Tuesday, 27 July 2010

A few hours at Old Moor

Spent a relaxing day at Old Moor RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Nature Reserve at Broomhill near Barnsley. Wetland habitat with meres and pools and reservoirs where many species of birds enjoy themselves all year round. I had long promised a friend that I'd introduce her to the delights of this stretch of Yorkshire paradise, and today was the appointed day.

With weather soft and sunny with the occasional sprinkle of summer rain, we walked among the bullrushes, waterside plants and trees surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature. In a couple of hours (with a break for a wonderful locally sourced and prepared on site lunch at the "Gannets Cafe") I saw over 25 species of birds, including most of the ones on offer today:

Black Tailed Godwit (ooh - one of my favourites!), Grey Heron, Canada Geese, Lapwing, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe (carrying babies on its back in the water), Mute Swans with their cygnets, Reed Warbler, Pheasant, Swifts, Carrion Crow, Black Headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Common Tern, Bullfinch (male singing and both sexes feeding), Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Collared Doves, Woodpigeons, Tree Sparrows, Starlings (a large flock), Linnet, Common Tern, Common Sandpiper and Magpie.

An exhausting but soul refreshing outing. 

Black Tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) feeding in the mud.


  1. OOOOh, I'd have loved to be there too. Did you take the photos? I love bullfinches, we have a couple who come to the feeders.

    I'm still revelling in my baby swallows who are now all fledged and flying. Their long tails are slowly coming too, so I expect they'll be off soon. They still roost in the barn but are less tolerant of photo shots - probably a bit fed up at being the local celebrities.

    Thanks for sharing this magic. I really enjoyed it.

  2. ps: Those baby grebes are something else! what spectacular colouring and markings. I've never seen the young - I've never seen the courtship dance either. Have you?

  3. It was a magical day with sightings that made it perfect. I googled and chose these photos from ones posted online - ones that captured most accurately what we saw yesterday. (I couldn't manage my digiscoping stuff on the buses- Mum carried our bins etc while I dragged along with my stick - grrrr!. The bullfinches were at the bird feeders near the RSPB cafe/giftshop, and one male sat on a nearby branch singing his heart out for us! The Godwit seemed to follow us from hide to hide around the site - several visitors were thrilled to see it (me too - I've always loved waders) but didn't recognise it, so it was lovely to be able to tell them what they were witnessing! The Godwit was probing the mud and then later stood with his long bill resting over his shoulder (maybe to warm it up in his feathers?!). His orange-breasted summer plumage was gorgeous.
    Then finally we glimpsed the Grebe with its babies on its back. That was the closest I've ever seen that happening. So cute! I've only seen the actual courtship dance on film.
    There are some wonderful clips of Grebes dancing on Youtube, including this one set to the Welsh National Anthem at
    Your swallows sound (and look) wonderful! I've never been so close to them as you have. What a joy and a privilege! XXX