Dearne Valley trip

A bright, sunny day (though bitingly cold when the wind did get up a bit) saw 13 of us head to the Dearne Valley on Sunday 6th March. We met at Broomhill Flash car park and spent about 40 minutes looking at the ducks – the usual suspects as well as a handful of Goldeneye showing up beautifully in the sunlight, plus one or two Pochard -, geese (Greylag and Canada) and plentiful Black-headed Gulls there.A couple of Oystercatchers, several Little Grebes, and c. 25 Lapwing were in the mix and there were a few Stock Doves on the fields too.  On to Wombwell Ings for a couple of hours, where a pair of Grey Wagtails were pottering about on the river bank before flying upstream, a Green Sandpiper showed well close to (there was another one about, seen later on, as well), Skylarks were singing and one pair display flighting, and at least 4 Meadow Pipits alighted in a tree before moving back to rough grass.  It took a bit of searching, but one of the Water Pipits was eventually located along the edge of ‘The Fleet’ – definitely the rarest bird of what turned out to be a pretty quiet day, with migrants firmly absent!  Raptors included three Buzzards spiralling together and a pair as well low over woodland and a Kestrel.  We dipped on the Siberian Chiffchaff, but Goldcrests showed well and there were plenty of Chaffinches singing. Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Shoveler, Teal etc were present there too.

After an early lunch we spent the afternoon at Old Moor RSPB Reserve, where frankly it was very quiet in terms of species seen compared with their ‘board of recent sightings’!  There were enormous numbers of Black-headed Gulls squawking their heads off, a handful of Redshank and Oystercatchers, a few Shelduck and passerines included Bullfinches, tits (Blue, Great, Long-tailed), Green and Goldfinches. Highlights were a Bearded Tit that shot past one hide, though only seen fleetingly by three of the group, four Goosanders (3 male) lounging on a bank and at the end of the visit and two Redwings (which turned out to be the only ones they had had on the reserve that day).

The total species count for the day was 55.