We have another update from our fantastic intern Lucy, but first a couple of practical updates...
We have now opened up Field Pools West hide and Wath Ings hide, meaning that all of green lane is now open. There is hand sanitiser in all of the hides and we are asking that those who are able to wear face coverings in the hides in line with current legislation.
I would also like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to Andrew Leggett. Andrew has become a well known name to many of you through his fantastic sightings blogs over the last six years, indeed many of you will know him as you will have seen him in the hides and spoken to him about what can be seen on the reserve. Some visitors have even experienced the magic of feeding a robin out of your hand thanks to his knowledge and patience. Andrews regular sightings blog was always interesting, even during the times of year when not much changes from week to week, sharing nuggets of information and giving a deeper insight into the wildlife we enjoy. Andrew has decided to retire from blogging for now, although he is still visiting the reserve. I for one will miss your writing Andrew. Thank you for all of the time and effort you have put in over the years.
Now, over to Lucy!
The sun has been shining the past few days here at Old Moor, but there has been a cold bite in the morning air, and the unshakable feeling of the end of summer. Green lane is bursting with colourful berries, wildflowers have gone to seed, and mushrooms are sprouting all around the reserve.
Bracket fungi, Lucy Kucharik
There are still Swifts around as I write this, but they will soon be setting off on their long journey across Africa. Teal are already building up in numbers, with ~380 counted on Monday, while Wigeon have only just begun to return in ones and twos. Interestingly, a single Teal has stayed with us all Summer; it must be glad to finally have some company!
As an update from my last blog, I’m excited to say that our resident female Bittern has successfully raised a SECOND brood of chicks! The first youngster was spotted when it was flushed by a certain intern from the track at the rear of the reedbeds, but since then 3 have been spotted together by our Bittern Monitor Extraordinaire Gerald Lax. The female is still making feeding flights to Bolton Ings, so keep an eye out from Bittern Hide for a chance to spot her or her youngsters. Additionally, all three juvenile Marsh Harriers (the first to have fledged here at Old Moor) have been seen recently, along with an adult male, and it’s fantastic to see them doing well. Recent wader sightings include Ruff, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper in small numbers. One bird you’d be struggling to miss are the over 20 Little Egrets which are now roosting regularly on site and can be seen from most hides. You might also spot the much larger Great White Egret, one of which has been roosting here for the past few weeks. Although these birds were once a rarity, there have been Great White Egret sightings at Old Moor throughout the year this year, likely the result of a warming climate.
Great white egret - Jeff Wragg
Also worth a mention at our satellite site Adwick Washlands are sightings of Curlew Sandpiper, the first of the season, Gargany, and Spotted Flycatcher. Check out these brilliant field sketches of the Curlew Sandpiper by Russell Boland below.
Curlew Sandpiper - Russell Boland (@RussBoland on Twitter)
Dragonflies have been making the most of the warm weather the past few days, with plenty of Common Darters (and the odd Ruddy Darter) sunning themselves around the wildlife ponds. With a bit of patience, you can make a friend with one of these lovely red dragonflies, as they’ll happily use your hand as a perch! Brown Hawkers, Common Blue Damselflies, and Blue Tailed Damselflies can still be seen about, but now they are joined by the stunning Migrant Hawkers. We’ve seen some of these species making use of our new pond by the entrance to the reserve, so hopefully their offspring will be emerging from here in the years to come.
Migrant hawker - David Pritchard
Things seem to have slowed down a little in the moth trap recently after a bumper catch of Large Yellow Underwing a week or so ago, but I’ve still enjoyed the ID challenge! Some highlights for me include Silver y, Orange Swift, Dusky Thorn, and Barred Sallow. I also found a rather colourful and unusual fly with intimidating looking mouthparts; if you have an idea what it might be I’d love to know.
Unusual moth trap find – Lucy Kucharik
Silver Y Moth – Lucy Kucharik
Lastly, just a reminder to our visitors that to keep everybody safe during the ongoing pandemic, we have provided hand sanitizer dispensers at various points around the reserve, including in the hides. We are now also asking, if you are able, to wear a face covering while inside the hides. Using sanitizer and wearing a mask not only helps keep everybody safe, but it reduces the amount of time staff and volunteers must spend cleaning down the hides each day, which means they can spend more time working on getting the reserve back up and running
That's very kind of you Lydia.
Good to hear the latest news about what’s open and what’s happening out on the reserves. Great news re the bitterns and marsh harriers.
A very big thank you to Andrew for his blogging over the past years - always an interesting read and I know the amount of time he put into keeping the regular updates flowing. I think the rest is well earned! Thanks.
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