Behind the scenes, from first light, the volunteers and staff at Old Moor prepare the reserve for the day ahead. Most of this work goes unseen but not – I know – unappreciated. And part of that preparation is to walk the lanes and make the first observations of the day.

Here is tonight’s summary of sightings…

So, when early birder Paul Gould, checked Wath Ings this morning and found more than fifty herring gull and – even more startling – over 150 great black backed gull he was probably a bit surprised... That’s a lot of very large and very impressive birds roosting at Old Moor!

Other than starlings, I don’t usually get a chance to report on the roost and by the time Old Moor opens to visitors, most of these birds have left to find food elsewhere. So thanks Paul for giving us an inkling into an important (and mostly hidden) part of the life of the reserve – providing a safe refuge for birds during night time.

It was also good to see that some lucky visitors spotted a small change to the birds of the Bird Garden. Here today was a lesser redpoll, visiting the feeders. These tiny finches are only a bit bigger than a blue tit and are named for the red patch on their foreheads (‘poll’ being an old word for ‘head’).

Lesser redpoll from Paul Paddock. Thanks Paul.

At this time of year I also look for redpoll at the tops of the birch and alder trees around the right hand side of the Wildlife Ponds. You never know your luck!

So, on your next visit to Old Moor, keep an eye out for this newcomer and spare a thought for the (almost) invisible world of ‘the roost’.

Until next time.