Right on time, Storm Ciara swept in and made her presence felt. Not only was there yet more flooding but the roads were soon strewn with wind-prunings and debris of all sorts. Nonetheless, there were a few hardy watchers at Old Moor, ready to provide some sightings…

In the Bird Garden today, those sheltering in the Visitor Centre watched a sparrowhawk dive headlong towards the largest window. Thankfully it wasn’t aiming at the glass - but at a wood mouse!

In the storm, few ventured along the Reedbed Trail but those that did reported few smaller birds except for reed bunting. Sadly, there were no bearded tit sightings today which breaks a consistent run of several weeks now.

Nearly finished now

With the Family Hide out of action for the moment, most visitors headed for the Wader Scrape. Although there were three little egret on the Field Pool, it was here that provided the most dramatic scenes of the day.

Although there were goldeneye, goosander and shelduck on scrape, it was the larger gulls on the bank that fascinated most watchers. Both adult and immature great black-backed gulls towered over the black-headed and lesser black-backed gulls. Among all of them, once again, was an adult Caspian gull.

These birds are rare winter visitors. White-headed, long-billed and long-legged, they are imposing creatures and completely at home in the stormy conditions that we experienced today. In fact, when the weather worsened, the Caspian took off, preferring to be on the wing rather than battered on the ground.

And boy did the weather worsen!

From the Wader Scrape hide around 11:40 today

And a few minutes later…

With the corner of the hide rattling and its timbers eager to be moving, there were only two choices: sit it out, or take a leaf out of the Caspian’s book. I chose the latter and arrived home just in time for the storm to abate. In fact, the afternoon was largely a sunny one!

Though, as I write this, Ciara is stormin’ about once again. Just goes to show, winter isn’t quite done with us yet.

Until next time.