As you may have heard already, Old Moor is open once again. Well, as ‘open’ as it can be in the current circumstances.

The Visitor Centre (and all its facilities) is closed. Entry is by the side gate; free for members and non-members – though I noticed a donations box near the entrance.

The Bird Garden hide is closed but the Discovery Trail is open, though subject to a one-way system around the Wildlife Ponds. You can walk as far as the ‘switchback’, just after the Bittern Bus Stop. Thereafter the trail is closed.

In the other direction, the trail that leads to the Family Hide, stops just short of the hide itself.

That’s it at the moment, and all for very good reasons as you can imagine.

I visited today for the first time after an absence of ten weeks and I wasn’t the only one. There were several people, like myself, there out of loyalty or curiosity or a show of support.

The main question for me was, given how little of the reserve is accessible to visitors at the moment, is a short visit worth it? My answer? – Yes (if you’re local), but not in the way we’ve been used to.

For the couple on path ahead of me, the answer was most definitely ‘yes’. As they sat on the bench near the bottom of the ‘switchback’ path, a male bearded tit appeared a few metres in front of them.

Other birds around at the moment that you might see include: bittern, marsh harrier, sedge warbler, willow warbler, hobby, reed warbler, oystercatcher, Mediterranean gull, buzzard, reed bunting, sparrowhawk and green woodpecker. You might also find (or most likely hear); chiffchaff, whitethroat, Cetti’s warbler, blackcap and tree sparrow.

My own bird count today was 26 species, but I also saw two of Old Moor’s regular late-spring dragonflies: black-tailed skimmer; and a handsome – if hyperactive - broad-bodied chaser (shown below).

Stay safe folks.