For the second day in a row, Old Moor played host to a touch of the exotic in the form of an extraordinary newcomer. Though it felt more like February this morning, at the back of Wath Ings, in the undergrowth, was a bird used to warmer climes.

A glossy ibis, at nearly half a metre tall, was feeding in the long grasses towards the back of the right hand arm of the ‘spit’. The trouble was, those grasses aren’t much shorter. So occasionally, when its head was lowered to feed, the bird became invisible.

Spot the Ibis!

Watchers gathered there for a glimpse of this remarkable sight, tried to reconcile their frustrations at seeing only part of the bird with the sheer delight of seeing it at all! Fortunately, later in the day, the ibis broke cover and revealed itself in its full glory.

In good light, burnished metallic sheens transform those glossy feathers into something truly spectacular. Resident in southern Europe, Asia, Africa and even further afield, it was a bit odd to see one at Old Moor mingling with tufted duck, mallard and coot. If beside it a hippopotamus had surfaced, no one watching would have been surprised, transported as they were by this incredible sight.

Those that could tear themselves away from the ibis also noted this morning that there were: three avocet, one bittern booming, two Mediterranean gulls, two black-tailed godwit, one bearded tit and drake teal on the reserve.

Nearby, at Broomhill Flash, there were: two mute swan, two great crested grebe, two pochard drakes, one red-legged partridge and a blackcap singing in the car park.

At Bolton, John Seeviour recorded: two mute swan and six young, three great crested grebe, one little grebe, two mallard, eight gadwall, twenty tufted duck, six pochard, one common gull, five chiffchaff, seven willow warbler, six blackcap, one whitethroat, one lesser whitethroat, a sedge warbler, two bullfinch and ‘good numbers’ of swift. Thanks John.

A sedge warbler singing at Wath Ings today

Later at Old Moor, as well as that glossy ibis, the day’s bittern count was FOUR with at least one male booming.

On the Wader Scrape were those three avocet along with two redshank, three oystercatcher, a drake teal and three shelduck.

On the Mere were nine lesser black-backed gull, one sparrowhawk, a kestrel, a great crested grebe, two Med. gulls and one buzzard along with swift and sand martin.

Shelduck in the shallows of the Wader Scrape

The Field Pool provided views of: one oystercatcher, one pink-footed goose, two black-tailed godwit, two redshank, one little egret, ten pochard and two little grebe.

Finally, at Wath Ings (did I mention the ibis?) were: sedge warbler, house martin, shelduck, mute swan, cormorant and one great crested grebe.

By the time the day was coming to a close the ibis was still there, feeding intensely. The question now is, will it still be around tomorrow when ‘sunny intervals’ are forecast for the Dearne Valley? And will there be a chance to see it in its best light?

Only one way to find out…