A day when we decided to limit travelling and concentrate on relatively local sites. Moved on to the moorlands NW of Sheffield and thoroughly enjoyed a good flog around a previous "stamping ground" at Broomhead. It was cold, but worthwhile, as we had a good varied tit flock with accompanying Treecreeper, Goldcrest and Great Spotted Woodpecker. A Crossbill flew over, called, and showed salient features as Red Grouse indulged in a few disputes on an adjacent moor. The day was building nicely!
A call to a favourite breakfast caravan replenished the inner man and set us up for the rest of the day. Over the years we've always rated such facilities, with most scoring a 6 or 7 out of 10. Occasional ones have earned 4, it's unimaginably bloody desperate what some people can do to a bacon and egg roll! Odd ones even earn an 8 or 9 and any facility that now offers SPAM gains an extra mark from Matthew anyway, so it's a pretty scientific assessment.
On to Wintersett Reservoir where we'd hardly parked the car before male Smew, Black-necked Grebe and Goosanders had been located followed in swift succession by the appearance of a good friend, Pete Smith, who doesn't look a day younger! As you might imagine there was a lot of banter and it was a real uplift. The site holds many good memories from the times when we ran the ringing station together and Pete still manages an operation there to this day........forty years of almost continuous coverage. We moved around to the nearby Anglers Country Park where first of all we had a chat with John McClaughlin ( Johnny Mc ! ) who I'd not seen for some time either , so, again, a nice supplement to the visit. Finally we had great views of the male American Wigeon amidst the flock of wintering Wigeon on the site. A good few hours......
Finally down into the Dearne Valley where the RSPB has secured various wetland sites. With the weather closing in we managed to see Little Owl, Green Sandpiper, Willow Tit, all of which were new for the week plus a good variety of other birds too.