Bird Records For Thorne Moors 1995
Compiled by Peter C. Roworth and Janet M. Roworth.
The following names are taken from the ‘British Birds’ List of English Names of Western Palearctic Birds, 1993, British Birds Ltd.
Birds were heard or seen at the Paraffin Works Cuttings and Will Pits Scrape between 17th February and 3rd September. Sightings were generally of single birds, during April however up to four birds were frequently reported. Breeding was proven at Will Pits Scrape with juveniles seen on 16th June and 19th August. Single birds were also recorded for Mill Drain Marsh and the flooded peat workings of ‘Middle Moor’ during April and May.
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
All records were of birds flying over the Moors except for an immature which was disturbed from mud at the edge of Bell's Pond on 29th August (WHP). One flew S on 28th January, one flew E on 6th April, one flew NNE on 23rd April. Singles were observed flying N and SE on 29th April (one of which was reported to be of the Continental race P.c. sinensis (BPW). One flew W on 5th May, one flew E on 6th May, one flew SW on 10th September, two flew W on 19th October and one flew SSE on 12th November.
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Recorded most months with single birds disturbed from boundary drains usually along the W edge of the Moors, although odd birds have been seen on Will Pits Scrape. One was seen flying from the Swinefleet Warping Drain with an Eel Anguilla anguilla on 23rd May. There was a maximum of four birds recorded over the moors on 7th January.
Mute Swan Cygnus olor
There was one record of four flying S on 2nd August. One swan W over New Zealand pump on 27th December was likely to have been this species.
Tundra Swan C. columbianus
Three flew NNW over Shoulder o’ Mutton on 19th November.
Whooper Swan C. cygnus
There were two January records, two adults and an immature (almost certainly this species) flew NNE on the 8th and six adults were observed flying W then veering S on the 14th. Four flew E on 21st October and heard calling over the moors in very misty conditions on 13th November (WHP).
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus
Skeins observed flying over the Moors were 215 W on 15th January, 150 NW on 12th March, 60 E and 35 S on 1st November, 23 plus five NNW on 5th November, 11 + 150 + 14 all E on 9th November and 15 S on 24th December. On 4th February 1000+ birds in three or four skeins, were seen flying high in a NW direction.
Greylag Goose A. anser
All records were for April and May except for a pair disturbed from flooded workings near Shoulder o’ Mutton on 21st March and eight birds observed flying E over Shoulder o’ Mutton on 3rd June. April records were, two in from the W and later seen at Mill Drain Marsh before departing N on 9th, two on flooded workings next to the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 16th, two over Bell's Pond on 21st, two flying E on 24th. Still in April, four flew S over Rawcliffe Moor and later two at the flooded workings near Shoulder o’ Mutton were thought to be from the same group seen earlier (26th), two flew overhead (29th) and two were disturbed from Will Pits Scrape (30th). Birds seen during May were, two at flooded workings near Shoulder o’ Mutton (1st), two pairs on the Paraffin Works Cuttings (5th) and two on Will Pits Scrape (6th).
Canada Goose Branta canadensis
A skein of 60 birds flew N over Crowle Moor on 22nd January, three were observed at Mill Drain Marsh later flying to the Paraffin Works Cuttings, on 24th February and one was seen to land amongst the workings of ‘Middle Moor’ on 19th March. There were several records of two birds, which were assumed to be a pair, during April (three on the 9th). They especially frequented the Paraffin Works Cuttings and adjacent flooded areas. Breeding was not proven. One interesting observation (23rd April) was of a pair walking over the abandoned Paraffin Works Tram and a peat stack on to adjacent peat where they were seen to graze on scattered patches of grass (ML). Five birds flew into the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 8th May.
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
A single bird was seen at Will Pits Scrape on 5th February and later on the 12th three were disturbed from the same area, a single bird was also there on the 25th. A pair of birds was frequently observed from 26th March and during April and May, particularly at Will Pits Scrape, Shoulder o’ Mutton and Mill Drain Marsh. It is assumed that these are the same birds but six individuals were seen on 16th April, and three or four on several other dates; and six were reported from Shoulder o’ Mutton on 5th May. Single birds were seen on 14th June (Green Belt), 12th July (Shoulder o’ Mutton), 7th and 25th December.
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope
Two females and one male flew S over Bell's Pond on 17th September and a single bird was reported over Inkle Moor on 1st November.
Gadwall A. strepera
Two males and a female were seen near ‘Middle Moor’, at Will Pits Scrape and the Swinefleet Warping Drain at Will Pits on 26th February (ML, RJS). A single bird was flushed with two Mallard from Will Pits Scrape on 5th March. A pair was frequently seen during April and up to 14th May in the Mill Drain Marsh/’Middle Moor’ area and a male was reported up to 26th May (ML, WHP, RJS, BPW). Breeding was suspected but never proven.
Common Teal A. crecca
Recorded throughout the year on open drains and amongst the re-wetted abandoned peat workings. Numbers of birds gradually built up during the winter months reaching a maximum of 180+ at the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 4th March. Numbers then fell to an estimate of c. 20-25 pairs. Twenty-two young were seen in four groups on 18th June (BPW). The autumn usually sees an increase in birds, but this year counts only reached c.50 when there have been up to 150+ birds recorded in previous years. During the breeding bird survey the maximum number of birds recorded was 77 which gave a dominance of 8.8% (73 and 7.7% in 1994).
Maximum monthly counts were: January 30, February 173, March 120, April 60, May 25, June 35 July 20, August 48, September 50, October 30, November 50, December 5.
Mallard A. platyrhynchos
Observed throughout the year. Winter and autumn counts have been particularly encouraging with numbers of birds approaching 200 on several occasions. During the breeding bird survey the maximum number of birds recorded was 76 which gave a dominance of 8.7% (125 13.3% in 1994). Groups of young ducklings were frequently reported during April and May, the most in one brood was 11 at the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 5th May.
Maximum monthly counts were: January 140+, February 100+, March 70, April 50, May 40, June 6, July 150, August 120, September 150+, October 34, November 85+, December 43.
Pintail A. acuta
One male disturbed from Mill Drain Marsh on 21st January (WHP), one male flying towards Paraffin Works Cuttings on 16th September (WHP, RJS), two females on the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 19th September (WHP) and two females flying high over Pony Bridge Marsh on 23rd September (BPW). It is thought that these birds were the same females that had been seen a few days earlier.
Northern Shoveler A. clypeata
The main sightings for this duck were during April and May in areas of open water and re-wetted peat cuttings of Mill Drain Marsh, Shoulder o’ Mutton and Paraffin Works Cuttings. April records were a pair (2nd), three males and two females (5th), five males four females (8th), two males one female (9th), pair (10th), three males two females (12th), pair (14th), pair (16th), pair (22nd), pair (23rd). May sightings were one male (8th), pair (12th), pair (13th), two males (16th), pair (22nd), one male (28th). Other records were a pair on flooded workings near Shoulder o’ Mutton on 8th March, two pairs on flooded peat workings E of ‘Middle Moor’ Tram on 9th March, a pair was on flooded workings to the N of Mill Drain Marsh on 12th March. A pair was at Will Pits Scrape on 8th April, a pair was at Mill Drain Marsh on 3rd June, eight were flying high NW towards the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 30th August. One was flying S on 22nd October and at the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 12th there was a pair, with two pairs there on 14th October.
Common Pochard Aythya ferina
A single record of a female disturbed from Bell's Pond on 14th October (WHP).
Tufted Duck A. fuligula
A male was first seen at the Paraffin Works Cuttings, on 4th March and birds were frequently reported up to 22nd May. The maximum count was nine males and eight females on 8th April (WHP). It is assumed that the pair (possibly two) of ducks regularly observed were the same birds, breeding was suspected but not proven. Other records were a pair flying over the Moors on 23rd April and during May a pair frequented Will Pits Scrape.
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
A female was observed bathing and preening at the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 5th May (ML).
Goosander Mergus merganser
Three females and two males were observed flying high over Will Pits Scrape on 15th January. Three females were seen circling low over Will Pits Scrape, on 18th February, they may have been disturbed off the water.
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
An adult male was seen on the Paraffin Works Cuttings, on 12th and 19th April (WHP). This is a new record for the moors. Two males were then recorded there on 30th April, last seen on 6th May.
Red Kite Milvus milvus
An adult bird was seen circling over Will Pits on 9th August (RA). This record was rejected by the Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union Ornithological Section.
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
Birds have been observed flying and hunting over the Moors throughout the year, all months except December.
14th January 1 female flying low along Swinefleet Warping Drain
28th January 1 immature flying low on S edge of Moors
29th January 1 male from Will Pits Scrape to ‘Middle Moor’ and beyond
05th February 1 female over ‘Middle Moor’, left high to E
18th February 1 immature with female Hen Harrier over S area
19th February 2, 1 female over Mill Drain Marsh, 1 immature over Pony Bridge Marsh and Will Pits Scrape
25th February 2, 1 female and 1 immature over ‘Middle Moor’ (mobbed by a male Peregrine Falcon)
26th February 2, 1 immature in the Pony Bridge Marsh area, 1 female flying over Crowle Moor
04th March 2, 1 female and 1 immature over Mill Drain Marsh to Shoulder o’ Mutton
05th March 1 cream-crown Pony Bridge Marsh to Will Pits Scrape
08th March 2, 1 female and 1 immature over Mill Drain to Pony Bridge Marsh
12th March 1 female over Moors
18th March 1 female at Mill Drain Marsh
01st April 1 male Mill Drain Marsh then S
02nd April 1 female over ‘Middle Moor’
10th April 1 cream-crown over Shoulder o’ Mutton to Goole Fields
19th April 1 cream-crown over Southern Canals
22nd April 1 male (first-year) Mill Drain Marsh
23rd April 1 immature over ‘Middle Moor’ to Mill Drain Marsh
25th April 1 immature over Pony Bridge Marsh
26th April 1 immature Mill Drain Marsh
27th April 1 male (first-year) and 1 female Woodpecker Corner Marsh
28th April 1 cream-crown over Woodpecker Corner Marsh
29th April 1 immature over Northern Canals
30th April 2, 1 female at ‘Middle Moor’, 1 immature over the Green Belt area (dark with a pale crown), 1 immature ‘Middle Moor’
01st May 1 cream-crown at ‘Middle Moor’
03rd May 1 immature female over moors
04th May 1 cream-crown at ‘Middle Moor’
05th May 1 immature near ‘Middle Moor’, 1 cream-crown near Will Pits Scrape
06th May 1 immature (moulting) over ‘Middle Moor’
08th May 1 distant over moors
09th May 2 cream-crowns over moors
14th May 2-3, 1 cream-crown over Will Pits Scrape, 1 immature over moor, 2 females over ‘Middle Moor’
16th May 1 female (not moulting) ‘Middle Moor’
18th May 2 cream-crowns over ‘Middle Moor’
19th May 2, 1 female and 1 immature Pony Bridge Marsh to ‘Middle Moor’
26th May 1 cream-crown over Will Pits Scrape
30th May 1 over Mill Drain Marsh
16th June 3, 2 males and 1 immature over S area of moors
18th June 1 (not aged) overhead S half of moors
19th June 1 male (second-year) over Southern Canals
20th June 1 female over ‘Middle Moor’
21st June 1 male disturbed from ground, Northern Canals area
27th June 1 female (not moulting) over Will Pits then W
28th June 1 cream-crown at Woodpecker Corner Marsh
07th July 1 high over ‘Middle Moor’
24th July 1 male over Shoulder o’ Mutton to Mill Drain Marsh
29th July 1 female over ‘Middle Moor’
04th August 1 cream-crown Will Pits Scrape-Mill Drain Marsh
10th August 1 female flying along Mill Drain
13th August 2, 1 male and 1 female over Southern Canals and ‘Middle Moor’
15th August 1 male flying low along the edge of Mill Drain
20th August 1 male ‘Middle Moor’ and Will Pits Scrape
26th August 1 cream-crown over Pony Bridge Marsh
29th August 2 cream-crowns from Bell's Pond to Southern Canals
30th August 2 females over ‘Middle Moor’
03rd September 1 over ‘Middle Moor’
10th September 2, 1 female and 1 immature over S half of Moors, 1 distant over Paraffin Cuttings
14th September 3, 2 cream-crowns and 1 male over Southern Canals
16th September 2, 1 male disturbed near Bell's Pond 1 immature over ‘Middle Moor’
17th September 1 immature disturbed from Bell's Pond area
18th September 1 cream-crown Southern Canals area
23rd September 1 immature over moors
24th September 2-3, 1 male and 1 immature over Elmhirst Wood, 1 cream-crown Bell's Pond area
16th October 1 cream-crown from Southern Canals area
18th November 1 cream-crown over Will Pits Scrape to ‘Middle Moor’
Hen Harrier C. cyaneus
Occasionally seen flying low over the abandoned peat workings during the winter months and sometimes late spring.
01st January 1 ringtail
11th January 1 male over Southern Canals
14th January 1 male (first-year) Pony Bridge Marsh
20th January 1 ringtail, distant over Pony Bridge Marsh
29th January 1 male ‘Middle Moor’ to Mill Drain Marsh
18th February 1 female ‘Middle Moor’ area, with Marsh Harrier
19th February 1 female over Mill Drain Marsh to Shoulder o’ Mutton
25th February 1 female at ‘Middle Moor’ to Mill Drain
26th February 2, 1 ringtail and 1 male
04th March 1 female over S edge of moors to Mill Drain Marsh
08th March 1 female Mill Drain Marsh
26th March 1 female near Casson's area
01st April 1 female over Mill Drain Marsh
02nd April 1 female Mill Drain Marsh to roost
09th April 1 female ‘Middle Moor’ to Will Pits Scrape E
16th April 1 female ‘Middle Moor’ area
14th April 1 female N of Mill Drain, with prey
27th April 1 female from area of Bell's Pond to Southern Canals
05th November 1 ringtail
14th November 1 female quartering along Snaith and Cowick Moor
19th November 1 male over Elmhirst Wood to Southern Canals
25th November 2 males from Bell's Pond to Southern Canals
26th November 1 male near Bell's Pond
03rd December 1 male over Southern Canals, ‘Middle Moor’ area
11th December 1 male over W edge of Southern Canals
[Montagu's Harrier C. pygargus
An adult male was reported on 20th June, hunting over arable fields near the Durham's Warping Drain where it meets Johnny Moor Long Lane (CF, RJS).]
Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis
A male was observed flying over the Southern Canals towards Mill Drain Marsh on 8th April (RJS). Details have been sent to the Y.N.U. Ornithological Section.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk A. nisus
Recorded throughout the year, usually of single birds hunting over the abandoned peat workings in the S half of the Moors. Interesting sightings included: Four birds on 1st January, a female in pursuit of a Green Woodpecker on 9th January, three birds were seen over the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 19th March when a slow display flight was observed. A female failed to successfully kill a pigeon on 30th April, a male successfully killed and ate a juvenile Pied Wagtail near Will Pits Scrape on 19th August and one was seen bathing and sunbathing at Will Pits Scrape on 20th August.
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
One was reported on 14th January over Pony Bridge Wood and flew SSW (WHP) and another sighting, the same bird was seen on the 15th flying over Elmhirst Wood in a W direction (BPW, RJS). Two birds, possibly both immatures were seen soaring over Mill Drain Marsh on 30th April, causing major disturbance amongst the Black-headed Gulls before gaining height and away over the Shoulder o’ Mutton (BPW).
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Observed throughout the year, with generally one or two birds hawking over the old peat cuttings and boundary woodland.A maximum of six plus birds were seen on the moors on 8th April, and four were observed in the air together on 10th September.
Merlin F. columbarius
One or two birds generally seen throughout the winter months.
02nd January 1 flying fast and low to Paraffin Works Cuttings
07th January 2, 1 female and 1 juvenile male over moors
08th January 1 male over Bell's Wood
14th January 1 male Pony Bridge Marsh
22nd January 1 female over Moors
26th January 1 male along the E edge of Crowle Moor
28th January 1 juvenile near Will Pits
29th January 1 male flying W near Bell's Pond
04th February 1 male observed perched, ‘Middle Moor’
12th February 1 female over Crowle Moor
14th April 1 female flying low over Goole Moor
23rd April 1 female over Moors
24th April 1 female near Shoulder o’ Mutton
16th September 1 female near Woodpecker Corner
08th October 2, 1 female (or immature?) over Goole Moor, 2 birds near Thorne colliery waste ground
21st October 1 male near Bell's Pond
01st November 1 male Mill Drain Marsh
02nd November 1 male ‘Middle Moor’ area
19th November 1 flying fast along the S E edge of the Moors
24th November 1 male perched on a lump of peat, ‘Middle Moor’
26th November 1 Mill Drain Marsh
07th December 1 male over Southern Canals to Mill Drain Marsh
24th December 1 female was observed mobbing a male Peregrine Falcon, which was sat on the ground at Will Pits Scrape. The bird was then seen perched close to the Peregrine Falcon before it flew off over Crowle Moor (RS). 1 near ‘Middle Moor’, possibly the same bird
27th December 1 over ‘Middle Moor’
29th December 1 male over the Southern canals to Mill Drain Marsh
On 25th July a brown female type specimen was found as a road victim S of Maud's Bridge (c.1.5 miles from Limberlost Farm at the S boundary of the moors). The recorder noted the following. “The bird was quite freshly dead, and had been killed on the date found. However, the corpse was not worth preserving, though the skull has been retained.” Later identification considered the bird to be a juvenile, probably a male (ML pers. comms.).
Hobby F. subbuteo
This is a summer visitor, first and last dates 30th April-14th September. Generally adult birds were seen in ones and twos hawking for insects over the S half of the moors.
30th April 1 adult over Mill Drain Marsh to ‘Middle Moor’
01st May 1 adult over Shoulder o’ Mutton
02nd May1 adult male over Pony Bridge Marsh
04th May 2 adults over Mill Drain Marsh to Pony Bridge Wood
05th May 1 over ‘Middle Moor’
07th May 1 adult over Mill Drain Marsh
13th May 1 adult over the Southern Canals
14th May 2 over Will Pits
19th May 1 adult in the ‘Middle Moor’ area
22nd May 2+ adults over S area of moors
23rd May1 adult flushed from ‘Middle Moor’
26th May 1 adult over Southern Canals
27th May 1 adult carrying prey at Casson's Gardens
28th May 2 between ‘Middle Moor’ and Will Pits
30th May 3 between ‘Middle Moor’ and Southern Canals
19th June 1 adult over Southern Canals
20th June 1 adult over Pony Bridge Marsh
26th June 2+ adults over Southern Canals to Pony Bridge Wood
28th June 2+ adults over Woodpecker Corner Marsh
02nd July 5 adults hawking over moors between Pony Bridge Marsh, ‘Middle Moor’ and Will Pits Scrape (RJS)
04th July a pair engaged in aerial acrobatics over the S area of the moors
07th July 2 over Pony Bridge Marsh
12th July 2+ over Shoulder o’ Mutton to Will Pits
14th July 2 over Pony Bridge Marsh
21st July 3+ over Shoulder o’ Mutton to Southern Canals
23rd July 1 adult over Will Pits Scrape
24th July 1 over the Green Belt
28th July 2 hawking over Shoulder o’ Mutton
31st July 1 over Southern Canals
04th August 1 adult over Will Pits Scrape with prey (Sand Martin?) (WHP)
06th August 2 in ‘Middle Moor’ to Will Pits area
11th August 1 juvenile hawking over Will Pits
13th August 5 adults over Mill Drain Marsh to Will Pits Scrape and Pony Bridge Marsh (RJS)
18th August 4+ over Southern Canals
19th August 4 adults over moors
20th August 1 over Green Belt
27th August 1 adult over Southern Canals
29th August 1 over Southern Canals
30th August 1 juvenile feeding near Will Pits
03rd September 3 adults over moors
10th September 1 juvenile with two adults over Will Pits Scrape
14th September 1 juvenile near Will Pits Scrape
Peregrine Falcon F. peregrinus
There are occasional sightings of this falcon, but they are becoming more regular during the autumn and winter months.
01st January 1 over Pony Bridge Wood
08th January 2 adult females over the moors and a second bird was seen in the Limberlost Wood area
14th January 1 male from Woodpecker Wood area to Pony Bridge Marsh
21st January 3, 1 female (immature, feathers missing from right wing), over Bell's Wood, 1 male and 1 immature over Paraffin Works Cuttings
22nd January 1 male over Will Pits Scrape
28th January 1 male Paraffin Works Cuttings area
08th February 1 male flying N, fast over ‘Middle Moor’
12th February 1 female from Will Pits Scrape to Pony Bridge Wood
25th February 1 male mobbing two Marsh Harriers over ‘Middle Moor’
28th March 1 immature female ‘Middle Moor’
23rd April 1 immature female from Will Pits Scrape then NW
29th April 1 immature female, Goole Moor, another immature female (presumably the same bird), was seen over Shoulder o’ Mutton unsuccessfully attacking a pigeon
30th April1 immature female unsuccessfully pursuing a racing pigeon over Goole moor
24th May 1 distant over Goole Moor
22nd July1 immature on N side of Thorne Moors
04th August 1 immature female Will Pits Scrape
06th August 1 over moors
19th August 1 male (second-year) over Will Pits Scrape
20th August 1 immature near Will Pits Scrape
16th September 1 female over Goole Moor then W. 1 female hunting over Long Meadow near Inkle Moor
19th September 1 immature hunting over Paraffin Works Cuttings
23rd September 1 female flying S along W edge of moors
08th October 1 female over Shoulder o’ Mutton then N
12th October 1 male Will Pits Scrape
15th October 1 over Goole Moor
19th October 1 immature female over Green Belt to Shoulder o’ Mutton
21st October 2, 1 female over moors. 1 male over Bell's Pond then S
22nd October 2 over Mill Drain Marsh
30th October 1 male over Goole Moor
01st November 1 male and 1female over Mill Drain Marsh
02 November 1 male over Shoulder o’ Mutton to Goole Moor
05th November 1 over Crowle Moor
18th November 1 female Will Pits Scrape, another female (same bird?) was seen to land in the Creykes area on bare peat
22nd November 3, 1 male and 2 immatures disturbed from the edge of Will Pit rapidly flew high, calling and chasing each other in aerial pursuit in a SE direction over Crowle Moor
25th November 1 female in the Shoulder o’ Mutton area
09th December 1 female Shoulder o’ Mutton area
24th December 1 male Will Pits Scrape
27th December 1 at Will Pits Scrape flew N over Will Pits
Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
Observed in small groups around the edge of the Moors and along the network of abandoned tramways during the winter-spring and autumn months, less so in the summer. Seventeen birds were seen on the moors on 1st January, nine near Mill Drain Marsh on 15th January, 13 in the ‘Middle Moor’ area on 16th June and 10+ near the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 19th September.
Grey Partridge Perdix perdix
Small numbers are usually seen or heard throughout most months on the edge of the Moors or sometimes along the old tramways. Fifteen birds were observed on 19th February, 16 on 14th April, 18+ were feeding near to the Long Meadow at Inkle Moor on 12th October, 18 birds at Pony Bridge Marsh and 10 near Bell's Pond on 18th November and 23 were seen on the moors on 10th December.
Common Quail Coturnix coturnix
Heard calling on two occasions from rough grass near Thorne colliery during the summer (JGH) and three calling in fields on the N side of the moors on 8th July with two still calling in the same area later in the month on the 12th, 15th and 16th (PB).
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
Observed in small numbers throughout the moors during the year. The majority of these are assumed to be descendants from birds released by local shooting syndicates. There was a maximum of c.35 birds seen on the moors on 9th April.
Water Rail Rallus aquaticus
Generally heard but occasionally seen amongst the re-wetted peat workings between January and May and there was one record for September.
08th January 1 calling and seen at Pony Bridge Marsh and another calling near the Northern Canal
29th January 1 calling persistently for 15 minutes at ‘Middle Moor’
04th February 1 calling, Mill Drain Marsh
05th February 1 calling, Green Belt area
07th February 1 calling, Mill Drain Marsh
09th February 1 calling near Bell's Pond
12th February 1 heard Green Belt area
18th February 1 calling, Mill Drain Marsh
24th February 6 individuals heard (3 near Canal Tow Path, 1 Mill Drain Marsh and 2 near the Rhododendron Path
25th February 1 near the Rhododendron Path and three in the area of the Northern Canals
26th February 1 near Mill Drain Marsh, 1 near the Green Belt area
04th March 1 near Mill Drain Marsh
19th March 1 near the Green Belt area
14th April 1 heard Pony Bridge Marsh
15th April 1 calling, Pony Bridge Marsh
29th April 1 calling near the Canal Tow Path
30th April 1 heard near Canal Tow Path
16th May 1 calling near the Canal Tow Path
19th September 1 calling near Bell's Pond
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Frequently observed throughout the year from the re-wetted areas of the abandoned peat workings in the S half of the moors. Records seem to indicate that this species has increased in numbers over the last few years. Eighteen counted alongside the Swinefleet Warping Drain on 3rd January, 19 on 5th March, 15+ on the Moors on 8th April, 15 on 30th May and 10 on 26th November. There were nineteen on 15th January and many other records of 10 or more.
Common Coot Fulica atra
Occurs in small numbers throughout the moors but generally favours the more open waters of Inkle Moor Pond, Paraffin Works Cuttings, Mill Drain Marsh and Will Pits Scrape although there have been sightings for the re-wetted peat workings. A pair reared three young on Inkle Moor Pond and two adults with two chicks were seen at Mill Drain Marsh in May. Extreme dates were 19th February and 31st July.
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
A single bird was seen flying near Shoulder o’ Mutton then to Mill Drain Marsh, landed before flying off W on 9th March (WHP, PCR). May records were a single bird at Will Pits Scrape on the 5th (WHP), two on flooded workings near the Shoulder o’ Mutton on the 22nd (WHP) and one in the same area on the 28th (ML) and two flying over Will Pits Scrape on the 23rd (PCR). Two birds flew E over Thorne Pit and were seen to land near the edge of open water at the Green Belt on 3rd June (BPW).
Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
A single bird was heard calling and observed flying over the Shoulder o’ Mutton on 30th April, this is a new record for the Thorne Moors (SH).
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
Records received have shown observation for display flights, very vocal activity and general territorial behaviour on flooded workings on Rawcliffe Moor, Shoulder o’ Mutton and Will Pits Scrape. By the frequency of records it is assumed that at least one pair of this species held territory and bred at the Shoulder o’ Mutton and Will Pits Scrape. Sixteen birds were seen near the Shoulder o’ Mutton on 17th July (WHP). First and last dates were 8th April - 14th September.
Great Ringed Plover C. hiaticula
A pair, possibly two, frequented the Thorne colliery works compound from February to the end of May. Displaying was seen during early April and on 6th June one adult bird with one chick were seen. Two or three adult birds were also seen at Will Pits Scrape, Shoulder o’ Mutton flooded workings and regularly alongside the access road adjacent to Mill Drain. A maximum of four birds were seen near Thorne colliery on 23rd April, seven adults were near the Shoulder o’ Mutton on 16th June and four were at Will Pits Scrape on 12th August. First and last dates were 13th February - 19th August.
Dotterel C. morinellus
Six birds were flushed from bare peat workings NW of Shoulder o’ Mutton on 23rd April. They flew around and landed in the same place before eventually flying out of sight in a NNW direction. Four were well marked, two less so, and therefore probably not in full summer plumage (ML).
European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria
Generally recorded either in fields on the edge of the moors or flying over during the winter months. On 1st January 160+ were in fields S of Woodpecker Wood and 60 flew over towards Goole Moor, 65 S-E on 2nd January, seven in fields on SW edge of moors on 7th January. A single bird flew W along Mill Drain on 8th January, three over moors on 15th January. Twenty-two flew over ‘Middle Moor’ on 12th February, 17 S on 4th March, one over on 30th April, one was heard overhead on 6th August, nine flew W over Bell's Pond on 19th September. During October records were, 200+ in fields near Paraffin Works Cuttings on the 2nd, 150+ flying N-E and 16 E on the 8th, single birds over on the 12th and 14th. Eight flew SW, 16 W and 120 E on the 15th, 120+ over on the 19th, 40+ on the 21st and a single bird on the 23rd. November sightings were 20 W on the 1st, 35 W on the 2nd, 86 in fields near the S edge of the moors on the 5th, two over on the 9th, and 350 in nearby fields to the S of the moors and seven flying E on the 18th.
Grey Plover P. squatarola
Three records were of single birds disturbed off flooded workings near the Shoulder o’ Mutton on 23rd and 30th of April and 3rd May. A single bird flew NNW over Goole Fields on 24th December.
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
Flocks seen flying over the moors during the winter and autumn months included 50+ over Pony Bridge Wood and 108 overhead on 1st January. There was quite a passage during February with two W on the 4th, 30 S, 75 W and 40+ over on the 5th, 170 in several small groups over the Moors and one flock of 110 W on the 12th, 20 on the 18th and 82 W on the 25th. 71 E and 20 S 0n 4th March, 200 were seen flying W on 8th March. Fourteen birds flew E on 23rd July, 150+ in fields near the W edge of the Moors on 19th October, 120 over on 1st November and 10 N and 32 WSW on 10th December. Four birds were seen displaying over Will Pits Scrape on 14th February and during March to May up to four birds were frequently seen amongst re-wetted workings in this area and occasionally on flooded workings adjacent to the Shoulder o’ Mutton. There was a maximum of 15 birds seen at Will Pits Scrape on 12th August.
Sanderling Calidris alba
A single bird in summer plumage was seen at Will Pits Scrape on 24th May; this is a new record for the Moors (ML, WHP, BPW). A juvenile bird appeared at Will Pits Scrape on 7th August (WHP).
Dunlin C. alpina
Several sightings of singles or small groups of birds either feeding amongst flooded workings or flying over the Moors. On 19th March one on flooded area N of Mill Drain Marsh. On 12th March two with Northern Lapwings near Mill Drain Marsh. On 29th April seven over Shoulder o’ Mutton flying E, and one at Will Pits Scrape. On 30th April three flew over Shoulder o’ Mutton. On 3rd May one flew over Shoulder o’ Mutton. On 4th May one grounded at Shoulder o’ Mutton. On 5th May, three W over-head. On five at Will Pits Scrape. On 6th May two Will Pits Scrape. On 13th May one Will Pits Scrape. On 14th May one Will Pits Scrape. On 18th May one Will Pits Scrape. On 16th June one was at the Shoulder o’ Mutton. On 26th June, two were on workings near Shoulder o’ Mutton. On 19th July, two near Shoulder o’ Mutton. On 21st July, three Shoulder o’ Mutton. On 23rd July 10 birds flushed from workings near the Green Belt and flew E. Eight birds were seen S of Goole Moor (possibly part of the earlier group?). On 24th July, five on peat near Shoulder o’ Mutton. On 4th August two at Will Pits Scrape. On 18th August one at Will Pits Scrape. On 19th August one at Will Pits Scrape. On 26th August two flushed off Will Pits Scrape, flew NE. On 19th November, one heard over Will Pits Scrape.
[Ruff Philomachus pugnax
One male with five females were seen in fields near 'The Dutchman', Johnny Moor Long Lane on 19th October].
Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus
There were twelve records all of single birds flushed from drain sides or re-wetted peat workings during January, March, April, May and December. An interesting record for the 3rd of May was of a single bird "flushed by a fox Vulpes vulpes; it performed a brief display flight, flying around like a small bat. It did not call" (WHP)
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
Observed most months, general sightings of a few birds scattered throughout the Moors. Winter counts usually reach a high in February when numbers can be as high as 20. Late spring, most birds disperse leaving two or three pairs, which can be seen and heard holding territory over the old peat cuttings. Numbers then increase during the autumn where totals can be in excess of twenty birds. Interesting records included, 20+ at the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 17th February, 17 on Will Pits Scrape on 19th August, 20 birds "some down but many passing through, high direct flight" on 16th September and 16 from Mill Drain Marsh on 18th November.
Woodcock Scolopax rusticola
Usually flushed from the edge of scrub covered peat workings or disturbed from boundary woodland, generally as single birds during the winter months. Three were seen in the Pony Bridge Wood area on 24th May. One or two pairs breed, roding birds occasionally seen during late summer evenings over Will Pits and the woodland on Crowle Moor.
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
One disturbed from flooded peat workings near Shoulder o’ Mutton on 20th June (JMR).
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Three sightings, one flying off W from flooded peat workings near Shoulder o’ Mutton on 12th July (WHP), one disturbed from flooded workings near the Green Belt on 12th August (PCR) and one calling over Will Pits Scrape flying S on 26th August (WHP).
Eurasian Curlew N. arquata
Two birds regularly seen and heard during April and May in the area of rewetted peat workings between Inkle Moor, ‘Green Belt’ and Mill Drain Marsh. Breeding suspected but not proven. Other sightings included one flying S over Bell's Pond on 31st July, one heard calling over moors on 20th August and a flock of 13 birds flying N over moors on 30th August (PCR). Two separate birds flew NW on 30th December. Extreme passage dates were 2nd March and 30th August.
Common Redshank Tringa totanus
One or two birds frequented the flooded peat workings near the Shoulder o’ Mutton and Will Pits Scrape between April and July but no signs of display or territorial behaviour were observed. Other records included, one calling over moors on 15th January, a single bird at Will Pits Scrape on 18th March and two over Mill Drain Marsh on 25th March. A group of 22+ birds flew over Will Pits Scrape on 20th August but did not land and flew off in an E direction (BPW), two flying and calling over Bell's Pond on 7th December.
Greenshank T. nebularia
Mostly single birds, occasionally two, were reported from Will Pits Scrape, Shoulder o’ Mutton and ‘Middle Moor’ between 29th April and 14th September. Other records of note included five birds disturbed from flooded peat workings on 14th July (WHP) and three at Will Pits Scrape on 20th August (ML).
Green Sandpiper T. ochropus
Single birds occasionally disturbed from drain sides or re-wetted peat workings from July until November and three or four birds are not infrequent during late July/early August. Records included a single bird near the "Green Belt" on 16th June, five on the Moors on 4th August, two at Will Pits Scrape on 13th August, four over the Moors on 20th August and a single bird disturbed from a drain side near Elmhirst Pump on 19th November. The only winter records were singles on 7th and 21st January.
Wood Sandpiper T. glareola
A single bird remained at Will Pits Scrape on 29th-30th April (BPW, SH, ML, PCR, RJS,).
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
A single bird was seen at Will Pits Scrape on 5th-6th May (WHP, RJS).
Little Gull Larus minutus
From the records received it appears that there were three individual birds seen with Black-headed Gulls in the ‘Middle Moor’/Mill Drain Marsh area between 30th April and 28th May (ML, WHP, RJS, BPW). Records were as follows. On 30th April, 3rd-6th, 19th and 23rd May a first-winter bird, but beginning transition into first summer plumage. On 13th, 15th, 19th and 22nd May, a first-winter bird. On 28th May, a first summer plumage, heavy moult, hood not complete.
Black-headed Gull L. ridibundus
Birds returned to the breeding area at Mill Drain Marsh during mid March when by the end of the month numbers had reached 3000+. Counts of up to c.2000 birds were regular from mid April to early May. The maximum estimate was c.3000+ on 19th April (WHP). Adults were seen incubating eggs on 16th April and chicks were reported by the end of May. There were no records of breeding pairs at the Paraffin Works Cuttings or in the vicinity of Shoulder o’ Mutton. Outside the breeding season, birds were seen most months, either flying over the Moors to nearby roosts, foraging on nearby fields or very occasionally loafing and preening in flooded areas of old peat workings. Interesting records included c.140 overhead flying N with other gulls to roost and an adult bird in full summer plumage landing at Mill Drain Marsh on 19th February, 200 at Will Pits Scrape on 26th August, 60+ in fields near Bell's Pond on 9th November.
An adult was found dead at Will Pits Scrape bearing the ring number E.S. 50913 Brit. Museum London, on 30th April (RS, WHP).
Common Gull L. canus
Occasionally observed most months, generally of small numbers of birds flying over the Moors, but very infrequently alighting on the peat with other gulls. Sightings included 30+ overhead in a NE direction and c.100 in fields S of the Moors on 1st January. Six over on 26th March, two on 22nd October, "frequent overhead in early morning - dispersing from roost" on 5th November, seven overhead on 19th November and 23rd recorded over the moors on 10th December. Grounded birds, on the peat were one sub-adult near Mill Drain Marsh on 26th March, one adult near Shoulder o’ Mutton on 2nd April, one sub-adult at Will Pits Scrape on 23rd April, one immature at Will Pits Scrape on 30th April. Two adults were on flooded workings near the Green Belt on 23rd July.
Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus
Small numbers of birds were observed most months flying over the Moors or occasionally loafing with other gulls on flooded peat workings. Winter, spring and autumn records included six flying S on 21st January, 15 overhead in a W direction on 1st April, 13 over on 20th August, 140 flying E on 10th September (RS), eight over on 22nd October and a single adult on 10th December. Most observations were for May and June, of birds in small groups flying around the flooded workings, harassing other gulls and loafing and preening in the water. It is worth noting the records from one observer (ML) who made careful observations at the end of May:
On 21st, one adult and two immatures were at flooded workings adjacent to Shoulder o’ Mutton. One adult flew over Will Pits Scrape, and other immatures overhead. On 24th, sixteen, mostly immatures (three plus adults) at flooded workings adjacent to Shoulder o’ Mutton. Also two adults, one immature at the Black-headed Gull Colony, seen for a short period, when mobbed by the resident gulls. On 28th, one adult and four immatures at Will Pits Scrape. One immature with Black-headed Gulls at Mill Drain Marsh, eventually landed on an adjacent milled area, with other resident gulls and also one adult or sub-adult and six immatures over different parts of the Moors. On 30th, six immatures, sub-adults and/or adults flew about the gull colony at Mill Drain Marsh, and then flew on. Two adults then landed on adjacent peat workings. At flooded workings adjacent to the Shoulder o’ Mutton, eleven immatures and sub-adults were present. One adult and five immatures flew over; the adult landed at flooded workings NW of the Shoulder o’ Mutton, and one of the immatures landed with the other gulls, though many later departed. At the Mill Drain Marsh colony in the afternoon, four immatures flew high overhead, and another immature circled over the breeding gulls. Another immature flew over the Canals.
Herring Gull L. argentatus
Recorded most months, usually in small groups flying over the Moors. From January to March, birds were relatively frequent overhead, possibly reflecting a changed flight-line? (ML). Maximum count during the winter period was 165 flying W on 5th February (RS). Observations of note included 28 on flooded workings N of Mill Drain Marsh, on 19th March. A W passage of 55+ birds on 26th March, five immatures overhead on 28th May, 28 over the Moors on 19th November and a group of nine including adults and immatures overhead on 10th December.
Great Black-backed Gull L. marinus
Regularly observed during January and February, less so between March and September and then occasionally from October to December. January records included c.230 flying S on 1st, 18 NE and a movement of 1000+ Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls over the moors on 8th, 26 W on 22nd and nine W on 29th. Other sightings of interest were 10 W on 19th February, one immature near Mill Drain on 30th April, 20+ flying W on 25th November and four adults overhead on 10th December.
Rock Dove Columba livia
Feral pigeons are commonly observed around Thorne colliery, Bell's Pond and the W edge of the moors.
Stock Dove C. oenas
Generally occurs around the edge of the moors, usually seen as one or two birds although there were several counts of up to four birds. Records included: A flock of c.40 feeding on Gossip's Moor/King's Moor on 1st January, 11 at Inkle Moor on 19th February, four near Inkle Moor on 8th April, six on 23rd April. Three birds were at Will Pits on 16th June, four on the moors on 5th November and 15 near Bell's Pond on 25th November.
Wood Pigeon C. palumbus
Observed throughout the year, breeding in small numbers in the periphery woodland. Winter flocks of birds feeding in adjacent arable fields and flighting to roost can reach several hundred, particularly during January and early February. High counts included 2000+ birds flighting into Pony Bridge Wood on 1st January, c.800 in "several large flocks across the moors" on 20th January (BPW), 600+ in Will Pits on 17th February and c.1000 birds feeding in fields near Woodpecker Corner on 4th March.
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
One or two birds are usually seen near Thorne colliery and Inkle Moor on the W side of the moors and in the vicinity of Swinefleet Peat Works and Red House Farm on the E. Sightings over the moors are rare, two were seen flying SE over the Southern Canals on 7th August, one was disturbed near Bell's Pond on 26th November. A single bird was flushed from a bush near Bell's Pond on 10th December and on the 11th a bird flew W over Shoulder o’ Mutton. One was seen over Goole Moor on 24th December, it landed briefly on bare peat before flying off over Goole Fields.
Turtle Dove S. turtur
One or two birds occasionally seen or heard during the summer months in scrub or woodland on the edge of the moors. Three were seen in scrub alongside the Rhododendron Path on 16th June, eight birds were seen in the Green Belt area on 28th July (WHP) and four were noted along the W boundary of the moors on 20th August. First and last dates, 30th April and 10th September.
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Frequently observed during the summer months when up to six or seven birds were seen or heard over the peat cuttings in the S half of the moors. Most birds were recorded during May, which included eight or nine on occasion, 15 on 21st. First and last dates, 22nd April and 24th July.
Barn Owl Tyto alba
One flushed out of trees near Bell's Pond on 13th October (WHP).
Little Owl Athene noctua
Four records in January, one hunting over Thorne colliery Spoil heap on the 1st, one at Limberlost on 8th, one calling near Green Belt on the 15th and one perched on a fence post near Thorne colliery buildings on the 20th. Two juveniles heard near Bell's Pond on 3rd June and again on 1st July. Three young calling in Will Pits and one seen near Bell's Pond on 7th July.
Tawny Owl Strix aluco
Generally heard calling during late evening from boundary woodland, one was heard calling in daylight from Will Pits on 30th May. Sightings unusual, one flying from trees near Elmhirst Pump on 30th May and one flew low alongside the W boundary drain towards Thorne colliery Spoil heap on 7th July.
Long-eared Owl Asio otus
An adult bird was seen perched in a tree along the S boundary of the Canals on 7th July.
Short-eared Owl A. flammeus
Single birds occasionally disturbed from the abandoned peat workings during the winter months. One disturbed from Pony Bridge Marsh on 11th January and one near Mill Drain Marsh on 4th February. There were two sightings of single birds in May on the 14th and 26th, one was seen on 3rd June, a single bird was observed perched in a bush on 20th August and one was flushed from Snaith and Cowick Moor on 5th November.
European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus
A total of twenty-seven churring males were recorded on the moors during the survey in June and July (33 in 1994). First and last dates, 23rd May and 10th August.
Common Swift Apus apus
Regularly seen hawking over the old peat cuttings during May and early June where numbers reached in excess of 500 on the 18th May. One hundred and seventy were seen over the Moors on 16th June, 400+ over Mill Drain Marsh on 28th July. Small groups were seen flying S in August and five with other Hirundines flying S were noted on 10th September. First and last dates, 3rd May and 10th September.
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
A single bird was frequently seen at Bell's Pond and along the W boundary drain, from June to December. Two birds were observed at Bell's Pond on 14th September.
Green Woodpecker Picus viridis
One or two birds usually seen throughout the year, occasionally more, generally on the W edge of the Moors. Breeding suspected but no young observed. Interesting records included one being chased by a female Sparrowhawk on 9th January, five on the Moors on 16th June and three on 13th November.
Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
One, two or three birds seen or heard in pockets of woodland throughout the year. Drumming was heard in Will Pits on 23rd April and a female with one juvenile was seen in trees near Will Pits Scrape on 20th August.
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker D. minor
One flew over Southern Canals towards Pony Bridge Wood on 14th January, one female over ‘Middle Moor’ on 5th February and one female in Will Pits on 4th March.
Sky Lark Alauda arvensis
Recorded all months. Winter sightings were of small groups of birds flying over the Moors in no specific direction, or feeding in adjacent arable fields. Two were in full song on 14th February. The highest May count was 18 on the 21st. Autumn passage was first noted on 23rd September with 35 birds flying over in a W direction. During October there were regular sightings of small groups of birds flying over the moors, high counts included 241 S on the 8th, 110 S E on the 15th and 50+ on the 22nd. Passage during November reached a peak of 108 on the 19th. Seven birds were seen on the Moors on 10th December.
Sand Martin Riparia riparia
Small groups of birds were occasionally seen feeding over the Moors throughout the summer. Passage birds were noted on 5th April with 28 flying S over Mill Drain Marsh, c.70 flying S on 23rd July and 12 W on 13th August. One observer (WHP) recorded high numbers during the first week of August, including 200+ over Mill Drain Marsh on the 2nd, 100 over Green Belt, 200 over Paraffin Works Cuttings and 900 feeding over Will Pits Scrape on the 4th. A further 500+ feeding over Will Pits Scrape on the 7th. First and last dates, 5th April and 16th September.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Seen throughout the summer feeding over the peat cuttings, generally in small groups of up to 30 birds. Maximum count recorded was 300+ feeding over ‘Middle Moor’ on 12th May (WHP). Birds on passage included 134 birds flying S on 10th September and 14 S on 8th October. First and last dates, 14th April and 15th October.
House Martin Delichon urbica
Generally occurs with other Hirundines, in small groups feeding over the peat cuttings. High numbers included 30+ on 9th May, 100+ over ‘Middle Moor’ on 12th May, 20 over Bell's Pond on 14th September, 61 over the Moors on 16th September and 21 on 8th October. First and last dates, 19th April and 8th October.
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
A regular summer visitor to the Moors, although not as common as in previous years. One or two pairs normally breed amongst the drier areas of the old peat cuttings. During the point count breeding bird survey there was a total count of 22 sightings compared with 41 in 1993. Birds usually arrive on the Moors towards the end of April but there was an exceptionally early date of the classic flight call heard twice from the same bird on 9th April (ML). First and last dates, 9th April and 10th September.
Meadow Pipit A. pratensis
Occurs on the Moors throughout the year. One or two birds seen during the winter followed by a gradual build up of numbers in the spring reaching a maximum of 40+ on 2nd April. A few pairs breed, but the breeding survey has indicated a drop in numbers. Nineteen sightings were made during the survey compared with 47 in 1993. Counts during the autumn increased to produce maximum numbers in September and early October before falling off to a few birds in December. High numbers in September included 46 flying W on the 3rd, 90 on the 10th and 60 and 124 on the 16th. Two hundred and seventy birds were recorded flying S on 8th October and 38 were also seen on the Moors on the 8th.
Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
Occasionally observed in either singles or small groups throughout the Moors between April and September. High counts included 12 on ‘Middle Moor’ on 29th April and nine at Will Pits Scrape on 19th August. First and last dates, 12th April and 24th September.
Grey Wagtail M. cinerea
A single bird was seen on the edge of open water near Mill Drain Marsh on 25th March.
Pied Wagtail M. alba
Seen in small numbers throughout the Moors between March and October, less so during the winter. High counts for the moors included 15 on 19th March, 20+ on 27th April, 18 on 6th August and 11 on 8th October. A surprisingly high count of 16 birds "almost all along the Swinefleet Warping Drain" was made on 10th December (ML).
White Wagtail M.a. alba, three records all of single birds on 9th April at Will Pits Scrape (RJS), 29th April at ‘Middle Moor’ (BPW) and 29th May at Shoulder o’ Mutton (RJS).
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Regularly seen and heard throughout the drier areas of the peat cuttings for most of the year. This species seems to be maintaining good numbers after the population crash in the early 1990s. High counts included 73 on 8th January, 46 on 26th February, 58 on 19th March, 97 on 9th April, 52 on 14th May, 44 on 20th August, 74 on 5th November and 95 on 27th December. During the winter months Wrens, in ones and twos were frequently seen flying from dense tussocks of Juncus effusis growing along the edges of many of the smaller drains which criss-cross the peatland (PCR). The total count for the point count breeding bird survey was 61 compared with 54 in 1994.
Hedge Accentor Prunella modularis
Recorded in all months, throughout the woodland edge of the Moors. Although sightings averaged five or six birds a combined daily count of 19 was noted on 19th November and 23 on 27th December.
Robin Erithacus rubecula
Observed all the year in areas of woodland edge and scrub, very occasionally seen amongst scrub within the peat cuttings. Counts of note included 26 on 19th February, 55 on 9th April, 50+ on 14th September and 31 on 5th November.
Rufous Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos
The distribution of singing males holding territory was again widespread around the edge of the moors. There was one pair each at Will Pits (four were heard here on 5th May), Pony Bridge Wood, scrub near Bell's Pond and on the moor edge SW of the Alder Thicket (which is a new site for this species on the moors). The very cold, raw conditions in May and June did not encourage this bird to give the long, intense musical vocalisations which observers are usually rewarded with on warm summer evenings but RS did report of a bird "giving superb views at Will Pits" on 23rd May. First and last dates, 23rd April and 30th May.
Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
One female was at Inkle Moor on 14th April, the earliest ever, one male was near Thorne colliery Spoil heap on 21st, 28th and 31st April. One female was alongside Eastern Tram near Canal 6 on 6th September, one female (juvenile) flushed from bushes near Paraffin Works Cuttings on 19th September and one female near Thorne colliery Spoil heap on 23rd September.
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
Seen in small numbers amongst the old peat cuttings of the Moors. Favourite haunts are Southern Canals, Northern Canals, and Pony Bridge Marsh. The breeding population remains stable, 46 sightings were made during the point count breeding bird survey. First and last dates, 29th April and 19th September.
Common Stonechat S. torquata
This is a regular winter visitor, occurring as ones or twos generally in Mill Drain Marsh, ‘Middle Moor’ and Pony Bridge Marsh. On 7th January, one male, one female were at Mill Drain Marsh. On 8th January 3 one female / immatures at Pony Bridge Marsh and two females / immature at Mill Drain Marsh. On 14th January, one male and one female at Pony Bridge Marsh. On 4th February, one male and one female at Mill Drain Marsh. On 5th February, one male and two females at Mill Drain Marsh. On 9th February, one male and one female in scrub alongside Mill Drain. On 18th February, one male and one female at Mill Drain Marsh. On 8th March two females along Northern Path. On 22nd May, one female near Will Pits Scrape. On 17th September, one male at ‘Middle Moor’. On 22nd October, one male and one female at ‘Middle Moor’ and two males and one female at Mill Drain Marsh. On 18th November, one male and one female at Pony Bridge Marsh. On 19th November, one male and one female at ‘Middle Moor’ and one male at Pony Bridge Marsh. On 21st November, one female near Northern Path. On 25th November, one male near Creykes and one male at Mill Drain Marsh. On 26th November, one male and one female at ‘Middle Moor’ and one female at Mill Drain Marsh. On 3rd December, one female at Mill Drain Marsh. On 10th December one male near Will Pits Scrape. On 11th December, one female at Mill Drain Marsh. On 27th December, one female at Mill Drain Marsh.
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Regular sightings of birds on both spring and autumn passage were reported. Generally observations were of one or two birds but numbers did reach four or five on several occasions. Interesting records included: one on Thorne colliery Spoil heap on 26th March, five males on peat stacks near Shoulder o’ Mutton on 22nd April. An immature bird near ‘Middle Moor’ Tram and Mill Drain on 16th June, several sightings of immatures passing through during July, two near Shoulder o’ Mutton on 10th September and an immature on Thorne colliery Spoil heap on 13th October.
Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus
Eight sightings, all in April, single males, possibly the same bird, on the 7th, 16th, 25th, 27th and 28th, on Thorne colliery Spoil heap and the edge of the recreation ground behind the Colliery. Single males again possibly the same bird were seen in the ‘Green Belt’ area on 29th-30th April. A female was seen in the Swinefleet Warping Drain and Blackwater Dyke area on 30th April.
Blackbird T. merula
Recorded all year, particularly from the edge of the Moors amongst woodland and scrub. Maximum winter counts were 17 on 1st and 8th January, 10 on 19th February, 14 on 19th March, 15 on 23rd October, 30 on 5th and 26th November, 30+ on 11th December, 60+ on 25th December and 55+ (including some roosting birds) on 27th December.
Fieldfare T. pilaris
Numbers of birds flighting to roost have not been as high as in previous years, numbers reached two or three hundred birds on 1st January with 300+, 250+ on 3rd and 11th February although a 1000+ birds were seen going to roost on 17th December in the Southern Canals area. Most other records were of up to fifty birds in flocks flying to roost, although there were sightings of several hundred birds (max 1000+ on 27th December) flighting over the Moors and associated with roosts. Last and first dates, 16th April and 21st October.
Song Thrush T. philomelos
One or two birds seen most months in woodland on the edge of the moors near Inkle Moor, Bells Pond and Will Pits. Six birds were reported from Will Pits on 21st May.
Redwing T. iliacus
The main passage of birds was noted from 21st October to 2nd November when flocks of several hundred passed over the Moors in either a S or W direction. A maximum count of c.760 birds was seen mostly flying W on 21st October (WHP). Last and first dates, 2nd April and 21st October.
Mistle Thrush T. viscivorus
Most sightings were of single birds along the W edge of the Moors particularly in the vicinity of Thorne Colliery, Bells Pond and Inkle Moor. A pair nested next to Thorne colliery in an electricity sub-station. One was seen in Pony Bridge Wood on 26th February and two flew overhead on September. Small groups of adult and immature birds were recorded during September and October. A maximum of 16 was noted on 16th October near Inkle Moor and two elsewhere gave a total of 18.
Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia
Reeling birds were heard in the area of Inkle Moor, Paraffin Works Cuttings, Bell's Pond, Mill Drain Marsh, Will Pits and along the edge of the Warping Drain bordering Crowle Moor. Maximum of five birds were heard on the Moors on 30th April and 6th May, seven on 5th May and six on 7th July. First and last dates, 14th April and 18th September.
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
The main haunt for this warbler continues to be along the W edge of the Moors from Inkle Moor to Bell's Pond and occasionally in the area of Southern Canals. A maximum of 17 was recorded for the moors on 5th May. First and last dates, 23rd April and 14th September.
Reed Warbler A. scirpaceus
One or two birds regularly seen and heard in an area between Inkle Moor, Bell's Pond and the N path of the Southern Canals. Ten birds were recorded on 6th May between Inkle Moor and the Paraffin Works Cuttings (BPW). First and last dates, 30th April and 14th September.
Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
Single birds occasionally reported from the W fringes of the Moors, three were noted on 5th May. First and last dates, 29th April and 14th September.
Common Whitethroat S. communis
This species is widespread throughout the drier, open scrub areas of the Moors. A Moors count on 5th May produced 51 birds and a total count of 87 birds was made during the breeding bird survey. First and last dates, 14th April and 24th September.
Garden Warbler S. borin
Widespread throughout the Moors but occurs only as ones and twos during the summer months. A pair was regularly seen along the Rhododendron Path during May and a maximum of eleven birds was counted on the Moors on 14th May. First and last dates, 16th April and 19th August.
Blackcap S. atricapilla
More commonly heard than seen, favouring areas of woodland and dense scrub throughout the moors. Ten were recorded on 14th and 21st May, although numbers have been only a few birds. First and last dates, 13th April and 25th November (in scrub near Bell's Pond. BPW)
Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Widely distributed throughout the woodland and scrub fringes of the Moors. Regularly heard singing during the early summer months and occasional snatches of song may be heard later in the year. One bird was heard singing near Bell's Pond on 30th September. A maximum of 18+ was noted on the Moors on 8th April. There were nine records of single Chiffchaffs being seen during October. First and last dates, 10th March and 18th November.
Willow Warbler P. trochilus
This species is common throughout the moors, regularly seen and heard during the summer. A maximum of 100+ was noted on 16th April (WHP). First and last dates, 8th April and 23rd September.
Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Occasionally seen during the winter months, generally mixed in with titmice and finches. Ten were seen on 7th January, and up to twenty birds were recorded from mid October to mid November. Eight were seen in one flock along the Canal Tow Path on 26th November. The only April record was of a single bird on the 9th.
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
Apart from one record of a single bird on the edge of Goole Moor on 21st May all other records were of sightings during August and September of birds passing through the Moors. Four were seen near Bell's Pond on 26th August. First and last dates, 21st May and 14th September.
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Frequently seen during the winter and autumn, less so between April and July. Sightings in winter were generally of roving flocks of birds, accompanied by titmice, finches and the occasional Goldcrest. A maximum of 17 were seen in one flock near Woodpecker Corner on 15th January and the highest Moors counts were 30+ on 7th January, 14th September and 28th October, 31+ on 24th December and 38 on 27th December.
Willow Tit Parus montanus
Recorded most months, usually of small numbers of birds scattered throughout the moors. It is assumed that the resident population of two or three pairs increases three or four-fold during the autumn and winter by an influx of birds passing through the moors. Records indicate that autumn numbers are higher than winter ones. Maximum count was 14+ on 9th November.
Blue Tit P. caeruleus
Similar pattern to Willow Tit. Recorded most months with the highest numbers noted during the autumn and winter months. High counts included 40+ on 7th January, 65 mainly in Will Pits on 5th March and 25+ on 7th December.
Great Tit P. major
Recorded throughout the year. Numbers on the Moors generally reach 10-12 birds, high counts included 25 on 9th November and 20 on 11th December. A flock of 40 birds was seen in scrub at Pony Bridge Marsh on 7th January (WHP) and the total for the day on the moors was 45.
Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris
Single birds were seen at Inkle Moor on 3rd January, Will Pits on 19th February, Will Pits on 25th March, Inkle Moor on 11th December and S moor edge on 27th December.
Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor
A single bird was seen on 12th November in birch scrub alongside Mill Drain just W of Will Pits (BPW). The bird was watched for almost half an hour, flying along the birch catching insects and also landing on adjacent peat to pick up food items. Last recorded on 26th March 1989.
Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
One or two birds generally seen throughout the year except during mid summer, either flying over the Moors or roving along the Moors edge. Up to three birds were seen in the Bell's Pond area during November.
Magpie Pica pica
Recorded throughout the year, either as singles over the Moors or roving groups of birds generally in the vicinity of Woodpecker Corner to Inkle Moor. Records seem to show that numbers are on the increase, particularly during the winter months. High counts included 30 on the moors on 5th February, 25 on 4th March, up to 25 throughout October along the W fringes and 20 on 25th November. Two records of particular note, both at Woodpecker Corner were a group of 30 birds going to roost on 22nd January (RS) and a group of 42 birds in a stand of dead birch on 1st October (BPW).
Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula
Occasionally seen flying over the Moors. One flew NNW on 5th March, two flying W and two near Elmhirst Pumping Station on 1st April. One near Thorne colliery Spoil heap and one over ‘Middle Moor’ on 9th April, one S over Woodpecker Corner on 14th May, one S on 16th September, one in a field near Paraffin Works Cuttings, then flew W on 15th October. November records were two S with Crows on the 5th, one or more heard in S fields, with Crows on the 12th and three E over the Moors on the 18th.
Rook C. frugilegus
Very occasionally observed with other Corvids. One was calling near Woodpecker Corner on 4th March. Singles flew overhead at Thorne colliery wasteland near Inkle Moor and at Will Pits on 19th March. One was with flock of Carrion Crows near Mill Drain Marsh on 10th April, two S over Thorne colliery on 16th April, one over Will Pits Scrape on 23rd April, one SSE over Inkle Moor on 5th May and four flying E over Bell's Pond on 16th September.
Carrion Crow C. corone
Recorded most months; numbers fluctuating from a few birds during the summer months to several hundred as they flight to gather on bare peat near ‘Middle Moor’ and Shoulder o’ Mutton. Counts of roosting birds rarely exceeded a hundred, 120+ was noted on 22nd October and 200+ on 8th and 22nd of October and 12th November were recorded.
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Small numbers infrequently observed flying over the Moors during most months but sightings are normally associated with the surrounds of Thorne colliery buildings and wasteland. Numbers of birds do usually increase during the autumn particularly October with the movement of local birds going to roost. There is also an influx of passage birds of either British or Continental stock. Large numbers of birds were recorded at the end of October, the majority flying in a S to W direction. High counts were on 22nd October when observers noted a movement of birds reaching a maximum of c.980 overhead going W.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Very occasionally recorded between the E edge of Thorne colliery and the boundary of the moors. One female was observed to fly from Elmhirst Pump over Woodpecker Corner towards Bell's Pond area on 7th January.
Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Recorded all months but sightings are generally associated with birds either feeding in small flocks on the edge of arable fields adjacent to the moors or those flighting to roost. Numbers of birds in flocks were not exceptional, generally between ten and twenty. High counts of roosting birds were c.170 in Pony Bridge Wood on 28th January and c.100 leaving a roost near Bell's Pond on 4th February.
Brambling F. montifringilla
Fifty-five birds were seen in the Bell's Pond area and flew W when the fog had lifted on 21st October (RJS). On the same day other records were two more and one overhead in the same area (these may have been part of the larger flock) and on the next day 16 flew W and an injured bird was found near Bell's pond. A single bird was seen near Bell's Pond on 27th October and another bird was reported dispersing from the Thorne colliery area with Chaffinches on 5th November.
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
The scrub near Bell's Pond remains important for winter roosts or as a gathering area before flighting to a roost elsewhere on the W edge where numbers of birds may reach up to 300+. There were frequent records of flocks of up to a hundred birds flying in to roost. During the summer only one or two birds are seen either over the Moors or in the periphery woodland. On 23rd July, three (including at least one juvenile) were seen near Thorne Colliery.
Goldfinch C. carduelis
Observed most months, usually in small numbers and typically during the autumn and winter months feeding off the seed from teasel and thistle heads alongside tracks on the edge of the Moors. Ten were seen near Will Pits on 5th February, 30+ near Bell's Pond on 21st October, 19+ were noted on 19th November, 21 on 17th December and 22 on 24th December.
Siskin C. spinus
Several records of good numbers of birds either flying over or feeding amongst birch or Alder trees on the edge of the moors. One female on 3rd January 20 in Alders, on the edge of Snaith and Cowick Moor. One was with other finches near Bell's Pond. On 7th January several heard calling over the moors. On 9th January 30+ in Alder Wood. On 11th January 56+ in Alder Wood. On 15th January, two overhead. On 21st January 40+ in Alder Wood. On 22nd January 18 at Woodpecker Corner. On 28th January 40+ in Alder Wood. 29th January, one at Bell's Pond. On 4th February, 25+ flying W over Mill Drain Marsh. On 5th February, three were flying E over ‘Middle Moor’. On 19th March one male in Alder Wood. On 2nd October, six were flying S over Bell's Pond. On 13th October several were flying over Bell's Pond. On 15th October, one over the moors. On 16th October, 12+ flying S over Bell's Pond. On 19th October two were at Bell's Pond. On 21st October 13 over the moors. On 22nd October three were flying W. On 26th October 7 at Bell's Pond. On 5th November one was overhead. On 12th November several overhead. On 19th November seven were flying S near the Fire Watch Tower near the Swinefleet Warping Drain and seven along Canal Tow Path.
Linnet C. cannabina
Observed throughout the year, generally of a few birds flying over the Moors. The occasional small group of adults and immatures may be seen during late summer but numbers can build up to 50+ from August to the end of October. High counts included 40+ on Thorne colliery Spoil heap on 21st July, 100+ near Bell's Pond on 19th September and c.130 at the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 5th November.
Common Redpoll C. flammea
Observed every month. Winter flocks reached a maximum of 200+ birds flying E overhead on 7th December and there were numerous sightings from observers of flocks of birds averaging 40+ flying to roost or feeding in the tops of birch trees, c.120 on Gossip's/King's Moor on 1st January. Summer records were of one or two birds flying or calling over the abandoned peat cuttings.
Mealy Redpoll C. flammea flammea
There were two reports of sightings of these finches, both in November. Eight were seen feeding in scrub near Shoulder o’ Mutton on the 23rd (WHP, BPW) and several were reported to have been seen with other Redpolls on the 25th again near Shoulder o’ Mutton. They could have been the same birds as those seen on the 23rd.
Arctic Redpoll C. flammea
A single bird depicting the characteristics of this species was reported, with Common Redpolls in Pony Bridge Wood on 17th December (RJS). Not submitted.
Common Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Singles or small groups of birds were occasionally seen throughout the year usually in the woodland around the edge of the moors. Interesting records included 13 on the moors on 1st January, 10+ in the Alder Wood on 21st January, and nine on 18th November. A possible Continental Race of the Northern Bullfinch was reported by BPW on 19th February in scrub near Inkle Moor. This male bird was very brightly coloured, the pink breast almost red and the white wing bar distinctive and broad compared with the typical species and the call was an unusual double note. Another bird of similar characteristics was observed by BPW on 27th December. Details of both sightings were rejected by the Y.N.U. Ornithological Section.
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
Small numbers are generally seen or heard during the summer but sightings increase in the autumn with flocks of birds feeding on the edge of arable fields bordering the Moors. The area around Bell's Pond always attracts Yellowhammers during the winter period, 20 were seen there on 19th November and 30 were noted on 7th January.
Reed Bunting E. schoeniclus
Occasionally seen during the winter months but small numbers of breeding birds return by the end of March, maximum counts were 18 on 25th February and 21 on 2nd April. A total of 59 birds were counted during the breeding bird survey.
List of Observers
Richard Atterby, Peter Baxter, Godfrey Davidson, Clive Featherstone, Steve Hiner, John Hitchcock, Colin Howes, Jim Johnson, Helen Kirk, Martin Limbert, William H. Priestley, Colin Rook, George Roworth, Janet M. Roworth, Peter C. Roworth, Richard J. Sprakes, Bryan P. Wainwright.
Thanks are extended to Martin limbert, Janet M. Roworth and Bryan P. Wainwright, who commented and suggested amendments to the early draft of this report.