Thorne Moors Bird Report 2002
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).
The Humberhead Peatlands comprise two close but separate areas of Thorne Moors and Hatfield Moors. Thorne Moors (which is often defined to mean Thorne and the smaller contiguous moors of Goole, Snaith & Cowick, Crowle, and Rawcliffe together, as in this Report), at 1918 hectares is the largest surviving lowland raised mire in Britain. Parts of these moors lie in three counties, South Yorkshire, East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire; the area is covered by Ordnance Survey Explorer maps 280 and 291. Thorne Moors has a wide range of habitats, from the large dry and bare former peat winning areas to mature woodland. Birch Betula scrub dominates in some places and where the ground is waterlogged it is in a permanent stunted state. Some larger woods of birch and willow Salix exist as well as small areas of mature oak Quercus woodland at the edges. Drier areas of heath exist in some places, and in other central areas of the moors semi-natural mire vegetation has begun to regenerate.
The Humberhead Peatlands are a designated National Nature Reserve and comprise two Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This reserve is managed by English Nature and (in parts) by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. The Humberhead Peatlands NNR qualify as Ramsar wetlands of international importance (under the Ramsar Convention, 1971). The reserve also qualifies as both a Special Protection Area under the European Union’s Birds Directive (1979) because of the significant UK breeding population of European Nightjars, and as Special Areas of Conservation under the Habitats Directive (1992), as raised bogs capable of regeneration. The Humberhead Peatlands NNR further qualifies for inclusion in the Natura 2000 network of key European habitats and sites.
English and scientific names, and sequence of birds, follow: The British Ornithological Union (2002) The British List, revised and e-published on the BOU website.
Birds of conservation concern are marked according to a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and British Trust for Ornithology grading system (RSPB et al. 1996, Birds of Conservation Concern in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man). 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 Report, 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, 146 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 these 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. Estimates of total numbers of breeding males derived from casual observation, of species such as warblers can only be taken as a possible maximum number. 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 this sort of estimated count cannot be considered complete, as for instance there are frequently no counts at all for some areas such as Crowle Moor. In a similar manner the following monthly figures can only be taken as sample counts. For months when there were no records 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 and abandoned surficial peat workings, that have resulted from the surface milling method of peat harvesting. The area where most of this type of harvesting was conducted was to the north of Fisons’ Road (along Mill Drain) and these areas are included under this label of ‘flooded workings’. Where relevant, birds are adults unless otherwise stated.
Swan spp. Cygnus
Three very distant large swans, probably Whoopers (see that species) headed over the east end of the flooded workings towards Will Pits Scrape on 22nd November.
Mute Swan C. olor
Two flew over Jones Cable on 17th February. One headed south over Green Belt on the morning of 27th May.
Whooper Swan C. cygnus (Amber List)
On 23rd March, 17 dropped in to roost at the flooded workings and this is the latest date ever for this species (JGH). Nine adults and a first-winter were at the flooded workings on 19th October.
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus (Amber List)
One hundred passed north west on 3rd March, and on 30th March 162 were seen to land at flooded workings north of Shoulder o’ Mutton in misty conditions, before leaving north west just before midday. On 24th September, 30 came in high from the west and circled the moors calling just before noon, but carried on south east. On 6th October 13 flew east. In November, 34 went east at height over Green Belt on 3rd and 120+ passed west on 15th.
Greater White-fronted Goose A. albifrons
An adult nominate European race A.a. albifrons was present at Will Pits Scrape at 16.00 on 23rd March and remained till 16.55 before departing south east (RJS, BPW). It was seen again at the same place on the following dates: 24th, 28th, 29th and 30th March and 14th, 18th and 20th April (RJS, ML, WHP). On 24th April it was seen at flooded working south of Fisons’ Road west of Will Pits (RJS). This is only the second record for Thorne Moors, but is published with the escape proviso.
Greylag Goose A. anser Amber List
On 15th September ML equalled the highest count ever of 160+, with that number previously seen on 23rd September 2000. Breeding proven with young seen. Three pairs were at Will Pits Scrape on 7th April, one pair had six young and two pairs had nine young at Will Pits Scrape, on 27th April. In May, a pair was at Will Pits Scrape with five young on 4th, then seven young were seen on 11th and 12th and six counted on 16th, 19th, 22nd and 27th.
Monthly maxima (excluding unfledged birds) were: January nc, February c.14, March 9, April 11, May 71, June nc, July 2, August 110, September 160+, October 131, November 40, December 75.
Canada Goose Branta canadensis
Highest count was on 3rd November.
Monthly maxima were: January nc, February nc, March 1, April 2, May 2, June nc, July nc, August nc, September 34, October 82, November 100, December nc.
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna Amber List
Found on any large area of open water. Six fledged young were also seen in the same area on 21st July (RJS). Maximum was on 19th May.
Monthly maxima were: January nc, February 5, March 2, April 8, May 32, June 20, July 7, August 2, September nc, October nc, November 1, December nc.
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope (Amber List)
A male and three females were seen on 12th January at the flooded workings, with no further records until eight pairs were seen on 3rd March in the same area. There were a further two March records, then no records during the breeding season with the next record being of a pair on 1st September at the flooded workings. Records from this area and Will Pits Scrape became sparser towards the year’s end, with the year’s maximum being 40 on 16th September again at the flooded workings.
Gadwall A. strepera Amber List
No evidence of breeding this year and the maximum was on 3rd March.
Monthly maxima were: January nc, February 16, March 19, April 8, May 7, June 1, July 1, August 4, September 2, October 4, November 3, December 2.
Eurasian Teal A. crecca Amber List
Maximum was on 1st November. Breeding was noted with records of unfledged young in June as follows: a female and six ducklings seen at Mill Drain, on 10th, a female with five young at the Southern Canals on 16th, and a female with four unfledged young was at Collis’s Tram area on 24th. On 6th July a female with nine ducklings was seen.
Monthly maxima were: January 7, February c.200, March c.120, April c.95, May c.40, June 30, July 42, August c.180, September 235+, October 120+, November c.300, December 200+.
Mallard A. platyrhynchos
Seen at any water body, with the maximum on 24th August. There were few records of unfledged young, but there were two broods with young at the Paraffin Cuttings on 12th May and one brood observed in the same area on 19th May. On 22nd May a female was observed with a duckling at the flooded workings.
Monthly maxima were: January 111, February 210, March 150+, April c.60, May 22, June 70+, July 6, August 300, September 116, October 80, November 180, December 250.
Northern Pintail A. acuta (Amber List)
There were three records for the earlier part of the year, of five males and four females on 17th February, four males and two females on 3rd March, and a single male on 29th March. The next record of 32, on 26th August was the year’s maximum, and two days later only six were seen. Of the several records in September, 16 on 7th was the highest count, and in October 15 on 10th and 17 were the maxima. The last record, of a male and two females on 3rd November was the only record for that month.
Garganey A. querquedula
A female was seen on 23rd April (RJS).
Northern Shoveler A. clypeata Amber List
Maximum was on 15th September, and no breeding was confirmed.
Monthly maxima were: January nc, February 1, March 4, April 6, May 6, June 16, July nc, Augustc.40, September 42+, October 3, November 29, December 16.
Common Pochard Aythya ferina (Amber List)
One was seen on 9th April (no area given). A pair was seen on 14th April and 11 males and two females were seen on 3rd November, both records from Will Pits Scrape.
Tufted Duck A. fuligula
Maximum was on 24th March, and no breeding was confirmed.
Monthly maxima were: January nc, February 9, March 15, April 8, May 8, June nc, July 3, August nc, September 1, October nc, November 1, December 7.
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
A female was at Will Pits Scrape on 20th October (RJS) and a pair was flushed from Bell’s Pond before heading east on 1st November (WHP).
Goosander Mergus merganser
The only records were a male and three females on 3rd March (ML), and a pair at Will Pits Scrape on 5th (Goole and District Natural History Society) and 12th March (PCR).
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
Mostly encountered at Will Pits Scrape, though also seen at the flooded workings. Usually two pairs or less seen at the former area and no more than two birds were seen at the latter area. A male was seen at the Paraffin Cuttings on 19th May. Five were counted on 23rd March (four males and a female) and the maximum at Will Pits Scrape was six on 12th May (four males and two females). First and last dates were 12th March, the earliest date ever (PCR) and 26th August.
Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
Becoming increasingly scarce, all records are presented here. Two were at Jones Cable on 9th February and four were at Goole Moor on 13th March. Breeding took place at the north west side of the moors, with two adults and seven young seen on the northward section of Fisons’ Road to Creykes on 29th July and 1st August; a third adult was also seen on the latter date. A total of seven including young was seen in the same area on 24th August and on the same date an adult with seven young was seen at Crowle Moor. A single was at the Shoulder o’ Mutton on 23rd September.
Grey Partridge Perdix perdix Red List
Two were seen at Jones Cable and colliery area on 30th March and 5th April, with a maximum of seven seen in these southern parts of the moors and fields on 31st December. A female with six young was seen at the Yorkshire Triangle on 24th August. Ten were seen on 20th October, near Inkle Moor.
Common Quail Coturnix coturnix
A calling male was heard from sugar-beet fields north of the dismantled Axholme Joint Railway at dusk on 10th July (PB). A similar calling bird was heard at the ‘southern boundary’ at 22.30 on 12th July (WHP, CR).
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
Common and seen every month with the larger counts often in double figures. The highest totals were of 50+ in fields near the Paraffin Cuttings on 4th October, and 40+ there on 6th October with a further 15 in fields south of the moors. Feral breeding does occur, including a female and eight very small just fledged juveniles at Will Pits on 19th June.
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
The first one returned to the Paraffin Cuttings on 3rd March, with birds at the flooded workings and Will Pits Scrape by 22nd March. Other records came from a wide range of areas, generally anywhere with large areas of permanent water, often with open areas. This included all main areas of the flooded workings, the area north of Collis’s Tram, Bell’s Pond, Yorkshire Triangle, Casson’s Marsh and Mill Drain Marsh. Maximum on any day was four on several dates. Last one was at the flooded workings on 3rd November. An unusual sighting was of two or three birds in flight at Will Pits Scrape on 4th May (RJS). Breeding was confirmed at some areas, with an adult and juvenile at the flooded workings immediately north of Fisons’ Road on 24th August, an immature at the same area on 8th September, and a juvenile (presumed to be Little Grebe) was at Will Pits Scrape on 4th August.
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
This surprisingly difficult moorland species was noted on four dates; all were summer plumaged adults at Will Pits Scrape. Two were displaying on 22nd March with the male presenting nest material to the female (WHP). An adult was present on 18th April (WHP), with a pair displaying at midday on 4th May (RJS) and a single seen on 12th May (ML).
Black-necked Grebe P. nigricollis (Amber List)
Seen at two locations.
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Two headed west over Will Pits Scrape on the morning of 1st April, and one passed over the same area south east at mid-afternoon on 7th April. Two flew north over flooded workings on 15th June. On 26th July two came from the east to the same area, and one landed briefly, before they headed north. A distant bird went north and then west along the northern edge of the moors on 24th August. On 1st September, an immature was perched on a stump at Will Pits Scrape.
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Typically seen singly from marginal and field drains, though also encountered at the flooded workings and Will Pits Scrape where fish do not occur. The only record of two was from Thorne Waste Drain on 23rd September. During the breeding season Grey Herons can meet a hostile reception if they venture over the Black-headed Gull colonies. Heavy mobbing in such circumstances occurred on 27th and 28th May.
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, and this is taken into account. For example, a single Marsh Harrier may be recorded as a female by one observer but as a cream-crown by a different observer, but there is only one bird not two. Daily totals are therefore calculated at the minimum possible number, for all areas, plumages and observers. All are adult birds, unless otherwise stated. Some birds are not aged and sexed due to distance or poor views and are marked as ‘un-aged/sexed’.
[European Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus
A brief view of a large very long-winged dark raptor on 16th June was considered to have been this species (RJS). Due to the inconclusive views a description has not been submitted.]
Eurasian Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus (Red List)
There were 55 records, a drop from last year; apparent arrival was much earlier than last year, and birds remained later in the year. ‘Brown’ birds are probably cream-crowns rather than the more unusual all dark birds, but views were inconclusive. The last date is the latest date for non-wintering birds ever.
03rd March 1 ‘brown’ bird Paraffin Cuttings
08th March 1 female south part of Crowle Moor
12th March 1 female ‘Middle Moor’
31st March 1 female flooded workings
01st April 1 all dark probable immature flooded workings
04th April 1 female flooded workings
07th April 1 ‘brown’ bird Pony Bridge Marsh
21st April 1 all dark probable immature flooded workings
24th April 1 female along north edge at Goole Fields
27th April 1 cream-crown flooded workings
04th May 1 cream-crown Will Pits Scrape flushing Black-headed Gulls
05th May 1 all dark probable immature flooded workings
11th May 1 cream-crown Mill Drain Marsh
19th May 1 cream-crown flooded workings
21st May 1 cream-crown flooded workings
23rd May 1 female flooded workings
27th May 3, 2 females (1 probably a moulting second-year) flooded workings, 1 male western edge of moors
28th May 1 cream-crown southern edge of moors
31st May 1 female ‘Middle Moor’
01st June 1 female Mill Drain Marsh
16th June 1 cream-crown Southern Canals
07th July 2, 1 male and 1 all dark immature Goole Moor
13th July 1 moulting juvenile from very high to flooded workings
21st July 1 female flooded workings
27th July 2 cream-crowns flooded workings
04th August 1 ‘brown’ bird flooded workings
12th August 2, 1 immature and 1 moulting female flooded workings
13th August 1 female Pony Bridge Marsh
17th August 2 juveniles flooded workings
18th August 4 cream-crowns flooded workings
19th August 6 cream-crowns soaring together over the west side of the moors, an all time maximum (BPW)
21st August 2 cream-crowns flooded workings
23rd August 1 juvenile flooded workings
24th August 6+, 4 females, 1 male and 1 or more juveniles over the flooded workings equals the all time maximum (BPW)
26th August 3, 1 cream-crown and 1 all dark immature and 1 ‘brown’ bird Will Pits Scrape
30th August 3, 2 cream-crowns flooded workings, 1 (un-aged/sexed) Will Pits Scrape
01st September 4+, 2 males and 2 females with possibly other cream-crowns moors generally
04th September 3 un-aged/sexed flooded workings
05th September 2 cream-crowns Will Pits Scrape
07th September 4+, 1 male, 1 female, 1 immature and at least 1 other cream-crown moors generally
08th September 4, 2 males and 2 cream-crowns Green Belt; 1 was mobbed by a Common Buzzard at the west end of the flooded workings, also soaring at that time were a Common Kestrel and a Eurasian Sparrowhawk
12th September 1 female Green Belt
15th September 4+, 1 male, 1 female, 1 immature and at least 1 other cream-crown moors generally
16th September 1 cream-crown Mill Drain
18th September 1 cream-crown southern parts of the moors
23rd September 4, 1 male, 1 female, 1 all dark immature and 1 cream-crown moors generally
24th September 4, 1 male, 2 juveniles and 1 female Pony Bridge Marsh
26th September 1 cream-crown Will Pits Scrape
29th September 2, 1 cream-crown and 1 ‘brown’ bird moors generally
01st October 2 un-aged/sexed, 1 flooded workings, 1 Will Pits
04th October 1 cream-crown Will Pits Scrape
17th October 1 female flooded workings mobbed by Carrion Crows
18th October 1 cream-crown Southern Canals
20th October 1 cream-crown Southern Canals
15th November 1 cream-crown flooded workings (WHP)
Hen Harrier C. cyaneus (Red List)
There were 24 records, one less than last year and the birds did not remain as late in spring. Return arrival was also later than last year.
04th January 1 ringtail Will Pits to Yorkshire Triangle
17th February 1 female Pony Bridge Marsh
05th March 1 ringtail Yorkshire Triangle
08th March 1 second-year male Will Pits Scrape
12th March 1 female Goole Fields
21st March 1 female Canals
23rd March 1 female Will Pits Scrape
24th March 1 female flooded workings
29th March 1 ringtail Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram
30th March 2, 1 female south western edge of the moors, 1 second-year male flooded workings
07th April 1 ringtail flooded workings
19th April 1 female Green Belt
18th October 1 female Southern Canals
19th October 1 ringtail mobbed by Carrion Crows from ‘Middle Moor’ to Pony Bridge Marsh
20th October 2, 1 female Green Belt, 1 male Mill Drain Marsh mobbed by Carrion Crows
24th October 1 male Pony Bridge Marsh heading south east
03rd November 1 female Paraffin Cuttings
07th November 3, 2 ringtails moors generally and a male at fields near Whaley Balk
15th November 1 female Southern Canals
24th November 1 female along Middle Moor Tram to Mill Drain Marsh
08th December 1 ringtail Casson’s Marsh and Mill Drain Marsh
23rd December 1 adult male colliery area to Woodpecker Corner
25th December 2, first-winter male (different to adult of 23rd) flooded workings, 1 ringtail near Alder Woods
31st December 1 female Will Pits Scrape
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
Generally no more than two seen on any day, occasional third sightings in a day may involve the same individuals, but if very far apart may be new birds as probably more than one pair was present on the moors. Can be encountered at any wooded area, and when soaring can be seen over open areas as well. Often mobbed by gulls or Carrion Crows, as on 30th March when a male was mobbed over the Black-headed Gull colonies of the flooded workings. Although seen all months of the year evidence of breeding was slight; two females grappled talons over Will Pits to Yorkshire Triangle on 15th January, possibly disputing over territory, and a female was displaying over Will Pits on 4th April. A female took a passerine at Bell’s Pond on 6th July. An immature was seen widely from 26th August till 8th September.
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
11th March 1 south over Mill Drain (SH)
07th April 1 north north west over Will Pits Scrape and Will Pits (ML)
14th April 1 north east over colliery area (ML)
01st September 1 in evening on the ground at Shoulder o’ Mutton was flushed and headed north (RJS)
08th September 1 pale bird over Green Belt then mobbed by/mobbing a cream-crown Marsh Harrier and a Carrion Crow over western side of the moors and fields before drifting south (RJS)
01st October 1 high over Shoulder o’ Mutton (RJS)
03rd November 1 over Mill Drain Marsh (RJS)
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Amber List
Recorded every month and four or five in the air at once was not too unusual, maximum was six on 23rd and 26th September. Birds roosted at Scotts’ maintenance sheds, ‘Bank Top’ throughout the non-breeding period. Breeding probably took place in a nestbox on Goole Fields, with a female departing the box on 10th April, a pair sometimes was observed perched close by, and may also have bred at Thorne Colliery. Immature birds were seen regularly over the moors later in the season.
Merlin F. columbarius (Red List)
09th February 1 male from ground at Middle Moor Tram flew north east
01st September 1 south western edge of the moors
07th September 1 female flooded workings, chasing waders and later seen perched up
16th September 1 Will Pits
23rd September 1 female flooded workings off north
20th October 1 male flooded workings
01st November 1 male Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram
31st December 1 female Green Belt
Eurasian Hobby F. subbuteo
There were 32 records, all of adults, a big reduction on last year, and though they arrived earlier they also departed sooner. Best viewing is from the observation platform, or from Fisons’ Road looking north over the flooded workings.
28th April 1 Canals
02nd May 2 Canals
03rd May 1 Canals
04th May 4 ‘Middle Moor’
05th May 3 ‘Middle Moor’
11th May 2, 1 ‘Middle Moor’, 2 Yorkshire Triangle
19th May 1 Will Pits Scrape
21st May 1 flooded workings
23rd May 1 Mill Drain Marsh headed north before rain came
01st June 1 Mill Drain Marsh
16th June 1 ‘Middle Moor’
19th June 2 Canals
27th June 1 over Fisons’ Road
28th June 1 Canals
06th July 1 very high over flooded workings
07th July 2 Mill Drain area
21st July 4, 3 perched ‘Middle Moor’ and 1 perched Southern Canals also flying
29th July 4
18th August 2 flooded workings
19th August 1
21st August 1
24th August 1‘Middle Moor’
26th August 3 Will Pits
30th August 2 Casson’s attacking a Marsh Harrier
01st September 4 central parts of the moors
02nd September 1
03rd September 1 diving at 2 Marsh Harriers colliery area
05th September 2 ‘Middle Moor’
07th September 1 flooded workings
08th September 2 flooded workings
23rd September 1 flooded workings
Peregrine Falcon F. peregrinus (Amber List)
Frequently seen perched on top of peat stacks in open areas, or else gliding very high up looking for quarry flying below to stoop at. There were 34 records, which is a slight decrease on last year.
17th February 1 male stooping at a pair of Common Teal
24th March 1 Canals
01st April 1 male Shoulder o’ Mutton
14th April 1 male Will Pits Scrape
04th May 1 female Shoulder o’ Mutton
05th May 1 immature female flooded workings
07th July 1 male Shoulder o’ Mutton
21st July 1 male flooded workings grabbed a Black-headed Gull but mobbed by 10 others and forced to release, it then landed before heading to Will Pits (RJS)
18th August 1 Shoulder o’ Mutton flooded workings
19th August 2, 1 juvenile female soaring with Marsh Harriers over the west side of the moors, 1 adult female flooded workings
21st August 1 juvenile female flooded workings mobbing Marsh Harriers and chasing waders
23rd August 1 male on peat stacks west end of flooded workings
24th August 2 flooded workings, 1 juvenile female mobbing anything, stooped at Northern Lapwings and Lesser Black-backed Gull for instance, 1 adult male same area
26th August 1 adult male Canals
28th August 1 on peat stacks at flooded workings
30th August 1 adult male flooded workings
01st September 1 or 2, 1 immature female stooped and killed a pigeon over the observation platform before carrying its prey towards the flooded workings (RJS), 1 seen chasing waders at the flooded workings
03rd September 1 colliery area
07th September 2, a male and female seemingly working co-operatively to hunt pigeons over the flooded workings, stooping at least 3 times; the female at times was mobbed by an immature Marsh Harrier. The male “at one time appeared to hover briefly into the wind” (RJS)
08th September 1 adult female flooded workings chasing pigeons
15th September 1 male stooping unsuccessfully after pigeons flooded workings then north
24th September 1 male Creykes gate
26th September 2, 1 immature female perched and flying flooded workings, 1 male same area
29th September 1 Casson’s Marsh and apparently the same at Goole Moor
01st October 1 male mobbed by a Common Kestrel flooded workings
06th October 1 female flooded workings
19th October 1 male from flooded workings to Will Pits
20th October 1 male Canals
21st October 1
03rd November 2, 1 female mobbing a Eurasian Sparrowhawk over south western edge of the moors, 1 male stooping unsuccessfully at Northern Lapwing at flooded workings
07th November 1 adult male flooded workings
15th November 1 adult on peat stacks at flooded workings flew to Will Pits
25th December 1 female chasing Mallards flooded workings west of Will Pits
31st December 2, 1 female stooping unsuccessfully at Northern Lapwing at flooded workings then mobbing a male
Water Rail Rallus aquaticus Amber List
Generally two heard calling on any one date from various marshy areas, particularly central areas such as ‘Middle Moor’, the Canals, Yorkshire Triangle but also other areas such as Pony Bridge Marsh. A maximum of five was heard on 23rd March, with two at ‘Middle Moor and three at the Southern Canals. There were no summer records.
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
A common and widespread species, with the highest count being on 7th April and 19th May. Found at any water and breeds widely.
Monthly maxima were: January 8, February 1, March 12, April 22, May 22, June 2, July 3, August 18 (including six chicks at the flooded workings on 4th), September 7, October 3, November 1, December 1.
Common Coot Fulica atra
Recorded all months from February to August. Maximum day count was 14 on several dates including for example 24th March, with nine at Will Pits Scrape, one at Casson’s Marsh and a further four at the flooded workings. Up to two were seen at the Paraffin Cuttings as on 12th May. Breeding took place at Will Pits Scrape and the flooded workings at least, with one young seen at both sites.
Common Crane Grus grus (Amber List)
[In misty morning conditions on 29th March at least one was heard from north of Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram, but the record will not be submitted (BPW).] Mid-afternoon on 21st May an adult was seen feeding west of Middle Moor Tram, before flying low towards Pony Bridge Marsh where it could not be relocated (RJS). On 15th September, two were heard and then seen to drop towards the flooded workings to land but at the last minute were dissuaded by the presence of RJS, they then circled gaining height and headed off high south (RJS). Two other people independently observed these birds (BL). It is interesting to note two were seen to leave south from Greatham Creek, Durham that morning. These will be the 10th and 11th records of this species for Thorne Moors, subject to acceptance.
Generally waders are found at the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road, unless otherwise stated.
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus (Amber List)
The first record was of a single on 20th April and all other records were of singles in May except two on 27th.
Little Plover Charadrius dubius
Between one and six observed from the larger areas of open water. Breeding took place with one adult and three juveniles seen on 20th July and 19th August (though only one young with two adults was seen on 27th July). First and last dates were 19th April and 28th August.
Ringed Plover C. hiaticula Amber List
Maximum count for spring passage was of 20 on 21st May, and for autumn passage also 20 on 7th September. There was no evidence of breeding. First and last dates were 18th April and 1st October.
European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria (Amber List)
There were no records for the first half of the year and in the latter half the highest counts came in October. These were of c.200 in the southern fields from 4th building to 500 flying from there over Woodpecker Corner and the colliery on 19th.
Grey Plover P. squatarola (Amber List)
One on 7th June, with further singles seen on 7th July (summer plumaged) and 10th November. There were eight on the last date of 3rd November, over the Shoulder o’ Mutton flooded workings (RJS).
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus Amber List
Maximum count was on 4th August.
Monthly maxima were: January 47, February 95, March 7, April 8, May 5, June 11, July c.300, August c.1000, September c.180, October 150, November c.200, December 83.
Dunlin Calidris alpina (Amber List)
Passage was generally light in spring and autumn, with few counts in double figures. Of the very few spring records the maximum was of three, on 21st April. The year’s maxima were in August with c.50 on 17th and 47 on 21st.
Monthly maxima were: January nc, February nc, March 1, April 3, May 1, June nc, July 15, August c.50, September 14, October 4, November 9, December 2.
Ruff Philomachus pugnax (Amber List)
Very few records (seven) all of return passage birds. The first were two in summer plumage on 24th June. Maximum was 11 on 17th August. The last record was on 19th August.
Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus (Amber List)
One was flushed at Bell’s Pond on 18th October, and one was at Will Pits Scrape on 20th October, with the only other record being of one at Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram on 1st November.
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago Amber List
Chipping and drumming birds were recorded at the Canals on 14th April (two chipping), at Pony Bridge Marsh on 12th May and at the Southern Canals on 27th June.
Monthly maxima were: January 2, February nc, March 5+, April 7, May 1, June 2, July 1, Augustc.10, September 12, October 10, November 5, December nc.
Eurasian Woodcock Scolopax rusticola Amber List
Maxima were four in the colliery area on 1st January and five at Northern Goole Moor on 12th March. One was observed roding at Will Pits on 20th June, with one roding over Pony Bridge Tram on 12th July.
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa (Red List)
A summer plumaged adult was at Will Pits Scrape on 7th July (the earliest ever date for the latter part of the year (RJS, BPW), and five flew from the flooded workings on 26th July.
Bar-tailed Godwit L. lapponica
On 31st December 11 came from the west over the flooded workings at 13.10, and eventually headed off high east (RJS). This is the seventh record for Thorne Moors and the highest count ever.
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus (Amber List)
The only records were of one heading west on 11th May and one on the following day.
Eurasian Curlew N. arquata Amber List
Generally single birds, with the first on 21st March. Maximum was three on 12th May, with two heading south west and the third south.
Common Redshank Tringa totanus Amber List
Again single figures from 11th April, plus a maximum of 15+ on 3rd November.
Common Greenshank T. nebularia (Amber List)
There were very few spring records the first being of one calling over Will Pits Scrape on 7th May. Maximum was five on 19th August and the last record was of two on 18th September.
Green Sandpiper T. ochropus
Recorded in single figures through the summer months, the only double figure counts being 10 on 4th August (one colliery area, three at Green Belt Scrape and the rest at the flooded workings) and 13 on 19th August. There was a single winter record of one over Jones Cable on 3rd November.
Wood Sandpiper T. glareola (Amber List)
There were three records in August, the first of one on 4th, the second of four on 17th and finally three on 18th.
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
The first one was seen on 6th July, and numbers reached four on 24th August. The last record was of one on 30th August.
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres (Amber List)
An adult in summer plumage was seen on 20th July (WHP).
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 north east 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.
Little Gull Larus minutus
On 19th April an adult and four first-summer birds came low over the flooded workings before going away high to the east (WHP). On 27th April a transitional first- winter/summer was present (RJS).
Black-headed Gull L. ridibundus
There were three main colonies this year, and conservative counts of sitting birds were taken in late April and May. This put breeding numbers at 400 pairs at Will Pits Scrape, 400+ pairs at the flooded workings north of Shearburn & Pitts Drain, and 600 pairs at the main colony at the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road. This gives a total of 1400 breeding pairs, which is an all time record. The first chicks were noted on 19th May, when two were present at the flooded workings, and by 22nd May chicks were also noted at Will Pits Scrape. Unfledged juveniles were still around on 21st August when six adults and two juveniles were noted at the flooded workings. Fledged young were first observed as follows: 14 were flying by 27th May at Shearburn & Pitts Drain flooded workings, four fledged young were seen at Will Pits Scrape on 27th May and one fledged young was seen at the main colony the following day. The 3500 counted on 31st March coming to roost, was an all time record count (BPW).
Monthly maxima were: January 1194, February 120, March 3500, April 1400+, May 1000+, June 500, July 360, August c.14, September 38, October 60, November 75, December 35.
Ringing details provided by PBo: In 2002 one visit was made on 15th June. By this time however most of the young in the colony had already fledged and left the site. This resulted in only 49 birds being ringed, though 46 birds, in addition to the metal ring, were also given a red plastic colour ring inscribed with a combination of four white letters and numbers. These darvic colour rings are readable in the field and have resulted in some sightings away from Thorne Moors.
· New, EG81189 ringed 15/06/02 Thorne Moors S Sighted 20/03/03 WWT Slimbridge, Gloucestershire 233km, south south west, 278 days
· New, EG81199 ringed 15/06/02 Thorne Moors S Sighted 17/12/02 Gloucester Landfill site, Gloucestershire 218km, south south west, 185 days
· Sick, Sighted 02/01/03 Gloucester Landfill Site, Gloucestershire 218km. south south west, 201 days
The following birds ringed in 2001 have also been reported.
· New, EG81057 ringed 02/06/01 Thorne Moors X Dying 11/08/02 Grune Point, Skinburness, Cumbria 210km, north west, 1Year 70 days
· New, EG81115 ringed 17/06/01 Thorne Moors, found dead 27/02/02 St Laurent, Deux-sevres, FRANCE 811km, south, 255 days
A small number of British ringed nestlings winter in France and Spain some even reaching as far as North Africa. Nationally there have been about 240 recoveries in France. The colour ring sightings are very interesting indicating that at least some of the Thorne Moors birds over winter in the South West and then return north during the spring, up the west side of the country. More recoveries though are needed to confirm this, but it seems more plausible that the birds would have gone onto the Humber Estuary before moving along the East coast.
Mew Gull L. canus (Amber List)
Observed over-flying the moors, or on marginal fields, with the highest count of birds to roost on 4th January.
Monthly maxima were: January 35, February 1, March 10+, April 2, May 1, June 1, July 1, August 2, September nc, October 3, November 5, December 2.
Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus (Amber List)
The commonest species of large gull on the moors during summer (May-September) and roosts regularly. Observed roosting on the moors from late June onwards, although at their peak count numbers were lower than usual for recent years. Maximum was on 20th July.
Monthly maxima were: January nc, February nc, March 21, April c.15, May 40, June 100+, July 200+, August 5, September 33, October 9, November 9, December nc.
A moribund bird found at the flooded workings at the north west end of Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram on 12th August was taken into care by BPW, the paralysed bird (perhaps suffering from botulism poisoning from refuse tip feeding) slowly recovered and it was ringed by PBo on 14th (GN45009). By 16th the gull was very strong and vicious and after an early morning swim in the garden pond it disappeared around 9.00 and could only have flown from the garden.
Herring Gull L. argentatus (Amber List)
Generally the commonest species outside the breeding season and regularly roosts on the moors. The year’s highest count, on 12th November, was of gulls coming to roost at the west end of the flooded workings, and other high counts were also associated with roosts.
Monthly maxima were: January 816, February nc, March 50+, April 3, May 100+, June 12, July 1, August nc, September 35, October 219, November 785, December 91.
Yellow-legged Gull L. cachinnans
The only record was of a second-summer at the west end of the flooded workings immediately north of Fisons’ Road on 28th July (BPW). Thirty-six Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also present.
Iceland Gull L. glaucoides
On 31st March a second-winter was present from 16.00 at the flooded workings immediately north of Fisons’ Road with a second-winter Glaucous Gull (RJS, BPW). This is the fourth record for Thorne Moors. On 7th April, a white-winged gull seen in strong sunlight was considered on size and structure to perhaps to be this species as it headed high north east over Mill Drain Marsh (ML).
Glaucous Gull L. hyperboreus
Possibly two were present on 29th March when WHP observed a first-winter and then later a second-winter was reported, landed at the flooded workings (RJS, BPW). On 31st March a first-winter was present from 16.00 at the flooded workings immediately north of Fisons’ Road with a second-winter Iceland Gull (RJS, BPW). These are the fifth and six records for Thorne Moors.
Great Black-backed Gull L. marinus
The year’s maximum was of gulls coming in to roost on 4th January.
Monthly maxima were: January 202, February nc, March 50+, April c.30, May 12, June 10, July 6, August 1, September 3, October 45, November 57, December 26.
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
The only record was of one heading east in the late morning of 13th July.
Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Feral birds are present in small numbers the year round. At the colliery buildings there were 30 present on 18th September.
Stock Pigeon C. oenas Amber List
Observed most months with records especially from the west side of the moors. The only double figure counts were in September, with 14 on 12th and 17 on 15th.
Common Wood Pigeon C. palumbus
Highest count was at the southern edge of the moors on 9th February.
Monthly maxima were: January 522+, February 800+, March 500+, April 400+, May 12, June 11, July 24, August 7, September 78, October 20, November 200, December 80+.
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Small numbers are sometimes seen around the moor’s edges including Top Moor Farm, Inkle Moor and Jones Cable, with a maximum of 10 at the latter on 26th August.
European Turtle Dove S. turtur Red List
Maximum count was six at Jones Cable on 7th September. Heard from seven different areas though from records received breeding numbers can only be guessed at. First and last dates were 5th May and 16th September.
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Maximum was eight on 12th May. First and last dates were 19th April and 21st July.
Barn Owl Tyto alba
Reported from fields near Red House Farm, but no dates.
Little Owl Athene noctua
Reported from near Top House Farm, Creykes, but no dates.
Tawny Owl Strix aluco
Adults were heard from many areas, both males and females give the characteristic call but the clearer, louder more vocal males are more distinctive. These areas included Crowle Moor (2 males), Pony Bridge Wood and Marsh, Will Pits (2 males), Elmhirst, Goole Moor and Yorkshire Triangle. Maximum adult count was six on 14th June. Breeding took place at Will Pits, where two young were heard on 14th June.
Long-eared Owl Asio otus
Most records were at night. Adults were heard on 14th March, with one at Elmhirst and two at Casson’s (JGH). On 3rd May nesting birds were observed at Northern Goole Moor (PB) with one juvenile seen on 5th and two juveniles seen on 10th May. An adult watched the observer after flying in and perching up in the same area on 16th May (PB). An adult with food was seen at the southern part of Crowle Moor on 7th June. Young were heard at the north end of Will Pits on several dates commencing on 14th June. Young were heard from Crowle Moor on 11th July, with one heard at the north end and three heard at the south end. Young were heard from the Tram at Pony Bridge Wood on 12th July, and on the same night three young were heard in the Canals area. On 22nd July, a rarely heard adult call was noted at Green Belt and a juvenile was at the southern end of Snaith & Cowick Moor (at the ‘S’ bend of Fisons’ Road) before flying off towards a second juvenile at the Alder Thickets. The same night, two further young were heard from Goole Moor.
Short-eared Owl A. flammeus (Amber List)
One was seen along the road at the derelict Swinefleet Peat Works on 11th March (SH), and one was found freshly dead along Pony Bridge Tram on 24th March (ML).
European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus Red List
Surveys were conducted on nights in June and July. The whole of the moors was covered in a single night on 14th June and 12th July. This revealed a total of 29 males, which is an increase in numbers (BPW et al.). A male was seen during the day at Northern Canal 4 (near Cottage Dike). First and last dates were 14th June and 25th July.
Common Swift Apus apus
Maximum was of 459+ on 7th July, first and last dates were 27th April and 2nd September.
Monthly maxima were: April 5, May 71, June 300+, July 459+, August 56, September 1.
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis (Amber List)
All records were from peripheral drains between Whaley Balk and Jones Cable. Single birds were seen on 7th July, 8th and 16th September, 4th, 19th and 20th October and 3rd November.
Green Woodpecker Picus viridis Amber List
Frequently encountered around the moor edge particularly the colliery area, the south western edge to Woodpecker Corner and at Will Pits. Two were commonly counted and the maximum count was three on 4th August. Bred in an Alder Alnus glutinosa at Woodpecker Corner, where an adult was observed entering a hole, on 9th May.
Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
Frequently encountered at the moor’s woodlands. Three were commonly counted and the maximum count was five on several dates. Breeding was noted at Woodpecker Corner with young heard calling from a nest-hole that was attended by an adult on 31st May, and on 24th June a juvenile was seen in the same area.
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker D. minor
Single birds infrequently seen from wooded areas or flying over more open scrub. A female was observed feeding with Long-tailed Tits on Crowle Moor on 15th January (PB). One was seen at Will Pits on 3rd April (JGH) and another at Pony Bridge Wood on 15th September (ML).
Sky Lark Alauda arvensis Red List
Maximum count was on 4th October.
Monthly maxima were: January nc, February 1, March 11, April 10, May 11, June 3, July 5, August 11, September 25+, October 29, November 5, December 2.
Sand Martin Riparia riparia (Amber List)
The year’s maximum count of 4000+ was an all time record on 23rd August (WHP) and the following day 1000+ were counted (WHP). First and last dates were 21st March and 29th September.
Monthly maxima were: March 1, April 31, May 2, June 1, July c.16, August 4000+, Septemberc.70.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica (Amber List)
Maximum count was on 15th September. First and last dates were 10th April and 3rd November (RJS) the latest ever.
Monthly maxima were: April 25, May 12, June 2, July 5, August 31, September c.50, October 17, November 1.
House Martin Delichon urbica
Maximum count was on 15th September. First and last dates were 20th April and 23rd September.
Monthly maxima were: April 20+, May 4, June 5+, July 1, August 8, September c.60, October 17, November 1.
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
All records (virtually all of singing males) are listed for this declining species. There was an estimated three or four pairs, well down on last year.
02nd May 3 Crowle Moor
22nd May 1 ‘Middle Moor’
31st May nest with 5 young Crowle Moor
01st June 1 ‘Middle Moor’
07th June 2
16th June 1 east end of Canal Tow Path
04th August 1 overhead
Meadow Pipit A. pratensis
Maximum count was on 24th September.
Monthly maxima were: January 8, February 2, March 10, April 20, May 19, June 11, July 26, August 28, September c.50, October 26, November 25, December 7.
Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
Few double-figure counts with a maximum of c.50 on 27th July. First and last dates were 4th April and 26th September.
Monthly maxima were: April 1, May 1, June nc, July c.50, August 10, September 7.
Grey Wagtail M. cinerea
Recorded in September, with one in the colliery area on 8th, one over Elmhirst Tram near Angle Drain on 15th, one in same area calling as it headed east on 18th, and a single over Elmhirst area (twice) on 29th September.
White/Pied Wagtail M. alba
Highest count was on 4th August. Bred in colliery compound where a pair was seen to take food on 31st May.
Monthly maxima were: January nc, February 1, March 8, April 15, May 12, June 4, July 7, August 30+, September 10, October c.15, November 6, December 3.
A White Wagtail M.a. alba was seen at Bank Top on 14th April (ML).
Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Highest count was on 4th January. On 17th May two families were seen, one adult with seven fledged young at south western edge and another adult with six fledged young at Eastern Tram, further young were seen at Mill Drain on 7th July .
Monthly maxima were: January 48, February 5, March 11, April 7, May 15 (including 13 young), June 7, July 20 (including young), August 4, September 7, October 10, November 13, December 10.
Hedge Accentor Prunella modularis Amber List
Highest count was on 1st January.
Monthly maxima were: January 8, February 1, March 3, April 3, May 1, June 1, July nc, August 4, September 7, October 2, November 3+, December 6.
European Robin Erithacus rubecula
Highest count was on 17th October. Juveniles were seen in many areas: a brood were being fed in the colliery area on 2nd May, one on 19th June at the east end of the Canal Tow Path, three on 29th July and 1st August at Paraffin area and three adults and an immature at Green Belt on 1st September.
Monthly maxima were: January 15, February 3, March 5, April 7, May 3, June 5, July 3, August 3, September 7, October 10, November 6, December 2.
Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos Amber List
No full survey was carried out but singing males appeared to be fewer than in recent years. Males were noted to be holding territories in the following areas, Will Pits (three), colliery area (one) and Goole Moor (one). First and last dates were 23rd April and 14th June.
Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
A male was at the south western edge of the moors on 1st September (RJS).
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
This species is in serious decline over our region and other parts of the country. The reasons behind this are not clear but may be linked to problems in the wintering area. A pair was in the Southern Canals area not far from Canal Tow Path. Apparent inter-species aggression was noted here when a male alarm-called at a male Stonechat at Canal 5 of the Southern Canals on 25th April (SH). Two pairs bred along south side of Fisons’ Road, with a nest and five fledged young seen on 8th July and a juvenile was seen on 21st and 24th August and 8th September. A fourth pair, or an early-dispersed family, was seen later in the breeding season with an adult pair and two juveniles at the flooded workings near Shearburn & Pitts Drain on 7th July. First and last dates were 25th April and 24th August.
Stonechat S. torquata (Amber list)
Mostly seen along Fisons’ Road and at the flooded workings, and less frequently at Mill Drain Marsh, ‘Middle Moor’ and the Canals area. Seen most months in small numbers. Maximum was four (from the two pairs, see below) as on 3rd May, and also four outside the breeding season, as on 7th November. Bred again, this time along Fisons’ Road; a male was noted carrying food here on 20th and 27th April and three fledged young were seen on 18th June. A second pair at least held territory and were seen displaying on 8th May, between Canal 5 of the Southern Canals and the Eastern Tram boundary of the Canals.
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Only singles seen north of Fisons’ Road, except three females at flooded workings on 24th April and four on 3rd May. First and last dates were 19th April and 26th September.
Common Blackbird Turdus merula Amber list
Maximum was 34 on 1st January.
Monthly maxima were: January 34, February 4, March 13, April 9, May 12, June 6, July 4, August 13, September 17, October 28, November 33, December 30.
Fieldfare T. pilaris (Amber list)
Highest counts were associated with roost gatherings, with the maximum on 22nd November. Last and first dates were 24th March and 17th October.
Monthly maxima were: January 8, February 3, March 100+, October 100+, November 290, December c.86.
Song Thrush T. philomelos Red list
Singing males were present at the colliery area, Woodpecker Corner, Will Pits, Inkle Moor, Jones Cable, south western edge, Northern Goole Moor and Green Belt, indicating at least eight pairs.
Redwing T. iliacus (Amber list)
Maximum was 700+ flying west over the colliery area on 19th October. Last and first dates were 29th March and 6th October.
Mistle Thrush T. viscivorus
Maximum count was of eight on two dates. The first was from Crowle Moor on 1st September and the second from the colliery area on 18th October.
The following counts are not census counts and should not be treated as such. They are not all from the same date, but are estimates by area from throughout the whole season and some extreme dates may be records of migrants. Some counts represent the highest counts of breeding males ever recorded, but they have not been counted using recognised census techniques and should be used with caution elsewhere. The totals are the maximum that could possibly be present (for areas that were covered), though the real total may be lower than these estimates. 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.
Common Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia Amber list
Maximum number was four on 23rd April. Area maxima were: colliery (one), colliery footpath (one), Canals (one), south western edge of the moors (one), Fisons’ Road (three), Mill Drain Marsh (one), Will Pits (two) Will Pits Scrape (one) and Paraffin area (one). The number of locations where male birds were heard would suggest a maximum of 12 males present. First and last dates were 21st April and 1st September.
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
The maximum was 16 on 12th May. Area maxima were: Green Belt (two), colliery area (five), flooded workings (one), south western edge of the moors (three), Mill Drain/Marsh (one), east end of Canal Tow Path (one), Pony Bridge Marsh (one), ‘Middle Moor’ (three), Jones Cable (two), Fisons’ Road (four), Will Pits Scrape (three), Swinefleet Warping Drain (two) and Blackwater Dike (one). The number of locations where male birds were heard would suggest a possible maximum of 29 males present. A nest containing four large young was observed at Will Pits Scrape on 13th June. First and last dates were 23rd April and 16th September.
Eurasian Reed Warbler A. scirpaceus
A maximum of 10 males was recorded on 28th June. Area maxima were: colliery area (one), Swinefleet Warping Drain (two), east end of Canal Tow Path (10), Green Belt (four), Will Pits Scrape (one) and south western edge of the moors (four). This gives a possible maximum of 22 males present. First and last dates were 8th May and 24th September.
Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
Area maxima were: colliery area (one), Jones Cable (two), south western edge of the moors (one) and Green Belt (one). This gives a possible maximum of five males present. At Green Belt young were watched being fed on 13th June and on 8th July an adult carrying food gave an alarm call. First and last dates were 25th April and 1st September.
Common Whitethroat S. communis
Found in most areas, the maximum count being 54 on 12th May. Area maxima were: colliery (three), Mill Drain Marsh (one), Will Pits (one), Will Pits Scrape (one), Fisons’ Road (six), Canals (four), Green Belt (two), Pony Bridge Marsh (five), Pony Bridge Wood (five), flooded workings (three), south western edge of the moors (two), Woodpecker Corner (one), Collis’s Tram (four), Jones Cable (12) and ‘Middle Moor’ (six). This gives a minimum of 56 males present since many areas had no counts. Nests were found at the colliery area, with five eggs on 31st May, at Mill Drain with six young on 6th June and at Green Belt with four fledged young on 17th July. First and last dates were 19th April and 28th September (WHP), the latest ever date for Thorne Moors.
Garden Warbler S. borin
A maximum of four on 12th May. Area maxima were: Canals (one), Northern Goole Moor (one), Green Belt (one), Elmhirst Tram (one), Will Pit Scrape (one), colliery area (one), ‘Middle Moor’ (one) and Will Pits (two). This gives a possible maximum of nine males present. First and last dates were 2nd May and 17th August.
Blackcap S. atricapilla
Highest count was nine on 19th June. Area maxima were: colliery area (three), Durham’s Garden (one), Will Pits (three), Will Pits Scrape (one), Jones Cable (one), Pony Bridge Wood (one), Crowle Moor (two), Northern Goole/Goole Moor (three), south western edge of the moors (one), Woodpecker Corner (one), east end of Canal Tow Path (four), Elmhirst Wood (one), Green Belt (one), Collis’s Tram (one) and Eastern Tram (one). This gives a possible maximum of 25 males present. The first and the last dates were 3rd April and 4th October.
Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Highest number was 18 on 7th April. Area maxima were: Will Pits (five), Will Pits Scrape (one), colliery area (four), Green Belt (four), Durham’s Garden (two), east end of Canal Tow Path (four), Mill Drain (one), Elmhirst Wood (one), Paraffin area (one), south western edge of the moors (two), Crowle Moor (one), Collis’s Tram (seven), ‘Middle Moor’ (one), Woodpecker Corner (one), Jones Cable (one) and Northern Goole/Goole Moor (three). This gives a possible maximum of 39 males present, which is an all time maximum. On 16th May large young were observed in a low nest in Rhododendron Rhododendron ponticum at Green Belt, and were being fed close by a week later. First and last dates were 17th March and 18th October.
Willow Warbler P. trochilus
A widespread species, no counts covered all the moors but a partial count totalled 48 on 21st April. Some area maxima were: Will Pits Scrape (one), Pony Bridge Marsh (10), Collis’s Tram (10), Canals (16), colliery area (five), flooded workings (two), Green Belt (three), ‘Middle Moor’ (10), Mill Drain/Marsh (seven), south western edge of moors (seven), Jones Cable (three) and Swinefleet Warping Drain (three). This gives a minimum of only 77 males present since many areas had no counts. First and last dates were five on 30th March, the earliest ever, one of which was ringed (WHP) and 8th September.
Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Maximum was 22 on 29th September, with all other counts in single figures. The only record for the first half of the year was for one on 12th January, and the first return date was the earliest ever on 1st September (RJS).
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Highest count was of 30+ on 8th December, with many counts in double figures.
Monthly maxima were: January 20, February 8, March 11, April 4, May 2, June 4, July c.20, August 12, September 21, October 24, November 15, December 30+.
Willow Tit Parus montanus Amber list
Maximum was 10 on 26th August.
Monthly maxima were: January 3, February 5, March 5, April 3, May 1, June 2, July 6+ (including young at the colliery area), August 10, September 7, October 4, November 4, December 2.
Coal Tit P. ater
Singles were at Crowle Moor on 15th February, at Will Pits on 17th April, at Will Pits Scrape on 1st September and at Will Pits on 15th September.
Blue Tit P. caeruleus
Maximum count was 29 on 26th August.
Monthly maxima were: January 13, February 15, March 11, April 10, May 2, June 1, July 5, August 29, September 15, October 5, November 9, December 6.
Great Tit P. major
Maximum count was 13 on 7th April.
Monthly maxima were: January 5, February 1, March 8, April 13, May 2, June 6 (including five young along the Canal Tow Path), July nc, August 4, September 6, October 7, November 3, December 3.
Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris
One was seen in low scrub at Woodpecker Corner on 4th January and a single was seen at Bell’s Pond area on 18th October. Breeding occurred in a nest hole near the base of an Alder at Woodpecker Corner with a pair seen here on 25th April, 1st and 8th May, at least three young fledged (SH). This is only the third confirmed breeding record for Thorne Moors.
Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
Maximum count was five on 29th September.
Monthly maxima were: January nc, February nc, March 1, April 1, May 3, June 1, July 2, August 2, September 5, October 4, November 2, December 2.
Black-billed Magpie Pica pica
The maximum was 11 on 3rd March.
Monthly maxima were: January 3, February 10, March 19, April 8, May 4, June 9, July 9, August 6, September 10, October 5, November 10, December 5.
Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula
One flew over Will Pits Scrape on 23rd March and two flew over there on 30th March. Three flew over Will Pits Scrape again, on 1st April. On 4th May one flew south calling. Five passed over the flooded workings on 20th October, with one heading north and the other four going east. On 1st November one calling bird flew over the Canals.
Rook C. frugilegus
One flew west over the southern edge of the moors on 4th January, and two flew west over Will Pits Scrape on 14th April. Three flew south over the observation platform calling on 5th May, and on 15th September one flew north over the same area. On 20th October one flew north over Will Pits Scrape.
Carrion Crow C. corone
Most higher counts were associated with roosts, though the year’s maximum of 155+ that were feeding in fields to the south west of the moors (ML) on 15th September. Nests were noted at Goole Fields on 24th April and along Pony Bridge Tram on 24th June.
Monthly maxima were: January 27, February 22, March 54, April 80+, May 52, June 18, July 48, August 33, September 155+, October 28, November 57, December c.60.
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris (Amber List)
Recorded mainly at Jones Cable, the colliery area and at the flooded workings. Maximum wasc.200 at the flooded workings on 20th July.
Monthly maxima were: January 8, February 50+, March 70, April 1, May 30+, June nc, Julyc.200, August 9, September 38, October 100+, November 140+, December 4.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
No records from the peat moors, but noted along the colliery road and around the colliery buildings, as on 14th April and 19th May when a single female was present, with a flock of 50+ noted there on 27th July. Single figure counts also came from Jones Cable, although 58 were present there on 7th July.
Eurasian Tree Sparrow P. montanus
No records from the peat moors. On Goole Fields, at least six pairs bred in nest-boxes at Moorfield’s Farms.
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Maximum count was of 400+ heading to a roost in the colliery area on 15th November. A sitting bird was noted in a Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna in Will Pits on 16th May.
Monthly maxima were: January 56, February 4, March 25, April 25, May 18, June 2, July 7, August c.20, September c.30, October 32, November 400+, December 200.
Brambling F. montifringilla (Amber list)
Six were at a roost at Green Belt on 18th March and 20 were at a roost at Elmhirst Wood on 27th March. A single was heard overhead on 29th September and equalled the earliest ever for 2000 and 2001.
European Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
Numbers are much lower than a few years ago when roost counts often exceeded the numbers of Chaffinches. Maximum count was of 80+ dispersing from a roost in the colliery area on 8th December.
Monthly maxima were: January 10, February nc, March 52, April 22, May 4, June 2, July 6, August 10, September 22, October 13, November 60, December 80+.
European Goldfinch C. carduelis (Amber list)
The year’s maximum was 19 on 1st January.
Monthly maxima were: January 19, February nc, March 1, April 5, May 4, June 2, July 15 (includes 3 juveniles), August 12, September 10, October 5, November 10, December 2.
Eurasian Siskin C. spinus
Small numbers occasionally seen at the west side of the moors, particularly between the colliery area and the Alder Thickets, and also found in other areas where Alders are present such as Will Pits and Woodpecker Corner. Maximum was four at the Paraffin area, on 6th July (the earliest ever date for the latter part of the year) and four along the Canal Tow Path on 29th July.
Common Linnet C. cannabina Red list
Often found along Fisons’ Road, or at the flooded workings, but this year’s maximum (300) was from Jones Cable on 1st September. A nest with six young was noted along Mill Drain on 27th June, and the young were successfully fledged about a week later.
Monthly maxima were: January nc, February nc, March 21, April 32, May 16, June 5, July 92, August 94, September 300, October 10, November 6, December 50+.
Lesser Redpoll C. flammea
The year’s maximum was on 7th and 8th April.
Monthly maxima were: January 52, February 25, March 40, April 50+, May 6, June 6, July 2, August 4, September c.30, October 26, November 20, December 1.
Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra
On 6th July one flew low and calling from the east before heading south over Durham’s Garden(WHP). Six flew north west over the flooded workings calling on 23rd August (WHP), next day (24th) one flew west over the same area again calling (BPW, RJS).
Common Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula Red list
The year’s maximum was 10+ on 15th November, mainly from the colliery area and Will Pits. A nest was found at Green Belt with five eggs on 8th July, and by 17th it held four young and by 25th July they were almost fledged and left not long after, leaving just an addled egg in the nest.
Monthly maxima were: January 9, February 13, March 7, April 3, May 2, June 4, July 3, August 7, September 6, October 9, November 10+, December 7.
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
The highest count of the year was five on 12th August and 8th September. A nest was found at Crowle Moor on 31st May, when a parent carried food towards the site, it stopped short though and made agitated bobbing motions in the grass nearby for 10 minutes before flying off. On closer inspection an Adder Vipera berus was slithering away from the nest that was in a grass tussock and contained three fledged young (RB).
Monthly maxima were: January 2, February nc, March 4, April 2, May 2, June 3, July 4, August 5, September 5, October 1, November 2, December nc.
Reed Bunting E. schoeniclus Red list
Large counts came from ‘setaside’ fields adjacent to Whaley Balk with the highest count of the year there of 35+ on 15th November.
Monthly maxima were: January 2, February 1, March 25, April 22, May 23, June 13, July c.30, August 11, September 25, October 11, November 35+, December 2.
Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra (Red list)
One was observed at Red House Farm on 7th April. On Goole Fields one was singing at the dismantled Axholme Joint Railway on 24th April, and up to three birds were seen around Moorfields Farm on 12th March and 3rd May.
List of Observers
Richard Atterby, Peter Baxter, Mrs Berrington, Philip Bone (PBo), Robert Broch, Kevin Bull, Steve Hiner, John G. Hitchcock, Peter Hinks, Jim Johnson, Brian Leesy, Martin Limbert, Frank Oates, Alan Potter, William H. Priestley, Colin Rook, Janet M. Roworth, Peter C. Roworth, Richard J. Sprakes, Bryan P. Wainwright, David Walsh, Darren Whittaker.
Thanks to Martin Limbert for help and advice in compiling this Report, and also to English Nature for printing the Report.