Finding a brambling at Old Moor today was laughably easy. Ten of these terrific winter visitors divided their time between the Bird Garden and the Tree Sparrow Farm throughout the day.

Here’s what else was seen around the reserve…

Over at Adwick Washland, Gary Stones reported: one chiffchaff, one little egret, nine redshank, five ringed plover, one snipe, two oystercatcher, two hundred lapwing, two grey partridge, two shelduck and around twenty meadow pipits. Thanks Gary.

Back at Old Moor, fifty-five species of bird were recorded and, along with the numbers of brambling, there were some other unusual turn-ups.

Together with reed bunting, tree sparrow and yellowhammer, a tiny lesser redpoll seems to be feeding regularly in the Tree Sparrow Farm at the moment. It’s also not too late to see redwing with nine being seen in the trees near the farmhouse this afternoon.

Blue tit in the Bird Garden this morning

On the Reedbed Trail, a bittern’s booms were punctuated by the squeals of water rail and the explosive rhythms of two male Cetti’s warblers.

The Field Pool was the place to find redshank and black-tailed godwit along with little egret, wigeon, shoveler and teal.

Yellowhammer and raindrops - between showers this morning

Watchers looking over the Mere today at a quarter to two were surprised to see a single sand martin flying west! In fact, there were reports of sand martin elsewhere around South Yorkshire today so perhaps the Old Moor sighting wasn’t so surprising. It was however, a very early record for this species.

Meanwhile, on ‘Warbler Way’ (the path that runs around the perimeter of Wath Ings), another of those Spring milestones was reached today with the arrival of seven chiffchaff. These migrating warblers tend to be among the first to arrive back after wintering in southern Europe and northern Africa.

It was also good to see a report of a treecreeper on Warbler Way today. We generally don’t get that many records of this shy little bird so any sighting are very welcome.

And that’s about it for this evening. I’ll finish tonight with a picture of one of the undoubted stars of the day.

Until next time.