It was a truly stunning day at Old Moor today: a day full of colour; brilliance; and that golden, ‘contrasty’ light that happens sometimes on sunny autumn days.

Here’s what was seen…

Early watchers at Edderthorpe noted a solitary swallow heading south. Again, I can’t help but wonder if this one will be the last. Surely there can’t be many more reports now?

At Adwick, it was great to see both stonechat and whinchat being reported along with around three hundred lapwing and more than twenty-five snipe.

One of the autumn spectacles that visitors to Old Moor look forward to, is the arrival of the golden plover. Throughout autumn, the numbers build and this afternoon there were nearly four hundred. These are birds that spend their summer on our moorlands and uplands. In winter they head towards the lowlands, often joining up with lapwing in large flocks.

Old Moor is a favourite stopping off place for golden plover and today was just the day to begin to appreciate the beauty of these autumn visitors.

Startled by a buzzard or a sparrowhawk, lapwing and golden plover leave the marsh and take to the skies. There they wheel and turn, hoping to out-fly and confuse any predator.

From the ground – on a clear day – the effect is dazzling. The dark shapes of the lapwing are mixed with glints of gold as the plovers’ wings catch the low sun. The flock turns as one and – at just the right angle – hundreds of wings flash once more.

Watching this spectacle, one visitor this afternoon described it as like ‘the glitter on a Christmas card’. Others simply sat spellbound.

But don't take my word for it - come and see for yourself.

Anonymous