Last week, BBC Radio Sheffield recorded a two-hour special at Old Moor for the Rob Rouse Sunday Show. As part of this, they interviewed Danielle Meyer, Gerald Lax, Paul Cowley and John Scatchard about the fantastic work that happens at your favourite reserve. Missed it? Fear not. Details in a moment but first today’s sightings…

Via the BBC’s podcast and catch up service, BBC Sounds, the Sunday show is still available (and for the next 26 days apparently). A link to the programme can be found here. Mind you, Danielle did tell me that the link comes with a health warning - each of the guests chose their own music and (and I quote) her ‘music taste is actually appalling’!

You have been warned…

Between showers - a greenfinch this morning in the Tree Sparrow Farm

Right then, back to the birds of Old Moor. We did say it wouldn’t be long and, sure enough, yesterday a Mediterranean gull returned to the Mere. The bird in question feels like an old friend now and settled on Island One, just by the half-buried drain pipes. This distinctive, (properly) black-headed gull is best viewed from the left of the Family Hide.

Today the Med. gull spent the morning vigorously defending its chosen territory from the increasing numbers of jostling (properly named) black-headed gulls that are also looking for a nest site.

Funnily enough, it’s not always the plumage that I notice when looking out for a Med. gull.  It’s the stance. They have a way of strutting, drawing themselves up and puffing out their chests that makes them instantly recognisable.

As if to prove the point, here’s a photo from Ian Morris showing the Med. gull (facing left) staking its claim to its preferred territory against opposition from a vocal black-headed gull (facing right). Thanks Ian.

In the Tree Sparrow Farm it is those bramblings that catch the eye at the moment. Today six birds were seen along with a solitary siskin. Whilst the bramblings were fairly easy to spot, the siskin seemed to feed only sporadically. There one minute, gone the next. Mind you, it obviously didn’t go far as there were reports from lucky watchers throughout the day. Likewise the lesser redpoll recently seen here, was reported yesterday but no-one seemed to catch up with it today.

One of six brambling seen today

Other sightings from the day included: twelve goosander, two oystercatcher, one black-tailed godwit and a single green sandpiper.

I’ll finish up tonight with a bird that I always look forward to seeing (and hearing) at Old Moor – the tree sparrow. Less obvious certainly than those flashy bullfinches and bramblings and greenfinches, but well worth catching up with.

Until next time.

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