I don’t know about Eskimos and snow, but I reckon this week I could probably rattle off fifty words for rain! And yes, there was more of it today in the Dearne Valley. Luckily enough, there were some distractions - of the feathered kind.

Here’s the summary of sightings…

First of all, most sensible folk on a day like today go equipped with a decent waterproof, maybe wellies or perhaps a brolly. Karen, one of our wardens, went one better and did her birding from a cosy tractor!

Turns out that this was just the thing. Well, as far as bittern watching is concerned! She even managed to get a picture of one with her mobile! Good to know the recent floods haven’t upset them too much.

Tractorless visitors had to dodge the showers a bit, but the Bird Garden and Tree Sparrow Farm were busy with birds today. Goldfinch, greenfinch, bullfinch and chaffinch were joined by blue tit, great tit, robin, wren, long-tailed tit, moorhen, stock dove, woodpigeon and reed bunting. There was even a great spotted woodpecker at one point.

An inquisitive reed bunting in the Bird Garden today

Both bearded tit and Cetti’s were seen today on the Reedbed Trail along with a fairly bedraggled kestrel.

On the Mere and Wader Scrape the highlights were those dapper goldeneye and elegant goosander. Yet it was also here that quite a bit of excitement was caused by a ‘funny looking’ gull (known as ‘FLGs’ here at Blog Headquarters and with a folder almost as thick as the one for ‘Strange Geese’).

On the Mere there was the usual assortment of common, black-headed, lesser black-backed and herring gulls and, in among the latter, was one that not only looked odd but was behaving strangely as well.

So, I’ll finish off tonight with a photo or three of bird in question. Feel free to leave your ID thoughts in the comments below.

Beside that dark and streaky head, what drew attention was the bird’s tern-like feeding habit with repeated wings-out, head-first dives!

So, as they say, all contributions gratefully received. It just goes to show, there really is always something new to learn.

Until next time.

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