Turned out, it was a day of surprises at Old Moor today. Crisp frost and sunshine lasted for the best part of the morning with much of the action taking place against a blue, winter sky.

Here’s the summary…

Now the map above provides headlines for those that want just that, but today’s sightings book contained far more detail than I could fit beside it.

For example, in the Bird Garden, watchers saw: great spotted woodpecker, mistle thrush, magpie, robin, great tit, blue tit, chaffinch, collared dove, stock dove, goldfinch, moorhen, grey wagtail, greenfinch, dunnock and pheasant. There were also long-tailed tit and reed bunting nearby.

Alan Coe visited Old Moor this morning and found a sparrowhawk ‘lurking’ in the Tree Sparrow Farm. Thanks Alan!

Another surprise came in the form of a kingfisher that showed beautifully on the ‘Toyota pond’, just beyond the Visitor Centre.

Then there was that flock of lesser redpoll on Green Lane. It was good to see them again in numbers.

Of course, the biggest surprise of the day happened around 14:20 when four whooper swans crossed the reserve heading west towards Wombwell. Despite hopes to the contrary, I'm afraid they didn’t stop.

Elsewhere in the Dearne Valley, at Bolton Ings, the news from John Seeviour was of: seven mute swan, three little grebe, one great crested grebe, sixteen mallard, four gadwall, six shoveler, 53 tufted duck and eleven pochard. With them were a female goldeneye, six cormorant, two grey heron, three goosander, a little egret, a sparrowhawk, four common gull, two herring gull, a goldcrest, two green woodpecker and two jay. Thanks John.

Gary Stones at Adwick Washlands confirmed that the bean goose and its five companion pink-footed geese where still around. Also seen were two black-tailed godwit, eighteen snipe, 75 lapwing, two shelduck, 180 wigeon, 170 teal, 40 gadwall, 5 shoveler, a kingfisher, 16 grey partridge, one little egret and a buzzard. Thanks Gary.

And, if all that wasn’t enough, another starling murmuration ended the day at Old Moor. Watchers estimated around 2000 birds roosted in the reedbeds this evening.

For December, that’s not a bad day’s sightings at all. Not at all.

Until next time.