Today the Dearne Valley stole another day from summer and, as it turned out, it was one with several surprises. Here’s what was seen…

That little bit of warmth this afternoon made all the difference. For a start, the last of this year’s dragonflies were once again on the wing. Mid-October is a great time to see these fantastic insects as – not to put too fine a point on it – at this time of year they’re a bit dopey!

Slowed from the pace of high summer, the last dragonflies spend a lot of time basking at the moment and allow some extremely close views. They’ve even been known to settle on an outstretched hand!

A stunning male migrant hawker on Green Lane today

Bittern, bearded tit and Cetti’s warbler were all seen on the Reedbed Trail today whilst green sandpiper and kingfisher were the headliners of the Field Pool.

Around mid-morning the Mere received a visit from a passing spoonbill. To those who saw it, it looked like a juvenile bird and was unringed. Sadly, it only stayed until 13.45, leaving in the direction of Broomhill.

Little owl from Gary Stones today. Thanks Gary.

Meanwhile, on Wath Ings, three hundred or so golden plover were regularly taking to skies whenever a buzzard or sparrowhawk made an appearance.

Unusually for Old Moor, there were a number of jay sightings today. These are birds that store or ‘cache’ food at this time of year, particularly acorns, and can be seen flying back and forth from the woods at the eastern edge of Wath Ings.

Golden plover on Wath Ings this afternoon

It was also a day when goldcrest could be seen harvesting insects along Green Lane. At least two birds seemed to be favouring the area near the Wader Scrape ‘triangle’.

And the last surprise of the day was a whinchat from Field Pool East hide. Actually, this bird was first seen yesterday, near the channel that runs due south from the right hand corner of the hide. The easiest way to spot it, is to watch the white, ‘taped’ fences there as it frequently perches on the posts and tapes between them.

Little egret – only partly camouflaged!

And that’s about it for tonight’s blog except for a quick plug for a family event running at Old Moor very soon. Followers on our Facebook page might have spotted an event called “Beasts before Bedtime’ (Friday, Oct 25th). This has proved so popular that it has sold out – but don’t worry, a second evening of family fun has been organised for the following Friday, Nov 1st. As always, further details can be found here.

Right, that really is it for now. Until next time.

  • Nice photos. 400 or so goldies this afternoon (23rd) whistling away along with loads of whistling wigeon. I see “the book” had recorded a hummingbird hawkmoth on the valerian just inside the gate to the courtyard. Something to watch out for.