Finally, after months of waiting, there was one ‘sighting’ today that was especially welcome.

Regular readers will know that willow tit sightings at Old Moor have been in short supply of late. So, when I read that one had been heard singing just outside the entrance at 16:15, I was mightily relieved.

Not quite gone then?

It’s not just Old Moor of course, that’s why the willow tit is one of the subjects of the Back from the Brink campaign. These wet woodland specialists have declined by 94% since the 1970s and are now all but extinct in the south and south-east of England.

I know that we get statistics quoted at us all the time, but a human being born in the 70s would now be in their middle years. In other words, in just half a human life, we’ve seen an almost complete decline in this species.

The Dearne Valley has always been thought of a stronghold for this particular species but recently, even here, sightings have been few and far between. So today when Adam Hutt tweeted the news of a willow tit singing at Old Moor, it was important to many of us who visit regularly and who had begun to get just that bit worried that we might have lost this terrific little bird.

I for one will spend a bit of time in Old Moor’s car park the next time I visit, listening for a call that sounds like the recording found here. With luck, and a few pairs of eyes (and ears), we will have more sightings of this little beauty. Until then, here’s a reminder of what we’re looking for…

One from the archives, this willow tit was photographed in April, 2013 by ‘Webbo’. A brilliant photo and one well worth seeing again!

Until next time.