Old Moor – 18 Feb 2016

It was a gloriously sunny day today, so I decided to visit Old Moor. There’s been a lot of excitement here for the last couple of weeks since a party of Bearded Tits moved into the reedbed area, and I thought it was high time I tried my luck at seeing them for myself. It is very much hoped that the beardies will stay and start a breeding colony here. That would be just great!

Last year a large amount of reeds were transplanted to Old Moor from Blacktoft Sands, (where Bearded Tits are well-established). One year later and beardies are now appearing at Old Moor. Is it just me, or does that sound like more than just coincidence?? Answers on a postcard…

Anyway, on arrival at Old Moor, the car park was already quite full. Thank goodness an overflow car-park was recently completed – it was much needed!

I went round to the Reedbed area straight-away, hoping for some luck. Lots of other people were already camped-out there hoping to see the elusive Bearded Tits for themselves. I gave it a good half-hour at the Reedbed Screen and picked-up from the other birders present that, although the beardies had been spotted already today (along with a Kingfisher and a Water Rail), they hadn’t put in an appearance in the last hour or so. I moved into the Reedbed Hide where I watched a rather beautiful Great Crested Grebe enjoying the sunshine.

A few Coots were dashing about and generally falling-out with each other. No bearded Tits alas.

Next I went to the Tree Sparrow Farm where there have been lots of good birds over the Winter. As soon as I arrived I realised there was a Siskin at the feeder right in front of me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my lens trained on it in time before it flew down to the ground a few feet further away, but I was able to get a few shots of it on the ground before it flew off altogether.

I walked along Green Lane next and visited each of the hides there. The water levels at Wath Ings are still very high, so sadly still no wader activity for now. There were loads of Goosander on view from the Wader Scrape hide though, including several which were quite close-in to the hide.


A pair of Goosanders – (male followed by female)

Always impressive birds to see, I do like a Goosander (or two!).

All the other usual suspects were around today, lots of waterfowl, including a couple of distant Goldeneye on the main mere.

No Bearded Tits today, alas, but if they have moved in to stay I’ll certainly keep a keen eye on the reedbed this Spring!!

My final tally for the day was 39 species sighted.

About Alan Gordon

I am a retired teacher and former RAF Musician. I live near Sheffield and enjoy taking photographs of wild birds throughout the UK.
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