Compiled by Bryan P. Wainwright
English and scientific names, and sequence of birds, follow the List of Birds of the WesternPalearctic (British Birds Ltd, 1997).
Birds of conservation concern are marked according to the British Trust for Ornithology, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and English Nature grading system. This system uses a Red or an Amber status for those bird species that are known to be declining. Red signifies high concern and Amber signifies medium concern. For this list, species that are non-breeding, or have not recently bred, on Thorne Moors, but are on the Red and Amber lists for elsewhere are noted in brackets.
During the year, 156 species were recorded, excluding an unidentified crake. A few species have been included in this report that were just outside the recording area; they appear in square brackets, this is partly because these species are of particular conservation concern and the records would not otherwise appear in any report. These species may also rely on some of the resources available to them on the moors, and may otherwise not be present in those areas. Such a resource may be an increase of invertebrates towards the moor edge, vital for breeding success in the otherwise virtually sterile arable fields. Where these records are mentioned in this report, it is always made clear whether the record was from the peat moor or not, as this may be relevant in some future research.
Daily counts of common widespread resident (and a few migrants) species cannot be regarded as full counts, as no one person can cover every area of the 1918 hectares of Thorne Moors in a day. The following monthly figures can only be taken as sample counts. Records (of wetland species mainly) that do not have the area name given are records from the flooded workings.
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
A maximum day count of six, were seen on 25th March, with two at the flooded workings north of Fisons' Road and four at Will Pits Scrape (maximum for latter area). Other area counts were one at Casson’s Marsh on several dates with 16th April being the first. At the Paraffin Cuttings two was the maximum on 5th March. One was at Pony Bridge Marsh on 26th March, two were at Bell’s Pond on 31st August, and one was at Goole Fields Reservoir on 7th May, and these were the only records for those areas, the latter also being the first ever there. Three young were seen at Will Pits Scrape on 23rd July. Two young were seen at the flooded workings on 29th July, but only one young was present by 8th and 15th August. First date was 12th February (one at Paraffin Cuttings), last date was 29th September (five were present at the Shoulder o’ Mutton and this was also the maximum count for all the flooded workings).
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis (Amber List and listed by the Rare Breeding Birds Panel).
There was a single sighting of two birds in summer plumage on the flooded workings north of Fisons' Road on 30th April (ML, RJS), and a single bird was seen on Will Pits Scrape on 22nd May (RB).
Great Crested Grebe P. cristatus
An adult was seen on Will Pits Scrape on 20th July (RW, JW, FO). Two juveniles flew round the flooded workings on 23rd July before heading to Will Pits Scrape at 8:00 hrs, later at 10:30 hrs they were again seen flying over the English Nature Observation Platform on Mill Drain Marsh heading SSW (WHP). An adult was seen down on Will Pits Scrape on 19th September (WHP). The fourth-sixth records for the moors.
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
On 2nd February one flew W over the flooded workings, and on 19th March one flew in and landed at the flooded workings, but after a 20 minute stay flew off E. On 26th March two flew NW over the Observation Platform. On 6th and 7th May two landed at the flooded workings N of the Shoulder o’ Mutton. A single headed N along Swinefleet Warping Drain on 4th June, and on 10th June one landed at the flooded workings. A pair flew SE on 18th June and a bird was again landed at the flooded workings on 3rd September. This was followed with another single that landed at Will Pits Scrape on 24th September. One was on the W end of the flooded workings on 8th October and one flew high NW over Will Pits Scrape on 19th November.
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Not seen during May, otherwise most records were of singles. A maximum of four was seen -at Bell’s Pond and over the flooded workings- on 5th August.
Mute Swan Cygnus olor
Two were on Green Belt Scrape and then flew over to the flooded workings on 25th March. Three immatures flew over the latter area on 1st May and three (not aged) flew over the same area again on 13th May. Five passed E on 18th June. On 18th November two adults and one first-winter bird flew over the flooded workings heading S.
Tundra Swan C. columbianus
The only record was of two adults flying S over Will Pits Scrape on 3rd January (ML).
Whooper Swan C. cygnus (Amber List)
Far fewer records this year. The first was of five birds on the flooded workings on 20th March. This year the maximum was 18 adults on the flooded workings N of Shearburn and Pitts Drain on 17th March; they later flew off NE. Six were on the flooded workings W of Will Pits on 1st December and seven adults and four first-winter birds were on the flooded workings on 7th December.
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus (Amber List)
On 1st January c.35 flew NE over Casson’s Marsh, on 2nd 37 flew over the flooded workings, on 3rd c.37 flew over the flooded workings going E, and on 8th January 80 went NNW over the latter area. On 2nd February 500 flew W in three skeins, on 6th 1344+ (the year’s maximum) in eight skeins went W or NW over Goole Moor and the flooded workings around 11.00 hrs. On 9th February 150+ were seen coming from the direction of the moors heading W over Moorends, and on 20th c.500 flew over the flooded workings. On 24th April 450 came from the SE and headed W over the flooded workings. There was a single bird in May, on 6th, which landed at the flooded workings. This is the only record of this species in May on Thorne Moors (RJS). On 11thNovember six skeins were observed going W by two observers each observer recorded three skeins, none were common to both observers: 130, 30, 75, 150, 100, 100. Six passed W on 10th December, and on 16th December 112 headed NW over Will Pits Scrape. Seven were on the flooded workings on 26th December, and on 29th 14 flew over the flooded workings.
Greylag Goose A. anser Amber List
There were regularly up to four birds present all year, though none was seen in January, and sometimes numbers could be much higher. This year there were occasionally 20+ birds and a few counts were around 100 or even above. Numbers in September (mainly at the flooded workings) grew from 22 on 9th to 80 by 19th, c.160 on 23rd and 100+ on 29th. The highest count, c.160, being a new moors record (PCR, JMR). 92+ were in the same area on 1st October and 40 were present on 15th December. Unfledged juveniles were seen at Will Pits Scrape in June with five on 18th, 2 on 20th, and four (two pairs of adults, with one and three young) on 23rd July.
Monthly maxima were: January 0, February 7, March 8, April 5+, May 6, June 2 adults and 5 juveniles, July 42 adults and 4 juveniles, August 2, September c.160, October 92, November 8, December 40.
Canada Goose Branta canadensis
A large flock frequented the moors during August and September. On 4th August 70+ were at the flooded workings and by 8th September this had risen to a new moors record count of 106 birds (KB, BPW). Between 96 and 100+ were recorded until 23rd September. Numbers remained high until 19th November when 75 were present at Will Pits Scrape. The highest figure outside this period was 19 on 11th March, though two was more usual.
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna (Amber List)
All records of non-flying birds were from the flooded workings except six at Rawcliffe Moor on 13th May. All were adults except three immature birds seen on 1st May and one immature on 3rd September. The June maximum of 28 on 12th is also an all time record count (PCR).
Monthly maxima were: January 1, February 3, March 4, April 9, May 10, June 28, July 0, August 2, September 2, October 0, November 0, December 2.
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope (Amber List)
Few records from the early part of the year, with one male and two females present at the flooded workings on 3rd January, and a pair present at Will Pits Scrape on 16th April. The records continued to be infrequent and of low numbers until 10 were present at Will Pits Scrape on 14th and 16th September. Recorded from then until the year-end, with a maximum of 70+ on 1st October.
Gadwall A. strepera Amber List
Records were from the flooded workings, Will Pits Scrape and ‘Middle Moor’. Maximum was 23 on 4th March, and this is an all time record count (BPW, WHP).
Monthly maxima were: January 18, February c.20, March 23, April 16, May 7, June 4, July 1, August 0, September 18+, October 12+, November 6, December 19.
Common Teal A. crecca Amber List
The highest count for the year, 600+ at the flooded workings on 10th December was also an all time record count (RJS). A nest with five eggs was found in the Mill Drain Marsh area on 13th June, and by 26th June there were eight eggs. By 10th July the young had successfully hatched (RB). Two young were also seen on 2nd July with a female (RJS). Monthly maxima were: January 60, February 62, March 30+, April 40, May 12, June 47, July 8+ adults and 10 young, August 400, September 200+, October 300+, November 350+, December 600+.
Mallard A. platyrhynchos
The highest count for the year, 600+ at the flooded workings on 15th October was also an all time record count (RJS). A female was seen with six young at the flooded workings on 16th May.
Monthly maxima were: January 250, February 283, March 180, April 50, May 45, June 100, July 18, August c.400, September 450, October 600+, November c.450, December 400.
Pintail A. acuta (Amber List)
A single male was on the flooded workings on 1st and 3rd January. Most records were in September. On 8th five were at the flooded workings, on 10th seven female/immatures flew over the same area, 30+ were counted on 16th, and 18 were there on 19th. A new moors record count of 38 was reached at Will Pits Scrape on 20th September (BPW). Also at Will Pits Scrape there were 22+ on 21st, 12+ on 23rd and 10+ on 29th September. On 1st October seven female/immatures were present at the flooded workings and on 4th October there were three males and 18 females at the flooded workings. Other counts were of ones and twos.
Garganey A. querquedula (Amber List)
One male was seen flying with five Common Teal low over Pony Bridge Marsh on 26th May (PCR, JL).
Northern Shoveler A. clypeata Amber List
Maximum count was 13 on 29th July at Shoulder o’ Mutton. Breeding was confirmed when a female and seven unfledged young were seen at the flooded workings on 4th June (RJS).
Monthly maxima were: January 2, February 0, March 4, April 8, May 3, June 11 and seven juveniles, July 13, August 11, September 2, October 6, November 2, December 4.
Common Pochard Aythya ferina (Amber List)
In March two females were at Will Pits Scrape, the first record was on 5th followed by 12th, 18th and 19th. On 23rd July a single female was at Will Pits Scrape.
Tufted Duck A. fuligula
Bred again; a female with four half-grown young was seen at Will Pits Scrape on 15th July (RA, FO). The count on 18th March of 17 is the joint highest count ever (WHP), with 8th April 1995 and 1st January 1997.
Monthly maxima were: January 1, February 5, March 17, April 16, May 16, June 7, July 8 adults and four juveniles, August 3, September 1, October 0, November 16, December 0.
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula (Amber List)
One female was at Goole Fields Reservoir on 5th March. One female was at Will Pits Scrape on16th December, and one immature was on flooded workings N of Shoulder o’ Mutton on 22nd December. On 26th December an all time record count was set when three immature males were at the Shoulder o’ Mutton flooded workings and seven females were at the Fisons’ Road flooded workings (RJS).
Goosander Mergus merganser
A female flew NW over Will Pits on 6th February (ML). Two males and a female were at the flooded workings before flying round over ‘Middle Moor’ and then alighting again on the flooded workings on 24th March (RJS). There were two records in April: four females flew to the Shoulder o’ Mutton flooded workings on 6th April and one female was on water at the same place on 29th (WHP). A pair passed S over Green Belt on 31st December (RJS).
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
On 15th May a pair was present on the flooded workings, and single males or females occurred here or at Will Pits Scrape until 23rd September. Two males were together at the flooded workings on 17th June and two females were together at Will Pits Scrape on 9th September. A pair was on the flooded workings again on 18th June. One of the two pairs present had four unfledged young at Will Pits Scrape on 25th and 28th June (RJS), and this is the first confirmed breeding record for Thorne Moors.
Birds of prey
Sites given for raptors are general. Usually only the first area of observation is stated, except where sites were very far apart. Totals are the minimum possible numbers, calculated for all areas, plumages and observers for that day. Adult birds, unless otherwise stated. Some birds are not aged and sexed due to distance or poor views.
European Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus (Amber List)
On 20th September a single dark, probably immature, bird was observed at a distance flying low over the flooded workings to Will Pits Scrape. It was briefly accompanied by a slightly larger female Marsh Harrier giving good comparisons of flight etc. After being lost from view towards Will Pits Scrape for a short while, it returned over Mill Drain Marsh before heading low N over the flooded workings (BPW) this was rejected by the YNU. Following this sighting, a paler, normally coloured adult male bird was seen by two sets of observers on 24th September. RJS noted the bird at 9.40 hrs NE of the Shoulder o’ Mutton being mobbed by Carrion Crows as it passed over Will Pits Wood. JJ and PB saw it at 10.00 hrs being mobbed by corvids on the northern edge of the moors. It flew low over the observers showing its pale grey head and under-wing barring before continuing low towards Blackwater Dyke. RJS saw it again briefly over Will Pits Wood at 11.00 hrs.
Red Kite Milvus milvus (Red List)
At 14.20 hrs on 22nd March one was sighted coming from NW over the flooded workings, here it circled a couple of times before heading E at about 20 m height over the observer at Shoulder o’ Mutton, before eventually drifting off high to the S (RJS).
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus (Red List)
There were 84 records; arrived earlier than last year and remained later in the year.
16th February 1 immature male Will Pits Scrape
20th February 1 dark immature over flooded workings
25th February 1 immature Mill Drain Marsh
05th March 1 immature male flooded workings
12th March 1 flooded workings
16th March 2, 1 male Southern Canals, 1 female flooded workings
22nd March 1 flooded workings
26th March 2, 1 female flooded workings, 1 male Mill Drain Marsh
01st April 1 female flooded workings
06th April 1 male Mill Drain Marsh
07th April 1 male Mill Drain Marsh
16th April 2, 1 cream-crown flooded workings, 1 male flooded workings
17th April 1 male flooded workings
19th April 1 male
21st April 2, 1 male Crowle Moor, 1 Shoulder o’ Mutton
22nd April 1 cream-crown Mill Drain Marsh
23rd April 3, 1 cream-crown colliery area, 1 male and 1 female flooded workings
24th April 2, 1 male colliery area, 1 female flooded workings
27th April 3, 1 male, 2 Pony Bridge Marsh
28th April 2, 1 male and 1 female Shoulder o’ Mutton
30th April 2, 1 male and 1 female Will Pits Scrape
01st May 3, 1 male Shoulder o’ Mutton, 2 females flooded workings
04th May 2, 1 male and 1 female Shoulder o’ Mutton
06th May 2, 1 male and 1 cream-crown flooded workings
07th May 1 cream-crown Mill Drain Marsh
10th May 1 cream-crown ‘Middle Moor’
13th May 2, 1 female Shoulder o’ Mutton, 1
16th May 1 male flooded workings
18th May 1 female
21st May 1 cream-crown Will Pits
22nd May 1 female Shoulder o’ Mutton
26th May 1
04th June 3, 1 immature male Mill Drain Marsh, 2 cream-crowns flooded workings
10th June 2, 1 male and 1 cream-crown Mill Drain Marsh
12th June 1 male ‘Middle Moor’
16th June 2 immatures
18th June 1 female ‘Middle Moor’
25th June 2, 1 female flooded workings, 1 male carrying Water Vole Arvicola terrestris prey N over Goole Moor (PB)
28th June 1 female with prey over Goole Moor
02nd July 2, 1 with dark head but pale throat and otherwise as cream-crown, 1 female with missing wing feathers Mill Drain Marsh
14th July 1 female Goole Moor
15th July 2, 1 immature, 1 female ‘Middle Moor’
16th July 1 immature male Mill Drain Marsh
19th July 1 cream-crown ‘Middle Moor’
20th July 1 female Will Pits
23rd July 1 immature flooded workings
25th July 1 Crowle Moor
28th July 2
29th July 1 female Will Pits Scrape
30th July 1 male ‘Middle Moor’
08th August 1 flooded workings, distant
11th August 1 immature male Shoulder o’ Mutton
18th August 2, 1 juvenile and 1 female Shoulder o’ Mutton
14th August 2 cream-crowns, over Paraffin Cuttings and Canals
15th August 1 juvenile ‘Middle Moor’
22nd August 3, 1 juvenile, 1 female, 1 cream-crown Green Belt
23rd August 2, 1 immature male, 1 female flooded workings
24th August 2 cream-crowns over Will Pits
25th August 2, 1 immature male, 1 female flooded workings
28th August 1 cream-crown Goole Moor
29th August 2, 1 Pony Bridge area, 1 flooded workings
30th August 2, 1 immature male, 1 cream-crown flooded workings
31st August 2, 1 cream-crown colliery area
02nd September 2 cream-crowns Shoulder o’ Mutton
03rd September 4, 1 cream-crown colliery area, 2 cream-crowns flooded workings, 1 cream-crown Crowle Moor. Later all 4 together W edge of Moors
04th September 3, 2 cream-crowns, 1 juvenile Pony Bridge Marsh
07th September 1 cream-crown Shoulder o’ Mutton
08th September 3, 1 female, 2 immatures
09th September 5, 1 male, 4 cream-crowns
10th September 2, 1 immature male flooded workings, 1 cream-crown Will Pits Scrape
11th September 2 Will Pits Scrape
13th September 1 cream-crown Shoulder o’ Mutton
14th September 2 cream-crowns over Will Pits
16th September 2, 1 cream-crown over Will Pits, 1 cream-crown Pony Bridge Marsh
19th September 2 cream-crowns flooded workings
20th September 2, 1 female and 1 immature
21st September 5, 2 males, 1 immature male, 2 cream-crowns Shoulder o’ Mutton
23rd September 3, 1 male and 2 females flooded workings and Will Pits
24th September 3, 1 cream-crown over Will Pits, 1 male and 1 cream-crown flooded workings
27th September 3, 1 immature male, 2 cream-crowns Shoulder o’ Mutton
28th September 4, 1 adult female, 1 immature male, 2 juveniles. Latter 2 juveniles birds scavenged on a long dead immature (probably first-winter) Lesser Black-backed Gull on flooded workings.
30th September 1 female Will Pits Scrape
01st October 2, 1 cream-crown flooded workings, had a dispute with a Peregrine Falcon, 1 female colliery area
07th October 1 cream-crown over Pony Bridge Marsh mobbed by two Northern Lapwings
08th October 1 female flooded workings
21st October 1 cream-crown Green Belt
22nd October 1 immature ‘Middle Moor’
Hen Harrier C. cyaneus (Red List)
There were 33 records, which is an increase on last year, remained later and arrived earlier in the year than last year.
01st January 2, 1 female Will Pits, 1 male ‘Middle Moor’
02nd January 2, 1 female west of Will Pits, 1 male Collis’s Tram
03rd January 2, 1 female Southern Canals, 1 male Pony Bridge Marsh
05th January 1 female, Will Pits Scrape
08th January 1 female, flooded workings mobbed by male Peregrine Falcon
23rd January 1 male flooded workings
06th February 2, 1 male ‘Middle Moor’, 1 female flooded workings
12th February 1 male near Paraffin Cuttings
13th February 1 male near Paraffin Cuttings
20th February 2, 1 small ringtail/immature male flooded workings, 1 female Mill Drain Marsh
11th March 2, 1 male and 1 female Canals
12th March 1 female Shoulder o’ Mutton
14th March 1 ‘Middle Moor’
15th March 1 ringtail distant over Goole Moor
18th March 1 ringtail N edge of Goole Moor
19th March 1 female Moors generally
22nd March 1 female Mill Drain Marsh
24th March 2, 1 male Mill Drain Marsh, 1 female Pony Bridge Marsh
26th March 1 female Canals
01st April 2 ringtails moors generally
16th June 1 ringtail moors generally
04th October 1 female flooded workings only
3rd November 1 female Canals
11th November 1 male ‘Middle Moor’, later hovered (not just hanging) in wind very low, a rare sight
17th November 1 male flooded workings
18th November 1 female Canals
19th November 1 male Shoulder o’ Mutton
29th November 1 female Pony Bridge Marsh
07th December 1 male flooded workings
10th December 1 female ‘Middle Moor’
15th December 1 male flooded workings
17th December 1 male flooded workings
26th December 1 female Collis’s Tram
31st December 1 female Mill Drain Marsh
Goshawk Accipiter gentilis
A male came from Medge Hall across Swinefleet Warping Drain and dropped into woods on Crowle Moor on 2nd September (RA, FO). A female was heading E over the eastern edge of the moors towards Crowle Common on 6th October, leaving two smaller mobbing Carrion Crows behind (RA, FO). These two records await descriptions.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk A. nisus
Recorded every month and breeding proven, with one or two regularly seen throughout the year with occasionally three, as on 1st January. On 10th June a male was carrying prey over Mill Drain Marsh. Eurasian Sparrowhawk rarely take insects, however one appeared to be taking dragonflies Odonata on 28th June over ‘Middle Moor’ (SO). A male Eurasian Sparrowhawk was attacked by two Hobbies over Will Pits Scrape on 20th July and on 3rd September an adult Hobby mobbed an immature Eurasian Sparrowhawk over the flooded workings. Bred again, with a sitting bird seen high in a small oak Quercus tree, on 20th May. By 10th July there were three fledged young, one out of the nest and perched nearby (RB).
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
Slightly fewer records compared to last year.
24th April 1 over ‘Middle Moor’ noted hovering three times and being mobbed by Carrion Crows (RJS)
01st May 1 over Canals and Pony Bridge Wood (WHP)
23rd August 3 soaring and diving together over the southern edge of the moors before dropping into trees there. This is an all time maximum number for Thorne Moors (RA, FO)
30th August 1 Shoulder o' Mutton Tram with other raptors (BPW)
02nd September 2 over the southern fields before dropping into Pony Bridge Wood (AP, FO)
03rd September 1 over Shoulder o' Mutton eventually flew to Canals
17th November 1 (RA)
Osprey Pandion haliaetus (Red List)
On 7th September an adult was observed between 12.55 to 14.15 hrs, perched at Goole Moor flooded workings, before flying to Will Pits Scrape (BPW). On 8th September, an adult was perched at the flooded workings at 11.30 hrs, before flying to Will Pits Scrape (BPW).
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Amber List
Recorded every month with two or three regularly seen throughout the year, and occasionally four or five. Four were seen on six or more dates, as on 26th March, and five were seen on 31st August when they were all together in the colliery area, and again five on 8th September. Often to be seen hawking for insects with Hobbies in the same manner as on 20th July when nine small falcons were hawking together; at least three were Hobbies but at least three others were Common Kestrels. Bred in a nestbox, where an adult was seen inside on 4th and 6th May. On 20th May the male brought a mouse for the female which she came out of the box for and took it from him on the ground. A chick was seen in the nestbox on 28th June and two large fledging chicks (still with some down) could be seen inside on 4th July. Two young Common Kestrels were observed on the ground in stubble, on 10th August and four Common Kestrels were in the same place on 28th August.
Merlin F. columbarius (Red List)
A poor year with a fewer number of records compared to last year.
08th February 1 male low over ‘Middle Moor’
11th March 1 female Southern Canals
19th March 1 female Jones’ Cable towards Colliery
01st April 1 female Shoulder o’ Mutton
16th April 1 female mobbed by Pied Wagtails W of Will Pits
01st October 2, 1 male on a peat stack at ‘Middle Moor’ Tram then flew to Crowle Moor, 1 male perched at Green Belt then flew E
08th October 1 female over Goole Moor
31st December 1 female Mill Drain Marsh
Hobby F. subbuteo
There were 61 records, ten less than last year, but they arrived earlier than last year and remained later in the year. Best viewing is from the Observation Platform on Mill Drain Marsh, or from Fisons’ Road looking N over the flooded workings. Bred again with two young fledged (PB).
23rd April 1 flooded workings
27th April 2 Southern Canals, chase flight so possibly a pair
30th April 1 Paraffin Cuttings
06th May 1 flooded workings
07th May 2 flushed from northern edge of Goole Moor
13th May 1 Southern Canals
17th May 2, 1 flushed from a peat stack near Limberlost, 1 Mill Drain Marsh
18th May 3
20th May 2 Southern Canals
26th May 1 Will Pits
04th June 3 ‘Middle Moor’
10th June 5, 4 ‘Middle Moor’-2 displaying and 1 first-summer
12th June 2 Southern Canals
16th June 5 in air at once (from Observation Platform) (RA, AO’N)
18th June 2 ‘Middle Moor’
19th June 2 adults near suspected nest site (PB)
25th June 3 ‘Middle Moor’
27th June 1 Southern Canals
28th June 1
02nd July 3 ‘Middle Moor’
14th July 2, 1 Crowle Moor, 1 ‘Middle Moor’
15th July 1 Will Pits Scrape
16th July 6 (5 adults, 1 first-summer), 3 Mill Drain Marsh, 3 ‘Middle Moor’. 1 earlier panicking 200+ Common Swifts over Moorends (RJS)
17th July 2 Mill Drain Marsh
19th July 2 ‘Middle Moor’
20th July 3, 2 from Crowle Moor attacked a male Eurasian Sparrowhawk over Will Pits Scrape
23rd July 1 Southern Canals
25th July 1 adult flew to suspected nest site (PB)
26th July 1 adult near suspected nest site (PB). 1 Southern Canals
28th July 2 adults, probably a pair, hawking and perched together
03rd August 1
04th August 1 Southern Canals
05th August 3+ Southern Canals
06th August 2 adults near suspected nest site, one bird passed food to the other (PB)
08th August 1 adult near suspected nest site (PB). 1 Crowle Moor
09th August 2 juveniles flushed W of Will Pits Scrape
10th August 1 Rawcliffe Moor
11th August 2, 1 Crowle Moor, 1 Will Pits
12th August 1 flooded workings
13th August 1 Crowle Moor
14th August 3 Will Pits
15th August 5+, 3 western edge of Moors, 2 Crowle Moor (PH)
19th August 2 ‘Middle Moor’
20th August 2 adults near suspected nest site chased off a female Eurasian Sparrowhawk (PB)
22nd August 1
23rd August 2, 1 adult, 1 juvenile Mill Drain Marsh
24th August 2 Crowle Moor
25th August 3, 1 adult at dusk near suspected nest site (PB). 2 elsewhere 1 in moult
26th August 1 adult with 1 fledged juvenile perched near nest site (PB).
27th August 2 adults with 2 fledged juveniles near nest site, an aerial pass from an adult to 1 of the juveniles was seen (PB). 1 juvenile flooded workings
29th August 1 Pony Bridge Marsh
30th August 3
31st August 3 Goole Moor, 2 adults and 1 juvenile
03rd September 3, 2 adults and 1 first-summer flooded workings
04th September 3, 2 adults, 1 juvenile
07th September 2, 1 adult, 1 juvenile Colliery area
08th September 3+ flooded workings
09th September 4, 3 adults and 1 first summer moors generally
10th September 2 flooded workings
11th September 2
16th September 1 adult near Will Pits
01st October 1 Shoulder o’ Mutton
Peregrine Falcon F. peregrinus (Amber List)
There were 34 records, which is an decrease on last year.
01st January 2, 1 male and 1 female flooded workings
02nd January 1 male over colliery
06th January 2, 1 male and 1 immature female, flooded workings displaying
08th January 1 male over flooded workings, once mobbed Hen Harrier
02nd February 1 Rawcliffe Moor
13th February 1 female over Paraffin Cuttings
16th February 1 male perched Rawcliffe Moor
05th March 1 flooded workings
11th March 1 immature female Shoulder o’ Mutton
26th March 1 female seen over Fisons’ Road, later with Wood Pigeon in talons over Goole Moor
17th April 2, 1 male and 1 immature flooded workings
23rd April 1 female flushed Goole Moor left high S
25th August 1 landed at flooded workings
30th August 1 mobbed by 2 Hobbies over Rawcliffe Moor and flooded
31st August 1 immature female Shoulder o’ Mutton
02nd September 1 immature female Shoulder o’ Mutton
03rd September 1 female flooded workings, noted drinking and bathing
04th September 1 Goole Moor
08th September 2, 1 female Canals, 1 immature female Goole Fields
09th September 1 female colliery area
10th September 1 female/immature flooded workings
23rd September 1 female flushed Goole Moor
24th September 1 male flooded workings
01st October 2, 1 immature female stooping unsuccessfully over Alders, 1 female fought with a Marsh Harrier over E side of Blackwater Dyke
08th October 1 male Rawcliffe Moor
15th October 1 Goole Moor
27th October 1 male chased Fieldfares briefly ‘Middle Moor’
29th October 1 male Goole Moor
04th November 2, 1 male and 1 immature female Shoulder o’ Mutton
11th November 1 female ‘Middle Moor’
17th November 1 Will Pits Wood
29th November 1 female Middle Moor, later chased Common Pheasant
17th December 1 male flooded workings
21st December 1 distant Rawcliffe Moor
Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
Not many records this year (15), most were in March, April and May. The maximum however was nine, on Rawcliffe Moor, on 21st December. Fairly frequent in adjacent field edges, especially on Goole Fields where they bred; an adult with eight small chicks was seen near Swinefleet Peat Works on 16th June.
Grey Partridge Perdix perdix Red List
Another poor year with only 15 records on the moors and five records from adjacent field edge. The maximum was 10 in fields near Woodpecker Corner on 6th August, the next highest count being five in the colliery area on 19th August and 8th September. Breeding took place near Blackwater Dyke; however the clutch of nine was unsuccessful due to being raided by a Carrion Crow, the eaten eggs were observed on 25th June. A pair also probably bred on the edge of Goole Moor as two adults were seen there on 5th August and one gave a broken wing distraction display. Grey Partridge did breed on Goole Fields adjacent to Thorne Moors, as a pair with five chicks were seen towards the dismantled Axholme Joint Railway on 10th August, and a pair with four chicks were seen at Swinefleet Peat Works on 29th August.
[Common Quail Coturnix coturnix
A combine harvester flushed a single bird on Goole Fields N of the dismantled Axholme Joint Railway, near Moor Fields Farm on 17th August and the same happened again on 24th August (PB).]
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
Highest count was of 56+ on 1st January, and double figure counts were frequent. Birds are reared and released all around these moors.
Water Rail Rallus aquaticus Amber List
The following records are of birds heard only unless otherwise stated.
01st January 2, 1 Will Pits Scrape, 1 Paraffin Cuttings
16th January 1 Pony Bridge Wood
06th February 1 Paraffin Cuttings
13th February 1 Paraffin Cuttings
04th March 1 Paraffin Cuttings
16th March 1 Angle Drain
21st May 1 Mill Drain Marsh
26th May 2 giving territorial calls ‘Middle Moor’
31st May 1 Mill Drain Marsh
04th June 2, 1 ‘Middle Moor’, 1 Pony Bridge Marsh
10th June 1 Southern Canals
25th June 1 Mill Drain Marsh
02nd July 1 ‘Middle Moor’
23rd July 1 ‘Middle Moor’
28th July 1 ‘Middle Moor’
17th August 1 seen feeding amongst dead Heather Calluna vulgaris at edge of Will Pits Scrape
28th August 1 Mill Drain Marsh
29th August 1 Mill Drain Marsh
07th September 1 seen when flushed from Bell’s Pond
01st October 2, 1 ‘Middle Moor’, 1 Southern Canals
13th October 1 Mill Drain Marsh
15th October 1 W edge of Moors
27th October 1 ‘Middle Moor’
29th October 1 ‘Middle Moor’
11th November 1 ‘Middle Moor’
19th November 4, 2 ‘Middle Moor’, 1 W edge of Moors, 1 colliery area
19th December 1 colliery area
21st December 2 Inkle Moor Pond
22nd December 3, 1 Will Pits Scrape, 2 'Middle Moor'
26th December 1 colliery area
29th December 1 colliery area
30th December 1 colliery area
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Common, with double figure counts being regular, though counts of 20 or more were only obtained on two dates, with 20 on 5th March and 33 on 12th March. A nest with five eggs was found at Bell’s Pond on 25th April.
Common Coot Fulica atra
The highest numbers were at Will Pits Scrape, with 20+ there on 12th March. 10 was the highest count for the flooded workings, on 30th April. There was no more than one bird recorded from the Paraffin Cuttings, and there were single records from Bell’s Pond (on 18th April) and Casson’s Marsh (one bird on 16th April). Breeding took place at Will Pits Scrape with a chick seen on 22nd May, 28th June and 23rd July; on the latter date there were also two young at the flooded workings. The first birds returned to the moors on 6th February, when eight were present at Will Pits Scrape.
Common Crane Grus grus (Amber List)
A bugling adult flew over Pony Bridge Marsh at 11.15 hrs on 18th June and then landed at ‘Middle Moor’ before circling high over Goole Moor and continuing N at 11.50 hrs (RJS, LJD, JW). At 9.30 hrs on 4th November an adult bird flew round over ‘Middle Moor’ and then headed low towards the flooded workings calling all the time. It was unclear from the point of observation whether the bird landed, however a short while later no sign could be found (WHP). These will be the fifth and sixth record of this species for Thorne Moors subject to acceptance.
Generally waders are found at the flooded workings N of Fisons’ Road, unless otherwise stated.
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus (Amber List)
On 13th April there was one at the flooded workings, on 16th one flew S over Will Pits Scrape, and on 23rd April one was at the flooded workings. On 28th June a single bird again flew over Will Pits Scrape, and one was heard flying over on 16th July.
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
Records came from the flooded workings north of Fisons' Road, Green Belt Scrape and from the colliery spoil heap. The first date when a single was present was the only record from the colliery spoil heap. One was at Green Belt Scrape on 10th June. All other records were of one or two birds at the flooded workings. First and last dates were 21st April-5th August.
Great Ringed Plover C. hiaticula Amber List
Only single birds were seen until four appeared on 24th April. Numbers then remained in single figures until late August when 11+ were observed on 27th. Six juveniles and an adult were seen on 30th, and mainly juveniles were present on 31st August when 15+ birds were present. This was the maximum until 4th September when 20+ were present. The year’s maximum however, was on 13th September when there were 30+, followed by 25+ on 19th September. First and last dates were 18th March-29th September.
European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria (Amber List)
There were few records. The year’s maximum was in the first half of the year, when a Eurasian Sparrowhawk flushed 41 birds over the southern fields on 1st January. There were 12 SE over the moors on 8th October and 34 S over on 10th December. All other records were in single figures, the highest being five on 12th and 18th August.
Grey Plover P. squatarola (Amber List)
A party of eight adults in summer plumage flew over the Shoulder o’ Mutton before dropping into Goole Fields, on 24th April. Also in April, on 30th, three summer plumage birds were at flooded workings on Goole Moor. A single was overhead at the flooded workings on 1st May, before flying off N. Singles called over the flooded workings on 2nd July and 9th September. One flew over the Shoulder o’ Mutton on 1st October and another single was seen and heard at the flooded workings, on 19th December.
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus Amber List
Most records were from the flooded workings or of birds flying to the southern fields. Highest count was of c.600 on 29th July. Two mobbed a Marsh Harrier over Pony Bridge Marsh on 7th October.
Monthly maxima were: January 16, February 140, March 30, April 9, May 12, June 33, Julyc.600, August 400, September 263, October 120, November 128, December 200.
Red Knot Calidris canutus (Amber List)
A single in full summer plumage was grounded on 13th May (WHP). One was in summer plumage and also grounded on 25th July (PCR, CR).
Little Stint C. minuta
Except for two juveniles on 31st August, all other records were in September. One was present on 8th and three on 9th, then two on 13th, three on 16th, two on 19th, three on 23rd and two on 29th.
Curlew Sandpiper C. ferruginea
All records were in September with one juvenile present on 8th, 9th, 13th, 16th and two juveniles present on 19th.
Dunlin C. alpina (Amber List)
Passage began in March with two on 18th and three winter plumaged birds on 22nd and 23rd, increasing to 12 by 30th. During May there was one on 1st, followed by four on 6th and 7th, the latter at Goole Moor flooded workings, with four summer plumaged birds were at the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road on 18th. On 23rd July five plus were present and on 29th July one was present. There were more regular sightings in August, but with numbers remaining mostly in single figures, the maxima being ten on 6th and nine on 22nd. Double figures appeared in September: 11 on 4th, 10+ on 8th and 13th, 19 on 16th and 17+ on 19th. There was one record in October of three on 1st, one on 21st December, and lastly three with Northern Lapwings on 22nd December.
Ruff Philomachus pugnax (Amber List)
In spring one was present on 19th April. There was one present on 5th and 6th August, two on 12th, five on 22nd, two on 27th, four on 30th and two on 31st. For September, there were two on 3rd and 10th, and on 29th a male and two females were present.
Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus (Amber List)
There were only a few records, all of single birds: near the Paraffin Cuttings on 26th February, flushed at the flooded workings on 19th March, and at Green Belt Scrape on 16th April. In the latter part of the year records were, at the flooded workings on 29th October and 4th November, and at Green Belt on 29th December.
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago Amber List
Usually recorded in single figures except for passage birds, highest count for the first half of the year being seven on 2nd February and 16th April. Higher numbers were obtained later in the year, with c.15 on 23rd July and 8th August, and 10 on 12th and 18th August. The highest counts came in September, with the year’s maximum of 24 flying W on 4th, and c.18 on 23rd. There were 10 on 1st October. Single drumming birds were observed at Mill Drain Marsh, Southern Canals and ‘Middle Moor’ (two on two dates at latter) from 18th May until 30th July.
Woodcock Scolopax rusticola Amber List
The first records on 12th and 13th February were of singletons at the Paraffin Cuttings. In March two were near the Alders on 5th, and one was at Will Pits on 12th. During April one was on Northern Goole Moor on 1st and one was roding on 21st at Will Pits, with four in that wood and on Crowle Moor on 28th. In May one displayed near the Observation Platform on 21st. All records for December were of single birds: at the Alders on 21st, at Will Pits on 22nd, at Canal Tow Path (Northern Boundary of old NNR) on 23rd and along Collis’s Tram on 25th.
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa (Red List)
On 19th March a male in summer plumage was present, before departing SE. In April a single came to the flooded workings then left W on 6th, and on 29th four came in but also left, this time SE. On 29th July three came in and then left W, and on 3rd August five flew over E. On 18th August one was present and on 9th September five were flushed and left to S.
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus (Amber List)
One was calling as it flew E on 30th April. All other records were in May; there were two on 4th, eight on 6th and three on 7th and 13th.
Eurasian Curlew N. arquata Amber List
The first one was on 11th March, with mostly single birds recorded from then. Exceptions were two on 23rd April, three on 4th June, two on 14th July, four on 23rd July and three on 4th September. Singletons continued to occur until the last one on 1st October.
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
A juvenile bird flew from Green Belt to the flooded workings on 27th August (WHP), and one was landed on 4th September (WHP).
Common Redshank T. totanus Amber List
One was present 11th March, and most subsequent records were of singles. However there were three on 7th April and 23rd July, and four were present on 4th August.
Common Greenshank T. nebularia (Amber List)
First spring record was of one on 21st April, the next was one was on 1st May. There were records of single birds in July, of three on 16th. The highest count of the year came on 5th August when 14 were at Green Belt with a further three at the flooded workings. Two juveniles present (with an adult) on 30th, and for other dates in August up to three birds were recorded, except for four on 31st. Numbers dropped in September from three on 4th to two by 9th, and one was the maximum up to the last record on 28th September.
Green Sandpiper T. ochropus
Two were flushed from Thorne Waste Drain on 13th February and one was at Green Belt on 24th March. One was flushed at Green Belt and flew to the flooded workings on 14th April, and one was present on Goole Moor the following day. On 19th April, three were flushed from Thorne Waste Drain at Woodpecker Corner. Three were present on 25th June, and two on 16th July. Maximum year count was seven on 29th July, with two at Green Belt, and five at the flooded workings. Up to three were recorded on dates through August in the same areas, with four on 22nd and five on 27th. Two were at Will Pits Scrape (the only record from here) on 21st September, and two were near Woodpecker Corner on 24th September. The only records from Bell’s Pond were of two on 21st October, and the last two were near Woodpecker Corner on 10th December.
Wood Sandpiper T. glareola (Amber List)
All four records were in August; two were seen on 4th, one on 12th and 15th and up to four juveniles on 27th (WHP).
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Two were present on 4th and one 6th and 13th May. In August one was present on 18th, 27th, 29th, and 31st, with two on 30th. One was present on 9th September.
Turnstone Arenaria interpres (Amber List)
The only record was of two birds flying W over the flooded workings on 11th April.
Except for Black-headed Gulls, landed gulls were only ever found at the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road, unless otherwise stated. This is also the area where gulls roosted, though many gulls would land, bathe, preen and drink before continuing to a different roost site, which was often NE towards the River Humber. Other gulls did not stop at all and just over-flew to/from other roost sites, this was more often the case in mornings when gulls had departed their roosts. Gulls counts were casually made except for Black-headed Gull, which were surveyed for the Seabird 2000 census.
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus (Amber List)
A bird in second-summer plumage flew in with Black-headed Gulls on 21st April (WHP).
Black-headed Gull L. ridibundus
There were three main colonies this year, with 81 pairs at Will Pits Scrape, 90 pairs at the flooded workings N of Shearburn and Pitts Drain, and 394 pairs at the main colony at the flooded workings N of Fisons’ Road. This gives a total of 565 pairs. The counts dates on which these figures were obtained were 27th May and 12th June. There would be additional non-breeding immature birds loafing around each colony, as most Black-headed Gulls do not bred until their second summer. Roost counts outside the breeding season are few, however six flew over flooded workings N of Green Belt, some stopping briefly before all departed NE, on the evening of 21st December. Young were seen from 20th May on and some were fledged by 4th June. A count of 100 young from the colony N of Shearburn and Pitts Drain and 200 from the colony N of Fisons’ Road was obtained on 10th June (WHP). 105+ fledged young were counted on 25th June (RJS).
Monthly maxima were: January 5, February 193, March 1300+, April c.2000, May 1130+, June 2000+, July 300, August 400+, September 6, October 94, November 7, December 240.
A ringing recovery was obtained when a dead Black-headed Gull was found on Thorne Moors on 10th June 2000. It had been ringed as a nestling at Fatholme, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, on 8th June 1995.
Common Gull L. canus (Amber List)
Mainly observed over-flying the moors, though does occasionally land as two did at Green Belt on 19th December. Roost counts were few, however six over-flew the flooded workings N of Green Belt, some stopping briefly before all departed NE, on the evening of 21st December. The year’s maximum (30+) was on 14th April.
Monthly maxima were: January 2, February 1, March 11+, April 30+, May 1, June 0, July 1, August 3, September 0, October 10, November 0, December 29.
Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus (Amber List)
The commonest species of gull in summer (May-September) and regularly roosts on the moors. There were few roost counts above 150 however, and most were observed heading SW, coming from a roost beyond the moors, as on the morning of 31st August. One was found moribund at Green Belt Scrape on 25th August, later in the day it had gone, possibly predated. Two juvenile Marsh Harriers scavenged a dead immature bird (probably first-winter) at the flooded workings on 28th September. The year’s maximum (300+) was on 23rd July.
Monthly maxima were: January 1, February 0, March 8, April 140+, May 80+, June 48, July 300+, August 150, September c.150, October 20, November 0, December 1.
Herring Gull L. argentatus (Amber List)
Generally the commonest non-breeding species and regularly roosts on the moors. A grounded adult with an injured wing was seen on 6th February. There were few roost counts, however, on the evening of 21st December, 767 (the year’s maximum) over-flew flooded workings N of Green Belt, with some stopping there before all departed, continuing NE.
Monthly maxima were: January 250+, February 25, March 90+, April 130+, May 0, June 6, July 10+, August 8, September 161, October 6, November c.50, December 767.
Glaucous Gull L. hyperboreus
A third-winter bird was seen in flight before landing at the flooded workings with Great Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls on the evening of 19th March (RJS, PCR). Almost certainly the same bird returned to the same roost site on 22nd March (RJS, WHP), 24th March (RJS) and 14th April (WHP).
Great Black-backed Gull L. marinus
Roost counts were few, however on the evening of 21st December, 118 flew over flooded workings N of Green Belt, some stopping briefly before all departed NE. The year’s maximum (160) was on 9th January.
Monthly maxima were: January 160, February 6, March 25, April 80+, May 16, June 9, July 10+, August 0, September 10, October 2, November c.50, December c.130.
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla
An adult winter plumaged bird flew in to the flooded workings before departing E on 11th March (WHP). The sixth record for Thorne Moors.
Common Tern S. hirundo
During May a single was present at the flooded workings on 1st and four were present on 6th, followed by two on 7th and 13th. On 3rd August one was grounded at the flooded workings, and 10 (including one juvenile) were present there on 5th.
Arctic Tern S. paradisaea
One flew E over the flooded workings on 1st (RJS) and 13th May (WHP). Eleven came in from the S and headed NE on 6th May (RJS). These are the fourth-sixth records for Thorne Moors.
Black Tern Chlidonias niger
Three were at the flooded workings on 6th (RJS) and 7th May (ML).
Rock Dove Columba livia
Feral birds are present year round in small numbers.
Stock Dove C. oenas Amber List
Often to be seen in small numbers on the W side of the moors, particularly in and around the colliery area. There were 10 in the colliery area on 19th September, and 35 at Inkle Moor/Paraffin Cuttings fields on 21st December.
Wood Pigeon C. palumbus
Highest count of c.700 was from fields adjacent to Rawcliffe Moor on 18th November.
Monthly maxima were: January 500+, February 600+, March 300+, April 50+, May 150+, June 29+, July 3, August 3, September 47, October 80+, November c.700, December 600.
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Recorded in small numbers at some areas around the moors, usually near habitation. These are places such as Top Moor Farm and colliery road bridge, however only two records were over the peat moors. On 7th May two flew NW over Will Pits, and on 13th August two flew E over Will Pits Scrape to Crowle Moor.
Turtle Dove S. turtur Red List
Seen at wooded areas of the moors, but also seen flying over other areas. Birds seen in more open areas were; two were seen along the W edge of the moors, on 10th June, at Will Pits Scrape on 20th July and at Goole Moor on the last date. First and last dates were 9th May-31st August.
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Maximum was 10 on 30th April. A juvenile was seen on both the 14th July and the last date at Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram. First and last dates were 16th April-1st October (the latest ever date for Thorne Moors RJS).
Barn Owl Tyto alba
(Amber List)A bird was observed perched and hunting on Crowle Moor on 20th September (PB). At 23.30 hrs on 6th October one flew from Jones’ Cable over Moorends (WHP).
Little Owl Athene noctua
This is an uncommon species in the moors area, with only two records. One was present at Bell’s Pond on 25th February (WHP) and one was at Swinefleet Peat Works on 5th March (ML).
Tawny Owl Strix aluco
This fairly common owl is often heard but less often seen on the moors, mostly during the breeding season. Records were of three on 29th April, two from Will Pits and one on Crowle Moor, and singles in Will Pits on 14th August and 4th September. There was one in the colliery area on 13th September. One was heard in the colliery area on 29th October. Bred again; a pair was seen with one fledged young on 7th June. A second pair bred; two immatures were flushed and a third could be heard calling, on 16th July.
Long-eared Owl Asio otus
Breeding was proven, with possibly up to three families observed. There were two widely spaced adults on 21st May. Three calling young were heard on 23rd June at one site (PCR). On 27th June one was seen flying, carrying prey. One was observed on the W edge of the moors on 30th June. One was heard in the S part of the moors on 8th July, another was observed on 28th July. Three young were heard calling on 30 July. On 19th November one was seen.
Short-eared Owl A. flammeus (Amber List)
On the late evening of 29th December one was hunting over Pony Bridge Marsh (PCR).
European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus Red List
Surveys were conducted on nights between 1st June to 8th June and 3rd July to 13th July. The whole of the moors was covered in a single night on 3rd June and 8th July. This revealed a total of 30 males, which is a further reduction in numbers (SH et al). Management work of raising water levels in the interior over the last few years may be partly responsible for dropping numbers, though new habitat for European Nightjars has been created in the drier southern areas of Thorne Moors. First and last dates were 13th May-8th September.
Common Swift Apus apus
Maximum was 1000+ on 23rd July and this is an all time record count for Thorne Moors. First and last dates were 4th May-3rd September.
Monthly maxima were: May c.150, June c.300, July 1000+, August 150, a single on 3rd September.
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis (Amber List)
All records were from Bell's Pond or adjoining drains. Single birds were seen here on 2nd January, 6th and 13th February, 19th and 27th March, 28th September, 27th October and 4th November.
Green Woodpecker Picus viridis Amber List
The maximum count was five on the colliery spoil heap, on 29th September, and five on 7th October including four on Crowle Moor. There were four on 24th August with one at Will Pits and three on Crowle Moor. There were three on several dates in the colliery area. Up to three in a day were also recorded from a combination of areas, as on 1st January when singles were recorded at the Alders, the flooded workings and ‘Middle Moor’, and again on 19th December when singles were observed at the colliery area, Green Belt and Woodpecker Corner. Green Woodpeckers use a diversity of habitats and apart from the woodlands they were also recorded from most other vegetated parts. One juvenile was seen at Woodpecker Corner on 26th June, and a juvenile with an adult bird was seen in the colliery area on 3rd and 8th August. A dead bird was found at Elmhirst Tram on 27th June, with no visible cause of death.
Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
Records of one or two birds came from Will Pits, the colliery area, the Alders and Elmhirst for all months. Maximum number of adults was three in the colliery area on 16th April. Bred at Woodpecker Corner with an adult seen going into an Alder Alnus glutinosa nest-hole with calling young, on 5th June. Also bred on Crowle Moor where young were being fed in the nest hole on 4th June. A third breeding place was at Goole Moor where young were heard in a nest hole on 15th June and on 25th June young were being fed there.
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker D. minor
A single bird was observed in low flight at close range, heading NE at the Observation Platform on 9th September (BPW, RJS).
Sky Lark Alauda arvensis Red List
The highest number in the early part of the year was 28 on 12th March. With autumn passage came higher counts, with 32 on 28th September, and the maximum 60+ on 1st October mostly heading SE. Eight moved N on 29th December during a spell of snow and freezing weather.
Sand Martin Riparia riparia (Amber List)
Two passed NW over Goole Moor on the earliest date ever for Thorne Moors, 19th March (ML). The maximum during spring passage was 55 on 16th April and there were again 50+ on 25th April. The next high number did not come until 14th August when 40 were present. On 26th there werec.300 and this rose to 1300 (the year’s maximum) heading S (in 32 groups) on 31st August.Numbers remained high into September, with 355+ over Goole Moor on 3rd, 400 S on 7th and 90 S on 8th. First and last dates were, 19th March (earliest ever) -10th September.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica (Amber List)
A maximum of 30+ was recorded at Will Pits Scrape during spring passage, on 25th April. Numbers remained at or below 20 until 8th September the only exceptions being 40+ on 6th and 32 on 8th August. There were 50+ on 4th and 14th September before a count of 100 on 20th September. The year’s highest count was c.393 S on 24th September. First and last dates were 16th April-12th October.
House Martin Delichon urbica
There were only three spring records, of 100+ at Will Pits Scrape on 25th April, which was the year's maximum count, 20 on 30th April and four on 7th May. In autumn on 19th September, 40+ were over the flooded workings, with 50 on 20th, 87 there on the last date. First and last dates were 7th May-29th September.
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
All records (virtually all of singing males) are listed for this declining species. There was a possible maximum of 17 pairs.
19th April 2, 1 W edge, 1 Elmhirst Tram
21st April 3 Crowle Moor
22nd April 8 males, 2 females Crowle Moor
24th April 1 W edge
13th May 1 Southern Canals
18th May 1
20th May 6, 4+ Southern Canals, 2 Pony Bridge Marsh
26th May 1 Southern Canals
31st May 1 Southern Canals
20th June 1 adult carrying food Crowle Moor
Meadow Pipit A. pratensis
Highest counts were in September as passage birds moved through, beginning with 30 on 4th and increasing to the year’s maximum of 82 heading S on 28th.
Monthly maxima were: January 44, February 6, March 30, April 19, May 9, June 3, July 5, August 67, September 88, October 43, November 48, December 4.
Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
Nearly all records came from the flooded workings. The first double figure count was of 40+ on 29th July and this was the year’s maximum. Next highest count was of c.30 on 12th August. A pair was noted carrying food on 10th June at the Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram. First and last dates were 16th April-19th September.
Grey Wagtail M. cinerea
One was heard calling as it flew over Goole Moor in fog on 1st October.
Pied Wagtail M. alba
Highest count was on 30th August.
Monthly maxima were: January 3, February 1, March 9, April 10, May 7, June 9, July 20+, August 36, September 20, October 13, November 1, December 2.
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Highest count was on 1st January.
Monthly maxima were: January 63, February 9, March 40+, April 28, May 15+, June 1, July 1, August 6, September 7, October 20+, November 9, December 32.
Hedge Accentor Prunella modularis Amber List
Highest count was on 1st January.
Monthly maxima were: January 14, February 0, March 3, April 3, May 1, June 1, July 1, August 4+, September 5, October 9, November 0, December 6.
Robin Erithacus rubecula
Highest count was on 1st January.
Monthly maxima were: January 16, February 3, March 10+, April 17, May 2, June 0, July 4, August 4, September 10, October 12, November 2, December 12.
Rufous Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos Amber List
A species more often heard than seen, and once they have young and stopped singing it can be difficult to know if they are still present. Isolated males seem to sing the least, and these may only be recorded once or twice in the early part of the breeding season; another possibility is that some males do not find a mate and move to other areas, perhaps beyond the moors. The highest day count was eight on 29th April, with seven at Will Pits and Crowle Moor and one in the colliery area. Area maxima were: Will Pits (four plus), Crowle Moor (three plus), colliery area and Green Belt (three), Elmhirst Wood (one), Goole Moor (two). This gives no more than 13 males holding territory. Breeding birds were observed at a site very close to where the nest described last year was, and their progress was followed from 16th May. The pair was seen carrying food for young on 24th May and a nest containing four unfledged young was found about 30 cm up in Rhododendrons Rhododendron. By 1st June the four young were nearly fledged and the family remained in the area until at least 13th June. First and last dates were 21st April-19th July.
Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
The only record came from the Alders, with a male and female there on 18th April (JGH).
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
Three pairs bred along S side of Fisons’ Road, one pair in Southern Canals and one at Blackwater Dyke. Only one record came from elsewhere; one on Crowle moor on 20th September. Fisons’ Road: On 29th June a female was seen carrying nest material and a nest containing six eggs was found there under heather on 13th June. By 26th June there were well grown juveniles in the nest. On 4th July a second nest was found in this area (along Fisons’ Road), and it contained five juveniles. The third pair in this area was unsuccessful possible due to the unwelcome attentions of a pair of Carrion Crows that had a nest nearby. Blackwater Dyke: A pair was feeding young here on 10th, 25th and 28th June. The maximum day count of adults was five (four males and one female) along Fisons’ Road on 13th May. First and last dates were 23rd April-29th September.
Common Stonechat S. torquata (Amber list)
Birds were mainly seen in areas such as the Shoulder o' Mutton, along Fisons' Road, ‘Middle Moor’, the Canals area and Goole Moor. On 1st January, two males and a female were along the Shoulder o' Mutton Tram, and a female was present on 6th February. In autumn with better views juveniles can be told from females. Maximum count was of ten on 11th November, a moors record, when three males, six females and one immature were present along Fisons' Road near Green Belt and at ‘Middle Moor’ (WHP, RJS). Most counts though were of up to three birds. Last and first dates were 5th March, a male at Goole Fields Reservoir and 1st October, two males at ‘Middle Moor’.
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
The first record was of one at the flooded workings, and here and Goole Fields/Moor were the best areas to encounter this species. Spring passage continued until the last female on 7th May. The maximum number was 12 on 18th August at Goole Fields, and the maximum on the peat moors was five, with four on Goole Moor and one at the flooded workings on 1st October (with another two on that date on Goole Fields). Last one was a female/immature. Counts of juveniles reached a maximum of three at the flooded workings on 12th August. First and last dates were 18th March-8th October.
Blackbird T. merula Amber list
Migrant birds that arrive with other thrushes in the autumn boost winter numbers. Maximum count of 37 was on 21st December, with 17 at Inkle Moor and 20 in the colliery area.
Monthly maxima were: January 27, February 2, March 11, April 13, May 7, June 2, July 3, August 3, September 8, October 17, November 15, December 37.
Fieldfare T. pilaris (Amber list)
Generally counts were low, 220 on 29th December coming in to the moors from E, being the maximum. Most frequently encountered in the colliery area or adjacent Moorends Recreation Ground and fields, or flighting to and from roosts in woodland on the moors. Monthly maxima were: January 141, February 100+, March 97, April 89, October 52, November c.200, December 220. Last and first dates were 30th April-27th October.
Song Thrush T. philomelos Red list
Records were from Will Pits and the colliery area, maxima were three plus on 20th May and two on 28th September respectively. Another area was the Canal Tow Path with a single there on 4th March. Bred with a pair with one juvenile seen on 2nd July.
Redwing T. iliacus (Amber list)
Found in similar areas as Fieldfares, with five near the Alders on 26th February being the highest count for the Moors in the earlier part of year, though c.100 were at Moorends Recreation Ground on 5th March. In the latter part of the year notable counts were 120+ on 3rd November, c.40 on 4th, and c.50 on 11th November. Last and first dates were 16th April (two)-15th October (10).
Mistle Thrush T. viscivorus
Frequent in peripheral areas around the colliery and farms, though records from the actual peat moor are rare. Two were on Crowle Moor on 19th October. Bred at Moorends Recreation Ground with four juveniles there, on 19th and 25th April. Maximum number at the colliery and adjacent Moorends Recreation Ground was 10 on 31st August. The year’s maximum was 15 over Will Pits Scrape on 8th October.
Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia Amber list
Maximum number was four plus on 21st April and 3rd June, at the colliery area and Southern Canals. Area maxima were: Inkle Moor (one), W edge of the Moors (one), colliery (four), Mill Drain/Marsh (one), Will Pits/Scrape (two), Pony Bridge Marsh (one), NE Goole Moor/Fields Reservoir (one) and Jones’ Cable (one). The number of locations where male birds were heard would suggest a maximum of 12 males present, however as with other (warbler) counts usually some areas of the moors have not been covered. First and last dates were 8th April, the earliest ever at Pony Bridge Marsh (PB)-8th August.
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Males mainly heard. The maximum was 17 on 30th April. Area maxima were: Green Belt, colliery area and the flooded workings (15), W edge of the moors (five), Mill Drain/Marsh (one), Inkle Moor Pond (one), NE Goole Moor (two), Will Pits Scrape (three), Pony Bridge Marsh (one) and Crowle Moor (one). The number of locations where male birds were heard would suggest a possible maximum of 29 males present. Three juveniles were seen on 22nd August, two at Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram and the other at ‘Middle Moor’. First and last dates were 23rd April-21st September.
Reed Warbler A. scirpaceus
Males mainly heard. A maximum of 17 was recorded on 13th May. Area maxima were: colliery area (four), Canals (seven), Green Belt (nine), flooded workings (one), Will Pits Scrape (one) and W edge of the moors (one). This gives a possible maximum of 23 males present. First and last dates were 19th April–9th September.
Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
All records were of singles, the first was at Will Pits on 27th April. Other places were the colliery area (one), Mill Drain Marsh (one) and Green Belt (one), with additional singles on the colliery footpath and Jones’ Cable. This gives a possible maximum of six males present. First and last dates were 25th April-23rd September.
Common Whitethroat S. communis
A widespread Sylvia found wherever there is scrub vegetation; the maximum count was 36 on 30th April. Few observers noted this species area by area, however RJS did and from these figures a total was estimated of 39 birds; though not all the moors was covered. Several nests were found: one at Woodpecker Corner contained five eggs on 20th May, on 22nd May three nests were found, one in Will Pits had five eggs, another there had four eggs and the third on ‘Middle Moor’ had five eggs. Another two nests were found along Mill Drain and both held four eggs on 20th-26th June. Lastly a nest was found in the colliery area with four eggs on 4th July, and there were four fledged young there by 17th July. First and last dates were 21st April-19th September.
Garden Warbler S. borin
A maximum of six on 7th May. Usually males heard, area maxima were: Northern Goole Moor/Goole Moor (four), W edge of the moors (one), colliery area (four), Woodpecker Corner (one), Green Belt (one), Crowle Moor (two) and Will Pits (two). This gives a possible maximum of 15 males present. First and last dates were 21st April-17th June.
Blackcap S. atricapilla
Highest count was nine on 30th April and area maxima were: colliery area (three), Will Pits (six), Woodpecker Corner (one), Northern Goole/Goole Moor (five), W edge of the moors (one), Inkle Moor (one) and Canals (one). This gives a possible maximum of 18 males present. A nest with five small young was found amongst Bramble Rubus fruticosa at Woodpecker Corner on 20th May. A second nest was located on 22nd May at Will Pits and held five eggs. The first and the last dates were 16th April-23rd September.
Common Chiffchaff P. collybita
There were four on the first date, three at Will Pits and one in the colliery area. Highest number was 11+ on 25th March. Area maxima were: Will Pits (five), colliery area (five), Green Belt (two), Rhododendron Path (two), Inkle Moor (three), Mill Drain Marsh (one), Swinefleet Warping Drain (one), W edge of the moors (two), Woodpecker Corner (one) and Elmhirst Wood (one). This gives a possible maximum of 23 males present. A nest containing chicks was found at Woodpecker Corner on 24th May. First and last dates were 19th March-8th October.
Willow Warbler P. trochilus
No full counts but a partial count revealed 55 on 19th April. Few observers noted this species area by area, however RJS did and from these figures a total of 97+ males was estimated, though not all the moors was covered. On 5th June a nest containing young was observed in Bracken Pteridium aquilinum S of the Rhododendron Path, all the young had left within a week. First and last dates were 7th April and 8th September.
Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Single figure counts only, except 10 on 1st October around Will Pits and the colliery, and 10 on 18th November. Last and first dates were 26th March-4th September, the latter involving one at Green Belt and one at Crowle Moor, which are the earliest records ever for Thorne Moors (BPW. PH).
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata (Red list)
There were few records, the first was on 29th July at the Alders. One was on the N edge of Goole Moor on 17th August, followed by two at Woodpecker Corner on 21st August. On 4th September a single was at Will Pits. Following this on 9th September three were seen together, again at Will Pits, one bird was a juvenile, another was an adult and the third was undetermined since it was only glimpsed briefly. A single was still present in Will pits on 21st September.
Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
A first-year male was seen along Shearburn and Pitts Drain at the flooded workings on 3rd September (KC). The third record for Thorne Moors.
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Highest count was of 44 on 1st January. Four nests were found, two on 29th March; one of these in Brambles in Will Pits, the other in a Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris on Crowle Moor across from Will Pits. The other two nests were found at Woodpecker Corner on 19th April, one of which held a female.
Monthly maxima were: January 44, February 10, March 13, April 6, May 2, June 12, July 2, August 12, September 20, October 40+, November 4, December 26.
Willow Tit Parus montanus Amber list
Maximum was eight on 15th August. Probably bred in Will Pits, where a pair was often observed in the same area on 9th May, but no nest was located.
Monthly maxima were: January 6, February 4, March 3, April 3, May 2, June 1, July 5, August 8, September 5, October 5, November 1, December 4.
Coal Tit P. ater
There were two records, of singles in Will Pits on 1st April and E of Swinefleet Warping Drain at Will Pits, on 4th October.
Blue Tit P. caeruleus
Best count was 20+ on Crowle Moor on 7th October.
Monthly maxima were: January 14, February 5, March 9, April 5, May 1, June 1, July 4, August 1, September 15+, October 20+, November 1, December 6.
Great Tit P. major
Best count was 20+ on Crowle Moor on 7th October.
Monthly maxima were: January 10, February 3, March 7, April 14, May 2, June 5, July 1, August 3, September 10+, October 20+, November 1, December 16.
Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris
One was on Crowle Moor on 1st January and singles were at Will Pits on 19th and 20th September, followed by one moving between Crowle Moor-Will Pits on 11th November. Finally one was in Will Pits on 18th November.
Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor
On 25th October one was sheltering from strong winds in low scrub just W of ‘Middle Moor’ Tram and N of Angle Drain before being flushed (RA).
Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
Generally seen outside the breeding season at Will Pits and anywhere wooded on W edge of the moors. There were however three records during the breeding season and two of these were from Mill Drain Marsh. The first was a single on 28th June and the second was of a family party of two adults with young on 7th July. The other breeding season count was of six at Rainsbutt Moor on 19th July. The maximum was seven on 19th October, with four at Crowle Moor and three at Pony Bridge Wood. There were five on 7th October, with four at Crowle Moor and one at Pony Bridge Wood. All other records were of four or less.
Magpie Pica pica
The maxima were 25 on 19th March and 27th August.
Monthly maxima were: January 10, February 5, March 25, April 9, May 1, June 7, July 8, August 25+, September c.20, October 15+, November 7, December 6.
Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula
Generally seen outside the breeding season over-flying the Moors in groups of up to three. Three went E over the flooded workings on 22nd March, and on 19th March one flew WSW, later followed by three NNW over Will Pits. One headed S on 26th March. In April one was at the colliery spoil heap on 21st and one went SSW over Goole Moor on 30th. Three flew NW over Rawcliffe Moor on 29th May. During September singles flew NE on 9th and a single flew N on 16th, 19th and 29th. Highest count came on 1st October, when three flew NE over Goole Moor, and later in fog two more were heard in the same area. Three flew S on 4th November.
Rook C. frugilegus
One flew N over Will Pits on 12th March, one flew E calling over Green Belt on 22nd March, and one flew NNE over Casson’s Marsh on 16th April.
Carrion Crow C. corone
Highest counts were associated with roosts on the flooded workings, as on 30th December when 170 were counted. Pairs bred at Green Belt and on Goole Moor, a chick was seen in the nest of the latter on 25th June.
Monthly maxima were: January c.110, February 134, March 37, April 28, May 49, June 34, July 9, August 4, September 84, October 82+, November 102, December 170.
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris (Amber List)
Recorded mainly at the colliery and at the flooded workings. Maximum was 800+ on 11th November flying W.
Monthly maxima were: January 58, February 4, March 2, April 10+, May 0, June 53, July 20, August c.250, September 44, October 30+, November 800+, December 3.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
One was in the colliery area on 7th May.
Tree Sparrow P. montanus
Five pairs were in peripheral fields on the N edge of the moors toward the dismantled Axholme Joint Railway on 7th June (SO, FO). On Goole Fields: Several pairs bred in nest-boxes at St. Helena Farm, with a maximum of 11 birds seen; a pair also bred in a nest box at Moor Fields Farm (PB).
Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
The highest count of the year (36) was from a mixed flock of finches and buntings on the field edge at the Paraffin Cuttings, on 21st December.
Monthly maxima were: January 20, February 18, March 25, April 19, May 15, June 4, July 2, August 6, September 3, October 12, November 1, December 36.
Brambling F. montifringilla (Amber list)
Two were with Common Chaffinches at the Alders on 26th February, with a single there on 4th March. Two flew over Shoulder o’ Mutton on 29th September, and one flew over Goole Moor on 1st October.
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
The highest counts came from the mixed roosts in the colliery area. The highest counts were 226 from the roost on 22nd and 230 to the roost on 30th December.
Monthly maxima were: January 13, February 75, March 5, April 2, May 7, June 3, July 2, August 1, September 13, October 5, November 1, December 230.
Goldfinch C. carduelis (Amber list)
Present in the colliery area, Will Pits and other areas, the year’s maximum being 20+ at Crowle Moor on 4th September.
Monthly maxima were: January 6+, February 20, March 5, April 6, May 3, June 2, July 5, August 8, September 20+, October 6, November 6, December 7.
Siskin C. spinus
Records for February were three near the Alders on 13th, and the year’s maximum was 70+ there on 26th followed by 60 on 27th. Around 30 were still present at the Alders on 4th March, with only one there the next day. Also in March one flew over the flooded workings on 22nd. A single flew E on 24th September. One flew over Goole Moor on 1st October, two were at Crowle Moor on 7th October, with seven there on 19th October. Three were at Will Pits on 4th November, and on 11th November two were present at Green Belt. Finally, 10 were at Woodpecker Corner on 22nd December.
Linnet C. cannabina Red list
Flocks could be found along Fisons’ Road, at the flooded workings or in the colliery area. The year’s maximum count (50+) was from the moors generally on 7th October. Nests in rape fields around the moors, as was observed on 7th June.
Monthly maxima were: January 2, February 10, March 16+, April 19, May 15, June 9, July 4, August 20, September 15+, October 50+, November 2, December 5.
Common Redpoll C. flammea
The year’s maximum was 43 at ‘Middle Moor’ on 24th September.
Monthly maxima were: January 18, February 20, March 10, April 12, May 2, June 0, July 0, August 1, September 43, October 14, November 11, December 16.
Common Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula Red list
The only double figure counts were of 16 on 1st January and 10 on 30th December, on which latter date there was one in the colliery area, one Will Pits, six at the Northern Canals and two on ‘Middle Moor’.
Monthly maxima were: January 16, February 6, March 4+, April 7, May 1, June 2, July 1, August 5, September 5, October 3, November 4, December 10.
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
The highest count of the year (43) was from a mixed flock of finches and buntings on the field edge at the Paraffin Cuttings on 21st December. Bred at Pony Bridge Marsh where a nest containing three eggs was found by a ditch in dead Bracken, on 20th May. A second nest containing three eggs was found at the W edge of the moors on 29th May.
Monthly maxima were: January 1, February 2, March 8, April 7, May 9, June 2, July 4, August 3, September 21, October 4, November 1, December 43.
Reed Bunting E. schoeniclus Red list
The highest count of the year of c.40 was on 25th March, which was from the Shoulder o’ Mutton, Green Belt and Pony Bridge Marsh. On 13th June a nest containing four young was found at Mill Drain, and by 20th June the fledged young were seen.
Monthly maxima were: January 10, February 3, March c.40, April 13, May 8, June 15, July 11, August 15, September c.20, October 30+, November 12, December 7.
Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra (Red list)
Frequent at Goole Fields (PB): a pair near Swinefleet Peat Works regularly as on 27th April; at the dismantled Axholme Joint Railway, one on 5th May and 29th July (RW, FO, RA). A single was at Top Moor Farm, on 15th July (RA, FO).
List of Observers
Brian Pepper, Alan Potter, D.J. Prest William H. Priestley, Craig Ralston, Janet M. Roworth, Peter C. Roworth, Adrian Scutt, Richard J. Sprakes, Bryan P. Wainwright, Ben Ward, Jonathan Ward, Richard Ward, Rob Watson, John Wozencroft, A. Zabukas.
Thanks to Martin Limbert for help and advice in compiling this report, and also to English Nature for printing the report.