In response to the new month, one dour voice in the hides today remarked, “Ay, it’ll soon be Christmas.” Folk who heard, laughed. The year’s end is a long way off yet, and – for wildlife watchers – autumn is the best bit!

Here’s what was seen out there today…

At Adwick Washland today, among other things there were four ruff and a stonechat. There was also an unseasonable chiffchaff singing.

Meanwhile, at Wombwell Ings, there were some great sightings including a golden plover. May there soon be many more!

A little egret eating - of all things - beetles, on the Field Pool today

At Old Moor, the reedbeds provided a backdrop to sightings of three bittern including two juveniles. In fact, I am happy to announce that the second bittern nest seems to have produced at least three young. So that’s at least six young bitterns raised this year at Old Moor!

A sparrowhawk and prey from Steve Snow. Thanks Steve.

From the Reedbed Hide today, visitors enjoyed the sight of around seven swift and fifty or so house martin skimming the pool for flies. Even a sudden downpour did not seem to dampen these birds and, if anything, brought them closer to the hide.

A house martin from the Reedbed Hide this morning

On the Mere, twelve ringed plover and two dunlin were joined by two wood sandpiper and, later on, a second calendar year yellow-legged gull. A hobby was seen both here and over the Field Pool today.

But for many, the main attractions were best viewed from Wath Ings Hide or from Field Pool East. Here were a whole host of choice birds and among them green sandpiper, greenshank and pintail.

Rudely woken from a one-legged nap, this greenshank chose to hop it

Wath Ings was also where some lucky visitors spotted a stoat trying its luck with a lapwing! As the bird went airborne, so did the stoat! It missed of course but for a second there…

And yes, though it wasn’t visible for much of the day, one of the recent great white egrets was still there, mostly feeding on the Field Pool.

As those autumn migrations intensify, there will be plenty more surprises ahead no doubt!

Until next time.