Old Moor – 02 Apr 2017

I visited Old Moor again today. The Spring breeding season is well underway by now and the reserve echoed to the screeching of thousands of Black-Headed Gulls, as always at this time of year.

As I walked onto the reserve I was first met by a rather tame Wren perched in a tree at (my) head-height and only a few feet away. Unfortunately, it didn’t give me sufficient time to get my camera ready before it flew off though! A very melodious Chiffchaff was singing its heart out a few trees farther-on and this bird did allow me to take some pictures. What a good start to my visit!

After passing through the Visitors Centre and out onto the reserve, I had a quick look in the Bird Garden. It was very quiet at the time I looked in, so I made a mental note to look-in there again later-on.

Next I decided to follow the Reedbed Trail; it has been simply ages since I was last round this part of the reserve and I was keen to try my hand at a bit of Bittern-spotting. As I reached the fork in the path which leads to the Reedbed Trail, I became aware of a Buzzard flying lazy circles above me. I took a few shots of it which were able to show that it had very raggedy tail feathers. A bit of a scruff really! Perhaps it had been in a fight recently? Or perhaps it was a bit of a ‘punk’ Buzzard?


A raggedy-tailed Buzzard flew over my head near the Visitors’ Centre

I spent a half hour or so in the Bittern Hide from which I saw a pair of Great Crested Grebe. I was hoping to witness their elaborate courtship rituals, but alas, not today!

Round at the Reedbed Screen and Hide I saw a few Tufted Ducks looking resplendent in the sunshine. A Little Grebe was dabbling near the front of the hide and an assortment of other waterfowl, Swans and geese were off in the distance. No Bitterns, Water Rails or Bearded-Tits to report from here today!

After returning back towards the Visitors Centre, I now made my way up Green Lane. I could hear several Chiffchaff singing away in the trees, and one lone Willow Warbler somewhere. I also heard the unmistakeable ‘Tee-cher, tee-cher’ of a Great Tit somewhere in the undergrowth.

The water levels at Wath Ings and on the Main Mere are quite high at the moment so there were no waders around today, alas. However, I saw a good many birds at Wath Ings today, including a few Oystercatchers, Lapwing, a pair of Shelduck, an assortment of Greylag and Canada Geese, along with Gadwall, Shoveler, Mallard and Teal.

As I returned down Green Lane, I made a quick stop at the Tree Sparrow Farm, but didn’t see much there in my brief stop. All the action was back in the Bird Garden where I was treated to some very close-up views of a pair of Bullfinches and a beautiful male Reed Bunting.

My species-count total for the day was 36.

All in all, a good day, and nice to be back at Old Moor again.

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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