Old Moor – 06 Sep 2016

It was coming up to two months since my last visit to Old Moor, so I thought I’d best go there today to see if it was still there!

It was a warm day for September, but a bit muggy and overcast with it.

The Old Moor sightings blog has been keeping me up to date whilst I’ve been in Scotland this last month, and I was aware that there have been a great many sightings of Kingfishers on both Field Pool West and from the Bittern Hide. Since it’s now September and I had yet to even glimpse a Kingfisher so far this year, I set myself the task of spotting one today!

I briefly looked-in at the Family Hide before going to Field Pool West, where I had taken my ‘best-so-far’ Kingfisher image almost a year ago. Although I waited patiently for a good half hour, there was no sign of a Kingfisher here today, alas. There were, however,  loads of huge dragonflies buzzing about. They’re very hard to photograph sharply-focussed in flight, so I tried very hard to resist the temptation. I did manage to get one half-decent image, however. I was just glad I had the hide to myself whilst I waved my camera about like a madman trying to keep the dragonflies in my viewfinder!

Moving on to the Wader Scrape next allowed me to see how much the water levels have dropped at long last. The islands on the Mere have almost all joined together by this point. A gravel path has been added since my last visit, to allow livestock to cross over to the islands to graze the grass. Not much in the way of birds here today, but I did spot a very distant Common Sandpiper.

Wath Ings was my next port of call. There was a flock of several hundred Lapwing on the mud to the right of the hide. I spotted a single Golden Plover hiding amongst them; their numbers will start to swell in the coming weeks now, so I shall be on ‘Goldie Watch’ from now on. Also present, but not close-enough for any decent photographs were a pair of Green Sandpiper and three Ruff.

As I walked back down Green Lane I felt as though today had been a bit disappointing. Having been absent from Old Moor for all-but two months I really felt that all manner of different bird-species ought to have been out putting-on a dazzling display to welcome me back! I resolved to try the Bittern Hide before departing as I’ve had several good Kingfisher sightings here in the past.

When I reached the hide there were about eight other people present who seemed to have the same idea as me. My timing was good though, because within five minutes of my arrival a beautiful Kingfisher flew in and landed on a perch immediately in front of the hide. Success!


A Kingfisher watches for fish from its perch

I watched the Kingfisher for a good 10-15 minutes before it finally flew off. During that time I was able to capture a good number of images of the bird, of which I am really pleased. My only slight grumble is that, having watched the bird for all this time, I had brieflty taken my eye off it for the critical moment when it dived into the water and caught a fish! Bother!

Like I’ve said before, Old Moor never disappoints; one bird, at least, pulled-out all the stops to welcome me back after my long absence!

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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