Thorne Moors Bird Report 2001
Compiled by Bryan P. Wainwright
English and scientific names, and sequence of birds, follow the List of Birds of the Western Palearctic (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, 149 species were recorded. A few species have been included in this report that were just outside the recording area. 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 moorland edge, vital for breeding success in the otherwise relatively 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 future research.
Daily counts of common widespread resident species (and a few migrants) cannot be regarded as full counts, as no one person can cover every area of the 1918 ha of Thorne Moors in a day. Counts for numbers of breeding males of species such as warblers can only be taken as maximum possible numbers. The counts are possibly an over-estimate of the true numbers of territorial males and the figures should not be used as hard and fast figures in the same manner that true census figures can be. The area covered by counts cannot be considered complete, as for instance there are frequently no counts at all for some areas such as Crowle Moors. In a similar manner the following monthly figures can only be taken as sample counts. For months when there were no counts or the species was just recorded as ‘present’ the notation ‘nc’ is used. Records (of wetland species mainly) that do not have the area name given are records from the flooded workings. Birds are adults unless otherwise stated.
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
The maximum day count was of six, on 6th May with one at the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road, two at the Paraffin Cuttings, two at Inkle Moor Pond and one at Casson’s Marsh. Will Pits Scrape regularly had Little Grebes present also. No more than two birds were seen at any one area at a time. Breeding records were from the flooded workings where at least two pairs bred each producing at least one young.
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis (Amber List)
Generally two adult birds present from 7th May.
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
A single was perched on a stump at Will Pits Scrape on 30th June, and on 9th October five flew SW over flooded workings.
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
No records during February, March or May, and all records were of singles except two on 11th June near Limberlost Tram and two high over the flooded workings on 24th August.
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
The third site record was obtained on 7th May when RW saw a bird fly low to Will Pits Scrape as if to land at 7.20 p.m. There was however no sign of it upon his arrival.
Mute Swan Cygnus olor
Five records of one or two birds, plus four at the flooded workings which then headed to Will Pits Scrape, on 3rd June.
Whooper Swan C. cygnus (Amber List)
On 12th January two birds flew in and joined two Mute Swans on the flooded workings. On 28th October one flew W over the colliery area.
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus (Amber List)
On 15th January three were at the flooded workings, and one was present in the same area on 12th May. These were the only records.
Greylag Goose A. anser Amber List
Four juveniles were seen at Will Pits Scrape on 3rd, 9th and 27th May.
Monthly maxima were: January 2, February nc, March nc, April 5, May 10 adults and 4 juveniles, June 4, July 23, August 34, September 60, October 24, November 50, December 68.
Canada Goose Branta canadensis
Monthly maxima were: January nc, February nc, March nc, April 3, May 2, June 44, July 58, August 102, September 17, October 78, November nc, December 73.
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna (Amber List)
All landed birds were at the flooded workings.
Monthly maxima were: January nc, February nc, March nc, April 11, May 6, June 8, July 3, August 1, September 1, October nc, November nc, December 1.
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope (Amber List)
No records until the end of June; the maximum count was 27 (15 males and 12 females) at the flooded workings on 18th November. Generally number were in low double or single figures.
Gadwall A. strepera Amber List
Records were from the flooded workings and Will Pits Scrape. Maximum was 31 on 28th November, and this is an all time record count (BPW).
Monthly maxima were: January 8, February nc, March nc, April 16, May 6, June 4, July 1, August 3, September 2, October 2, November 31, December 21.
Common Teal A. crecca Amber List
No records concerning breeding were received.
Monthly maxima were: January 72, February nc, March 14, April 32, May 20, June 36, July 30, August 250, September 90, October 269, November 215, December 86.
Mallard A. platyrhynchos
Females with unfledged young were noted on eight dates. The maximum number of young was seen on 28th June at the flooded workings, when a female with six unfledged young and another female with seven unfledged young were present.
Monthly maxima were: January 300, February nc, March nc, April 60, May 85, June 69, July 20, August 500, September 250, October 360, November 378, December 260.
Pintail A. acuta (Amber List)
Nine records all in the latter half of the year. Maximum was of 16 on 9th October. Single figure counts were noted between June and November.
Northern Shoveler A. clypeata Amber List
An all time maximum count of 44 was obtained at the flooded workings on 20th August (RJS).
Monthly maxima were: January nc, February nc, March nc, April 8, May 6, June 8, July 4, August 44, September 2, October nc, November 4, December nc.
Common Pochard Aythya ferina (Amber List)
One male was present at the flooded workings on 24th May, a distant bird in the same area was observed on 4th November. On 18th November eight birds (four pairs) circled the W end of the flooded workings before heading off S.
Tufted Duck A. fuligula
Monthly maxima were: January nc, February nc, March nc, April 7, May 11, June 12, July 4, August nc, September nc, October 11, November nc, December nc.
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
Seen from 8th April. Up to six unfledged young were seen, at Will Pits Scrape between 24th May and 29th August, possibly from more than one pair since up to five males and two females were present. Last record was of one female on 1st September at the flooded workings.
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. A comma between records of the same date means separate records. Depending on views the same bird of prey may be recorded differently by different observers. For example with Marsh Harrier; recorded as a female by one observer or a cream-crown by another, therefore with the following records this is taken into account and only the minimum number of birds per day is taken. Totals are the minimum possible numbers, calculated for all areas, plumages and observers for that day. All are adult birds, unless otherwise stated. Some birds are not aged and sexed due to distance or poor views.
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus (Red List)
There were 68 records, a drop from last year; arrival was later than last year, and they remained later in the year.
21st April 1 male Shoulder o’ Mutton
23rd April 2
28th April 1 female Northern Canals
29th April 2, 1 female Crowle Moor, 1 male Southern Canals,
30th April 2, 1 male, 1 female Northern Canals
01st May 2, 1 male, 1 female Southern Canals
03rd May 3, 1 male 1 female Will Pits Scrape, 1 female flooded workings
06th May 1 female ‘Middle Moor’ to flooded workings
07th May 2, 1 female, 1 male Will Pits Scrape
09th May 2 females
17th May 2 females Pony Bridge Marsh
18th May 2
19th May 2nd year female and an immature male flooded workings
21st May 1 female causing havoc amongst the breeding Black-headed Gulls
22nd May 2
24th May 2 females Southern Canals
26th May 2 females Green Belt
02nd June 1 female flooded workings
03rd June 2, 1 female Mill Drain Marsh mobbed by a male Common Kestrel, 1 male ‘Middle Moor’
08th June 1 female Pony Bridge Marsh
09th June 1 male flooded workings
17th June 1 female Will Pits Scrape, struck juvenile Black-headed Gull, but grabbed poorly, and then tried drowning it and eventually killed it (RJS)
24th June 1
30th June 1 female flooded workings
03rd July 3
13th July 1 female flooded workings
22nd July 2, 1 cream-crown, another in moult, both flooded workings
23rd July 1 cream-crown flooded workings
26th July 1 Northern Canals
27th July 1 female, moulting on wings, flooded workings
29th July 1st summer female flooded workings
07th August 1 cream-crown Paraffin area to flooded workings
10th August 2, 1 cream-crown 1 female flooded workings
11th August 2, 1 juvenile and 1 female flooded workings
14th August 2, 1 juvenile and 1 female flooded workings
18th August 1 female flooded workings
20th August 3, 2 juveniles Will Pits Scrape, 1 cream-crown mobbed by Common Kestrel Northern Canals
21st August 3, 1 all dark immature, 1 female, 1 cream-crown
23rd August 2, 1 immature, 1 female flooded workings
24th August 3, 1 male, 2 cream-crowns flooded workings
26th August 2, 1 cream-crown, 1 2nd year male flooded workings
28th August 3, 1 male, 1 female, 1 cream-crown flooded workings. Later seen with Common Buzzard over the S side of the moors
29th August 2, 1 2nd year male, 1 female flooded workings
01st September 2, 1 immature, 1 female flooded workings
02nd September 1 female flooded workings
05th September 2, 1 female, 1 juvenile flooded workings
07th September 2 cream-crowns Southern Canals
10th September 1 female Mill Drain
12th September 3, 1 female, 1 male, 1 immature flooded workings
14th September 2, 1 female Mill Drain Marsh, 1 juvenile Will Pits Scrape
15th September 1 female Will Pits Scrape
18th September 1 female W edge of Crowle Moor
19th September 1 immature Mill Drain
20th September 1 female ‘Middle Moor’
28th September 1 female flooded workings
29th September 2 cream-crowns flooded workings
04th October 1 female colliery area
07th October 1 cream-crown ‘Middle Moor’
08th October 1 female Mill Drain Marsh
09th October 1 immature flooded workings
10th October 1 female SW edge
11th October 1 female flooded workings
12th October 1 female flooded workings
15th October 1 female flooded workings
19th October 1 female flooded workings
29th October 1 female flooded workings
02nd November 1 cream-crown Will Pits Scrape
04th November 1 female flooded workings
Hen Harrier C. cyaneus (Red List)
There were 25 records, which is a decrease on last year; did not remain as late, and arrived back later in the year, than last year.
01st January 1 male ‘Middle Moor’ to colliery area to roost
12th January 1 female flooded workings
15th January 1 male near Woodpecker Corner
16th January 1 ringtail flooded workings
28th January 1 male ‘Middle Moor’
09th February 1 ringtail
04th April 1 male ‘Middle Moor’
05th April 1 female colliery area
08th April 2, 1 male flooded workings, 1 female colliery area
11th April 1 female Collis’s Tram
13th April 1 female Green Belt
23rd April 1 male
17th May 1 ringtail Angle Drain (WHP)
07th October 1 female Paraffin Cuttings
28th October 1 ringtail Southern Canals
04th November 1 female Canals
05th November 1 ringtail
25th November 1 male ‘Middle Moor’
02nd December 1 ringtail Will Pits Scrape
16th December 3, 1 male 2 females Southern Canals with Short-eared Owl
17th December 1 ringtail to roost near Woodpecker Corner
18th December 3, 1 male Mill Drain, 1 1st winter male ‘Middle Moor’, 1 ringtail Canals
23rd December 1 1st winter male ‘Middle Moor’
24th December 3, 1 1st winter male, 1 male, 1 ringtail Mill Drain Marsh
29th December 1 1st winter male flooded workings
Goshawk Accipiter gentilis
One female on 14th April flushed from a bush along Collis’s Tram (JGH), awaits description.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk A. nisus
Recorded every month and breeding proven with two young raised in one nest and one raised in another. A maximum of four was seen on 8th April, when two were at Green Belt and two were at Pony Bridge Marsh. Prey was carried towards Northern Goole Moor on 13th July. A male was seen carrying a Moorhen near Fisons’ Road on 19th October.
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
Fewer records than last year.
08th April 1 over Inkle Moor NW, with distinctive white panel on left wing (RJS)
28th August 1 southern parts of moors with three Marsh Harriers (RJS)
15th September 1 over Will Pits (WHP)
20th September 1 over Rawcliffe Moor left W mobbed by Carrion Crows (PB)
Osprey Pandion haliaetus (Red List)
On 8th April an adult flew W over Crowle Moor at 9.07 a.m. (PCR, CR). On 20th September an adult appeared at the flooded workings from the E, then flew SW mobbed by Carrion Crows and Northern Lapwings, until out of sight at 10.40 a.m. (PCR, CR).
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Amber List
Recorded every month except February and March. Maxima were six on 8th June and five on 28th August. One was observed talon-grappling with a Hobby over ‘Middle Moor’ on 7th May. On 7th October, a female caught a Moorhen in stubble at Swinefleet Warping Drain at Goole Moor; when disturbed, the Common Kestrel dropped the Moorhen which ran to cover screaming (PB).
Merlin F. columbarius (Red List)
A slightly better year compared to last year.
01st January 1 Green Belt and colliery area
03rd January 1 female colliery area towards Moorends
15th March 1 female perched on marker stick Goole Fields watching singing Sky Larks until disturbed
21st August 2, 1 male flooded workings flushing Sand Martins then landed on stump, 1 female same area
24th August 1 female Goole Moor
01st September 1 flooded workings
02nd September 1 female/immature flooded workings
20th September 1 female flooded workings
07th October 1 male Jones Cable
17th October 1 female/immature Southern Canals
18th November 1 female Goole Moor
16th December 1 male Canals
17th December 1 1st winter perched on stump at Southern Canals, 3.40-4.00 p.m. then flew
23rd December 1 male over Moor edge then E
Hobby F. subbuteo
There were 50 records, a lot less than last year, but they arrived on the earliest date ever and remained until the latest date ever. Best viewing is from the Observation Platform, or from Fisons’ Road looking N over the flooded workings. Bred at South Airmyn Grange, Old Goole (PH).
20th April 1 on bare peat Rawcliffe Moor flew low S (PB)
01st May 1
04th May 1
07th May 4 Southern half of the moors. 1 attacked and talon-grappled with a Common Kestrel (RJS)
16th May 1 Crowle Moor
18th May 1
19th May 6 from Observation Platform
24th May 2, 1 Southern Canals, 1 Pony Bridge Marsh
27th May 2, Mill Drain Marsh
29th May 2, 1 Mill Drain Marsh, 1 Crowle Moor
03rd June 4, mainly ‘Middle Moor’
14th June 1 Mill Drain Marsh
17th June 1 Will Pits Scrape
21st June 2 ‘Middle Moor’
22nd June 3
24th June 3
26th June 1 ‘Middle Moor’
29th June 2 adults ‘Middle Moor’ perched and hunting 8 p.m. till 10 p.m.
30th June 2 adults ‘Middle Moor’ perched mainly 8 p.m. till 10 p.m.
03rd July 1
04th July 2 ‘Middle Moor’
09th July 1 Will Pits
10th July 2 ‘Middle Moor’ mobbing a Marsh Harrier
11th July 1 Fisons’ Road
12th July 2 W of Will Pits
22nd July 2 Southern Canals and flooded workings flushing Northern Lapwings
25th July 2 adults flooded workings
27th July 3, 2 Southern Canals, 1‘Middle Moor’
29th July 1 ‘Middle Moor’
01st August 2 Southern Canals
02nd August 1 Goole Moor
03rd August 1 Goole Moor
07th August 2 Goole Moor
10th August 2, 1 adult, 1 second-year flooded workings
14th August 1 second year Goole Moor
18th August 1 Southern Canals
20th August 2, 1 adult, 1 juvenile Southern Canals
23rd August 1 Southern Canals
24th August 1 flooded workings
26th August 1 ‘Middle Moor’
29th August 1 ‘Middle Moor’
31st August 1 Southern Canals
01st September 2, 1 Goole Moor, 1 flooded workings
02nd September 1 Will Pits
05th September 3, 2 flooded workings, 1 juvenile perched in dead tree near Rhododendron Path with BTO ring on left leg (WHP)
07th September 1 juvenile Southern Canals
15th September 2, 1 Goole Moor, 1 juvenile Southern Canals
20th September 2 Goole Moor
22nd October 2 Canals (RA)
Peregrine Falcon F. peregrinus (Amber List)
There were 38 records, which is a slight increase on last year.
01st January 2, 1 male and 1 female Alder Thicket
03rd January 1 male flooded workings
07th January 1 female flooded workings
12th January 1 immature flooded workings
04th April 1 female Goole Moor
16th April 1 female Snaith & Cowick Moor to Goole Moor
20th April 1 immature male
29th April 1 male flooded workings
01st May 1 female after Collared Dove colliery area
18th July 1 immature flooded workings then N
20th August 1 immature female mobbing adult male and attempting to catch a Mallard, Mill Drain Marsh
21st August 1 male flooded workings
24th August 2, 1 immature male attempting to catch a Mallard, Shoulder o’ Mutton, then mobbing two cream-crown Marsh Harriers, 1 male W edge of moors
26th August 1 juvenile female mobbed by a Hobby
29th August 1 male flooded workings
31st August 1 juvenile female Green Belt to flooded workings
01st September 1 juvenile female chasing Northern Lapwings and Ruff at flooded workings
02nd September 2, 1 juvenile female, 1 immature male Green Belt and flooded workings
12th September 1 immature female Green Belt to flooded workings
15th September 1 female Goole Moor
20th September 1 immature female flooded workings
29th September 1 male flooded workings
09th October 1 male grabbed a Common Teal in the air at flooded workings but could not hold on
13th October 1 male SW side of moors
15th October 1 male Southern Canals
17th October 1 male flooded workings
20th October 1 female Shoulder o’ Mutton
29th October 1 (very large sandy adult) female Goole Moor
05th November 1 male Goole Moor
18th November 1 female stooping at a Stock Dove at flooded workings then high E
25th November 1 immature male flooded workings
27th November 2, 1 male colliery area, 1 female ‘Middle Moor’
28th November 2 immature males to Crowle Moor
02nd December 2, 1 Will Pits, 1 Paraffin area
16th December 1 immature male flooded workings
19th December 1 male Rawcliffe Moor
23rd December 1 over southern fields flushing a 1000 European Golden Plovers
24th December 1 Casson’s Marsh
Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
There were 24 records received, which is 11 more than last year, and nearly all were in the first half of the year. The maxima were 10 at Swinefleet Peat Works on 16th January, and eight at Snaith & Cowick Moor on 1st January.
Grey Partridge Perdix perdix Red List
A poor year with only 13 records. The maximum was seven on 12th December. The main areas were the fields and moor edge NW of the colliery.
Common Quail Coturnix coturnix
Birds were observed on the following dates. On 18th May a bird was calling from a rape field S of Pony Bridge Wood. On 14th June, in the early hours a single was calling at the edge of the wheat field near Swinefleet Warping Drain at Red House Farm. On the same morning another was calling just after dawn at Creykes gate (Rawcliffe Moor) also from a wheat field (BPW). On 18th August two were flushed from a tram the flooded workings N of Fisons’ Road (WHP).
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
Highest counts were of 15 on several dates and 16 on 13th October. Birds were proven to have bred in several cases.
Water Rail Rallus aquaticus Amber List
The following records are of birds heard only, unless otherwise stated. The first record was on 1st January, with one in the colliery area and one at the Paraffin Cuttings. Maximum day count was four on 28th October, all calling birds in the following areas, Northern Canals, Canal towpath, Mill Drain Marsh and flooded workings. There were no records in February, March or August. Territorial callings were heard on 11th June at the Paraffin Cuttings, and on 17th June two separate birds were heard along Swinefleet Warping Drian at Will Pits. On 19th and 24th June territorial song was heard from the same area.
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
A common and widespread species, with the highest count being 16 on 27th May. Breeding took place and an adult with young was seen at New Mill Drain on 22nd May. Two young were seen on 3rd June at Will Pits Scrape, though only one was present by 17th June; another chick was seen at the flooded workings on this latter date. On 16th July an adult with two unfledged young was seen on the flooded workings.
Common Coot Fulica atra
There were no records for the period outside April to end of July. Maximum count was nine on 13th April at Will Pits Scrape and the flooded workings. Breeding took place seemingly at the flooded workings only this year, with no breeding observed at Will Pits Scrape as last year. At the flooded workings, up to two pairs were frequently recorded with up to eight young at once.
Common Crane Grus grus (Amber List)
On 23rd May two birds were heard at Pony Bridge Marsh and approximately half an hour later they flew from here towards Swinefleet (JGH, DW). Two bugling adults flew over the moors on 24th May (RJS). Two Common Cranes were seen on 28th May that landed at ‘Middle Moor’ east of Middle Moor Tram (AS), later that day they could not be relocated. These will be the seventh to ninth records 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 3rd May and again on 9th June there was a single present at the flooded workings.
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
Records came from the flooded workings N of Fisons’ Road, where one or possibly two pairs bred. Maximum count was five on 27th June, when there were two adults with two recently fledged young, and a separate adult elsewhere on the flooded workings. Two were also seen on Rawcliffe Moor, one of which displayed, on the first date. At the flooded workings, a juvenile was seen on 24th July, three juveniles on 7th August, one on 10th August and two on 26th August. First and last dates were 1st April and 26th August.
Great Ringed Plover C. hiaticula Amber List
Sightings were virtually all from the main area of the flooded workings. Maximum count for spring passage was of 20, which then flew E, on 12th May. September saw several double figure counts, the highest being of 25+ on 7th. On 11th August, a Common Kestrel, which did not strike, flushed five; similarly on 5th September, two were chased by a Peregrine Falcon, which easily overtook the waders but again did not strike. No breeding took place and the only juvenile recorded was of one with an adult on the last date. First and last dates were 30th April and 13th October.
Dotterel C. morinellus
Four were running about feeding in hot weather on Goole Fields on 12th May, they rested in tractor ruts and cooled with open bills (PB).
European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria (Amber List)
Most counts were below 100. Exceptions to this were 250 over the W edge of the moors and the flooded workings on 13th October, and 500+ in the latter area on 18th November. The year’s maximum was however on 2nd November, when 1000 flew over Inkle Moor and 40 were on the flooded workings. Over 1000 were present in the southern fields on 23rd December.
Grey Plover P. squatarola (Amber List)
Records came from the flooded workings, commencing with one on 12th May and another in summer plumage on 26th May. One was heard on 7th September, and on 12th September at least three (possibly five) winter plumaged birds were present. One flew off S on 7th October and one was heard, this time over the colliery area, on 20th October.
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus Amber List
Most records were from the flooded workings or from fields surrounding the moors. Maximum counts were on 3rd July and 22nd October.
Monthly maxima were: January 85, February nc, March nc, April 6, May 7, June 61, July 1000, August 80, September 114, October 1000, November 420, December 58.
Red Knot Calidris canutus (Amber List)
Records were from the flooded workings. Probably the same juvenile was observed on 2nd (WHP), 3rd (RJS) and 9th June (WHP). One in fading summer plumage was present on 8th and 11th June (BPW). A bird in summer plumage was present on 16th July (BPW) and a single was seen on 22nd July (RJS). One was flushed by a Marsh Harrier and flew S on 21st August (RJS). On 7th September a party of six then a further single flew through E (WHP). Finally two flew W on 20th September (PCR, CR). Ninth to nineteenth records for the moors.
Pectoral Sandpiper C. melanotos
A juvenile was heard at the flooded workings just N of Fisons’ Road as darkness fell on 31st August (WHP). Next day, 1st September, the same call was heard and views on the ground and in flight were obtained, and identification made (WHP). Later the same day it was viewed for fifteen minutes at 5.00 p.m. and was also observed in flight three times (RJS, BPW). It was observed again in the early morning of 2nd September (ML) and again just before midday for ten minutes, when it was heard calling and seen in flight twice before being lost from view (RJS). This is the first record for Thorne Moors.
Little Stint C. minuta
The only two records were in September, both of two at the flooded workings on 20th and 29th.
Curlew Sandpiper C. ferruginea
All records were from the flooded workings. There was a summer plumaged individual on 10th August. In September a juvenile was present on 1st and 2nd, and another single was there on 29th.
Dunlin C. alpina (Amber List)
Passage in spring and autumn was in low numbers with few counts in double figures; the year’s maximum was on 20th September.
On 7th August seven birds were present, the three smaller birds with shorter bills were in full summer plumage and were considered to be the nominate C.a. schinzii, the four larger juvenile birds with longer bills were considered to be C.a. alpina (BPW). A similar observation was made on 10th August, when 12 smaller adults and juveniles were considered to be C.a. schinzii and the remaining two summer plumaged birds were considered to be C.a. alpina because of their structure and larger size (more like Curlew Sandpiper) (BPW). Observations in the field are complicated however by the range of overlap in the various races of Dunlin, therefore identification is unproven.
Monthly maxima were: January 1, February nc, March nc, April 4, May 8, June 6, July 2, August 26, September 30, October 5, November 9, December 5.
Ruff Philomachus pugnax (Amber List)
The first record was not until 26th June, when five were present; four males and one female. All records were from the flooded workings. These five were observed again on 28th and 30th June. This number was not exceeded until 24th August when six were present. On 20th September 13 were present (one male and 12 females), on 4th October 11 came in to the flooded workings and then flew E. On 18th November 12 flew S over Green Belt and this was the last record. All other records were in single figures.
Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus (Amber List)
One was flushed from the edge of Fisons’ Road near Green Belt on 7th October, and two were present at the flooded workings on 10th October. A single was flushed from the SW edge of the moors on 27th November, and another was at the flooded workings on 16th December.
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago Amber List
Passage during September provided the highest counts from the flooded workings. After 14 on 2nd and 19 on 12th, the year’s maximum of 40 were seen in small groups flying over this area on 20th, and there were 28 at the flooded workings on 29th. The only other double figure counts were in November, with 20+ on 2nd and 23 on 4th. Drumming was observed on 30th April at Crowle Moor near Swinefleet Warping Drain. A single bird was drumming over the Southern Canals on 1st May. Again a single bird was drumming over the E end of Southern Canals and another at the Northern Canals on 27th May. The last drumming record was of a single at the Rhododendron Path and another at E end of the Canal towpath on 14th July.
Monthly maxima were: January 9, February nc, March nc, April 1, May 1, June 3, July 2, August 14, September 40, October 8, November 23, December 3.
Woodcock Scolopax rusticola Amber List
There were 28 records in all, virtually all of one or two birds from a wide variety of areas, with most records from Will Pits usually at night or at dusk and dawn. Four were recorded in Will Pits on 12th December. Other records came from Goole Moor, ‘Middle Moor’, colliery area, Canal towpath, Angle Drain, Green Belt, and Pony Bridge Marsh. Up to two were observed roding on seven dates in Will Pits from 30th April to 24th June. Apart from this one was ‘chipping’ at Angle Drain on 30th June.
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa (Red List)
In April, one flew over W on 21st and one flew E over Will Pits Scrape on 29th. At the flooded workings two were present on 28th June, before one left NE. In July, two arrived on 4th, ten were observed on 10th and on 16th one was present.
On 22nd July three males in full summer plumage came in to the flooded workings. These were considered to be of the race L.l. islandica (RJS).
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus (Amber List)
One was observed from 28th-30th April. In May there were singles on 1st and 9th, and the final record was of three flying S on 24th August.
Eurasian Curlew N. arquata Amber List
Passage was light through April and May, with no more than two birds per day. First record was of two heading NW on 8th April. There were only two dates when there were more than two birds, on 26th June and 14th September, which both had four recorded.
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
A summer plumaged bird was present on 26th June, and single winter plumaged birds were seen on 23rd August and 28th September.
Common Redshank T. totanus Amber List
Apart from a couple of January records of singles non were seen until May. Nearly all records were of one or two birds, the exceptions being three on 26th June, 4th July and 10th September and four on 28th June.
Common Greenshank T. nebularia (Amber List)
Spring records were very few with the first being of three on 9th May. Most records involved between one and three birds, the exceptions being seven on 18th July and four on 31st August at Green Belt. Apart from these areas there was a single at Will Pits Scrape on 21st August and a single was flushed from Thorne Waste Drain on 2nd September.
Green Sandpiper T. ochropus
There was a single winter record in the first half of the year, of two at Jones Cable on 28th January. Maximum year count was at least nine on 10th August, with six at Green Belt and five at the flooded workings. The second highest count was of seven in a drain near Jones Cable on 2nd September. Besides these areas, a single was seen to fly over Elmhirst Tram (presumably) to Casson’s Marsh where a bird was observed, on 26th July; two others were seen on the same date, one each at the flooded workings and at Green Belt Scrape. Records from the latter months were of one flushed from Thorne Waste Drain on 18th November, and one over Jones Cable on 16th December.
Wood Sandpiper T. glareola (Amber List)
All six records were in August; one juvenile was seen on 21st, two on 23rd (one at Green Belt), two on 24th, one on 26th and one on 28th and one on 31st.
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
In total, 14 records were received, so not quite as frequently encountered as Green Sandpiper. All records came from the flooded workings, and on no date were more than three present. Records were received from May (12th) to September (2nd).
Turnstone Arenaria interpres (Amber List)
The only record was of one flying E over the flooded workings on 23rd August.
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. Counts of gulls were not made systematically.
Black-headed Gull L. ridibundus
Again there were three main colonies this year, and conservative counts of sitting birds were taken in May. This put breeding numbers at 150 pairs at Will Pits Scrape, 170 pairs at the flooded workings N of Shearburn & Pitts Drain, and 200 pairs at the main colony at the flooded workings N of Fisons’ Road. This gives a total of 520 pairs, which was marginally fewer than last year. The first chicks were noted on 9th May, when about 50 were present at the flooded workings, and unfledged chicks were still about on 12th July. Numbers of young hatched were 235 young counted (and 271 adults) at Will Pits Scrape on 17th June. At least 224 young from all of the flooded workings were counted on 14th and 17th June.
Roost counts outside the breeding season were few. The best counts were 137 on 28th October to roost, but most over-flew the moors and carried on NE, as on 28th October and the following evening when 104 did the same. On 29th December, 555 flew over the W end of the flooded, a few stopping but most eventually departing NE.
Monthly maxima were: January 30, February nc, March nc, April 1600, May 700, June 1000, July 100, August 977, September 295, October 214, November 34, December 555.
There were three ringing recoveries on Thorne Moors in 2001, of birds ringed as nestlings and recovered as adults. Two were obtained on 2nd June and the other on 17th June at the flooded workings. One bird had been ringed at Wheldrake Ings, North Yorkshire on 22nd June 1997, the second on Hatfield Moors, on 14th June 1997, and the last bird had been ringed at Lound near Retford, Nottinghamshire on 9th July 1995 (PBo).
Two birds ringed as nestlings on Thorne Moors were recovered at the following sites. The first ringed on 2nd June 2001 was recovered on 27th June at Goole. The second ringed on 17th June 2001 was recovered on 2nd July at Stourton, near Leeds, West Yorkshire (PBo).
Common Gull L. canus (Amber List)
Observed over-flying the moors, or on marginal fields, with the highest count of 11 from the field between Whaley Balk and Inkle Moor on 22nd December. Records of landed birds from the peat moors are infrequent and only single-figure day counts were obtained. Two left the moor’s roost at the W end of the flooded workings on the morning of 3rd January, and five returned there the same evening. Apart from the flooded workings, there was one record of two immature landed birds at Will Pits Scrape on 3rd June, where they met some hostility from the breeding Black-headed Gulls.
Monthly maxima were: January 6, February nc, March nc, April 1, May nc, June 2, July 1, August 1, September 6, October 3, November 4, December 11.
Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus (Amber List)
The commonest species of gull in summer (May-September) and regularly roosts on the moors.Observed roosting on the moors from late June onwards, with 30+ present on 24th building to the year’s maximum on 28th. These roosts as usual contained mainly immature birds.
Monthly maxima were: January 2, February nc, March nc, April 16, May 170, June 478, July 156, August 300+, September c.30, October 21, November 2+, December 1.
Herring Gull L. argentatus (Amber List)
Generally the commonest non-breeding species and regularly roosts on the moors. The year’s highest counts were associated with roosts. For instance 81 were leaving W on the morning of 1st January and 207 returned that evening. On 3rd January 754 left the moors roost at the W end of the flooded workings and headed W and 392 return there that evening. An all time maximum count of 1650 was set on the evening of 28th October, as birds headed over the moors NE to roost (BPW).
Monthly maxima were: January 754, February nc, March nc, April 13, May 4, June 1, July nc, August 300, September 40, October 1650, November 600+, December 195.
Great Black-backed Gull L. marinus
A count of 30 leaving W in the morning and 41 returning in the evening was obtained on 1st January. On 3rd January 165 left the moors roost at the W end of the flooded workings and headed W, while many others remained, 165 returned there that evening. The total for the latter date was the year’s maximum.
Monthly maxima were: January 231, February nc, March nc, April 95, May 57, June 7, July 10, August 1, September 23, October 200, November 7, December 90.
Common Tern S. hirundo
There was one on 26th May, six N on 9th June, two on 26th June and a single on 28th June, one on 27th July and two on 18th August, all present at the flooded workings.
Arctic Tern S. paradisaea
Two passed low N calling over the W end of the flooded workings on 6th May (BPW).
Rock Dove Columba livia
Feral birds are present year round in small numbers. At the colliery there were nine on 17th December.
Stock Dove C. oenas Amber List
Commonest on the W side of the moors, where there were 60 at Inkle Moor/Paraffin Cuttings fields on 5th January and 10 at Inkle Moor on 26th July. Not recorded in February, March or May.
Wood Pigeon C. palumbus
Highest count was from fields at Woodpecker Corner on 3rd March.
Monthly maxima were: January 132, February nc, March 500+, April 1, May 30, June 10, July 7, August 57, September 16, October 16, November 120, December 200.
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Small numbers are sometimes seen at some areas around the moors. These places include Top Moor Farm, the colliery road-bridge and Jones Cable. Jones Cable had the only double figure counts of 14 on 21st August and 24 on 29th September. Records from over the peat moors were few. On 10th April two flew from the Paraffin Cuttings N to Rawcliffe Moor, and on 17th June one was seen at Green Belt.
Turtle Dove S. turtur Red List
Maximum count was six on 27th May (ML), 27th June and 25th July (BPW) and these equal recent years’ maximum day counts on 10th and l4th July 1996 and on 1st June 1998. First date was the earliest ever, of a single purring in the colliery area (BPW). A maximum of 13 pairs bred (estimate), from records received for purring males in the following areas. Three colliery area (including one on SW edge), and single males at Will Pits, Elmhirst Wood, Rawcliffe Moor, Green Belt, Goole Moor, Casson’s, W of Pony Bridge Wood (comp. 66), Alder Thicket, Canal towpath and (E end) Jones Cable. First and last dates were 1st May and 14th October, the latest ever, at Northern Goole Moor (PB).
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Maximum was eight on 7th May and 3rd June, and seven were recorded on several dates. First and last dates were 29th April and 27th June.
Barn Owl Tyto alba (Amber List)
A bird was flushed from a Magpie’s nest in the colliery area on 18th April (JGH).
Little Owl Athene noctua
Two were heard along the colliery road on 9th May (BPW) and one flew from the moors to Jones Cable on 25th November (RJS).
Tawny Owl Strix aluco
Adults were heard from the colliery area, Will Pits, Elmhirst Wood, Rawcliffe Moor, Green Belt, Goole Moor, Paraffin area and Yorkshire Triangle. Maximum adult count was three on several dates. Breeding took place in Will Pits where two young were frequently heard from 3rd June. An adult and young were heard at Yorkshire Triangle, on 14th June. At least seven young were counted in the colliery area to Woodpecker Corner on 11th July.
Long-eared Owl Asio otus
Records were received from a wide variety of areas, and the recorded has attempted to assign records to family territories as follows. A family in the N end of Will Pits was also seen along Bank Top (Swinefleet Warping Drain). Records from the Paraffin area and the southern end of Snaith & Cowick Moor (around the ‘S’ bend of Fisons’ Road) are thought to be one family. Records from the Southern Canals and Mill Drain Marsh are assumed to be of another family; and records from Limberlost Tram, Pony Bridge Wood and Pony Bridge Marsh of another. A family was present at Angle Drain and was also recorded at Collis’s and Elmhirst Trams, and another family was present at Green Belt and in the colliery area. This gives six areas in which young were heard, however this is conservative with the total possibly nearer eight, since the Limberlost young were a long distance from the Pony Bridge young, and there may have been a family towards the Alder Thicket grouped in with the others. There were sightings of hunting birds along the edge of Will Pits on 16th and 22nd May, and at Pony Bridge Wood on 1st September. Excellent views of dispersed young could be gained along Fisons’ Road at night, occasionally adult birds were also seen in the open presumably looking to feed their wandering offspring, as on 19th, 26th and 29th June. Good views were also had of quartering adults from the observation platform on the Canal towpath the evenings of 29th, 30th June and 6th July.
Short-eared Owl A. flammeus (Amber List)
One flew E from Crowle Moor on 10th October (SH). On the evening of 16th December one was over Southern Canals with three Hen Harriers (RJS).
European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus Red List
Surveys were conducted on nights between 31st May to 8th June and from 9th July to 14th July. The whole of the moors was covered in a single night on 8th June and 14th July. This revealed a total of 24 males, which is a further reduction in numbers (SH et al.). First and last dates were 21st May and 24th July.
Common Swift Apus apus
Maximum was of 2000 on 18th May, an all time record (RA). On 30th June (WHP) and 11th July 1000+ (BPW) were counted (going W on the latter date), which equal the previous all time record count for Thorne Moors (on 23rd July 2000). The high count in August was due to a movement S. First and last dates were 29th April and 10th September.
Monthly maxima were: April 60, May 2000, June 1000+, July 1000, August 526, September 3.
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis (Amber List)
A single was seen along the W edge of the moors on 28th August. Five records of singles were from Bell’s Pond or adjoining drains from 4th October onwards
Green Woodpecker Picus viridis Amber List
The maximum count was four on several dates: 3rd January, 24th August and 4th November. The colliery area and Will Pits were the most regular areas, though the birds could be seen in any wooded area. An adult was prospecting a hole at Northern Goole Moor on 10th May, however no subsequent breeding took place here. Breeding was noted in Will Pits on 5th June, when an adult was seen at a nest hole in a Basford Willow Salix x rubens. One juvenile was seen at the Southern Canals, on 29th August.
Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
Maximum number of adults was five on 4th May (RA), and this equals the all time record on 2lst April 1996. Breeding took place at Will Pits Scrape in a willow, with alarm calling and drumming there, and calling young were being fed by both parents on 5th June. The young had flown by 14th June.
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker D. minor
One was along Elmhirst Tram on 26th July, and what was presumed to be a second was noted flying over Will Pits from Crowle Moor on the same date (ML). A female flew over Fisons’ Road from SE side of Will Pits on 17th December (BPW).
Sky Lark Alauda arvensis Red List
Cold weather movement on 1st January produced the high count with most birds moving NW in the morning. The October peak was of birds moving S on 4th. The highest count of the year, on 24th December, involved c.80 NNE and 50 others present in a field E of Pony Bridge Marsh. The previous day, 111 were noted heading S. On 29th December, 16 were present at English Nature’s field near Green Belt, with a further 13 moving N low over the moors.
Monthly maxima were: January 33, February nc, March nc, April 3, May 6, June 4, July 2, August 1, September nc, October 60+, November 19, December 130+.
Sand Martin Riparia riparia (Amber List)
The year’s maximum count was on 11th August when at least 3000 were counted and this is an all time maximum (RJS). Passage lasted from 9 a.m. when rain forced the main stream E over the moors (they were probably following the River Don S at first), and passage slowed abruptly by 11 a.m. due to heavy rain. First and last dates were, 5th April and 14th September.
Monthly maxima were: April 11, May 2, June 1, July 45, August 3000, September 134.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica (Amber List)
Generally very low numbers, the year’s maximum was due to a roost at Mill Drain Marsh on the morning of 29th April. On 19th September during strong winds and rain, 45 birds were present at the Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram, with c.26 resting on the bare peat there whilst others tried to feed up despite the weather. Six juveniles with two adults were again seen in the vicinity of the colliery buildings, where they probably bred, on 25th July. First and last dates were 1st April and 10th October.
Monthly maxima were: April 50, May 21, June 2, July 8, August 33, September 45, October 6.
House Martin Delichon urbica
There were two exceptions to the low numbers, namely 60+ on 29th April and 62 on 10th September. Four other double figure counts were all below 40. First and last dates were 28th April and 24th September.
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
All records (virtually all of singing males) are listed for this declining species. There was an estimated nine pairs, well down on last year despite more records.
30th April 3, 2 Elmhirst Tram, 1 Woodpecker Corner
01st May 2, 1 Elmhirst Tram, 1 Angle Drain
06th May 2 Elmhirst Tram
07th May 1 male Limberlost Tram
08th May 1 Woodpecker Corner
13th May 1 Casson’s
18th May 1
24th May 3 Crowle Moor
27th May 2, 1 Southern Canals, 1 Pony Bridge Tram
03rd June 2, 1 Southern Canals, 1 Elmhirst Tram
11th June 2 eastern boundary of Southern Canals
12th June 2 nests Crowle Moor, one with four young
14th June 2 nests Crowle Moor
21st June 2 nests Crowle Moor; three young had flown and were being fed by adults
26th June 1 Elmhirst Tram
Meadow Pipit A. pratensis
September again provided the highest counts due to passage birds. Bred at the flooded workings.
Monthly maxima were: January 3, February nc, March nc, April 11, May 3, June 19, July 8, August 21, September c.150, October 130, November 16, December 14.
Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
Records came from the flooded workings or other bare areas. The first date is the earliest ever for Thorne Moors (BPW). The first double-figure count was of 20+ on 27th July and this was the year’s maximum, with the same figure attained on 11th and 24th August. Bred at the flooded workings where one was observed carrying food on 11th and 26th June and five were seen including young on 10th August. First and last dates were 21st April and 24th September.
Grey Wagtail M. cinerea
A male was at Will Pits Scrape before flying E on 15th September. On 9th October one flew S over the colliery and one was at Will Pits Scrape. One was present at the colliery on 20th October.
Pied Wagtail M. alba
Highest count was on 7th August.
Monthly maxima were: January 1, February nc, March nc, April 5, May 6, June 10, July 7, August 27, September c.20, October 11, November 9, December 3.
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Highest count was on 1st January. A common breeding species. A sitting bird was observed near Woodpecker Corner on 24th May, and another sitting bird with its nest in a stump was seen on 27th May at Will Pits.
Monthly maxima were: January 50, February nc, March nc, April c.45, May 30, June 7, July 2, August 5, September 5, October 40, November 17, December 11.
Hedge Accentor Prunella modularis Amber List
Highest count was on 1st January. One was observed taking food to a nest on 28th April at Will Pits.
Monthly maxima were: January 9, February nc, March nc, April 5, May 6, June 1, July 4, August 2, September 1, October 2, November 4, December 8.
Robin Erithacus rubecula
Highest count was on 8th April. Breeding took place in many areas; at least 10 pairs were in Will Pits alone. A nest found on 5th May had three eggs and by 8th May contained five, unfortunately the nest was found to have been destroyed on 5th June, though one juvenile was seen in the vicinity. Four fledged young from two nests were seen in Will Pits, with more fledged young at Shearburn & Pitts Drain at the flooded workings, on 23rd July. One recently fledged young was seen along the Canal Tow Path on 7th August.
Monthly maxima were: January 15, February nc, March nc, April 33, May 20+, June 1, July 4, August 4, September 6, October 19, November 2, December 5.
Rufous Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos Amber List
This species was the subject of a dissertation study by BPW, with grant aid from English Nature. Fourteen singing males held territories, with seven at Will Pits (one just over Swinefleet Warping Drain, at the Yorkshire Triangle). Other areas were the colliery area (one), Green Belt (one), Limberlost Tram (two), Goole Moor (two) and western edge between the Alder Thicket and the Paraffin area (one). A possible roving 15th unpaired male may have been present at Will Pits, as there were several one off observations of a bird additional to the ones known to be present along the road. One or more young were seen in Will Pits on 30th June and 2nd July. Last singing date was 2nd July. On the last date at Will Pits only ‘croaking’ and ‘wheeting’ notes were heard from what were probably young birds. First and last dates were 28th April and 6th July.
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
An adult male was observed feeding on insects at the colliery buildings on 5th April (WHP). The fifth record for Thorne Moors.
Common Redstart P. phoenicurus
A male was at Collis’s Tram on 12th April, the earliest ever (JGH). A flighty and elusive bird was seen briefly at Middle Moor Tram on 21st and 28th August (RJS).
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
At least two pairs bred along S side of Fisons’ Road, with up to four males and one female seen here on 12th May. One pair bred at Pony Bridge Marsh and one pair bred near the Observation Platform. One nest along Fisons’ Road contained six eggs on 27th June, five of these hatched and the young were being fed on 10th July. A single young was also seen away from the nesting areas, at the flooded workings, on 28th August and on the last date. Nocturnal singing was noted from the westernmost male along Fisons’ Road on 24th June (at 3.00 a.m.), 26th June (at 3.30 a.m.) and 28th June (at 3.30 a.m.) (BPW). First and last dates were 29th April and 2nd September.
Common Stonechat S. torquata (Amber list)
Seen mostly in more open areas such as the flooded workings, ‘Middle Moor’, and the Canals area. Remarkably a pair bred for the first time since 1947, a written account by PCR will be published in Thorne and Hatfield Moors Papers Vol. 6. The pair was first noted on 12th May, when the male was singing. The male was again observed singing on 17th and 26th May and 11th June, with the female was being seen on 17th and 26th June. The resemblance of fledged young to females makes them difficult to separate, and the number of young raised is unknown. Maximum count was nine on 9th October, with three at the W end of the flooded workings near Fisons’ Road and six at the E end of Fisons’ Road on the S side; at least two were males. Seen all months except February, March and April.
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Of the few records this year most were from the flooded workings, except on the first date when a male was at Rawcliffe Moor, as was one, on 14th June. All records were of singles except three on 24th August. First and last dates were 10th April and 15th October.
Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus
A male flew from willow bushes near Top Moor Farm to the northern edge of Goole Moor on 16th April (PCR).
Blackbird T. merula Amber list
Maximum was 50 on 1st January, 30 of which were on Inkle Moor. On 1st May a nest with four eggs was found and on 5th June, a second with three eggs was located, both at Will Pits.
Monthly maxima were: January 50, February nc, March nc, April 4, May 14, June 6, July 9, August 4, September 3, October 12, November 27, December 27.
Fieldfare T. pilaris (Amber list)
Highest counts were associated with roost gatherings, with the maximum on 1st January. Last and first dates were 3rd March and 13th October.
Monthly maxima were: January 158, February nc, March 1, October 70+, November 135, December 36.
Song Thrush T. philomelos Red list
No double-figure day counts, however the highest count of the year found at least eight males present in Will Pits alone, on 24th June. Seven were in the same bush in the colliery area on 20th October. Singing males were also present at Bell’s Pond, Pony Bridge Wood, Elmhirst, Elmhirst Wood, Goole Moor, Creykes, Green Belt, Canal Tow Path and Rawcliffe Moor. This indicates a total of 17 pairs present for these areas.
Redwing T. iliacus (Amber list)
Few records and all low counts, the only double figure counts were 30 on 2nd November, 10 on 4th November, 18 on 4th November and 12 on 18th November. Last and first dates were 3rd March and 23rd September.
Mistle Thrush T. viscivorus
Records from the peat moors were as usual few, begining with one at the Alder Thicket on 1st January. At Rawcliffe Moor there was one on 16th May, one immature on 14th June, a family of six on 23rd June, five immatures on 24th June and five on 28th June. One was on Crowle Moor on 14th June, and one was at the Southern Canals with Fieldfares on 13th October. Finally one was at Green Belt on 4th November. Maximum count was of 21 going to roost from the colliery yard to the Moorends Recreation Ground, on 12th October.
The following counts are not census counts and should not be treated as such, they are not all from the same date they are instead estimates by area from throughout the breeding season. Some counts represent the highest counts of breeding males ever recorded, but they have not been counted using proper census techniques and should be used with caution elsewhere. However even if some species have been inadvertently over-counted in some areas, for most species some areas of the moors have not been covered at all, so perhaps the estimates are not too far out.
Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia Amber list
Maximum number was eight, on 30th April. Area maxima were: Inkle Moor (one), SW edge of the moors (one), colliery (one), Mill Drain Marsh (two), Will Pits/Scrape (three), Pony Bridge Marsh (one), NE Goole Moor (one), between Elmhirst and Collis’s Trams (one), Rawcliffe Moor (one), Paraffin area (one), northern edge Goole Moor (two), Elmhirst (one), Casson’s (one), New Cut at Canal towpath (one), Yorkshire Triangle (one), Rawcliffe Moor (one) and ‘Middle Moor’ (one). The number of locations where male birds were heard would suggest a maximum of 21 males present, which is a very high total. First and last dates were 21st April and 25th July.
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
The maximum was 16 on 7th May. Area maxima were: Green Belt (five), colliery area (seven), flooded workings (two), W edge of the moors (two), Mill Drain/Marsh (one), Woodpecker Corner (two), Will Pits (one), Southern Canals (five), Pony Bridge Marsh (six), ‘Middle Moor’ (one), Axholme Joint Railway (six), New Cut at Canal towpath (one), Jones Cable (one) and Crowle Moor (one). The number of locations where male birds were heard would suggest a possible maximum of 41 males present. Three juveniles were seen on 29th August, at Shearburn & Pitts Drain at the flooded workings. First and last dates were 23rd April and 29th August.
Reed Warbler A. scirpaceus
A maximum of 12 was recorded on 24th May. Area maxima were: colliery area (five), Southern Canals (seven), ‘Middle Moor’ (one), Pony Bridge Marsh (one), Green Belt (seven), Will Pits Scrape (four), Will Pits (three) and W edge of the moors (one). This gives a possible maximum of 29 males present. First and last dates were 30th April–20th September.
Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
Area maxima were: colliery area (one), Woodpecker Corner (one), Inkle Moor (two) and Crowle Moor (one), and Jones Cable (a pair, and one other). This gives a possible maximum of six males present. First and last dates were 29th April and 27th June.
Common Whitethroat S. communis
Found in most areas, the maximum count being 55 on 7th May. Area maxima were: colliery (nine), Mill Drain Marsh (two), Will Pits (one), Will Pits Scrape (three), NE Goole Moor (one), Canals (ten), Green Belt (three), Rhododendron Path (one), flooded workings (six), Creykes (one), Jones Cable (nine) and ‘Middle Moor’ (two). This gives a minimum of 48 males present since many areas had no counts. A nest was found on Crowle Moor on 24th May, with three eggs. Anothernest was found at Will Pits Scrape on 29th May with five eggs. On 5th June a nest was found along Fisons’ Road in Heather Calluna vulgaris, which contained four young. At the Observation Platform a nest was found with three fledged young on 10th July. First and last dates were 29th April and 15th September.
Garden Warbler S. borin
A maximum of nine on 7th and 27th May. Area maxima were: Northern Goole Moor/Goole Moor (one), Woodpecker Corner (one), colliery area (one), Green Belt (two), Elmhirst Wood (one), Elmhirst Tram (two), Inkle Moor (one), Casson’s (one), Crowle Moor (a pair) and Will Pits (two). This gives a possible maximum of 13 males present. On 24th May, a nest was found at Crowle Moor with three eggs; the female was sitting tight on 29th May, and on 14th June four of the five nestlings were ringed. First and last dates were 30th April and 7th August.
Blackcap S. atricapilla
Highest count was eleven on 21st April. Area maxima were: colliery area (three), Rhododendron Path (two), Will Pits (ten), Will Pits Scrape (one), Jones Cable (two), Pony Bridge Wood (two), Crowle Moor (one), Northern Goole/Goole Moor (three), W edge of the moors (one), Inkle Moor (one), Casson’s (one), Elmhirst Wood (two). This gives a possible maximum of 29 males present, an all time record. The first and the last dates were 8th April and 10th September.
Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Highest number was 17 on 8th April. Area maxima were: Will Pits (six), colliery area (five), Green Belt (three), Rhododendron Path (one), Inkle Moor (five), Pony Bridge Wood (two), Limberlost Wood (one), Paraffin area (one), Woodpecker Corner (one) and Elmhirst Wood (three). This gives a possible maximum of 28 males present, an all time record. First and last dates were 26th March and 13th October.
Willow Warbler P. trochilus
A widespread species found wherever there are trees or bushes. No counts covered all the moors but on 21st April a count of parts revealed 80+. Other area maxima were: Will Pits Scrape (three), Pony Bridge Wood (four), Casson’s (two), Elmhirst Tram (three) and Limberlost Wood (three). This gives a minimum of 95 males present since many areas had no counts. A nest was found along the western edge of the moors, which contained young on 22nd May and by 24th May they were fledged. At Pony Bridge Marsh a nest contained small young on 29th May, and on the same date on Crowle Moor two nests were found, one with six eggs and the other with seven. First and last dates were 1st April and 15th September.
Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Maximum was 12 on 4th November, with all other counts in single figures. Last and first dates were 3rd April and 21st September.
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Highest count was of 32 on 23rd December, and few counts were above 20. Construction of a nest was observed at Northern Goole Moor between 1st and 30th April; on the latter date however it had been destroyed. Young were being fed at their nest in a Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris on Crowle Moor on 12th June.
Monthly maxima were: January 16, February nc, March nc, April 8+, May 4, June 2, July 4, August 8, September 10+, October 13, November c.25, December 32.
Willow Tit Parus montanus Amber list
Maximum was nine on 14th November.
Monthly maxima were: January 2, February 4, March nc, April 3, May 1, June 2, July 4, August 3, September 2, October 5, November 9, December 5.
Coal Tit P. ater
One was see in Will Pits on 27th May. There were two on 20th, 22nd and 28th October, the former along Fisons’ Road W of Will Pits, with the other records from Crowle Moor. There were three on 1st November and one on 14th November, again at Crowle Moor. One was in the colliery area on 27th November, and one next day at Will Pits. Singles were in Will Pits and at Crowle Moor on 12th December, and one was again present in Will Pits on 24th December.
Blue Tit P. caeruleus
Maximum count was 19 on 2nd December.
Monthly maxima were: January 11, February nc, March nc, April 3, May 8, June 1, July 8, August 2, September 2, October 6, November 4, December 19.
Great Tit P. major
Maximum count was 10 on 7th May. A pair fed young in a willow hole in Will Pits on 22nd May.
Monthly maxima were: January 8, February nc, March nc, April 5, May 10, June 1, July 1, August 1, September 5, October 5, November 1, December 9.
Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris
A series of records at Northern Goole Moor started in January, with singles on 7th, 9th, 13th and 27th. Two were seen on 3rd February. A single was seen on 19th and 23rd March and 3rd April. Breeding took place and food was being collected on 7th and 8th May, and on 10th May the nest was located in a decaying stump. On 10th, the adults entered the stump with food at the base of the stump and left via the top, once with a faecal sac. By 13th May the nest was deserted though one adult was close by. One was also seen here on 6th December. This constitutes only the second confirmed record of breeding on Thorne Moors (PB).
In Will Pits singles were seen on 28th October, 28th November, 6th and 29th December, with two there, on 12th December.
Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor
For the third year running the same lucky observer has found this species at nearly the same place, this time flushed close to the observation platform on the Canal Tow Path on 5th November (RA). The regularity of one-day a year appearance at this well visit area shows the bird is on passage.
Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
One or two seen in wooded areas; maxima were four on Crowle Moor on 1st August and three on 4th November.
Magpie Pica pica
The maximum was 40 on 3rd March, with 30 at Inkle Moor and 10 in the colliery area.
Monthly maxima were: January 15, February nc, March 40, April 9, May 5, June 8, July 3, August 10, September 9, October 19, November 11, December 10.
Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula
A single flew W over Will Pits on 21st April, one was present on 1st May. One went S over Limberlost area on 6th May and another flew W over the flooded workings on 19th May. On 8th June one was present. One went W over colliery area on 20th October. One was with Carrion Crows on Goole Moor on 5th November.
Rook C. frugilegus
The only record was of two flying over the colliery, on 18th August.
Carrion Crow C. corone
Highest counts were associated with roosts. Nested in several areas; there were two nests on Northern Goole Moor, and an adult was incubating there on 30th April. A juvenile was there on 13th and 21st June. On 12th July one was scavenging a Black-headed Gull on the flooded workings.
Monthly maxima were: January 200, February nc, March nc, April 88, May 80, June 40, July 19, August 65, September 150+, October 52, November 78, December c.105.
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris (Amber List)
Recorded mainly at Jones Cable, the colliery and at the flooded workings. Maximum was 200+ on 18th October flying E over the colliery area.
Monthly maxima were: January 54, February nc, March nc, April nc, May 55, June 14, July 40, August 36, September 15, October 200+, November 52, December nc.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
No records from the peat moors, but two were at Jones Cable on 1st January and two flew over the colliery spoil heap on 8th April. One male was in the colliery road area on 7th May and 3rd June.
Tree Sparrow P. montanus
No records from the peat moors. On Goole Fields, several pairs bred in nest-boxes at St. Helena and Moorfield’s Farms, where a maximum of 17 was counted, on 11th January.
Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Maximum count was of 140+ dispersing from a roost in the colliery area on 4th November.
Monthly maxima were: January 21, February nc, March 10+, April 13+, May 20+, June 12, July 7, August 2, September 4, October 6, November 140+, December 75+.
Brambling F. montifringilla (Amber list)
Two were at Jones Cable on 29th September, the joint earliest ever, and one flew over the flooded workings calling, on 2nd November.
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
Maximum count was of 536 dispersing from a roost in the colliery area on 6th January.
Monthly maxima were: January 536, February nc, March 150+, April 100+, May 4, June 10, July 2, August 1, September nc, October 3, November 1, December 20+.
Goldfinch C. carduelis (Amber list)
The year’s maximum was 60+ at the colliery area on 29th August.
Monthly maxima were: January 2, February nc, March nc, April 4, May 5, June 2, July 10, August 60+, September 12+, October 11, November 7, December 29.
Siskin C. spinus
Three were at Will Pits on 14th September, and some were heard at the colliery area the next day. Two flew S over Fisons’ Road on 4th October, and six were at Goole Moor on 13th October. The following day at the Alder Thicket an all time record of 200 were amassed in misty conditions (PB). One was at Will Pits on 16th December.
Linnet C. cannabina Red list
Feeding birds were often found anywhere along Fisons’ Road, or at the flooded workings. The year’s maximum was on 23rd March at Northern Goole Moor. Four pairs bred on Crowle Moor, one had five eggs and another had five young on 29th May. On 5th June the other two nests also contained five eggs and five young respectively.
Monthly maxima were: January 1, February nc, March 83, April 36, May 17, June 8, July 27, August 4, September 50, October 45, November 4, December 7.
Common Redpoll C. flammea
The year’s maximum was on 5th November.
Monthly maxima were: January 14, February nc, March nc, April 10+, May 2, June 4, July 2, August 2, September nc, October 70, November 100, December 83.
Common Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula Red list
The year’s maximum was seven on several dates, mainly from the colliery area and Will Pits.
Monthly maxima were: January 6, February 7, March nc, April 5, May 5, June 3, July 6, August 4, September 4, October 5, November 7, December 7.
Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis
As rain came heavier on 27th November, a winter plumaged male appeared on Fisons’ Road W of Will Pits at 12.45 p.m. It was still present after three minutes but moving away from the observer, and the heavy rain made continuing viewing impractical (BPW). One was heard over Rawcliffe Moor on 2nd December (ML).
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
The highest count of the year was from Northern Goole Moor on 10th December. A nest containing four eggs was found in the colliery area on 27th May.
Monthly maxima were: January 3, February nc, March 14, April 4, May 3, June 5, July 5, August 1, September 1, October 2, November 6, December 18.
Reed Bunting E. schoeniclus Red list
Highest count of the year of was on 21st April, from a wide range of areas.
Monthly maxima were: January 4, February nc, March nc, April 22+, May 10, June 21, July 5, August 12, September 8, October c.20, November 4, December 8.
Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra (Red list)
A male held territory along Moor Road to Creykes crossing, as observed on 24th and 26th June. Two were near Swinefleet Peat Works on 16th January.
Appendix 1. Category D and Escaped Species
Lovebird Agapornis spp.
A calling bird was circling Will Pits Scrape on 10th August, and eventually landed briefly; provisionally identified as Nyasa Lovebird Agapornis lilianae, but views were only moderate (BPW).
List of Observers
Richard Atterby, Peter Baxter, Philip Bone (Pbo), Robert Broch, Kevin Bull, N.C. Dawtrey, Steve Hiner, John G. Hitchcock, Peter Hinks, Martin Limbert, David Nicholson, Frank Oates, D.J. Prest, William H. Priestley, Craig Ralston, Janet M. Roworth, Peter C. Roworth, Adrian Scutt, Richard J. Sprakes, Bryan P. Wainwright, David Walsh, Robert Watson, Darren Whittaker.
Thanks to Martin Limbert for help and advice in compiling this report, and also to English Nature for printing the report.