After all the rains of last week, it was heartening to see so many people at Old Moor today, enjoying the first sharp, sunny winter’s day.

Here’s the summary of sightings…

On the Reedbed Trail, a flock of some twenty or so long-tailed tit proved an acrobatic warm-up to views of the Dearne’s most elusive bird species. Three bittern were seen today – one on Old Moor, two at Bolton Ings. But it was the bearded tit that captivated many visitors. At least three birds fed repeatedly around the Reedbed Screen, often being seen at the tops of reeds or dashing across the paths.

Lots of chances to see beardies today

There was no peregrine today, but buzzard, kestrel, kingfisher and little grebe all showed beautifully in the winter sunshine.

A flock of sixteen redwing could be seen at the back of the reedbeds or – at times – on the edge of the Tree Sparrow Farm. To my knowledge no-one reported fieldfare at Old Moor today but there were a pair of goldcrest 'seep-ing' their way around Green Lane, nearest to the Family Hide.

Stonechat at Adwick today from Gary Stones. Thanks Gary.

The Mere was quite a busy place today with five species of gull, three goldeneye, two shelduck and – at least first thing in the morning – fifteen goosander.

The Wader Scrape was mostly frozen though this was the best place to see goosander and at least one of the shelduck.

One of the drake goldeneye on the Mere today

And last but not least, the great expanse of the main marsh as viewed from Wath Ings hide. Look closely and little egret could be seen here, along with many of the wildfowl. In particular, this was the place to see pochard with the bulk of the twenty-one birds feeding here throughout the day.

Wigeon above Wath Ings this afternoon

And that’s about it for this evening except a quick reminder – as if you needed it – to top up those feeders and provide water if you can. It’s cold out there tonight and tomorrow morning, they’ll be a lot of hungry birds very grateful for a hand-out.

Until next time.

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