The first two weeks of July are traditionally the peak time for gatherings of Little Ringed Plovers in the Dearne Valley and this year has gone to form after a poor showing last year. June ended with 7 birds (1 juvenile) and the maximum came on 6th July when 21 (4 juvs) were present. There are still 14 (8 juvs) today (Tuesday 11th) and the 8 juveniles are the most seen.
Ringed Plovers are also present in good numbers peaking at 22 on 11th with a maximum of 6 juveniles among them.
Green Sandpipers favour the shallow water on Houghton with up to 5 present and Common Sanpipers are being seen daily again with up to 5 present on Edderthorpe.
Avocets were at 13 at the beginning of July with birds departing daily until the last couple on 8th.
The first returning Greenshank are usually in the first week of July, one appeared right on cue on 5th and is still present. A male Ruff was present for the first few days of July and the last of the 'breeding' Redshank had departed the valley by 7th after a poor breeding season in which only a single fledged juvenile has been seen. Lapwing have also had another poor breeding success in this part of the valley with adults quickly returning to the Flash and up to 234 counted on 6th.
Surprisingly few Black-tailed Godwits are being seen up to now (hopefully a sign of a good breeding season in Iceland), there were 5 on 4th.
Up to 5 Little Egrets including 1 juv are on the Flash with a similar number of Grey Herons. A Grey Heron was watched attempting to swallow a Little Grebe which it had killed but it just couldn't get it down and gave up in the end (or maybe returned for another go later).
A Peregrine was hunting the Flash on 10th and was seen to take a Lapwing.
A flock of 6 Common Terns flew north on 7th.
Green Woodpeckers seem to have had a good breeding season with a count of 10 on 4th.
And finally, a party of 2 juvenile Willow Tits were seen by the river proving successful breeding again.