun; and lanes dark underfoot, strewn with yellowing leaves.

Among all that, here’s what was seen…

Many visitors to the Reedbed Trail today enjoyed the sight of a peregrine sitting on the pylon nearest the screen. With lofty indifference, he preened and watched his audience come and go. And that audience wasn’t just people – two sparrowhawks and a buzzard cruised by to check out their competition.

Below, the reed heads were alive with insects, and following them were bearded tit and Cetti’s warbler. Seven Cetti’s were recorded today and a very heartening, fourteen beardies! The latter were seen in two groups as they fed around the trail.

Kestrel by the Tree Sparrow Farm today

Green Lane, the path between the Visitor Centre and Wath Ings, was also chalking up unusual sightings. On the oaks, a treecreeper was spotted and - in the reeds that line the path beyond Field Pool West - a water rail stealthily picked its way, shrieking as it did so. It was here too that three visitors had an extended view of a stoat; luckily one captured the moment.

Mid-bound, a stoat from Zafar Ali. Thanks Zaf!

Green lane’s treecreeper from Karon Parkes. Thanks Karon!

Some of the best views of kingfisher were had today from Field Pool West. This sun-trap of a hide is also one of the best places to see the last of this year’s dragonflies. Migrant hawker and common darter are still flying even as we head into November.

On the Mere today were redshank and yellow-legged gull whilst nearby, on the Wader Scrape, a solitary shelduck fed. Teal on the scrape took advantage of the fine weather to court, display and even mate. Sadly, there was no sign of yesterday’s red-breasted merganser - nor of goosander, though two were seen on Wombwell Ings.

Finally, to Wath Ings, where two green sandpiper joined eighteen golden plover. Here too were lapwing, common gull, green woodpecker and – if you looked hard enough – snipe!

There was also a very much put-upon buzzard. This bird was using a small willow as cover but was spotted by a nearby robin. Watchers in the hide smiled to see the tiny bird repeatedly give the alarm and then begin to mob the beleaguered buzzard! At this point a pair of crows cottoned on and took up the chase. For a while it seemed like every other bird on the marsh was helping to get the message across and, perhaps with a shrug, the buzzard finally took the hint and left.

And that’s about it for this evening. All told, the bird species count today was fifty-eight and as the light faded, thousands of starling began to gather on the pylons, ready to roost.

Until next time.

  • I like the kingfisher with fish! 

    Poor buzzard - not a moment’s peace!  

    There were two soaring high above our house in Darfield yesterday lunchtime, calling; it’s becoming a regular occurrence recently.