Old Moor – 24 May 2016

I was at Old Moor again today, just a quick visit on this occasion. As I had spent all my time at the Bittern Hide two days ago, (when I finally saw a Bittern for the first time), I decided to wander up Green Lane today to see what was going on up there.

I wanted to spend a bit of time down the path to Field Pool East where I have recently seen so many warblers etc. I’d really like to get some more and improved images of both Blackcap and Whitethroat, and this spot is great for both of those birds.

My first success of the day was on Green Lane, and is either a Willow Warbler or a Chiffchaff. As it didn’t make a sound, I had no easy way of telling which species it was; I had heard each of those on my way up the lane, so that was no help either. The bird alighted in a tree about ten feet away from me, and at about my eye-level. Despite its being partially obscured (as you can see from the image below), I am quite pleased with the photograph. I just wish I knew what the bird was! I think Willow Warbler, so it’s probably a Chiffchaff!!


I can see you!

I next went into Wath Ings hide where I watched a Coot pottering about its island nest, adding more weed etc to further-strengthen the structure. I could see three eggs in the nest from my vantage point. There could be some really attractive photographic opportunities to come over the next week or so, assuming they hatch successfully.

The water levels are still too high on Wath Ings for waders, alas, so the only other birds I could see here weresome Greylag Geese and a few waterfowl including Tufted Ducks and Gadwall.

Walking down the path behind Field Pool East I could hear a number of warblers in the trees, but once again the birds proved to be elusive on this occasion and I didn’t see a single one in the fifteen minutes or so that I remained there.

Once more walking along Green Lane on my way back to the Visitor’s Centre, I stopped to listen to the singing of a fabulous Sedge Warbler, which can only have been a few short feet from me, but was completely hidden in the reeds. It was singing its long, rambling song so loudly and clearly that I decided to record it on my phone. The full song lasts approximately 50 seconds in duration. How on earth does such a little bird manage to sing continuously for such a long time? How does it breathe??

My next port of call was the Wader Scrape. Here I could once again see a Med Gull on one of the islands, mixed-in amongst many hundreds of nesting Black Headed Gulls. Other birds here were Greylag Geese with many goslings in tow, a pair of nesting Oystercatchers, an Avocet and an assortment of ducks.

I next spent a few minutes in Field Pool West Hide. Once again it was all the usual suspects only today. I realised whilst there that I have yet to see a single Kingfisher so far this year. I was reminded of the occasion, whilst sitting in this same hide one day last year, when several other photographers and I were treated to a stunning fishing display by a Kingfisher. Let’s hope it’s not too long before I see one again.

I completed today’s short visit in the Family Hide. It’s still very raucous in there just now with the nesting Black Headed Gulls dominating all the islands of the Main Mere. It’ll be calm again there in another couple of weeks once all the gulls have departed, but for now earplugs wouldn’t be completely unwelcome for a visit to this hide!

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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