Nightjars, Blacktoft, Hatfield, Denaby…

I’ve had a very busy 24 hours! Last night I went on the SBSG nightjar walk at Wharncliffe Heath. It was a beautiful evening and should have been perfect for spotting the nightjars, but sadly the assembled group had to make do with an eventual brief flyby by a male who did a quick, half-arsed churr and promptly buggered off. They really are laws unto themselves, are nightjars… Luckily the croaking, squeaking woodcocks were putting on a decent display to keep the waiting crowd entertained, and there were some good close-up views of newts and frogs in the ponds on the way back.

This morning my dad and I had a trip to Blacktoft Sands, where very quickly we picked up the main targets – spotted redshank, greenshank, green sandpiper, ruff, barn owl, bearded tit, black-tailed godwit, avocet and of course the obligatory but no less impressive antics of the site’s marsh harriers. The only notable bird we missed was the bittern, which gave us one of those “you should have been here 10 minutes ago…” moments.


As we’d seen the best Blacktoft has to offer in such a short period of time, we decided to try our hand again at Ten Acre Lake at Hatfield Moors, which we, um, failed to find last time we were there. Annoyingly the car park was a couple of hundred yards after the point we’d decided we must be on the wrong road last time…

The target bird was red-necked grebe, and I wasn’t even sure it was still present, but after a yomp round the lake (surrounded by a wonderful sight of hundred of damselfies, and the less wonderful sight of thousands of horseflies…) we found it, and it gave good views near the bank. A brilliant bird, and July’s first lifer!

Red-necked Grebe
Red-necked Grebe

Common Blue(?) Damselfly
Common Blue (I think) Damselfly

Still not quite satiated, we swung by Denaby Ings in the Dearne Valley, and added a few extra birds to the day’s list including kingfisher, shoveler, gadwall, buzzard and sparrowhawk. A good day’s birding in all!

A full list for today…

House Martin, House Sparrow, Swallow, Starling, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Dunnock, Swift, Woodpigeon, Kestrel, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Black-headed Gull, Mute Swan, Rook, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Marsh Harrier, Wren, Goldfinch, Tree Sparrow, Sedge Warbler, Lapwing, Teal, Grey Heron, Mallard, Reed Bunting, Barn Owl, Spotted Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Dunlin, Shelduck, Bearded Tit, Avocet, Ruff, Blackcap, Moorhen, Green Sandpiper, Pheasant, Greenshank, Cormorant, Skylark, Long-tailed Tit, Greylag Goose, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Coot, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Yellowhammer, Robin, Feral Pigeon, Great Tit, Tufted Duck, Canada Goose, Gadwall, Kingfisher, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Shoveler


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My name is Pete

5 thoughts on “Nightjars, Blacktoft, Hatfield, Denaby…”

  1. Hi Pete.
    I reckon the Damsel is an Azure, with the black U at the top of the abdomen rather than the mushroom and stalk of Common Blue.

    1. Cheers Andy – I’m still trying to get to grips with the finer points of dragons and damsels.

      Great hobby photos on the SBSG site – glad you managed to get a couple of shots. Cracking birds.

  2. Hi, Pete
    Snap on damselflies! Took this at Old Moor last week. Sadly I didn’t get it from above, so can’t make out the markings for a proper ID
    damsel fly
    Looks like you’ve had some very successful outings recently!

    1. Nice shot!

      I’m volunteering at Old Moor next weekend, so looking forward to seeing some dragons and damsels while I’m there.

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