Bearded tit were again seen well today at Old Moor as were those goldeneye and goosander.

Here is today’s summary of sightings…

First news this morning was of sixty or so pink-footed geese flying through the Dearne Valley. This was followed by yet more sightings of those bearded tit on Old Moor’s Reedbed Trail. It seems the same pair were feeding near the ‘elbow’ of the trail, just before you turn to go to the Screen.

Also at that end of the reserve were an audible Cetti’s warbler, fifty gadwall and – at least for some of the time – a peregrine. The latter made many resident of the Mere nervous in a number of sorties but, to my knowledge, never managed a successful hunt.

Despite their name, common gull aren’t. Well not at Old Moor. Yet today there were twelve on the Mere at midday and another four on Bolton Ings. I know gulls aren’t everyone’s thing but I think common gull are looking smart in their winter plumage right now.

Common gull on the Mere today

The goldeneye played their usual ‘now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t’ game on both the Mere and the Wader Scrape and the goosander were more visible today with several flying back and forth to the river.

A dapper drake goldeneye in yet more rain!

It is also worth mentioning that Old Moor, like Bolton Ings, plays host to the winter gathering of coot at the moment. At this time of year, these famously quick-tempered birds put aside their differences and form a flock.

Large numbers of any bird, however commonplace, are interesting - and these coot gatherings are no exception. There is safety in numbers I suppose and certainly, for a few months at the end of the year, the birds seems to change character completely. Instead of scrapping (think spring and ‘every coot for itself’), they look out for each other and work as a team. Like the starlings, they know the value of co-operation.

The season of goodwill - to all coot!

And with that I shall wish you a very merry Christmas. I am off to recharge my batteries but will return for the New Year. In my absence, Nicola has kindly said she’ll keep an eye on things.

Until next year.