Bird Records For Thorne Moors 1996
Compiled by Bryan P. Wainwright
The following names are taken from the ‘British Birds’ List of English Names of Western Palearctic Birds, 1993, British Birds Ltd
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Single birds generally heard ‘whinneying’ and occasionally seen on the Paraffin Works Cuttings during most months from March to September. A single juvenile was seen in the same area on 12th September and later in the month on the 22nd an adult and juvenile were seen together.
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Sightings were generally of birds flying over the moors; these were two N on 31st March, six flying E on 5th May and one ENE on the 28th, three NW on 3rd August and a single bird flying E on 8th September. Two birds landed briefly at Will Pits Scrape, then flew off to the S on 21st April; one bird was smaller than the other having a white head typical of the Continental race P.c. sinensis (ML, RJS, BPW).
Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris
A single bird was flushed from the path at the Paraffin Works and was then seen flying over a drain and willows Salix to land amongst Phragmites at the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 28th January (BPW, RJS). It was seen again in the same area on the 31st (AH).
Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
One flushed on an evening in June, in the colliery area (ND, AZ).
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Recorded every month, but much less so in breeding months. Most sightings are of one or two birds only but with occasionally three or four birds noted especially in August, with the maximum being six on the 25th. Birds are mostly seen around the W edge of the moors and at Bell's Pond where, as well as feeding, birds have been seen to roost at the top of trees. An immature bird feeding here was noted to catch six sticklebacks in five minutes on 5th April.
Mute Swan Cygnus olor
Two adults flew NW over Goole Moor on 14th January. Probably the same birds later flew SW then NW over Middle Moor at dusk. Two adults and one juvenile were at Will Pits Scrape on 22nd April, and two birds flew E over the Southern Canals on 7th May.
Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus
Only one record this year of five birds, four adults and one immature, going S over Bell's Pond late afternoon on 26th December.
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus
Two birds were disturbed from Will Pits Scrape and flew NW to Goole Fields on 11th April, and four flew NE but circled SW in a big loop on 12th October. On 23rd December two flew W over Shoulder o’ Mutton.
On 13th January c.20 swans flew over Crowle Moor, but were very distant. On 24th March an unidentified swan flew over Will Pits. Twelve swans flew over Will Pits on the morning of 20th April.
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus
A skein of 150+ were seen flying low and going E over Bell's Pond on 7th January, 26 flew S over Bell's Pond on the 10th and three with one Barnacle Goose flew N over the Southern Canals on the 14th. Four skeins seen on 23rd February, all flying NW, included 120, 50, 180, and 130 birds. On 24th March various observers saw skeins of 120 birds flying N, followed by 67 birds flying N and landing on Goole Fields around midday, and 170+ flying N W, which was possibly the two groups together. Three skeins (170+, 47, 126) on 31st March, 300+ flew E over Goole Fields on 30th October, and 26 S on 29th December.
Greylag Goose Anser anser
Seven went SE over Green Belt on 1st February, and two on the 3rd went over Mill Drain Marsh, on 24th March three were on the Paraffin Works Cuttings and two of these were later seen in a field NW of there. On the 31st two were on Green Belt and four were on the Paraffin Works Cuttings. There were regular sightings throughout April of up to 4 birds at Will Pits Scrape and the Paraffin Works Cuttings. On 5th May two flew over the Moors and seven were seen at the Paraffin Works Cuttings, on the 8th nine were at Will Pits Scrape and on 12th, 13th and 19th there were up to four at the Paraffin Works Cuttings. There was only one mid-summer record, four flew SE on 8th June. All records were of single figures except the last of the year, which was a skein of 14 flying E over the Moors on 12th September.
Canada Goose Branta canadensis
A lone bird flew over the Paraffin area on 3rd March and one flew NE over Green Belt on 31st. On 5th April two went over Inkle Moor and three were seen at the Paraffin Works Cuttings with three (possibly the same birds) flying E over the Moors. Two were at the Paraffin Works Cuttings on the 8th and 14th. A white ringed bird was seen at the Paraffin Works Cuttings on the 21st, and on the 28th there was an interesting record of a Canada Goose feeding on the flowers of an overhanging Salix whilst on the Paraffin Works Cuttings. Sightings of probably the same bird flying over Paraffin area NW and over Shoulder o’ Mutton and landing on Goole Moor on 5th May. There were 22 SSE on 5th June and three E on the 9th and one S over the Southern Canals on the 12th.
Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis
An addition to the Moors list. On 14th January four geese flew N over the Southern Canals at about 15m high, three were Pink-feet and one was a Barnacle Goose (BPW). Three were then seen on the evening of 3rd February first going E but then S and ESE over the moors (WHP, RJS, BPW). An individual was picked out from a skein of 126 Pink-feet late on the evening of 31st March as they flew over the Pit (RJS, BPW).
Brent Goose Branta bernicla
An addition to the Moors list. A single bird flew NNW low by the watchtower and behind the trees of Will Pits on 19th May (WHP). Racial status not ascertained.
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
One flew W over Shoulder o’ Mutton and then landed, on 25th February. Two birds were seen to fly off Will Pits Scrape E, and two were seen flying and down at Mill Drain Marsh on 7th April. One went over the Paraffin Works Cuttings and a pair was later seen at Will Pits Scrape on the 14th, with three pairs at Will Pits Scrape and one pair at Shoulder o’ Mutton on 17th. One or two birds and occasionally three or four were frequently seen in these areas from these dates until 16th June. Higher counts for May were 10 on the 21st at Will Pits Scrape, and for June, five at Will Pits Scrape on the 5th, two at the Shoulder o’ Mutton, four at Will Pits Scrape on the 7th and five there on the 16th.
Common Teal Anas crecca
Numbers will gradually increase at the start of the year if the water is ice-free but will drop suddenly if it freezes over. January started with figures of less than ten birds but built up to around 100 at the end of the month. February's numbers varied but there were generally 50 to 100 birds. By March numbers were more settled, with many birds on the Paraffin Works Cuttings. Numbers were low generally for April with often only 20 to 30 birds recorded. Between 5 and 12 pairs were observed in May and June, and July counts were under twenty. August counts were mostly in single figures but reaching double figures five times. During September numbers struggled to reach above 20, and numbers were between 10 and 20 for October. In November all records apart from one were of single figure counts. December saw only single figure counts.
Maximum monthly counts were: January 110, February 100+, March 130, April 60, May 25, June 11, July 15, August 40, September 40, October 22, November 35, December 10.
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Recorded every month. Numbers extremely variable with highest counts at the start of the year and falling gradually to around 20 birds observed in the breeding season. Numbers climbed again, boosted by young ducks, and in August there were around 50 to 100 birds with 130 on the 30th, but numbers fell throughout October to around 50 birds. By the years end numbers were very low, especially when it was freezing, but about 80 birds could nearly always be found in fields just to the S of the Moors.
Maximum monthly counts were: January 70, February 80, March 70, April 21, May 17, June 26, July 6, August 86, September c200, October 66, November 9, December 120.
Garganey Anas querquedula
One drake was present for two days, 7th and 8th May, at Will Pits Scrape (PCR, JR).
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
A pair was recorded on 4th June at Will Pits Scrape. The other sightings concerned a female seen at the Paraffin Works Cuttings on four dates, on 29th August, on 12th and 30th September, and finally on 11th October.
Common Pochard Aythya ferina
A drake was first seen at the Paraffin Works Cuttings and later at Bell's Pond on 19th January. A female was seen at the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 15th March, and a drake was seen on the 24th at the same place.
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
One or two pairs regularly observed throughout March, April and May. Other records involved three drakes on 30th March, six drakes and one duck at the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 2nd June. One drake flying towards the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 2nd September, one (sex uncertain) was there on the 8th, and a duck and drake were seen flying there from Bell's Pond on the 21st of that month.
Common Eider Somateria mollissima
An addition to the moors list. A flock of 13 flew over the Shoulder o’ Mutton going SE on 10th January. There were five drakes, the rest were immatures or females; they were first picked up by their call (WHP).
Goosander Mergus merganser
Rarely seen down on the water of the Moors, one drake was disturbed off flooded peat workings at the Shoulder o’ Mutton on 16th February, it flew NW (PCR). On 25th March two males and one female flew low over the Paraffin Works Cuttings going NE. One male and one female were disturbed off Goole Moor on 29th November, and four males and one female flew NE on the morning of 29th December with one flying W on the same afternoon.
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
One drake on the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 5th May (ML,RJS).
European Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus
One flew over the edge of the Moors near Will Pits on 12th July (JmcL). One was seen flying W over the Moors on 17th September (PCR).
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
Sightings have increased over previous years.
Observed on the following dates:
03rd February 1 immature male with cream-crown, grey underwing and other male feature
showing, Middle Moor and perched Mill Drain Marsh
20th February 1 cream-crown over Southern Canals, Mill Drain Marsh then Will Pits
29th February 1 immature no cream-crown but all dark, ‘Middle Moor’
24th March 1 cream-crown
29th March 1 male over Pony Bridge Marsh
31st March 1 male over Southern Canals and Mill Drain Marsh
05th April 1 immature male with cream-crown, Mill Drain Marsh
07th April 1 immature male with cream-crown and grey onwings, Mill Drain Marsh
28th April 1 female with some wing feathers missing and odd light brown rump, Northern Canals. 1 cream-crown ‘Middle Moor’
01st May 1 female disturbed from Will Pits Scrape
03rd May 1 immature male Mill Drain Marsh
05th May 1 cream-crown Pony Bridge Marsh. 1 imm, all dark, Shoulder o’ Mutton 1 female Mill Drain and Pony Bridge Marshes
21st May 1 female over Mill Drain Marsh
26th May 1 male over Canals and Limberlost, 1 female Middle Moor and neighbouring areas
04th June 1 cream-crown Pony Bridge Marsh
09th June 1 cream-crown with primaries missing,Canals, ‘Middle Moor’
11th July 1 imm male, showed male pattern but dark above, Pony Bridge Marsh to Casson's Garden.
28th July 2 immatures Pony Bridge Marsh, 1 had light rump
04th August 1 male 1 female, separate over Will Pits, Middle Moor and Will
05th August 1 female Mill Drain Marsh and Canals area
10th August 1 immature Green Belt to Bells
17th August 1 male, 1 female Mill Drain Marsh, soaring low
19th August 1 cream-crown over Canals
24th August 2 immatures one far behind other
27th August 1 male, 1 female over moors generally. 1 dark bird at Paraffin Cuttings may have been another bird
31st August 1 immature seen several times, carrying prey which it dropped at Will Pits
Scrape (possibly Water Vole), carried it on to eat on fields S of Crowle Moor
01st September 1 very distant over S and E side of moors at evening
02nd September 2 cream-crowns Canals and Pony Bridge Marsh
05th September 3 females over Mill Drain Marsh
07th September 2 cream-crowns - 1 over Canals with missing primaries on right wing 1 with 3 Common Kestrels, a male Merlin and an adult Peregrine Falcon, Snaithand Cowick Moor
08th September 2 cream-crowns, S end of Moors generally
12th September 1 cream-crown Canals area
14th September 1 over middle and W side of Moors. Other no details
15th September 1 immature Middle Moor and Will Pits area, at evening
21st September 1 immature all dark, no cream-crown, E side of moors
23rd September 1 cream-crown mobbed by Peregrine Falcon over Pony Bridge Marsh
28th September 1 immature Will Pits Scrape to MiddleMoor
30th September 2 cream-crowns Canals, Mill Drain and Pony Bridge Marshes
11th October 1 cream-crown Paraffin area
13th October 1 cream-crown distant over Middle Moor, Pony Bridge Marsh and then E over Crowle Moor
30th October 1 cream-crown over Will Pits going E
Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus
Observed in all winter months except November, dates were:
10th January 1 male, Will Pits and Bells
14th January 2, 1 female low Bells and Pit Tip, 1 male Middle Moor
21st January 1 male Will Pits going SW
22nd January 1 male fields at Pony Bridge Wood
27th January 2, 1 male 1 female Middle Moor
28th January 1 male Middle Moor and neighbouring areas in evening
04th February 1 female Southern Canals
06th February 1 male Pony Bridge Marsh
18th February 2, 1 male and 1 female hunting over Southern Canals late evening
29th February 1 male Will Pits Scrape and Crowle Moor
17th March 2, 1 female Southern Canals and fields, 1 male Pit Tip and fields
18th March 1 male Southern Canals late evening
24th March 2, 1 male Pony Bridge Marsh,1 female Paraffin Cuttings area
31st March 1 male Middle Moor
01st April 1 Middle Moor
06th April 1 male Bells and Pit Tip, hunting two Grey Partridges unsuccessfully, also over Mill Drain Marsh
07th April 1 male over Pit Tip and Middle Moor
13th April 1 ringtail Shoulder o’ Mutton to Will Pits
20th October 1 female Middle Moor
22nd October1 female hunting over Goole Moor, mobbed by Carrion Crows
27th October 1 male Pony Bridge Marsh to Angle Drain
30th October 1 male hunting over Middle Moor
14th December1 male Angle Drain at evening
23rd December 1 adult male
27th December1 ringtail Will Pits Scrape and Pony Bridge Marsh
29th December1 male over S half of Moors
Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis
One male was observed on three occasions by four different observers. The bird was first seen over Inkle Moor flying to the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 1st February (WHP, CF, AS). It was seen again on 3rd February coming from bushes at Bell's Pond flying towards the Paraffin Works Cuttings (RJS), and finally it was seen on 7th February near Inkle Moor (WHP).
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
Recorded every month, usually only one or two birds are seen.
Four birds were seen on 19th January, a male was seen displaying over Will Pits on 21st April and on 5th May a female was seen being mobbed by a Common Kestrel and a Eurasian Curlew! At least six birds were seen on 14th September, with four together over Crowle Moor and sightings elsewhere including Bell's Pond area. Also in September, on the 23rd one was seen being mobbed by a Peregrine Falcon. On 1st December four birds were recorded and four plus on the 27th.
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
A dark individual was seen flying high and direct ESE on 3rd February over the Pit Tip and the Moors via the Southern Canals and Pony Bridge Marsh until lost in the distance (BPW, WHP, RJS). The same dark adult was seen the following day, 4th February, over Pony Bridge Marsh, the Southern Canals and Mill Drain Marsh before heading off N (RJS). A large raptor thought to be a Common Buzzard was seen briefly over Bell's Pond area on 17th August (JH). The following evening, what was perhaps the same bird (with pale upper coverts) was seen over Mill Drain Marsh and later going NE from Pony Bridge Marsh towards Will Pits. It hovered briefly three times as it flew (BPW). Carrion Crows were seen mobbing a Common Buzzard over Will Pits on 8th September, the Buzzard eventually flying off over Crowle Moor (ML).
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Observed every month. Interesting records this year were as follows: on 21st January a male was seen carrying prey from Pony Bridge Marsh to Will Pits. Prey thought to be Field Vole Microtus agrestis was seen being carried from the Pit to Bell's Pond area on 20th July and 13th November, and a female Common Kestrel was seen with a bird kill over Shoulder o’ Mutton on 1st September. Five birds were noted on three dates, 14th July and 14th and 21st September.
Merlin Falco columbarius
Most sightings were in the winter but some other records were received, including one in May. Records as follows:
13th January 1 male low over Bell’s Pond, perched briefly then on to Middle Moor evening
21st January 1 male Mill Drain Marsh, evening
28th January 1 male fields at Bell’s to Green Belt
31st January 1 going N and over Bell’s
04th February 2 S of Shoulder o’ Mutton perched on bare peat
14th February 1 Bell’s to Southern Canals
03rd May 1 male flushed from path along Blackwater Dyke
07th September 1 male mobbing a cream-crown Marsh Harrier, also present were a Hobby a Peregrine Falcon and three Common Kestrels all at Snaith and Cowick Moor. Also possibly the same bird over Will Pits area and ‘Middle Moor’
17th September 1 male perched on ancient bog oak at Will Pits Scrape
21st September 1 over Pit Tip at Bell’s Pond
28th September 1 male flying alongside a female Peregrine, they flushed a nervous clucking Blackbird, which the Merlin deftly grabbed as it came up beneath them, but seemed to release it again to catch up with the Peregrine. Both flew to join 1 male (nearly full adult) Peregrine near Shoulder o’ Mutton. Extremely close eye level views
06th October 1 male Bells to Inkle Moor over fields
26th October 1 immature male over Jones Cable and Moorends towards Thorne Moors
22nd November 1 female Shoulder o’ Mutton
23rd December 1 male
Hobby Falco subbuteo
Hobbies were proven to be breeding in the vicinity of the moors; adults and two juveniles were regularly observed during August (PB, JJ).
21st April 1 adult NW over Shoulder o’ Mutton
24th April 1 hunting low over Pony Bridge Marsh
26th April 2 high over Crowle Moor and Will Pits
27th April 1 Green Belt to Canals
05th May 1 adult over Mill Drain Marsh, Middle Moor, and Green Belt catching flies
12th May Single birds noted at Will Pits Scrape and Canals area, thought to be the same bird
13th May 2 Pony Bridge Marsh and Canals
02nd June 1 Will Pits Scrape area
03rd June 1 adult Pony Bridge Marsh
04th June 2 Pony Bridge Marsh and Middle Moor areas
07th June 2 Pony Bridge Marsh
08th June 2 Will Pits Scrape and Middle Moor
09th June 1 drinking at Will Pits Scrape
12th June 1 over Pony Bridge Marsh
13th June 1 adult Will Pits Scrape
14th June 1 adult over Pony Bridge Marsh
16th June 2 hawking dragonflies over Pony Bridge Marsh
23rd June 3 together over Will Pits Scrape, and elsewhere
24th June 2
27th June 3 birds, one an immaculate male, hunting over Will Pits Scrape
30th June 2 at Will Pits Scrape, one of which landed on some old roots
07th July 2 adults Middle Moor and Will Pits scrape
10th July 1 adult Canals
14th July 1 adult Pony Bridge Marsh
19th July 1 W of Pony Bridge Marsh
22nd July1 adult over Middle Moor
23rd July 2+ Canals
28th July 3, two adults, one with missing primaries on both wings, one immature Canals and other areas
02nd August 1 adult over Southern Canals
03rd August 1 immature Crowle Moor to Middle Moor
04thAugust 1 Will Pits Scrape to Crowle Moor
17th August 1 second-year bird, Southern Canals
25th August 2 possibly 3, Rawcliffe Moor circling and calling incessantly over an immature Peregrine Falcon
31st August 1 adult N over Bells late evening
01st September 2 with Common Kestrels going highN over Goole Moor
02nd September 1 juvenile Canals
07th September 1 adult with other raptors, Snaith and Cowick Moor
10th September 1 juvenile male flying from Goole fields to Rawcliffe Moor
14th September 2+ moors generally, and at one time seen with at least four Common Kestrels
15th September 1 adult perched at Mill Drain Marsh, evening time
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Regular sightings of birds throughout the year:
10th January 1 juvenile flying over Will Pits Scrape and Will Pits
21st January 1 male mobbing an immature Great Black-backed Gull, N Green Belt
22nd January 2, 1 going N from Shoulder o’ Mutton, 1 briefly at Bell’s Pond
28th January 1 female Shoulder o’ Mutton and Goole Moor
03rd February 2, 1 adult male Canals. 1 female flying very fast high and low possibly,
Creyke and Goole Moor
04th February 1 female Goole Moor
11th February 1 Middle Moor
15th February 3, two adults, 1 juv flying around and calling over Will Pits
25th February 1 male and 1 female Goole Moor. Also one bird at Casson's Garden
03rd March 1 female flying about Will Pits Scrape
15th March 1 adult female Shoulder o’ Mutton, on peat mound
17th March 1 male over Pit Tip and S fields
24th March 1 male, over Mill Drain Marsh
25th March 1 female persistently mobbed a Lesser Black-backed Gull until it landed on bare peat near Paraffin area
30th March1 male Goole Moor feeding on freshly killed pigeon
31st March 2, 1 male over Goole Moor, and separately 1 female in the same area flying low and fast W
05th April 1 N of Fison’s Road
07th April 1 imm moors generally
13th April 1 adult male, mobbed by gulls Will Pits Scrape
14th April 1 adult male circled low over Green Belt and landed near flooded workings before flying off high N
17th April 1 male in pursuit of Common Teal over Midddle Moor
24th April 1 adult male Shoulder o’ Mutton to Southern Canals
26th April 1 male over area W of Shoulder o’ Mutton
26th May 1 at flood water NW of Shoulder o’ Mutton
28th July 1 male Shoulder o’ Mutton
24th August 1 probably female Goole Moor
25th August 1 juvenile hunting then perched in a tree on Rawcliffe Moor
29th August 1 juvenile female hunting Pony Bridge Marsh
01st September 1 juvenile near water N of road then perched on a sleeper pile, before flying and landing at Shoulder o’ Mutton
05th September 1 male Will Pits Scrape to Middle Moor
07th September 1 juvenile Snaith and Cowick Moor with other raptors
08th September 2, 1 juvenile over Pony Bridge Marsh then chasing a feral pigeon over Paraffin area and Goole Moor. 1 male flew from Middle Moor to Will Pits and then the Scrape where he tried unsuccessfully to attack Meadow Pipits
14th September 1 adult male, also probably the same bird Pony Bridge Marsh
23rd September 3, 2 females and 1 imm over Pony Bridge Marsh and Will Pits Scrape
28th September 2, 1 male disturbed from pools N of road flew to W of Shoulder o’ Mutton, 1 female with Merlin flew from Mill Drain Marsh to same place
05th October 1 male stood on bare peat W of Will Pits Scrape
11th October 1 male Bells to Woodpecker Corner
13th October 2, 1 male chasing female over Will Pits in swooping follow the leader, display-like flight
19th October 1 female over Goole Moor
27th October 1 male Middle Moor to Will Pits
22nd November 3, 2 over Shoulder o’ Mutton, 1 adult male over Will Pits Scrape
01st December 1 or 2, a male over Southern Canals and one after feral pigeons Goole Fields near Swinefleet Warping Drain
Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
Observed every month except November, usually in small groups of one to four and occasionally six. Higher counts were as follows: Eight at Mill Drain Marsh on 28th January and 4th February, ten on 6th October at Snaith and Cowick Moor and 22 on the 13th and 10 on 21st October, and 12 were seen on 22nd December.
Grey Partridge Perdix perdix
Recorded every month, often in larger groups than Red-legged. On ten occasions groups with more than ten birds were seen this year. Bell's Pond and the Pit Tip were favoured areas for this species, along with another area right in the centre of the Moors, around Middle Moor. On 28th January 21 birds were seen at or near Bell's Pond and Middle Moor, and on 3rd February c15 birds were seen in small groups around the Paraffin and Bell's Pond areas and adjacent fields. Young birds were noted on two dates; an adult with an uncounted number of young on 10th July at Mill Drain Marsh, and five immatures on Middle Moor on 17th August. At Shoulder o’ Mutton and Goole Moor 16+ birds were noted on 2nd September, and 25-30 also on Goole Moor on 1st December and 25 on 27th December.
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
Observed most visits, often in large numbers, with above 20 counts not uncommon. On 17th November c.60 were counted, 35 were seen on fields near Crowle Moor on the 23rd and 55 on 1st December.
Water Rail Rallus aquaticus
A drop in records this year as follows:
01st January 1 Will Pits
10th January 1 calling Bell's Pond
31st January 1 possibly 2, Bell's Pond
07th June 1 calling Pony Bridge Marsh
02nd September 2+ calling Bell's Pond
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
A common bird widely spread over the Moors, sometimes seen in large numbers, especially in main drains on the moors edges. The highest counts were 16 on 25th February, 10 on 10th March, and 13 on 8th April.
Common Coot Fulica atra
An annual breeding bird in small numbers. The areas for this bird are Inkle Moor Pond and the Paraffin Works Cuttings and to a lesser extent Will Pits Scrape and Mill Drain Marsh. Two were seen on 5th May, one at the Paraffin Works Cuttings and one at Will Pits Scrape. Three-plus were seen on 10th May (two adults plus young). All other sightings were of single birds. Not seen in winter.
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
Only two records for this species this year; a single bird landed at floodwater S of Shoulder o’ Mutton on 12th May (ML) and on 10th June one bird was seen down at Shoulder o’ Mutton (WHP).
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
Maximium counts were at Shoulder o’ Mutton with 10 there on 21st April and two plus birds on Rawcliffe Moor and two at Will Pits Scrape. Eight were seen again at Shoulder o’ Mutton on 5th May and also one at Will Pits Scrape. Nine were seen at Will Pits Scrape on 7th May and in the same area five adults and three young seen on 1st July. Young were observed fairly regularly but three was the most on any day. First and last dates were 31st March - 17th August.
Great Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Both maximium counts were at Shoulder o’ Mutton on 21st April and 13th May with four birds. As well as frequenting Will Pits Scrape and flooded workings near Shoulder o’ Mutton, they were also seen in the colliery yard compound where they are known to have bred in previous years but breeding was not proven this year. A bird was also heard over Pony Bridge Marsh. First and last dates were 24th March - 31st August.
Dotterel Charadrius morinellus
One juvenile was on bare peat W of Shoulder o’ Mutton on 24th August, giving views as close as three metres but gradually moving away to 15+ metres, it did not fly however and was still visible from a long way off some time later (BPW, RJS). This is the first autumn record for the Moors. Two adults were heard, then seen flying low and climbing N over Shoulder o’ Mutton on 7th September (RJS, BPW).
European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria
Generally observed in single numbers this year, with only one record of a single bird down on the moors, at Shoulder o’ Mutton on 10th January. Other records were fly-overs with double figures on 25th February with 10 in S fields and 24 N on 24th March.
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
A bird flew over Shoulder o’ Mutton then landed and when flushed flew off NE on 11th February. A bird was seen again there on 7th April, it flew off N. Again at flooded workings S of Shoulder o’ Mutton on 7th June a bird coming into summer plumage was seen.
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
In January, two birds at the Shoulder o’ Mutton on 5th and 53 over on 7th, six were again at Shoulder o’ Mutton on 10th, and 79 were there on 21st, as well as 92 moving W. Twenty-four flew S on 22nd and 11 hunched down in wind at Shoulder o’ Mutton, and 100+ in S fields on 29th. Nine were seen on 9th February and one went SSW and one was flushed near Shoulder o’ Mutton on 11th, 94 W on 25th. Floodwaters held 15 on 1st March and 100+ at Will Pits Scrape on 10th, and c.50 were with Black-headed Gulls going E on 23rd, several groups totalling over 100 in all directions were noted on 24th and finally one over the moors on 31st. April saw low numbers (less than four) throughout the month and nearly all were at Will Pits Scrape, suggesting breeding. Between one and four birds were seen at Shoulder o’ Mutton occasionally through April and May also, this low number trend continued through the summer with a maximum of seven birds at Will Pits Scrape on 8th July. Young birds seen there totalled one on 14th and 15th July only. Birds flying over in summer were six W on 15th July and 140 NW on 30th. In August low numbers remained with more birds flying over, 16 flew over on the 4th and c182 were present in S fields on the 27th. There were no records for September and October. The 23rd November saw 29 W, and on 8th December three were flushed from water on the Pit Tip.
Little Stint Calidris minuta
On 26th September two were seen feeding on the edge of the water at Will Pits Scrape (PCR, JR).
Dunlin Calidris alpina
25th February 1 calling overhead near Shoulder o’ Mutton
24th March 3 Shoulder o’ Mutton
08th April 1 winter plumage near Shoulder o’ Mutton
17th April 1 Shoulder o’ Mutton
21st April 15, 12 Will Pits Scrape, 3 near Shoulder o’ Mutton coming into summer plumage
28th April 1 near Shoulder o’ Mutton coming into summer plumage
05th May 2 on peat NW Shoulder o’ Mutton coming into summer plumage
19th May 1 Shoulder o’ Mutton
26th May 1 over Shoulder o’ Mutton
24th July 1 summer, Will Pits
21st September 8 flying E over Bells
Ruff Philomachus pugnax
On 7th September a single bird flew in low from the E as if to land at Will Pits Scrape, and went back the same way (BPW, RJS).
Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus
One bird was flushed from Bell's Pond on 28th January and another was flushed from Shoulder o’ Mutton on 30th March. The final record was of a bird flushed off Middle Moor Tram at Mill Drain Marsh on 27th October.
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
In the first half of the year numbers never exceeded four, with this number only reached on two dates, 7th and 8th April. Birds were seen displaying over the Southern Canals on 26th May, 21st June (2) and 20th July, also on the 20th over New Cut area and Mill Drain Marsh. Three came into Will Pits Scrape and one was at Mill Drain Marsh on 3rd August, with five there and two at Will Pits Scrape on the 17th, five went E on 26th, four went over Paraffin area on 7th September, five on Southern Canals on 14th, and four on 22nd, and nine SE on 12th October with another nine flushed from Angle Drain on 30th. Two records for November, one on the 3rd, and one on the 13th near Mill Drain, and two records for December, one was on the 1st next to the road near Mill Drain Marsh, and the other at Green Belt Scrape on the 22nd.
Woodcock Scolopax rusticola
All records were singles, except 1st January when two were in Will Pits, and 3 on 21st. Birds were roding on 26th April over Will Pits and single birds were seen here and at Crowle Moor in June and one was seen near Middle Moor on 13th July. One flew up from an old Hawthorn hedge on Inkle Moor on 23rd November and another was seen on the 17th and a single at the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 22nd. One December record was of a single bird at Bell's Pond in the late evening.
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
On 28th January one bird flew low over Green Belt going NNE (BPW).
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Five sightings, the first of eight birds flying low and calling, coming from NE over Will Pits Scrape on 21st April (ML, RS, BPW). There was an interesting record of 13 landed birds at floods at Shoulder o’ Mutton on 19th May (WHP). One was at Will Pits Scrape on 2nd June (PCR), one heard only in direction of Will Pits Scrape on 5th August (WHP), and lastly three going NW and calling fairly high on the evening 18th August (BPW).
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata
Passage birds started in mid March, and by the 31st three birds were counted over Shoulder o’ Mutton going NW and three also were noted flying over the moors on 5th April and two on 20th and 21st, and 12th May. Through the summer generally only one bird was recorded with possibly two on only two dates. None were recorded in July and there were only single birds in August on four dates. September saw four birds on the 7th only, and the last sighting was at the end of October of a single bird. First and last dates were dates were 18th March and 30th October.
Common Redshank Tringa totanus
Most records were of single birds, the first was one bird on 10th January, one was near Shoulder o’ Mutton on 1st March, with two there and one overhead on the 24th. Three at Will Pits Scrape on 24th May were followed by two there on 7th June. Single birds were seen in July and August. The last record was of a bird heard in fog over Goole Moor on 10th November.
Greenshank Tringa nebularia
An exceptional year for this species on the Moors. First heard calling from Bell's Pond on 10th June, this area became a favourite spot in the following months. August had many sightings with two or three birds seen often, higher exceptions were three off Bell's Pond and one at Will Pits Scrape on the 17th and three at Will Pits Scrape on the 19th and 27th. Between 7-9 birds were seen on the 31st with five trying to land at Bell's Pond and two on flood water near Shoulder o’ Mutton with two down at Bell's Pond much later on. Between 5-7 birds with one at Bell’s Pond, five coming in and landing at the Paraffin Works Cuttings and three at Elmhirst pump on 1st August. Four were down on Bell's Pond on 12th September and one was present at Will Pits Scrape on 22nd November.
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
A good first record for the year was a single bird at Bell's Pond on 28th January. Many records through the year were of only one or two birds; the next record was one on 26th April, and then 16th June, both again at Bell's Pond. Three were noted on 7th July at Will Pits Scrape and this number was maintained through the month increasing to four on the 20th. By 8th August seven were recorded at Bell's Pond and between 7-9 were seen on the 17th with one at Bell's Pond and a small flock of 6-8 off Will Pits Scrape. The last two were seen on Bell's Pond on 31st August.
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
A single record this year for a bird seen on 12th-14th of May. The bird was first seen at floodwater NW of the Shoulder o’ Mutton on the 12th which then flew to Will Pits Scrape, and from then on at Will Pits Scrape only (ML, WHP, PCR).
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
One record of a single bird on 26th May at Will Pits Scrape (ML).
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
Numbers were very low until the middle of March, with often less than ten. Numbers steadily built up from then on, interest in breeding areas was shown as early as the end of February whenc18 birds were loafing and calling over Will Pits Scrape and 300+ over Mill Drain Marsh by the end of March. Up to 1200 were seen, on 21st April at Will Pits Scrape but this was exceptional, usual counts were more between 1-400 birds. Birds did attempt to breed in small numbers at Will Pits Scrape as noted on 3rd May when c.800 birds were present with some on nests, but no birds were present on the successful breeding area of last year at Mill Drain Marsh. Broken eggshells were noted at Will Pits Scrape on 13th May but by the end of the month there was only one sitting bird left. By June there were no signs of breeding and eggshells were again found. The rapidly falling water level may have been to blame for the unsuccessful breeding, however water remained at a good depth throughout the summer at Mill Drain Marsh, so their failure to utilise this area is a mystery. With the abandoned breeding, birds rapidly deserted the Moors and from June numbers dropped drastically, when 20 was a good count. Occasionally larger numbers overflew the moors with 27 high going W on 12th July, and 350 on 27th August. October saw highs of 58 S on the 20th and 60+ in S fields on the 26th. The only number of note in November was 20 on the 3rd and the December high was three.
Common Gull Larus canus
Usually observed in numbers less than ten, but with higher numbers in August and September. On 31st March four adults flew from Will Pits Scrape and an immature was also present overhead, at the same place. Sixteen were at the Pit yard on 5th August, 18 were with Black-headed Gulls on the Pit Tip on the 18th, ten were seen on the 19th, 1st and 2nd September, 20 in fields near Bell's Pond on the 8th and 25 were noted on the 21st.
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
Three were seen flying NE on 24th March, and on the 25th one was chased and harassed over the Moors by a Peregrine Falcon until it was finally forced to land with two others on bare peat near Paraffin area. Numbers remained in single figures until early June, with small groups flying over, and sometimes a single bird down on the peat as on 8th April when 1 adult was down near Shoulder o’ Mutton, and one immature down at Will Pits Scrape and 7 immatures over on 3rd May. Ten gulls of a range of ages including two adult and three immatures were seen down at floodwater NW of Shoulder o’ Mutton on 7th June.
An increase was noted in numbers over-flying the Moors to and from roosts through August and well into September. In the mornings birds moved in numbers SW to feed on fields, and in the evening returned NE presumably to roost on the Humber estuary. The following observations were noted:
04th August, 41 am SW,52 pm NE.
07th August, 100 pm NE.
12th August, 117 pm NE.
18th August, 43 am SW, 131 pm NE.
22nd August, 70 pm NE.
22nd August, 252 pm NE.
Numbers remained above 200 until mid September, but from then on high counts were much less frequent with 300+ being seen on 11th October and 54 on the 13th being well above the usual single figures at this time. November had a maximum of five-plus on the 17th.
Herring Gull Larus argentatus
January saw numbers between 50-160, generally best counted coming from (SW) and going to (NE) roost sites with a high count of c.350 with other gulls (totalling c.695 gulls altogether) travelling NE on the evening of the 13th. Also in January, on the 14th, 160+ large gulls of mainly Herring and Great Black-backed were seen bathing and preening in water NW of Shoulder o’ Mutton, most then flew off NE to roost. Very few were seen from March and through the summer and the rest of the year.
Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans
An addition to the moors list. This species was suspected to have been seen on 18th August, when they were known to be present on the Humber and further inland, however getting the good views required was no easy task on the Moors. On 26th August just such an opportunity arose when a field between Inkle Moor and Bell's Pond was being ploughed and hundreds of gulls were gathering to feed. Out of 500 gulls there were just five Herring types of which at least one was Yellow-legged (BPW, SH). Another was picked out of a group of Lesser Black-backed gulls over-flying the Pit Tip on 11th October (WHP).
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
Not seen in big numbers for most of the year, January yielded the best numbers with 50+ W on the 10th, 300+ NE on the evening of 13th and c155 SW in the morning and the same number NE on the 14th.
On 25th February one was seen on bare peat W of Shoulder o’ Mutton. Recorded numbers for the rest of the year never exceeded six.
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Early on 20th April a tern was heard calling over water near Shoulder o’ Mutton and was eventually seen not too high and circling and identified as this species (BPW).
Rock Dove Columba livia
Feral birds were seen around the Pit and fields at the W side of moors, roosting on the pit winding gear, numbers between 50-100.
Stock Dove Columba oenas
Seen in numbers less than ten this year, except for one date 10th January when 22+ were counted around Inkle Moor, Bell's Pond and Will Pits. The W edge of the Moors and Will Pits were the most frequented areas. Sightings remained low but eight were seen on 6th April, seven on the 8th, and six on the 24th. Eight were again seen on 5th July. All other records were of four birds or less.
Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus
The year started with generally low numbers of around 300 in January, dropping to around 100 birds by summer. Birds bred in areas of woodland throughout the Moors in low numbers. On 28th September there was a large movement of birds coming in from the NE. Numbers grew, peaking at 2000+ at Will Pits roost on 28th October, and high numbers remained with 1500+ on 15th December.
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Although not uncommon on farmland immediately around the peat moors, this species is suprisingly uncommon actually on or over them. Sightings at Inkle Moor Pond include one on 10th January, one on the 22nd and four on the 2nd February with two over Bell's Pond on the 25th. In April again at Inkle Moor one flew over on the 21st, and finally eight flew over Inkle Moor on 21st October. Adjacent farmland held a maximum of 15 birds at Top Moor Farm on 26th September.
Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
Between one and three birds were usually recorded, with higher counts through June and July. Mostly recorded in or near Bell's Pond area, Inkle Moor and Will Pits. There were up to five birds between Inkle Moor and Bell's Pond on 24th May, four at Will Pits on 7th June and six again from Inkle Moor to Bell's Pond on 10th July. Two were seen at Bell's Pond and two went N over Pony Bridge Marsh on 14th July and six were seen on the 20th, including three immature birds seen along the Rhododendron Path and three at Will Pits.
First and last dates were 10th May - 8th September.
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
A frequently observed summer visitor, with often two birds recorded, and three not uncommon. High counts were eight on 2nd and ten on 4th June, and six+ on the Southern Canals on the 10th. On 3rd August one was seen apparently resting on the peat at Will Pits Scrape and later in the same day a bird flew direct and low straight across the Moors going E. First and last dates were 21st April - 4th August.
Barn Owl Tyto alba
More frequently seen flying over farmland around the edge of the Moors, especially in the N. Records as follows; in the old brick barn on the former Axholme Joint Railway fresh feathers, pellets and droppings were found on 25th February (ML). A bird was flushed from the same building on 13th March at midday, where it had sheltered from cold ESE winds, and flew out through a hole in the roof on the S side (BPW). A bird was reported over Crowle Moor on 13th April. A bird was seen near Swinefleet Mill on 21st June (ML), where peat workers have seen them before. All records may refer to the same bird or pair of birds.
Little Owl Athene noctua
Birds are sometimes seen around the Pit yard, but more often they are only heard. On 6th July three birds were heard one each at Bell's Pond, Elmhirst and Southern Canals (BPW, WHP).
Tawny Owl Strix aluco
This is probably the commonest owl of the moors, and heard more often during the day than the other species. Sometimes a bird will call when being mobbed, this happened on 16th April when a Jay discovered the owl in Will Pits. One was flushed here mid-afternoon on 6th May, and the same happened on the 8th. Another was again at Will Pits on 8th July, and three juveniles were heard at Bell's Pond on the 12th, with another at Will Pits on the 13th at night. On the night of 20th July five+ were recorded with two separate adults and young in Will Pits, and two separate adults on Crowle Moor. One was at Will Pits on 25th July and on 1st August one was perched in a bush there, and again on the 24th in open view. Still in Will Pits one on 11th September and 6th October with another one+ on Crowle Moor as well. Two were in the NE corner of Rawcliffe Moor on 13th October.
Long-eared Owl Asio otus
One juvenile was calling in Will Pits on 24th May, one adult was seen flying near the Paraffin Works Cuttings on 6th June. One was seen at 10.30 p.m. on 6th July perched in a tree on the Southern Boundary of the Southern Canals, one was seen on the night of 13th and young were heard calling on the 20th. Four birds were flushed from Angle Drain on the evening of 14th December; they were either Long or Short-eared Owls.
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
The first was seen on 21st April on Crowle Moor, one over Pony Bridge Marsh on 6th June and one was seen there on 13th July. Another three were flushed from the Southern Canals next to New Cut Drain on 10th November and two were flushed later the same day at Green Belt area (presumably the same three). Two were flushed from the Paraffin Works Cuttings area on 15th December, and one from New Cut Drain near the Northern Boundary path on the same day.
European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus
The final count from the annual surveys was 30 churring males, a slight increase from last year. This important species for the Moors had first and last dates of 29th May - 22nd August.
Common Swift Apus apus
Easily overlooked when migrating, as they can be very high, fast and difficult to see. One or two first seen in late April and numbers steadily grew into the summer with c.300 over the Southern Canals by 24th May. Visible migration was seen on 3rd August with 135+ going NE, and 200+ S but high on 4th August. Swifts will however fly a long way in the wrong direction to skirt around a heavy downpour, an example of this was on 11th August when 250+ were moving N in advance of a thunder storm. Birds are often present over Moorends village in good numbers late into the season when hardly any or none are seen over the Moors as was noted on 12nd August, when only three were over the moors but 100+ were over Moorends.
First and last dates were 24th April - 22nd August.
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
First seen on 1st January when one flew from Thorne Waste Drain across Woodpecker Corner. Here and Bell's Pond were the main areas for this species, and apart from two records in January all records were from the last day in August and into December and eleven records were received all of single birds. Where birds were seen well enough to be aged only adult birds were noted.
Hoopoe Upupa epops
This is the third record of this species on or in the immediate vicinity of Thorne Moors. A single bird was seen feeding on Moorends Sports Field on 28th April (RP).
Wryneck Jynx torquilla
The third record for Thorne Moors of this bird. On 31st August a single bird was disturbed from the side of Collis’s Tram, flying towards Elmhirst Wood (RJS, BPW).
Green Woodpecker Picus viridis
Seen regularly in wooded areas and amongst open scrub on the Moors. Sightings include: five birds seen on 2nd February, five or six on 4th February and four on 6th April. Five young were observed this year; they were seen from the Pit Tip on 5th July.
Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
Widespread over the Moors, a maximium of five birds were seen on 21st April and young were seen being fed in their nesthole in Will Pits on 28th May.
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor
Only two records of this species this year; one over Pony Bridge Wood on 24th March (RJS) and one male on 1st December, moving along the road in Will Pits with a tit flock (RJS).
Sky Lark Alauda arvensis
Small numbers usually in the winter, an exception being on 28th January when 86 birds were noted (70 in one flock). The average stayed well below 20 into the breeding season, but numbers climbed after the first week of April to a maximum of 32 on 21st April. Numbers fell to c10-15 recorded birds through the later part of summer, and passage was noted with 49 S on 26th October over Green Belt. One bird was noted singing over Middle Moor on 15th December. The highest count of the year was 90+ overhead with several flocks of up to 40 birds on 27th December, but no apparent movement.
Sand Martin Riparia riparia
Usually low numbers of passage birds; the most favoured area is Will Pits Scrape where they are often seen feeding with other hirundines, and although they do not breed on the Moors they were observed through most of the summer with the exception of late May and June. A maximum ofc245 birds was noted on 4th August moving S, nearly all in the morning. All other counts were below 70. First and last dates were 24th March - 8th September.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Numbers are very variable. Good counts in April included c.300 on the 21st, but the highest count was in May with c.500 on the 16th. High numbers were also recorded in September with 159+ on the 7th. Feeding of young in mid-air was often observed as on 14th July and 3rd August at the Pit. First and last dates were 11th April - 13th October.
House Martin Delichon urbica
Seen occasionally in small numbers, but with larger groups noted after the breeding season as birds gather in preparation for migration. Higher counts were noted on 16th May with c.40 over Will Pits Scrape, with other hirundines. Sixty-plus were travelling S over the same area on 19th August, and groups of over fifty birds were noted at least twice in September gathering before flying directly off. First and last dates were 21st April - 29th September.
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
A species in decline on the moors, a maximum of only six birds were seen on 28th April over many areas, and again on 15th May. First and last dates were 20th April - 31st August.
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
Recorded all year, but numbers vary seasonally. Winter sees the lowest numbers when on some visits none are noted, otherwise mostly single figures. Numbers build in spring, 105 on 24th March being a high, generally numbers through the summer were much lower with 10-20 birds more usual. Movements of birds from mid August boosted numbers above 50, and by September high counts were made of birds moving S, 348+ in parties of 10-20 for example on the 27th going against a stiff SW wind. The same again on the 29th when 127 birds were seen moving S in two hours until rain stopped their progress.
Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
This species occurs widely over the Moors, especially near open areas of water, also favours the Pit Tip. High counts include 13 in three flocks on the Moors on 3rd May, 8-11 on the Pit Tip on 18th August, and between 22-29 there on the 19th. First and last dates were 21st April-14th September.
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
This is the least encountered wagtail on the Moors. There were six records, all of single birds on 1st, 7th, 8th, 21st and 29th September and 21st October.
Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba
A frequent bird in spring and summer, but much less common in winter when typically numbers are in single figures. Numbers grew from around ten in March to 15-20 by June. Numbers steadily fell from then onwards, with only occasional high counts of birds moving through the area. At Will Pits Scrape nine were seen on 3rd August and 14 the following day. Moorends Sports Field, just off the Moors, often holds large numbers of birds overnight, with 44 there on 27th August.
Bohemian Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus
Like so many other areas of the country, Thorne Moors was affected by the massive influx of these birds though relatively few were found in the Moors vicinity. Between 12-20 birds were seen on 31st January, with 12+ feeding on Hawthorns at Bell's Pond (CR), and eight birds at Inkle Moor next to the colliery road railway bridge (AH). The next sighting on 3rd February was of a single bird again at Inkle Moor bridge, calling and feeding on Hawthorn berries (RS), and later the same day three went E over the allotment gardens (next to the colliery) and so over the Moors, they were flying low and calling (RJS, BPW). The next day the 4th, again at Inkle Moor bridge a single bird flew low going N, calling, it circled then continued in the original direction, flying along Johny Moor Long Road (RJS, HC, CF, BPW). Two or three birds were finally seen along the colliery footpath and the brick bridge at Bell's Pond (CR) on the same day.
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Widespread throughout the Moors, but less common in the wetter areas. Numbers did not reach the exceptional highs of last year, though some good totals were still found outside the summer period. In frosty or harsh weather Wrens seem more vocal, and so in January a high of 41 birds was recorded on the 14th. Good numbers were still recorded until 2nd June with 22 birds, but from then on counts over ten were exceptional. After the breeding season Wrens again found time to be vocal, and by the start of October many were recorded, 32 and 34 on the 6th and 13th respectively. This was around the average from then on, with a maximum of 49 on 10th November.
Hedge Accentor Prunella modularis
This is another bird that is really only counted in large numbers when vocal. The start of the year saw a high of 15 on 1st January, and this was also a year maximum. There were up to 13 on several days in April, and only slightly less in December, otherwise most other counts for the year were in single figures.
Robin Erithacus rubecula
Common in woodland and scrub, numbers varying through the year especially if there has been a good influx of birds in autumn. High counts were 19 on January 14th, 26 on February 29th and a years high of 45 on 10th March. Numbers were lower through the summer, but rose again fairly sharply to 30+ in October as on the 21st. Numbers fell again towards the year's end.
Rufous Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos
A very important breeding bird on the Moors as this is the only remaining reliable breeding area in Yorkshire. The first, giving short bursts of song, was on 21st April at Bell's Wood, a maximum of two birds were heard there on four dates 26th April, 28th April, 25th May and 5th June. At Will Pits one was heard calling for a few seconds on 26th April, a maximum of three were recorded there on 13th May and three on 7th June. On 28th April one bird was heard in Pony Bridge Wood, the only record from there this year. One was recorded at Elmhirst on 13th May, also the only record from there this year. One was recorded from the Paraffin Cuttings area on 19th May and 2nd June. First and last dates were 21st April - 9th June.
Bluethroat Luscinia svecica Listed by the Rare Breeding Birds Panel.
On the late afternoon of 2nd June, Martin Limbert located, at first by a persistent ‘chip’ call, a male ‘White-spotted’ Bluethroat L.c. cyanecula at an area of stunted and burnt over birch scrub along a track on Pony Bridge Marsh close to Angle Drain. ML informed BPW who arrived alone at 19.30hrs, and immediately located the male close-by, a second much duller Bluethroat appeared some distance behind the first bird and on the very brief (unfocused) views was either another duller male or a female. PCR and JMR then arrived and viewed both birds. Further detailed observations revealed that two pairs were actually present and that both pairs raised two broods; there was also an unmated third male present. The last bird, which was a male, was seen on 31st July. This is the first known breeding of this race in Britain and the only known nesting of Bluethroats in England. A full account appears in Bluethroats at Thorne: an Observational Diary (ML & PCR).
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
A single record of an adult male moving along chainlink fencing on the W side of the Pit yard, on the evening of 6th April (BPW).
Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
There was a single record of a female on the Northen Boundary towpath of the Southern Canals on 10th September (PCR).
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
Found over a wide area of the Moors, however daily counts do not usually reflect true total numbers. High counts approach ten, and two counts exceed this, 10+ on the 9th and 15+ on the 10th of June. Four birds were seen perched with Reed Buntings on 27th June. First and last dates were 20th April - 14th September.
Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata
Not as many records as last year through the winter; favoured areas were again Middle Moor and Mill Drain Marsh, and also this year Shoulder o' Mutton.
10th January 1 male Middle Moor
06th October 1 male Shoulder o’ Mutton
13th October 1 male feeding, Shoulder o’ Mutton
27th October 1 female Mill Drain Marsh
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Passage birds were moving through by 27th March, with brief views of a bird on the Pit Tip. High counts include nine birds on 21st April on the N half of the Moors, then a total of 17 - Pit Tip (4 m 2 fm) and Shoulder o’ Mutton (6 m 5 fm) on the 24th (WHP). On 26th April a high count of c.23 birds with 9 at Shoulder o’ Mutton (3 m 6 fm), including a male of Greenland race O.o. leucorhoa, and 13 in N fields (6 m 7 fm) (RJS). Six including five females were seen in or around Shoulder o’ Mutton area on 24th August. Other sightings were noted on a number of dates from then, until the last record of the year at Blue Bridge. First and last dates were 27th March-13th October.
Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus
Only two records of passage birds this year, both in October. The first was one male near the Moors end of Jones Cable on the 20th, the bird flew off N calling (RJS). The second was of a male near the steel entrance bridge at Bell's Pond, it was flushed by walkers and flew in the direction of the ponds (RJS).
Blackbird Turdus merula
Numbers regularly reached 35+ at the start of the year, with 42 on 1st January. Then numbers declined into and below the twenties, and at the peak of summer 18 birds was the maximum on 2nd June. Numbers recorded from then until October remained very low, often in single figures, but into November numbers increased, possibly with Continental influxes with other thrushes and 30+ were seen on the 12th. Decembers counts were in the thirties on three occasions with a maximum of 39+ on the 1st.
Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
January saw a high of 3000 birds going S and 1000 to roost at Bell's Pond on the 10th, more normal figures were c500 in a day. Numbers stayed high into early February, but by mid April there were few records. In October numbers were low with a peak of 170 birds S on the 20th and 1800 going W on the 30th. There were similarly low figures for November with 380 to roost on the 23rd being a high exception, December saw slightly higher counts with between 160-350 recorded and a high of c700 flighting to roost on 24th. Last and first dates were 14th April - 20th October.
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
Found sparsely in wooded areas of the Moors; seven were seen on 10th March, six on 22nd September, and six plus on 6th October. Five or five-plus were recorded on an additional three dates.
Redwing Turdus iliacus
Numbers rarely exceeded a hundred in the first part of the year with 150 on 10th January and 2nd February being good counts. Numbers fell well below 50 during March and April. Numbers remained low during the latter half of the year with 226 on 20th October being well above average. Last and first dates were 14th April - 6th October.
Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus
This is not a frequently recorded species on the moors. Most sightings were from the edges of the Moors where it probably breeds. However birds seen very frequently at nearby Moorends Sports Field, often in numbers. On the Pit Tip, 16 were seen on 19th August, 17 at the Sports Field on 7th September. There was an interesting record of 30 birds in two groups, 8 going S W and later 22 resting on bare peat next to the road near Will Pits (could possibly include the first eight).
Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia
Good numbers of this skulking bird were seen this year, despite the general decline of this species elsewhere. It was recorded from the Pit, Bell's Pond, Inkle Moor, Paraffin area, Alder Thicket, Middle Moor, Pony Bridge Marsh, Collis’s Tram, Angle Drain, Crowle Moor, Will Pits Scrape, Canal Tow Path and Southern Canals. Maximum counts were 13 on 21st April, and eight on 24th and 27th. Occasionally gave good views as at Will Pits Scrape when one sang in open for over an hour. First and last dates were 20th April-14th September.
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Recorded at Paraffin area, Bell's Pond, Middle Moor, Will Pits Scrape, Southern Canals, Mill Drain Marsh, Jones Cable, Swinefleet Warping Drain, Inkle Moor, Pony Bridge Wood, and Will Pits. Maximum counts were 19 on 28th April, 15 and above on five dates in May with a 23+ count on 13th, and another count in the same month of 11 with 13 on 2nd June. First and last dates were 20th April-8th September.
Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Recorded in reedbeds on the W side of the Moors, and also the Southern Canals and in reeds along Swinefleet Warping Drain and Will Pits areas. High counts were of eight birds recorded on two dates - 13th May and 2nd June, and a maximum of 14 on 25th May. First and last dates were 20th April-8th September.
Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
Not a common bird on the Moors, but numbers are up on last year. Recorded from the Pit Tip, Bell's Pond and Duram’s Gardens, Inkle Moor and Will Pits, with also one record from Woodpecker Corner. Maximum counts were of four birds on 5th and 6th May. First and last dates were 21st April-21st September.
Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis
After Willow Warbler the commonest warbler on the Moors, recorded virtually everywhere. April's high was c50 on 28th and on 5th May 36 were recorded. June saw a maximum of 43 but numbers from then on struggled to reach the teens with 14 on 7th September being an exception. First and last dates were 20th April - 14th September.
Garden Warbler Sylvia borin
Recorded in small numbers in areas of dense vegetation. High counts were 13 on 12th May, eight-plus on 13th and 10 on 2nd and 9th June. First and last dates were 21st April-7th September.
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
Not too common in wooded areas of the Moors; nine were seen on 24th March and the only count above single figures was on 5th May when 11 were recorded. Nine were also seen on 12th May. On 10th November, two birds were seen at the site of the Pony Bridge, one was feeding on elderberries. First and last dates were 20th April - 10th November.
Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Low numbers spread widely throughout the wooded areas. Daily counts of ten plus were rare; but there were 12 on 8th April, 16 on 20th April and 10 on 5th May. There were four records in October. First and last dates were 31st March-21st October.
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
Some very high counts of singing males were made in a two day survey that tried to cover as much of the Moors as possible. 135 singing males were recorded, 88 on 20th April and 47 on the 21st, but Crowle Moor and the S edge of Thorne Moors was not included (BPW). Another high count was 95+ males on 24th April (WHP). First and last dates were 13th April-14th September.
Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Generally seen in low numbers, exceptions were 11+ on 5th January in Alder Thicket, Will Pits and Southern Canals. There were three records April on 5th, 6th and 14th. Between four and six were in a mixed tit flock in Will Pits on 19th October. No other daily counts were over three.
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
Seen only in August and September these passage birds were recorded singly on two dates, however on 25th August 1+ juveniles were seen on Rawcliffe Moor, and on the 31st there were three birds seen, one at Bell's Pond and two at Will Pits.
Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
A second record for the Moors, one male was seen in willow scrub along Mill Drain in Will Pits on 6th May (JR, PCR).
Bearded Tit Panurus biarmicus
One adult male was seen on 21st October at the base of the Pit Tip at Bell's Pond (WHP).
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Common and widespread, wherever there are trees and scrub. Winter saw many counts of 15+, with highs of 35 on 1st January and 30+ on the 5th. Numbers were few through summer with less than ten being normal. Numbers grew from September and by 21st October 50+ were seen, this increased on 23rd November to c.70, and December's high was 25+.
Willow Tit Parus montanus
Small numbers recorded throughout the year, usually associated with other titmice. Counts over six or seven are good, and include eight plus on 5th January, seven on the 10th, 15+ on 14th September, seven on 6th October, ten on 24th November, and in December seven on the 1st and 8th.
Coal Tit Parus ater
There were four records; a single on 11th October, two on the 21st and another single on the 30th. A single bird was seen in a mixed tit flock on 23rd November.
Blue Tit Parus caeruleus
Regulaly encountered everywhere with cover. High counts include 43 on the 1st and 41 on 21st January, April had 18 on the 14th but numbers did not get above this through the summer. 22nd October saw 30 and on 8th December 37 were seen.
Great Tit Parus major
Habitats as for Blue Tit and as common. Highs were 22 on 1st January, 19 on 10th March, 20 on the 15th, and 15+ on 11th October. Woodpecker Corner held 16+ for over three months.
Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris
Seven records, one on the 1st, 21st, and 28th January, all at Will Pits, as were singles on 24th May and 5th August. One was seen at the Moor’s edge at Limberlost on 6th October and two were seen at Will Pits on 11th October.
Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor
One bird was reported on 31st January from an area of scrub near Green Belt Scrape (per AH).
Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
One or two birds seen throughout the year, from most wooded areas. Three were seen in January and February, one was mobbing a Tawny Owl in Will Pits on 20th April, and three were recorded three times in October.
Magpie Pica pica
In February 19+ were seen and later 25+ on the 15th, double figures were common up to summer, but from then on it was single figures until 18 were recorded on 18th August, double figures were then again regular and 18 were also seen on 22nd November and 1st December.
Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula
Uncommon over the Moors; two were seen and heard over Inkle Moor on 21st January, one was heard over Will Pits on 31st March and two going WSW over the Alder Thicket on 8th April. May saw one going N, and two S over Inkle Moor on the 5th and 12th respectively. Six were seen in the same area on 21st October, and one went N over Bell's Pond on 8th December.
Rook Corvus frugilegus
Five records this year, 5 over Will Pits on 10th March which then split with four going SW and one S, one went W high and calling on 6th April, and four went N on the 26th, lastly one went S over the Paraffin area on 2nd June.
Carrion Crow Corvus corone
Best counts were obtained as they gathered to roost on bare peat areas on the central and N areas of the Moors. Most records were of less than 100 birds, but January saw some exceptional counts as on the 21st when c130 were logged. Figures from February until mid July rarely reached 70, but by 24th July c160 were seen. Counts were still high in August, but from then on numbers dropped, with c90 on 13th October being a maximum.
A bird showing the characteristics of C. c. cornix was seen on 19th May flying from fields at Bell's Pond to Green Belt (PG).
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Small numbers recorded flying over the Moors and a roost of variable size on the Pit winding gear. High counts over the moors included 60 over Bell's Pond on 3rd February, 21 going directly E at dusk on 18th August, 24 with Northern Lapwings in field near Bell's Pond on 27th. Then 31 S over Southern Canals on 3rd November, and 59 in three flocks going W on the 17th.
Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
A single record, of four birds flying W over Southern Canals towards Pit Tip on 8th September (WHP).
Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Recorded all year, usually in small numbers, but higher counts can be made of birds to and from roost sites. There were 65 dispersing from Bell's Pond roost on 14th January, 50 on 25th February, 60 on 10th March and 41 on 8th April. 50+ were feeding on dumped grain at the Alder Thicket on 15th December.
Brambling Fringilla montifringilla
The highest count for the year was on 6th February when 20+ were seen at Elmhirst pumping station (CR). On the 7th two were heard calling over the same area, and one was in the Alder Thicket on 8th April. Three went S over the Moors on 20th October, and one went over Inkle Moor on the 23rd. One was heard overhead N of Limberlost on 1st December.
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
As with Chaffinch most high counts were at roost sites. The main roost for this species seems to be at Bell's Pond with c220 there on 14th January, and high counts in February of between 150-200. The next count of note was not until 6th April when 80+ birds were seen again at Bell's Pond. 60+ were counted in fields near Woodpecker Corner on 7th September and 155 were noted on 1st December.
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Small flocks can be found around the edges of the Moors, with occasional higher counts such as 19 on 25th February, between 50-60 around the Pit and Inkle Moor in August and flocks of 42 then 60+ there on the 7th and 8th September.
Siskin Carduelis spinus
Far fewer records this year.
24th March 4, 1m Alder Thicket
21st September 5 calling, Will Pits Scrape
22nd September 1 Will Pits Scrape
26th September 1+ Will Pits Scrape
27th September 1+ with Redpolls
28th September 2
06th October 2 over Elmhirst Tram
13th October 3, 2 over Elmhirst Tram and 1 Middle Moor
23rd October 2 Bell's Pond
15th December heard near Alder Thicket
Linnet Carduelis cannabina
Numbers did not often reach more than 50, c30 through April and May was regular with lower numbers through June to August. On 8th September 300+ were seen in fields near Bell's Pond, and on the 22nd 34 were counted. October saw 40 on the 6th and 150+ in the S fields on the 13th.
Twite Carduelis flavirostris
A single male bird was seen on a farm track near the edge of Goole Moor on 13th April (PB).
Common Redpoll Carduelis cabaret
Numbers were high at the start of the year with c250 recorded in January and February, but numbers slowly dwindled with March producing a high of 80+ on the 24th. Summer saw single figures nearly every time and towards the year's end figures were not much better with 42 on 20th October, 20 on 24th November and 60 at Bell's Pond on 1st December.
On 18th February, a flock of 20 Redpolls seen briefly was at least partially composed of Mealy Redpolls (WHP).
Arctic Redpoll Carduelis hornemanni
On 21st January a bird with full characteristics of this species (probably a female of the race,C.h.exilipes) was located in a flock of Common Redpoll along the N edge of Pony Bridge Wood, and although Mealy Redpoll had been seen there by the same observers at the end of the previous year none were present that day (RJS, BPW). This is a new species for the Moors list, following acceptance by the Ornithological Section of the Yorkshire Naturalist Union, and the BBRC.
Common Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Generally single figure counts in woodlands around the Moors. A total of 32 were counted on 21st January with two at Inkle Moor, eight in the Paraffin area, 13 in Will Pits and nine in Pony Bridge Wood. Twenty were counted on 2nd February and 30 on the 15th at Bell's Pond, Will Pits and Pony Bridge Wood, with 15 on 15th March from the same areas. Fourteen was a high for September on the 8th, and 17 in November on the 22nd.
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
Again single figure counts are normal on the Moors with fringe areas near farmland favoured. Eleven birds were seen on 14th January, 49 were seen on 10th March with 32 being in one flock. There were 20 on 8th and 21st April, 10+ on 23rd July at Bell's Pond, 10 on 3rd August, 15+ at Woodpecker Corner on 14th September and 10+ at Bell's Pond on 23rd October.
Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus
Nine were counted on 28th January, 10 on 29th February and 13 on 10th March. April saw the highest counts including 23 on the 21st. May's maximum was 12 on the 5th, June's 10 on the 2nd, July had 12 on the 14th and August saw a slight increase to 17 on the 3rd. 12+ were counted on 14th September and 15 on 30th October, six on 2nd November and only four on 15th December.
Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra
There was a single record of a singing male at Warp Farm near the W edge of the Moors on the 19th April (WHP).
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
This is an escaped North American Buteo species.
A ‘buzzard like’ bird wearing jesses was flushed from Will Pits on 14th January and was later identified as a Red-tailed Hawk (ML). This was further confirmed on 21st January when excellent close views were obtained from the road through Will Pits by three observers (RJS, BPW, PCR) and the distinctive rusty tail was clearly visible.
List of Observers:Peter Baxter, Kevin Bull, Nick C. Dawtrey, Clive Featherstone, Philip Gibson, Adrian Handley, Steve Hiner, John Hitchcock, Dave Hunton, John Isle, C.G. Johnson, Jim Johnson, Helen Kirk, Martin Limbert, John McLoughlin, Steve Morris, Roy Pearson, W.H.(Bill) Priestley, Ray Priestley, Colin Rook, Janet Roworth, Peter Roworth, Adrian Scutt, Richard Sprakes, Bryan Wainwright, Rob Watson A. Zabukas.