It was a day when the Dearne Valley defied the weather forecasters. Rain? Nope. Glorious sunshine, warm temperatures and a light breeze? Don’t mind if I do.

Here’s what was seen…

In the sun, not only were the birds busy but the last of this year’s dragonflies were making the most of the warmth. There were: common darter; migrant hawker; and even a few blue damselflies on the wing today.

And it turned out it was a good day to see small mammals too. Today’s list included: grey squirrel, brown rat, rabbit, harvest mouse, weasel and this little chap…

Not a mouse but a vole. The blunt face; chestnut fur on top; small ears; and tail that’s about half the body length, all point towards this tiny mammal being a bank vole. And today it was taking advantage of the bird seed spilled around the stones in the Bird Garden.

Yesterday, some visitors also had remarkable views of a dormouse that was doing much the same! Looks like it is well worth spending a bit of time in the garden hide at the moment.

A dazzling bullfinch in the Bird Garden today

Out on the Reedbed Trail, mammals might have been in short supply but the newly tidied hide provided a great place to watch kingfisher; little and great crested grebe; gadwall and – if you looked closely at the water’s edge – snipe.

Not convinced? How about a closer view?

Snipe could be found here and on the islands of Wath Ings today. For this species binoculars are essential … and plenty of patience.

Other highlights from the day included: a very brief appearance of a common crossbill; ninety or so golden plover among the five hundred or more lapwings; along with sightings of peregrine, rock pipit, common and green sandpiper; marsh harrier and little egret.

It’s also worth mentioning that there were plenty of sightings of redwing in the Dearne valley today. It’s only a matter of time before they and fieldfare can be seen feeding on the berries on Old Moor’s Green Lane.

Winter is not far off now, but there are still a few brilliant autumnal days left to savour and enjoy the best that this season has to offer.

Until next time.

Kestrel on the Wader Scrape from Adrian Dickinson. Thanks Adrian!

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