It was great to see so many visitors at Old Moor today and, perhaps with so many eyes on the place, there was a good range of sightings too. In fact, at least fifty-three species of bird were seen today, including some of the most elusive. Here is the summary…

The day began with a tricky question – just how many great white egrets are in the Dearne Valley at the moment? Two were spotted at Edderthorpe first thing, and this was followed quickly by a report of a single bird at Houghton. It seemed the answer to that question was, ‘at least two’ or ‘perhaps three’. Either way, it’s very unusual to have reports of this terrific heron in the valley at this time of year!

Next came the case of the vanishing whoopers! Sixteen were picked up at Edderthorpe flying south and ‘very low’. Watchers expected them to set down either at Wombwell Ings or at Old Moor but it seemed the swans had other ideas and there were no further reports.

Always check the pylons!

Meanwhile visitors to Old Moor were enjoying something more like the usual bird spectacle. Sure the paths to the Bittern Hide and to the eastern ones were still impassable, but the waters had subsided a bit and feeding for some birds was now that bit easier.

Birds in the Tree Sparrow Farm included: redwing, coal tit, stock dove, bullfinch and reed bunting.

From the Family Hide, four goldeneye were visible with one of the males showing off his courtship display this morning. Four species of gull were seen today though there was no sign of yesterday’s adult yellow-legged gull.

A determined goldfinch

The most noticeable change of the Field Pool was an increase in the number of pochard but, if you scanned very carefully, there were also snipe taking advantage of the slight drop in the water level.

And finally, on the Reedbed Trail, many visitors heard at least one Cetti’s warbler and a water rail calling. With them were some good sightings of three bearded tit today, including one that flew in front of the Reedbed Hide and delighted everyone who saw it.

So there you have it. Though the flooding is still present, today the valley seemed more like its usual self. It will take a good while yet for everything to be back to normal and for those hides at Old Moor to be accessible once again, but while we wait for that, there is still much to be appreciated.

Until next time.

  • Interesting re the whoopers.

    Last Friday about 2ish as I was driving away from OM, I caught a glimpse of around 15 large birds flying NEish towards the power lines from the Wombwell direction. Their flight was heavy and there was a lot of white showing on otherwise silhouettes. Whoopers I thought  but traffic noise was too loud to hear any calls. By the time I’d got on to the Cat Hill road, they’d vanished!

    I think I saw on Twitter that a group of whoopers of this sort of size had been seen at places further north? 

    Maybe the elusive Edderthorpe group was one and the same that I saw last week?