After an unpromising start, it turned out to be quite a decent day for watchers at Old Moor. Out of the wind, there was some warmth to that sunshine and a few surprises of the feathered kind!

Here’s today’s summary…

Starting at the remarkable Adwick Washland, the season’s first avocet was again present along with two redshank, two oystercatcher and the long-staying stonechat pair.

And speaking of ‘long-staying’, the scaup is showing no signs of leaving Manvers Lake at present.

At Old Moor, on the Reedbed Trail, there was only one bearded tit seen but, despite a few sightings yesterday, no bittern recorded today. However, there were four Cetti’s warbler, a solitary great crested grebe and – around midday – a red kite.

Female bullfinch and blackthorn as seen today in the Tree Sparrow Farm

The red kite sailed across the reserve and put everything up. A few minutes later, when it was clear it had no intention of stopping, hundreds of black-headed gulls returned to squabbling over future nesting rights!

Indeed the Wader Scrape was a busy place today. An early curlew delighted watchers who know that this species seldom hangs around long at Old Moor. Interest then switched to an imposing adult Caspian gull with its small dark eye and long snout. The Caspian stayed around most of the afternoon though did finally fly southwards at 16.30.

Also on the Scrape, four shelduck snoozed and only raised their heads when a peregrine tried its luck over the Mere. Today’s ‘oystercatcher count’ remained stubbornly at six and no-one reported more than four goldeneye.

Robin song drowned out the clattering branches today

Yet, even with two charismatic birds of prey, it was the gulls that stole the show today. In fact, it was great to hear so many watchers flexing their gull-ID muscles. Even better, there was a lot of support for the less confident in the Wader Scrape Hide this afternoon. There’s no doubt that gulls can be tricky to identify but they are also bright, impressive birds and even beautiful in their own way.

So, what better way to finish off tonight’s ramblings than with a gull that always commands attention – the great black-back.

Lapwings are about 30cm long – or a foot if you prefer. Black-headed gulls are a little bigger, sometimes nearer the 37cm mark. With that in mind, how impressive is that adult great black-back?

Well worth a watch I’d say. Until next time.

  • Nice photos Andrew - I like the robin in particular.
    it’s certainly impressive when you see a GBB alongside others for scale - when we visited late aft it was dwarfing a LBB! Sadly, our arrival seems to have coincided with the Caspian’s departure. 

    However, the peregrine made up for it with a great display of flying agility as it scattered birds right across the reserve!

    Also, later, there seemed to be a gathering of starling over DVP as we went towards Cat Hill.