Birding at RSPB Old Moor in Yorkshire

The Dearne Valley RSPB reserves are near Barnsley, just over an hour from where I live in Manchester . This the entrance, it isn’t one of the biggest reserves but I was excited as I had wanted to visit for a while.

SPOILER ALERT: I saw not one, but two lifers!

I checked the board for latest sightings:

In the garden bit near the entrance, loads of birds are attracted to the feeders. There were loads of pairs of bullfinches, you can just about see one below plus a woodpigeon feeding on the ground.

From the family hide I could see loads of noisy black headed gulls gearing up for mating season.

It was only a short walk to the Wader Scrape hide and Wath Ings hides. I didn’t see any avocets but I did see lots of other birds and there were still quite a few ducks around.

This is my full list from these hides:

  • Black-headed gull
  • Mallard
  • Cormorant
  • Coot
  • Moorhen
  • Canada goose
  • Gadwall
  • Tufted duck
  • Great crested grebe
  • Oystercatcher
  • Blackbird
  • Teal
  • Mute Swan
  • Magpie
  • Woodpigeon
  • Pochard
  • Lapwing
  • Common sandpiper
  • Shoveler
  • Pheasant
  • Greylag goose
  • Little grebe

Here you can see a gadwall at the front.

And here is an oystercatcher wandering about.

After the green route through the wetlands, we headed to the reedbed. Unfortunately this was the closest we got to seeing a bittern as they were nesting at this point.

After a look around the reedbed, we headed to the tree sparrow farm and I’m so glad we did as it was a hive of bird activity.

I took these pictures before I got my new camera so apologies for the quality, I still thought it was a day worth sharing! I only had my phone with me.

You can see the goldfinches on this feeder, its an unclear photograph but there is a reed bunting hiding in the tree and it actually came to the feeder. Its such a large bird that it made the garden birds look tiny in comparison.

This the hide where you can see all the beautiful birds, and after waiting for a few minutes I did see a tree sparrow! My very first official one. A big tick right there.

Here is my full list from this hide:

  • Bullfinch
  • Dunnock
  • Blue tit
  • Yellowhammer
  • Reed bunting
  • Collared dove
  • Tree sparrow
  • Goldfinch
  • Chaffinch
  • Robin

But the day wasn’t over yet! Just as I was about the leave this fellow appeared. A beautiful yellowhammer eating food that had fallen from the feeders. A first for me and a bird I’ve wanted to see for a long time. Thank you Old Moor!

The cafe looked nice but we didn’t stay as we had to get back to Manchester, I would love to return and visit the satellite sites of Wombwell Ings, Broomhill Flash, Adwick and Gypsy Marsh but I will return with a better camera and see them all!

Until next time Old Moor!





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