Old Moor’s standards are so high that a day where “only” fifty-four species of bird were seen, seemed - well, a bit “quiet”. Look closer, of course, and things were anything but.

Here’s a summary of what was seen today…

Over at Adwick Washland, Nigel Smith reported a comprehensive list of birds including a good range of gulls and thirteen fieldfare. His summary can be found here. Thanks Nigel.

This morning, from the Reedbed Hide at Old Moor, there was the chance to appreciate the russet and grey tones of twenty-two wigeon feeding near to the hide.

Autumn in bird form

As well as a good supply of birds of prey (sparrowhawk, kestrel, marsh harrier) and those beardies, there were plenty of coot-shenanigans. In fact, thirty or so coot chased each other about like it was spring. One even managed a series of on-the-spot vertical take-offs and landings!

Ta da!

At the other end of the reserve, Wath Ings, a flock of some four-hundred or so golden plover circled, landed and then disappeared off again. Perhaps they had noticed the buzzards, the sparrowhawks and that cream-crowned marsh harrier.

Black-tailed godwits today

Six black-tailed godwits also circled the marsh where watchers could also see three dunlin and three green sandpiper.

A pale buzzard from the Reedbed Hide today

But it was the hunt for the elusive jack snipe that provided visitors with the greatest challenge. Pete Walsh found it first today and it took me ages to find where he was looking. Best advice I can give is to a) use a scope and b) repeatedly scan the left-hand side, far bank of the willow pool. There, if you’re lucky, you’ll see the tell-tale horizontal stripes of a jack snipe bobbing among the uprights of the reeds.

Although clear to watchers in the hide, this was never going to be an easy ‘record-shot’ – small AND far away. In fact, there was much good humour and joking about whose photo of this tiny bird was the worst. Pete’s phone-scoped shot was a close second, but I think my woeful effort gets the prize. Judge for yourself.

Nailed it!

Until next time.