THORNE MOORS VERTEBRATE REPORT 2012

compiled by Martin Limbert and Bryan P. Wainwright 2013

 

 

CONTENTS

 

Introduction                                                                  Mammals 2009-11 

Recording in 2012                                                      Amphibians 2011

Birds                                                                         List of observers and acknowledgements

Bird ringing report by B.M. Baxter                               Gull-billed Tern on Thorne Moors

Mammals                                                                          by Bryan P. Wainwright

Amphibians                                                               Water Voles on covert cameras by Ron Moat

Fish                                                                           Electrofishing in 2008 by Martin Limbert

Additional records of birds 1975 – 2011                       Literature sources

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1.                   Scope of the report.  The last Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report covered 2008, available both electronically and as a paper report.  It was succeeded by an intention to progress to annual electronic reports separately covering mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians/fish.  However, since then only the bird reports have appeared with regularity.  For the remaining vertebrates, the mammal recorder’s report for 2009 forms a lonely outpost of an otherwise failed system.  Because devolution did not work, it has been decided to reintroduce the annual Vertebrates Report. In addition to the bird report for 2012, this issue contains 2012 records of mammals, amphibians and fish.  A welcome new element in this Report is the inclusion of a synopsis of bird ringing in 2012, by Bev Baxter.  Further, records of mammals and amphibians submitted covering the period 2009-11 are also given, to uphold recording continuity.  It should be noted that for 2009-11, records of amphibians were only received for 2011, and there were no fish records at all.  Conversely, the mammal component covering 2009, compiled by Keith Heywood, is repeated only to unite all available mammal records 2009-11.  Also included in the current Vertebrates Report are additional bird records 1975 – 2011, and a note on the results of fish sampling in Swinefleet Warping Drain in 2008.  The exception to all the foregoing is reptile recording 2009-12, which will be addressed in the Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report 2013.  Further features of the relaunched Vertebrates Report are an account of the Gull-billed Tern seen in 2012, and an article on photographing and studying Water Voles using covert cameras.  There have been occasional notes and papers published in previous issues, and future contributions (illustrated if desired) are always welcomed.

       The Vertebrates Report is part of a recording package that comprises six components:

 Blog            site       for        managing         data      input    and       informing         observers,      hosted by www.birdingsiteguide.com  

 Online annual reports summarizing assessed records as systematic species lists, plus other elements as available

 Periodic broader summary of status and changes

 Documentation of major occurrences and events

 Encouragement of personal/student studies, including publication

 Maintenance of cumulative annotated checklists

 

2.                   Recording area.  The Thorne Moors recording area is deliberately interpreted somewhat loosely.  It comprises the whole of the peatland, contiguous unfarmed areas, the Thorne Colliery curtilage, and peripheral farmland and drains.  The limit to the north is defined as the line of the old Axholme Joint Railway.  Otherwise, a field width or so is a practical rule-of-thumb.  

 

3.                   Place-names. In broad terms, the name Thorne Moors is used to embrace both the peatland and other areas under study.  The surviving peat is divided by parish limits, the parish names being Thorne Waste, Snaith & Cowick Moor, Rawcliffe Moor, Goole Moor and Crowle Moor.  Thorne Waste

(except now the Yorkshire Triangle) lies in South Yorkshire, and the other parishes lie in East Yorkshire, except Crowle Moor and the Yorkshire Triangle, which are in North Lincolnshire.  That part of Goole Moor situated north of Rawcliffe Moor is designated as ‘Northern Goole Moor’ for recording purposes.  Within the parish framework, numerous place-names were employed for recording birds and other vertebrates, and virtually all these names were included on the place-names map issued with the Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report 2005.  This is now superseded by a placenames map on the website of the Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum.  

 It should be noted that during 2012, the name ‘Woodside floods’ became established, and is therefore employed here.  It denotes flooded workings bounded by Will Pits Tram, Will Pits, Mervyn’s Tram and Middle Moor Tram.  In addition, most of the records characterized below as from the ‘southern fields’ were from the Tween Bridge wind farm construction site, where one of the compilers (BPW) was employed.  However, the term ‘southern fields’ embraces a wider area, from Elmhirst, around the southern part of Thorne Waste, and alongside Pony Bridge Wood.  The southern edge is the line of the railway from Thorne South towards Scunthorpe.

 

4. Current sources of nomenclature and species sequence

          The British Birds list of Western Palearctic Birds, British Birds Ltd. See www.britishbirds.co.uk/bblist.htm (accessed 18th January 2013)

          H.R. Arnold (1993) Atlas of Mammals in Britain.  Institute of Terrestrial Ecology research publication No. 6.  HMSO, London

          H.R. Arnold (1995) Atlas of amphibians and reptiles in Britain.  Institute of Terrestrial Ecology research publication No. 10.  HMSO, London

          C.E. Davies et al. (compilers and editors) (2004) Freshwater fishes in Britain the species and their distribution.  Harley Books, Colchester 

          G.T.D. Wilmore, J. Lunn and J.S. Rodwell (2011) The South Yorkshire Plant Atlas.  Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union and Yorkshire & the Humber Ecological Data Trust, no place

 

5.      Descriptions of birds.  For nationally rare taxa, descriptions and visual evidence should be made available in accordance with the requirements of the British Birds Rarities Committee.  At county level, material should be prepared in compliance with the lists issued by the Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union (Birds Section Adjudication Panel) or the Lincolnshire Bird Club (Lincolnshire Bird Records Committee), as appropriate.  Advice can be made available upon request.   

 

6.      Rare breeding birds.  In addition to Natural England, records of rare breeding birds are made available to the county organizations, and via them to the Rare Breeding Birds Panel.  Records may also be accessed by bona fide specialist study groups.

 

7.      Daily bird counts and WeBS counts.  In the species accounts that follow, there may be references to “daily counts” and “counts”.  It is emphasized that these are not full site counts, but counts made by an individual observer or group on a particular date.  It is possible to have more than one count on a single date, when the highest will be used if they cannot be coordinated or united.  The recording area is very large, and site totals are difficult to establish with certainty, except for the scarcer species.  However, for some wetland birds, it is possible to visit the most likely places to count these species, thus attaining a relatively accurate moorland total for them.  It is acknowledged that such reported daily counts may sometimes be regarded as vague, but they are broadly comparable over a period of years.     

            During 2012, more structured monitoring of wetland birds was added to the foregoing.  Under

Natural England’s survey programme for the NNR, year round counts of wetland birds on Thorne

Moors were undertaken as part of the national Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS).*

*WeBS is a partnership between the BTO, the RSPB and the JNCC, in association with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.   

 

8.      Bird monitoring.  This focuses on the occurrence and encouragement of rare or declining breeding species, but may involve other species.  Monitoring is also a tool in assessing habitat management on the NNR.  The monitored species are marked with a dagger (†) in the systematic list:

          Nationally important species: BLACK-NECKED GREBE, COMMON CRANE, EUROPEAN NIGHTJAR

          Additional species, for which full details of every record (location, age, sex, etc., as appropriate) are requested: MARSH HARRIER, TURTLE DOVE, TREE PIPIT, WILLOW TIT, EUROPEAN STONECHAT  

 

9.      Mammal and cold-blooded vertebrates monitoring.  Monitoring of the following is undertaken:

          WATER SHREW, BATS, BROWN HARE, WATER VOLE, BADGER, MINK, DEER

          HERPTILES

          EUROPEAN EEL, TEN-SPINED STICKLEBACK

 

10.  Webpages:

          ‘Birds of Thorne Moors’.  The website of the Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum includes a ‘Birds of Thorne Moors’ webpage.  This latter is organized under the following headings: ‘OVERVIEW OF RECORDING’, ‘GENERAL RECORDING ON THORNE MOORS’, ‘CURRENT PROJECTS’, ‘STUDIES AND SURVEYS’, ‘CHECKLIST’, ‘SITE GUIDE’, ‘DOWNLOADS’ and ‘BIRDING BLOGS’.  The downloads comprise annual reports and a species checklist leaflet

          ‘Mammals, herptiles and fish of Thorne Moors’.  The THMCF website now also includes a webpage entitled ‘Mammals, herptiles and fish of Thorne Moors’.  On this, an OVERVIEW OF RECORDING outlines ‘General recording’, ‘Population surveys and species monitoring’, ‘Studies’ and ‘Bibliography of surveys and studies’.  GENERAL RECORDING then has its own section, subdivided into ‘Recording area’, ‘Historical outline of general recording’, ‘The desktop review of vertebrates’, ‘Bibliography’ and a supporting list of ‘References’.  An ANNOTATED CHECKLIST includes a downloadable version.  Other downloads on the webpage are the Thorne Moors Vertebrates Reports from 2004 onwards   

 

11.  Desktop review of Thorne Moors vertebrates.  During 2003-10 a desktop review of Thorne Moors vertebrates was undertaken, covering all records.  It was published as a series of THMCF Technical Reports.  The first of them detailed fish and herptiles (No. 13, published 2004, second edition 2008), followed a year later by mammals (No 15, published 2005, second edition also 2008).  These were succeeded by two dealing with birds: a guide to literature sources (No. 18, published 2009) and an annotated checklist (No. 19, published 2010).  Copies of these Technical Reports are still available for sale. 

 

12.  Contacts. Records of all vertebrates can be submitted for the blog/report via ‘Contact us’ on the website www.birdingsiteguide.com (or using the link on the ‘Birds of Thorne Moors’ webpage).  Alternatively, records can be emailed to Bryan Wainwright at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or posted to him at: Silverthorn, St Michael’s Drive, Thorne, Doncaster, DN8 5QF.    

 

RECORDING IN 2012

 

During 2012, 142 species of bird, and two additional races, were acceptably reported from Thorne Moors as defined.  In addition, released Green Pheasants were again present.  One new species was recorded, a Gull-billed Tern on 30th May.  Of the two additional races, one of them was a Common Chiffchaff reported as showing characters of the race P.c. abietinus.  No greyish northern/eastern races of this species have previously been recognized on Thorne Moors.  

 Additionally, several other site rarities occurred, including Barnacle Goose, Egyptian Goose, Garganey, Little Egret, Osprey, Avocet, Little Gull, Great Grey Shrike, Waxwing, Common Redpoll and Common Crossbill, the latter occurring on five dates.  

 As breeding species, European Nightjar and Grasshopper Warbler were relatively numerous, established from nocturnal fieldwork by Middleton Ecological Consultancy.  Other birds that nested include Canada Goose, Gadwall, Black-necked Grebe, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Common Crane and Eurasian Treecreeper.

 Several record counts were obtained, for species as varied as Gadwall, Goosander, Common Pheasant, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard and Carrion Crow.  Six species occurred in new months: Barnacle Goose (May), Avocet (March), Yellow-legged Gull (November), Waxwing (November), Common Redpoll (September) and Common Crossbill (April).  Other good dates were obtained for Osprey (8th April), Common Swift and House Martin (both 17th April), Willow Warbler (6th October) and Siskin (20th May, 4th July).  

 Some species were characterized in 2012 as having a good year on Thorne Moors, for example Gadwall, Great Cormorant, harriers, Common Buzzard, Common Coot, Short-eared Owl, corvids and Eurasian Treecreeper. There were even Spotted Flycatchers on six dates. Conversely, some species had poorer fortunes.  Waders were largely unexceptional, at least partly due to high water levels during a very wet year.  Green Woodpecker was recorded on only 28 dates, Sand Martin on seven, and Red-legged Partridge on a mere four. 

 During 2012, there were records of 16 species of mammal, excluding sight records of bats.  Of note, during an entomological survey, Martin Hammond recorded aquatic vertebrates.  This included sightings/field signs of Water Vole, related to habitat and water chemistry.  These records are summarized here.  Also of interest during 2012 were the numbers of Brown Hares in peripheral fields, mostly counted during BPWs employment at the Tween Bridge Wind Farm construction site.    Three species of reptile were documented in 2012, but these records will be included in a more general reptile report to be included in the Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report 2013.  Finally in 2012, there were three species of amphibian and two species of fish.  For these latter, the most noteworthy was Ten-spined Stickleback, again reported as a result of the fieldwork by MH.  The minimal attention paid to this species since it was last seen, in 1987, failed to relocate it.  Thus the present records constitute a welcome confirmation of its presence. 

 

BIRDS

 

Mute Swan Cygnus olor.  Following two on Goole Moor on 18th March, two flew NW on 23rd April.  Two were at the Green Belt floods on 16th/18th May.  Later in the year, at Durham’s Warping Drain west of Moorends Road, there were two juveniles on 30th September, and then two adults with four juveniles on 28th October and 4th November. 

 

Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus. Three were seen in January, on 1st (SSW over Thorne Colliery) and 24th (“near Creykes”).  Five flew north on 2nd February.  March records commenced on 15th, when c.50 and 45 were at flooded workings, the latter flying off NNE.  Flooded workings then hosted 54 on 21st and 10 on 26th.  Two distant swans on 27th October may have been this species.  More certain were nine on 30th: two from the south, and seven from the east that departed to the east.  Records in November commenced with five on 10th.  Next day, nine from the ‘Shoulder o’ Mutton floods’ headed NE.  On 20th, seven (four immatures) left the ‘Thousand Acre floods’ and headed towards Will Pits.  The sole December sighting was five in to Goole Moor at dusk on 9th.  

 

Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus.  Only recorded during January in the first part of the year.  Up to 11 (on 15th) were seen during the first half of the month, but then with c.80 on 28th.  The next were in late September, with 30 on 29th and 17 on 30th.  There were frequent records in October from 4th, on which date c.60 flew east and c.40 were at Will Pits Scrape.  Between 4th-14th there were occasional totals of c.200, including “to roost” on 6th.  On 7th, c.200 flew NE and c.400 were on Goole Fields.  Next day, c.700 involved c.400 circling low over Will Pits Scrape and c.300 grounded in stubbles nearby.  Notable counts were also obtained on 10th (c.1600), 11th (c.380), 13th (1000+ in a field near the Moorends (Paraffin) Works) and 14th (c.500 on the same land).  Numbers were generally lower during 16th-24th.  None exceeded 57 (17th) except 750+ on 20th, all overhead including 500+ over Goole Fields.  From 25th, numbers reached c.200 (“in fields”) on 29th, plus c.300 on 27th and c.210 on 31st.  November was also a fairly productive month, maxima c.90 SE on 1st, c.200 on 3rd, c.140 on 11th, 55 on 20th, c.150 on 22nd and 54 on 27th.  There were no subsequent records. 

 

White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons.  A White-front hybrid was watched on 8th September: no black barring on underparts, an incomplete/obscured white front and pink legs.  A goose reported as a Canada Goose x White-front hybrid was seen on 1st October.

 

Greylag Goose Anser anser.  During January, counts often ranged from two-four, but with 21 on 1st, plus c.100 (over Rawcliffe Moor) on 24th, c.50 on 25th and c.120 on 28th.  There were fewer in February, the only double-figure count being 18 on Goole Fields on 28th.  Throughout March, counts were higher, reaching 26 on 1st/29th, 39 on 11th, 55+ on 3rd, and a maximum of 58 (farmland at Creyke’s) on 16th. Counts in excess of 10 in April were c.40 on 2nd, 18 on 7th and 20+ on 19th.  A pair had four young at the Green Belt floods on 3rd May.  Interestingly, a sitting bird was seen on 5th May in a clump of rushes Juncus at Green Belt Scrape, suggesting two breeding attempts in that area.  Again, counts in excess of 10 in May involved 42 on 15th and 36 (including one unfledged young) on 21st.  Records 2nd June – 17th July were few; monthly maxima were seven and one respectively.  Greylags were more frequent in August (from 8th), with occasional counts of 15-21, exceeded by 43

NW on 8th, c.40 on 18th and 61 on 21st.  In September, counts in excess of 50 were c.150 on 3rd, 370+ on 8th, 600+ on 13th, 500+ next day and c.80 on 22nd.  October counts did not exceed 18, apart from c.150 on 6th at Will Pits Scrape and c40 in fields on 29th.  Subsequently, there was a single bird on 20th/22nd November and none thereafter.

 

Canada Goose Branta canadensis.   The first two months hosted two on 22nd January and nine north on 14th February.  More frequent records commenced on 16th March (two on Goole Moor), with further records of two in March – April, including a nesting pair at the Green Belt floods.  Higher figures at that time reached six on 9th April.  The nesting pair remained through May and to 8th June, with young seen on 21st May, but only one juvenile by the final date.  An isolated peak was 28+ on 2nd June, including 11+ over Will Pits.  Records in August commenced with 11 on 9th, with other figures on 11th (two), 13th (13) and 26th (20).  There were 20 again on 1st September.  The annual maximum occurred in that month: 690+ (including two unspecified hybrids) at flooded workings and Will Pits Scrape on 8th. There were only four subsequent records, commencing with one on 22nd

September.  Two were seen on 1st October; on the same date, a goose was reported as a hybrid Canada Goose x White-fronted Goose.  The two remaining dates were 30th October (18) and 22nd November (10).

 

Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis.  Three flew NE on 23rd May (BPW).  In view of the date, published with the escape proviso.  The fifth record, and the first in May.

 

Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca.  One was at Will Pits Scrape on 12th May.  The third record.

 

Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna.  First reported on 9th March (two), and then on 13th (one),

16th (four) and 29th (two).  One to two in April were eclipsed by six on 21st/24th and three on 28th/30th.  Records during May and the first half of June often comprised one to three.  However there were 10 on 9th May (five pairs, four of them at Will Pits Scrape), then six on 21st May.  The last in that period were two on 17th June.  Subsequently seen on 7th July (one), 29th July (two juveniles at the Green Belt floods) and 9th August (two).

 

Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope.  Seen in January at Will Pits Scrape on 1st (four) and 2nd (three).  On 7th April, 11 flew from flooded workings and nine were at Will Pits Scrape, perhaps involving the same individuals.  The first returning birds, also at flooded workings, were the year’s maximum of 14 on 13th September.  Other September occurrences were 11 on 22nd and five on 29th.  After one on 1st October, numbers rose to three on 10th, five on 20th and 10 on 27th.  Two were then seen on three dates during 31st October – 24th November, plus four on 23rd December.  

 

Gadwall Anas strepera. January counts reached eight on 1st/6th.  With details from nine dates, several February totals were notable, with Will Pits Scrape the favoured location.  The numbers reached c.20 on 25th, 34 on 26th and 69 on 28th.  They continued at a high level during the first half of March, especially again at Will Pits Scrape.  Maxima were 22 on 11th, 66 on 16th and a record 83+ on 3rd.  These comprised 70+ at Will Pits Scrape and the remainder at flooded workings. Numbers were lower throughout the rest of March and in April, maxima 12 on 29th March and 14th April then 13 on 17th April.  May figures exceeded 10 on two occasions: 12 on 12th and 32 on 15th.  Pairs were reported on 11th April and 31st May, though doubtless others were seen.  Counts in June included up to six, but with 11 on 2nd and 36 (moulting) at Will Pits Scrape on 18th.  On 8th, a female had nine juveniles at flooded workings along Fisons’ Road.  A female with three juveniles (different to the foregoing) was at flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road on 18th-19th.  There was a single sighting in July (three on 29th at flooded workings along Fisons’ Road), then occasional August records up to 18th (maximum nine on 7th).  The two records in September involved four on 22nd and 10 on 29th.  Reports continued through October and much of November.  The October maxima were 10 on 6th, 11 on 27th and 16 on 31st.  November counts of 10-12 in the first half peaked in the second half, with 24

on 18th and 23 next day.  The last of the year were nine on 22nd November.      

 

Eurasian Teal Anas crecca. Counts in the first half of January reached c.120 on 1st and c.110 next day.  The second half gave a maximum of c.30 on 16th.  Three-figure counts in February were c.100 on 18th and c.150 on 21st/25th.  The March maxima were c.50 on 9th and c.155 on 16th.  Totals in May – June occasionally reached 28, plus 38 on 14th April and c.40 on 9th May.  June counts were in single figures, except 18 on 13th and 13 (including three juveniles) on 27th.  July numbers reached 12 on 7th, and included five juveniles (one brood) on 7th.  A female was accompanied by nine fledged young on 7th August.  Other counts from that month exceeded 14 twice: c.30 on 4th and 93 on 18th.  September details included two counts well above the others: c.60 on 8th and c.200 on 29th.  Throughout October – November, there were frequent counts of up to 30, occasionally over 55, maxima 60+ on 6th October, 80+ on 20th October, c.110 on 26th October, 78 on 19th November and c.100 on 30th November.  The few December records reached 32 on 9th.

  

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos.  The frequent counts during January exceeded 150 on 2nd/15th (c.180) and 7th (c.200).  Counts lowered during the final 10 days (maximum c.70 on 22nd), and during February the maximum was c.70 on 25th.  In March, 61 on 16th was double the next highest total.  Reports in April – May mostly amounted to a maximum of 24, the exceptions – in mid-May – being counts of 36 on 11th, 97 on 15th and 100+ on 17th.  During June – July, 20+ was the maximum, though August counts were higher from 7th (c.60).  Notable were 44 on 14th, 68 on 18th and 49 on 21st.  An isolated 400+ on 8th September had dwindled to c.100 on 13th and c.90 on 22nd.  October – November counts exceeded 79 in October on 6th (100+), 10th (127), 11th (163) and 27th (c.240), and in November on 19th (114), 20th (119) and 30th (c.180).  The December counts included 163 on 9th and c.200 on 16th.

 

Pintail Anas acuta.  In the early months, two on 13th January were the only birds reported.  The autumn months produced three on 16th October and a female/immature on 8th November.

 

Garganey Anas querquedula. A male was at the ‘Woodside floods’ on 30th May (RA).

 

Shoveler Anas clypeata. In January, there were five on 1st followed by singles to 14th.  In late

February, six appeared on 25th, with 14 on 26th and 18 on 28th, mostly associated with Will Pits

Scrape.  Counts in March – April sometimes reached 25, but with 52 on 9th March and 31 on 17th April.  Also in April, Shovelers on 11th at Will Pits Scrape were in pairs, and those on 27th included five pairs.  In May – June, most counts did not exceed eight, but with exceptions in May of 20 on 9th, 10 on 11th and 28 on 15th.  In June, a pair bred at flooded workings on Snaith & Cowick Moor, with nine young on 18th, reduced to five by 27th.  Hardly recorded July – August, on a mere five dates, one-two except 10 on 21st August.  In September, there were five on 8th/13th and six on 29th, with two occasionally in October, plus five on 10th.  More numerous in November, maximum seven on 8th, and the last was one on 20th. 

Common Pochard Aythya ferina. At flooded workings along Fisons’ Road’, two males were seen from 19th-22nd May, with one on 24th. One “female type” was present on 2nd June at Will Pits Scrape.  Finally, on 7th July, one male and four females were at Will Pits Scrape.

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula.  Reported on three February dates at Will Pits Scrape: 25th (six), 26th (three) and 28th (one).  In addition, the full total on 25th was boosted to eight by a pair at Bell’s Pond.  Throughout March there were counts of two to eight, though with 14 on 11th.  As in March, many April records were from Will Pits Scrape, maxima 10 on 14th and 16 on 27th.  Some of these birds were paired, including all 16 on 27th.  May counts sometimes reached double figures, especially 11th15th, maximum 18 on 12th.  In June, the peak counts were 16 on 2nd and nine on 13th.  The few July – August records were mostly from Will Pits Scrape, but also flooded workings along Fisons’ Road.  One to four were eclipsed by five on 17th July.  In the last four months of the year there were only two records: a pair at Will Pits Scrape on 8th September, followed by a male at flooded workings along Fisons’ Road on 20th October.    

 

Goosander Mergus merganser.  There were frequent reports in January from Will Pits Scrape.  Most of these counts did not exceed six, but with eight (five males) on 6th and 12 (nine males) next day.  Numbers were generally higher in February, double-figure counts being 14 (eight males) on 1st, 31 (15 males) on 18th, 21 on 21st, 40+ (10 males) on 25th and 29 (12 males) on 26th.  Most of these were at Will Pits Scrape, but sometimes also at flooded workings.  These numbers were unprecedented.  After 20 at Will Pits Scrape on 3rd March, up to six (maximum four males) were seen during the rest of that month, but with 14 (no details) on 24th.  In April, records only emanated from Will Pits Scrape.  After nine (one male) on 1st, counts were smaller to 13th, maximum six (three males) on 7th.  The last were two females on 21st April.  Reports from the last weeks of the year again involved Will Pits Scrape: two on 30th November, and in December, nine (six males) on 9th, 18 (10 males) on 16th and 17 (12 males) on 23rd.

 

Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa.  Two were recorded on four dates: 29th March, 17th April, 11th May and 27th June.  The only stated location was farmland in the Creyke’s – Creyke’s Sidings area. 

 

Grey Partridge Perdix perdix.  During January – February encountered on seven dates, the first being 23rd January (two).  The southern fields held eight nocturnally on 7th February, then six on 10th. Farmland at Creyke’s attracted two on 14th and three on 28th.  There were also two on

15th/20th (no details).  Up to four were reported on six March dates, but without locations except on 24th (two on farmland at Creyke’s).  Two were at the Swinefleet Works on 1st April.  Two were reported in May on farmland at Creyke’s.  In the same month, two were in the Thorne Colliery – Jones’ Cable area occasionally.  Noted nocturnally in the southern fields at the beginning of June, including four on 2nd.  Four were on Crowle Moor on 6th June.  Subsequent June reports of one to three were not localized.  The same was true of the July records, notable amongst them being two adults with two fledged young on 13th, and 12 on 26th, the year’s maximum.  From 4th August – 17th November, cited locations were generally lacking.  There were records of one to five on six dates, but with six in a field along Jones’ Cable towards Thorne Colliery on 15th September.   

Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus.  Counts reached 28 (4th January), plus c.40 on 16th March and 15th September, peaking at 86 in the southern fields on 11th March.  This was a record count and a rare moment of Pheasant glory.  The last time was when one waded in water.  Breeding was proved, including two broods on 31st July.  Six on 17th April included two black males in the Bank Top area. 

 

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo.  A very good year with records on 18 dates, in all but three months.  The dates in the first half of the year were 6th January (one over Will Pits Scrape), 18th February (one north), 29th March (one perched at Will Pits Scrape), 2nd April (one west), 23rd-24th April (one immature at Will Pits Scrape), 3rd May (two SE), 12th May (four SE and two NE), 30th May (three north) and 13th June (one north).  Transient birds were again reported from 3rd August

(one east), with others on 13th August (two west), 10th October (one north), 26th October (one NE), 6th November (one SW), 22nd November (one SSW), 24th November (one north) and 27th November (one NE).

 

Little Egret Egretta garzetta.  One headed north over Goole Moor in the early morning of 8th August (BPW).  There have now been eight Thorne Moors records, plus others from nearby.  Collectively, these have been in all months except January – March and December.

 

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea Singles were reported in most months (not February and December), occasionally two (July, November), and three on 15th June and 11th November.  Locations included Bell’s Pond, where one was flushed on 14th September.

 

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis. The first was on 9th March at Bell’s Pond.  There was a more continuous presence from 27th March onwards.  To the end of June, daily counts occasionally reached four, and the stated locations were the ‘Woodside floods’, Will Pits Scrape, and once, Bell’s Pond (one on 20th April).   There was a single July record, one at the ‘Thousand Acre floods’ on 7th.  Further records were obtained 10th August – 22nd September, mostly singles but occasionally up to three, the only specified location being Will Pits Scrape.  There were records on four October dates: 6th (singles at Bell’s Pond and Will Pits Scrape), 7th (one at Bell’s Pond) and 10th/27th (singles at flooded workings along Fisons’ Road). The last was at Will Pits Scrape on 18th November. 

 

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus.  On 18th March there were three at Will Pits Scrape.  In April, a single bird was there on 21st/23rd-24th, plus one on 9th May and two on 2nd June. 

 

†Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis.  One at Will Pits Scrape on 24th March was the first by a month, eventually followed by two at the ‘Woodside floods’ on 28th April.  In May, one was at the ‘Thousand Acre floods’ on 14th, with two at flooded workings along Fisons’ Road on 16th and singles there on 18th/21st.  Also in May, two occurred at the ‘Woodside floods’ on 12th/19th, plus one on 20th.   Breeding was proved here on 1st June, an adult being seen with a juvenile ‘aboard’.  In June, the ‘Woodside floods’ held two on 4th/6th and singles on 13th/27th/29th.  There were three July records, beginning on 1st, when there was a single at the ‘Woodside floods’.  The remaining July records were from the ‘Thousand Acre floods’: two on 3rd and a juvenile on 21st.  

 

†Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus.  With records on 193 dates, the year-round presence was maintained.  Relatively frequent in January, but with dates more than halved in February.  Records subsequently rose to June, with a small spike in May.  There were fewer dates during July – November, though overall, records were still quite regular.  December sightings were few, but this, at least in part, probably reflected poorer coverage.  Age/sex are given when/as reported, including those given as females and ‘creamcrowns’.

 Recorded on 16 dates in January, with daily totals of one to three+, except on 22nd.  On this date about eight were present, including four in the air at the same time. None of these eight was specified, but at other times during the month, single males/adult males were reported, with immature male(s) on 5th/17th/24th.  Single females/‘creamcrowns’ were also encountered, plus two females on 1st and an “immature” on 21st.   A female flew to roost at flooded workings on16th.  Reports from February identified two males/adult males, two females/‘creamcrowns’, immature males on 14th (one) and 28th (two), and an “immature” on 18th.  Daily counts of one or two were bettered by five on 18th/26th and seven on 28th.  On the latter date, what were described as an adult male, two immature males and two females/‘creamcrowns’ gathered to roost at flooded workings.  The five on 18th comprised a female, “immature” and three others soaring high.  Similarly, those on 26th were two males and two females/‘creamcrowns’ gathering to roost at flooded workings.  Other February reports of roosting birds at flooded workings involved males on 1st (two) and 12th (one).  No explicit roosting reports were made in March.  There were records of single males; and immature males on 16th (one) and 29th (two). Single females/‘creamcrowns’ were seen, and on 3rd the total was one male, three ‘creamcrowns’ and a “dark” bird.       

 April – June marked the peak of the year.  In April, up to two males/adult males were present, with an immature male on 11th.  Similarly, there were up to two females/‘creamcrowns’.  However, from mid-month many of the records related specifically to a pair of Marsh Harriers.  Daily totals did not exceed three, apart from five (unspecified) on 30th.  May totals reached four on at least five dates, with five on 15th (two males and three females) and possibly 12th (one adult male, two-three females and one other). The month’s records included two males on 15th/25th, and daily totals of females/‘creamcrowns’ that reached three.  There was also nesting evidence by a pair in Common Reeds Phragmites australis on the northern part of Thorne Waste.  June daily counts exceeded three on 8th (two males and three females/‘creamcrowns’), 27th (two males and two females) and 29th (“3 brown, 1 immature”). Thus during June, there were probably up to two males, three females/‘creamcrowns’ and one immature, seemingly including the pair in their number, despite no stated territoriality or breeding evidence.  

 Notwithstanding the lack of such evidence in June, juveniles were seen in July.  In that month, records began with a female and juvenile on 1st.  After a male and two females on 4th, on 7th there were 11 from the NE at dusk.  This record total comprised two males, seven females and two juveniles.  The total on 21st was put at single adult male, female and juvenile.  For the rest of that month, there were a few reports of a male/adult male and odd females/‘creamcrowns’, plus two females/‘creamcrowns’ on 7th/29th.  Juveniles were much more prevalent in August.  There were two, one or both often with a male or female, or with the parents together.  The male was witnessed feeding a juvenile on one occasion.  Outwith this family group, there were said to be possibly three juveniles on 14th, plus an extra male on 7th and an occasional ‘creamcrown’ as well.

 September sightings began with three, including two ‘creamcrowns’, on 8th, and an adult male and two ‘creamcrowns’ on 13th.  Seven on 15th were not specified, but that number on 22nd comprised single adult and immature males, three ‘creamcrowns’ and two juveniles.  On 29th, there were reports of one adult male, three females/‘creamcrowns’ and three immatures.  A roost next day at flooded workings held three males and six ‘creamcrowns’.  There were additional sightings of one or two Marsh Harriers in the month; one pursuing a Rabbit on 16th was mobbed by a Common Buzzard.  There were periodical sightings throughout October, with daily counts of one to three, plus more on two dates.  The records involved a male/adult male (to 9th) and an immature male (from 16th).  There were a number of records of single females/‘creamcrowns’, occasionally more, notably four ‘creamcrowns’ at a roost at flooded workings on 10th. There were three females/‘creamcrowns’ and the immature male on 20th, plus two “juveniles/immatures” and the immature male on 31st.

 In November, records commenced with four ‘creamcrowns’ on 1st, with fewer ‘creamcrowns’ through the first half of the month. Of eight present on 4th, the only specified birds were two ‘creamcrowns’. During the same period there were also records of an adult female, two females/immatures and two juveniles/immatures.  Two males occurred on 8th, with an immature male on 1st/9th/11th/13th.  During the remainder of November, there were several records during 18th24th. On the former date, four+ comprised at least two “first-winters” and single immature and adult males.  Next day there was a “first-winter” and an adult female.  The first-winter bird was also reported on 20th, when there were also two immature males and an adult female.  On 22nd, there were two “first-winters” and two adult females.  On 24th, the total of six was unspecified beyond a single adult male.  In December, there were five ‘creamcrowns’ on 9th, and odd females/‘creamcrowns’ subsequently.

 

Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus.  Throughout much of January, an adult male and ‘ringtail’ were present, although the male was not seen after 23rd.  They were sometimes observed entering roosts, described as at Mill Drain Marsh, ‘Middle Moor’ and flooded workings along Fisons’ Road.  Extra birds were a second ‘ringtail’ on 22nd and an immature male on 28th.  On 1st February a male and ‘ringtail’ roosted at flooded workings.  An adult male was found dead (corpse scavenged) near the Viewing Platform on 5th. A ‘ringtail’ continued to be seen to 18th February, with two ‘ringtails’ roosting at flooded workings on 7th and a single ‘ringtail’ flying to roost on 12th.  A male roosted at flooded workings on 26th.  A ‘ringtail’ was seen on seven dates in March.  On 24th, a male was present and two ‘ringtails’ roosted at ‘Middle Moor’.  A lone ‘ringtail’ was then seen intermittently throughout April and on 14th May.  During the later months of the year there were at least four different birds. An adult male returned towards the end of September, being met with on 22nd23rd/30th, roosting at flooded workings on the latter date.  What was presumably the same adult male was seen on six October dates, chasing two Common Snipe on 20th.  Other October records involved a ‘ringtail’ on 17th and a sub-adult male on 20th.  The numerous November records were dominated by single adult and sub-adult males.  The former was seen throughout the month, being mobbed by a Peregrine Falcon on 8th.  The sub-adult male was seen on 7th/20th/24th (and possibly 18th).

‘Ringtails’ were present on eight dates to 22nd, with a juvenile on 20th.  Roosting birds were noted on 7th (an adult male at ‘Middle Moor’), 18th (both adult and sub-adult males and a ‘ringtail’ at flooded workings) and 24th (again both males at flooded workings).  December was watched less frequently, and the sole record was the adult male roosting at flooded workings on 9th.

 

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus.  Daily maxima were almost invariably of one or two, the exception being three together over Chadwick’s Field on 8th September.  There was evidence of possible breeding in one area.  Most of the birds specified were females, though for example there was a pair at Will Pits on 21st May, and a male and female on 10th October.  A juvenile was present on 13th September, and immature birds were reported in October.  During the year four birds were ringed, at Will Pits (one) and Creyke’s (three).

       Atypically, a female caught a vole Microtus/Clethrionomys at Bank Top on 10th August.

 

Common Buzzard Buteo buteo.  Apart from one December record, the number of dates per month varied from four (July) to 14 (May), with seven or more dates in each month February – May and August – November.  The sparser months were those in winter (January, December) and mid-summer (June – July).  The most productive were March – May and November.  Daily counts were often of one or two; there were sometimes three in March – May, August and October – November.  Higher totals included four on 5th September and 6th October, five on 22nd September and six on 1st April. 

On 15th September, eight included six together over Woodpecker Wood, a new maximum count.  Records of a noticeably pale Common Buzzard with a white tail base, possibly all involving the same bird, were obtained on 28th April, in August and on 18th November. 

 A Common Buzzard was soaring with a Marsh Harrier on 18th February, and one killed a Rabbit along Fisons’ Road at Will Pits on 14th May.  Two Oystercatchers mobbed a Common Buzzard over Snaith & Cowick Moor on 27th June.  On 16th September, a Marsh Harrier pursuing a Rabbit was mobbed by a Common Buzzard.

 

Osprey Pandion haliaetus.  One flew north over Swinefleet Warping Drain on 8th April (PA, CA), an early date equalling those of 2001/2010.    

 

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus.  Constantly present, usually up to three per date.  Higher counts were obtained late March – May and in July.  These involved four on 3rd/12th/25th May and 15th July, five on 22nd March and 1st April, and six on 30th April.

       A Common Kestrel was stooping at a ‘creamcrown’ Marsh Harrier on 6th November.    

 

Merlin Falco columbarius. In the early months, females were seen on 9th March and 13th April, plus an unspecified bird on 23rd April.  The next were female(s) seen on 14th/22nd September.  A distant Merlin chased a passerine on 10th October.  A female/immature was present on 13th October, with a female on 20th over fields near Creyke’s Crossing.  Singles were seen in November on 4th (a male), 10th (a female) and 28th (a male), the latter flushing Fieldfares at Chadwick’s Field.

       Beyond the study area, a female was over fields at Marsh Lane, Moorends, on 27th August.

  

Hobby Falco subbuteo.  After the first at Pony Bridge Marsh on 28th April, numbers rose to six on 30th April, five on 6th May and 14+ on 12th May, the peak spring count.  Other totals in May occasionally reached five, with eight on 14th, six on 25th/29th and seven on 26th.  June counts reached six on 6th and five on 27th, with a Hobby carrying bird prey on Goole Moor on 12th.  July totals of one to two were exceeded by four+ on 4th, seven+ (including a family party of five+) on 7th, four on 11th and 10+ on 21st, these latter including two juveniles.  From August – 22nd September, totals occasionally reached three, with August data including eight+ on 4th and four on 7th.  Single juveniles were reported on three August dates.  Perhaps bred on Goole Moor and Crowle Moor.  Lone birds occurred in October on 1st/8th, the latter “hawking over floods” for 15 minutes.  

 

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus.  Observed in each month except June – July.  Single males were present in January on 1st/14th/21st/28th, with a female also present on the latter two dates.  A bird on 2nd was not sexed.  Seven February dates involved specified single birds on 12th (an adult), 14th (an adult female), 18th (a male) and 28th (an adult male).  The latter landed in a field north of Crowle Moor.  There was then a hiatus in sightings until the end of March, when there was a male on 29th/31st.  There were April records on 9th (an immature), 21st (a male) and 23rd/30th (females).  Records were obtained on four dates 9th-25th May and on 8th June, probably all involving the same adult male.  Reported again on 18th/23rd August (no details), with a male/adult male present on four dates during 11th September – 1st October.  November records extended from 7th-23rd, with specified singles on 8th (an immature female) and 22nd-23rd (an immature male) and an adult male and female on 19th.  The last was one on 9th December.

 The targeted prey included Eurasian Teal, attacked unsuccessfully by a male on 1st January, and “pigeons” chased on 12th May.  

 

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus.  Singles were heard at flooded workings and Green Belt in February.  March records commenced with four (“Fisons’ Road to Will Pits”) on 3rd.  Up to two were recorded later in the month, the locations including New Cross Drain/Canals, ‘Middle Moor’ and the Will Pits/Will Pits Scrape area.  From April to the end of June there were only reports on 30th May (one),

20th June (five), 25th June (two at the Green Belt floods) and 26th June (one at  the site of Blue Bridge).  There were singles in July on Goole Moor (4th), at the Green Belt floods (17th) and at other flooded workings along Fisons’ Road (29th).  During the annual European Nightjar survey, five Water Rails were found (Middleton Ecological Consultancy).  Seven August dates involved lone birds except two on 14th, the only location given being flooded workings.  After one at ‘Middle Moor’ on 22nd September, one was along Blackwater Dike on 26th October and one crossed Fisons’ Road on 22nd November. 

 

Moorhen Gallinula chloropus.  Unreported in January and July.  In other months, counts reached three on occasion, plus five on 6th February, 27th March and 28th October.  Single pairs bred on Crowle Moor and at Elmhirst.  At the latter, a c/3 in early August was presumably a second brood.  

 

Common Coot Fulica atra.  Returned in April, with records on 19th (one at Bell’s Pond), 23rd (three at Will Pits Scrape), 24th (one at Will Pits Scrape) and 27th (two at the ‘Woodside floods’).  Frequently encountered in May, with flooded workings along Fisons’ Road and the ‘Thousand Acre floods’ cited.  Daily counts reached five, plus six on 24th-25th and 10 on 26th.  Records were fewer in June, but counts reached four on 8th/27th, the locations given being flooded workings along Fisons’ Road, the ‘Woodside floods’ and the ‘Thousand Acre floods’.  Two singles were seen in July.  The first was a juvenile at the ‘Woodside floods’ on 7th, the second being at the ‘Thousand Acre floods’ on 21st.  Records from eight August dates involved up to three, plus six (including two juveniles) on 9th, and a further juvenile on 25th, the latter at the ‘Thousand Acre floods’. 

 

†Common Crane Grus grus.  A separate account is being compiled.

 

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus.  A good year, with records from 12 dates, the first being in

March.  Two were at the ‘Thousand Acre floods’ on 13th, and one flew from flooded workings on Rawcliffe Moor on 29th.  In April, two were at Fisons’ Road North on 17th, one flew over Durham’s Garden on 19th, and two were at Chadwick’s Field on 24th.  Seen in May on 14th-16th/24th (two at flooded workings at Creyke’s) and 26th (one unspecified).  In June, on 8th one was grounded at flooded workings situated at the junction of Fisons’ Road North and Goole Moor Tram, and on 27th two mobbed a Common Buzzard over Snaith & Cowick Moor.   

 

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta.  On 24th March, one was at flooded workings towards the western end of Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram (BPW, BMB).  The first March record.

 

European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria.  From 1st-16th January, c.60-65 were reported on four dates in flight over Goole Moor, and one was heard nocturnally at Chadwick’s Field on 26th. There were occasional February records, including c.40 on Goole Fields on 26th.  On 30th March, c.120 flew east of Bank Top.  Thirty-eight were in a field near Top Moor Farm on 17th April.  One heard on 10th August was an isolated bird, with the next being 22 overhead on 24th October.  From then until the end of November, one to three were occasionally overhead, plus one at Chadwick’s Field on 29th November.  From Goole Fields, November produced c.30 on 11th and c.40 on 18th. 

 Of interest just beyond the study area, on 30th September c.400 were in fields (Dikes Marsh area) adjacent to Durham’s Warping Drain west of Moorends Road. 

 

Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus.  During January – April, counts of up to nine were exceeded by c.80 on 14th January, c.30 on 18th February, 18 on 1st March and 20 on 12th March.  Daily totals in May never exceeded five, but included evidence of a territorial pair at the ‘Thousand Acre floods’.  Breeding was confirmed at Creyke’s, where two young were present on 15th June.  Ten was the monthly maximum in both June and July.  Some counts in August at Will Pits Scrape were higher, beginning with 22 on 4th, then with c.50 on 12th, 44 on 14th and c.60 on 21st.  After 21st August, there were only four subsequent records, two of them from Will Pits Scrape in September: c.50 on 13th and c100 on 22nd.  The remainder were totals for 20th October (28) and 16th November (five). 

 

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius.  Few records.  After one was heard on 30th May, two were at Will Pits Scrape next day.  Singles were subsequently at the Green Belt floods on 8th June and at a temporary pool at the Tween Bridge wind farm construction site on 8th July. 

 

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula.  After one at flooded workings along Fisons’ Road on 12th May, around four flew by on 30th May.  In August, one was at Will Pits Scrape on 4th, and at least one was heard over Creyke’s on 24th.

 

Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata.  Until late March, the only bird was one low over flooded workings on 26th February.  One flew south on 29th March, with one in Chadwick’s Field on 31st.  Singles were seen or heard on four April dates, and two flew from Chadwick’s Field towards Thorne Colliery on 22nd May.  Singles were recorded on 7th June (Bank Top), 7th July (one over Will Pits), 10th/24th August (no details) and 1st September (heard only).  More notable were 10 which arrived from the east over flooded workings on 9th August.  

 

Dunlin Calidris alpina.  After three on 27th April at flooded workings along Fisons’ Road, there were May records on 12th (one at flooded workings) and 30th (two overhead).  The last was one east on 20th October.

 

Little Stint Calidris minuta.  On 30th May, one flew over flooded workings along Fisons’ Road with other waders (BPW).

 

Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus.  Lone birds occurred on 20th/25th June.  July records involved singles on 4th/17th and two on 12th.  During the period 7th-21st August there were occasional sightings of one to two, plus four on 12th/19th. The remaining dates were 15th September (three), 22nd September (one) and 13th November (one).

 

Greenshank Tringa nebularia.  Flooded workings attracted Greenshanks on nine August dates spanning 7th-24th.  Two were mostly present, but with five on 12th at Will Pits Scrape. 

 

Common Redshank Tringa totanus.  Present at flooded workings in several areas, including the

Rawcliffe Moor – Snaith & Cowick Moor area.  March records comprised two on 27th and three on 29th.  In April, one to two were seen on eight dates, including one in song-flight on 7th.  Higher counts in that month were three on 17th and 11 on 21st (10 of them together).  After a single on 25th May, there were up to two during 2nd-8th June.

 

Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus. One was flushed along Goole Moor Tram on 18th February.  There were singles along Shearburn & Pitts Drain on 22nd March and 31st October, and one was in Chadwick’s Field on 23rd November.  

 

Woodcock Scolopax rusticola.  In January – February, singles were encountered on seven dates, including over the southern fields nocturnally.  Higher counts were obtained on 1st January (three), 23rd January (three), 7th February (three) and 26th February (four).  Records in March included one in a field near Pony Bridge Wood on 7th, and three in the southern fields nocturnally on 13th.  Other March records involved singles, except towards the end of the month at Will Pits, where there were seven on 24th and five on 30th.  The Will Pits count reached eight on 2nd April.  Here also, ‘roding’ birds were noted April – June (three on 31st May).  Almost unrecorded July – September, the sole record being one in the latter month on 30th.  During the annual European Nightjar survey, two Woodcocks were encountered on Crowle Moor (Middleton Ecological Consultancy).  From 26th October – 30th November occasional singles were flushed, including one from the side of the Thorne Colliery spoilheap on 10th November. 

 

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago.  There were records from Goole Moor on 23rd February (one) and 18th March (two).  Singles during April were bettered by three on 27th, but included ‘drumming’ birds at Will Pits on 11th/21st.  Reports of ‘drumming’ continued through May – June, locations specified being the Green Belt floods, ‘Middle Moor’, the Viewing Platform, Mill Drain Marsh, the  ‘Woodside floods’ and Will Pits.  The last Common Snipe in the first half of the year was seen on 3rd July.  Records resumed on 10th August, with singles occasionally in August – September and two on 13th September.  There were more reports 10th-20th October and during November.  However, no counts exceeded four apart from November totals of six on 18th and seven on 29th.    

 

Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica. One was present at flooded workings, with Black-headed Gulls, on 30th May (BPW, RA et al.).  An addition to the Thorne Moors list and the tenth modern record for Yorkshire.  Photographs are included on the Thorne Moors blog.  See pp.37-38.

 

Black Tern Chlidonias niger.  One on 27th May was at the ‘Thousand Acre floods’ (RA).

 

Common Tern Sterna hirundo.  One was at flooded workings on 17th-18th April.  Two flew east on 17th May, and two were at Will Pits Scrape on 7th July.

 

Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea.  Two headed NE on 24th May.  

 

Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus.  No Black-headed Gulls overflying or grounded in fields in the early months exceeded c.80 except 184 on 26th February.  The first signs of breeding were on 11th April, with 161 in three colonies on 28th April. These were at the flooded workings along Fisons’ Road, the ‘Woodside floods’ and the ‘Thousand Acre floods’.  Combined counts of breeding birds in May reached c.330 on 14th-15th and c.380 on 30th.  Subsequent maxima were c.200 on 13th June, c.110 on 27th June and c.200 on 1st July.  Chicks and juveniles were seen in June, the first juvenile flying on 17th.  Fledged juveniles were also seen in July.  From that month to the year end, maxima on and around the Moors reached c.200-280, especially in October – November.  The maximum, on 28th October, was 400+ at Long Meadow.  Evidence of roosting by non-breeding birds was obtained on 27th October: c.220 mostly involved birds from a roost at flooded workings.    

  

Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus.  There were two June records of first-summer gulls.  On 2nd, one was amongst breeding Black-headed Gulls north and south of Fisons’ Road (BSt).  The second – or perhaps the same – was feeding at Will Pits Scrape on 6th (RW).

 

Common Gull Larus canus.  Most frequently reported in January and October – November. In the former month up to four were logged, these latter in a field east of Bank Top on 17th.  In the period 13th October – 13th November, counts only exceeded four on 20th October, when 14 were in a field east of Bank Top and two headed SW.  Figures in the second half of November reached seven (again east of Bank Top) on 18th and 11 (Goole Fields) on 22nd.  Of some interest, a first-summer Common Gull was seen with breeding Black-headed Gulls on three dates 7th-14th April, as was an “immature” (possibly the same) on 15th May.  Apart from three on 25th-26th February, additional records involved odd singles, including an adult grounded at the Green Belt floods on 11th August.

 

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus.  After the first on 27th March, there were records on many dates to the end of June, with counts over six on 17th April (12), 14th May (10) and 23rd May (13).  Records were infrequent July – August.  However, July records included seven at dusk with Blackheaded Gulls at flooded workings on 4th, then 13 east on 9th. Totals were higher during September – October, occasionally in excess of 30.  On 14th September, c.300 from Goole Fields landed at flooded workings.  On 10th-11th October c.60 were at flooded workings.  At flooded workings along Fisons’ Road North, c.350 roosted on 16th October.  Other October roosts included 73 on 17th and c.80 on 27th.  After the latter date, there were odd singles from roosts, or loafing in a field, to 20th November. 

 

Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis.  On 29th June, an adult was down at the ‘Thousand Acre floods’ with Black-headed Gulls (BSt).  On 16th September, two+ adults flew over Thorne Colliery (BPW).  One adult was overhead with Herring Gulls on 23rd November (BPW), the first record from that month.

 

Herring Gull Larus argentatus.  Until September, records were relatively few, with counts over 14 restricted to January: 22 on 16th and 21 NE on 23rd.  After three on 23rd May, there were none until two “Herring types” on 8th August.  Four of the September records were notable.  On 14th, c.20 from Goole Fields flew to flooded workings.  There were larger counts on 16th (c.100 at temporary pools at the Tween Bridge wind farm construction site) and 30th (c.40 over Green Belt).  A moribund thirdyear gull at Bell’s Pond on 11th was taken into care next day and died on 15th.  Larger counts were more regular in October, the highest being on 10th (c.80), 17th (98), 27th (c.60, mainly roosting birds departing from flooded workings), 30th (92, as previous), and 31st (74, also as previous).  However, the peak October count was 117 on 16th, roosting at flooded workings along Fisons’ Road North (largely separate from the Lesser Black-backed Gulls).  Numerous in November, with larger totals mostly associated with roosts at flooded workings. The maxima were 119 (63 from roost) on 9th, c.250 (roost) on 11th, c.200 (“mainly to roost”) on 18th, 206 (as previous) on 19th, 319 (“from the direction of the Humber”) on 22nd, and 162 (heading west) on 29th.  No December counts submitted. 

 

Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus. Until August, recording was skewed towards January.  In that month, counts varied from two to 18.  The three highest counts were 18 (to roost at flooded workings) on 5th, 15 (as previous) next day, and 13 (flying NE) on 22nd.  Records from February – July involved a mere one to three immatures on four dates in February/April, plus another immature on 14th May. After an adult on 14th August, further singles appeared during that month, but then with up to six from 15th September – 26th October.  Numbers increased again subsequently, mostly concerning roosting birds at flooded workings.  After a roost count of 53 on 31st October, higher totals were obtained in November on 9th (93 from roost), 11th (c.280 disturbed from roost), 18th (c.250, “mainly to roost”), 19th (c.125, as previous), 22nd (63, mostly overhead) and 29th (72 heading west).  As with Herring Gull, these roost figures are sometimes minimal, as not all large gulls could be identified. 

 

Rock Dove Columba livia. Feral birds were recorded as present, but no counts were submitted.

 

Stock Dove Columba oenas.  Recorded January – November, although with few daily totals over four.  There were occasional counts of five (June, October) and six (July), with a maximum of nine on 11th October.  Bred in a shed at Bank Top.  

 

Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus. The highest counts (> 200) were from January – March, August and October – November.  During January – July the maxima were c.560 on 16th January, c.1500 on 26th February and c.300 on 4th March.  In August, c.400 on 18th was far higher than any other count in that month.  Totals in October reached c.400 on 10th and c.270 on 26th.  They were higher still in November, with two counts exceeding 300, on 3rd (c.500) and 18th (c.830). 

 

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto.  At Top Moor Farm, c.30 were present on 10th January, with March records from Red House Farm on 9th (two) and 30th (four).  There were also four at Red House Farm on 3rd July.  Single(s) were at Bank Top on 12th-13th June.  One, occasionally two, were reported in August, the named localities being Inkle Moor and Thorne Colliery.  September records emanated from Inkle Moor (two on 17th) and Durham’s Garden (one on 22nd).  Counts in the second half of November were notable in the Grange Road/horse paddock area, with 35 in bushes on 23rd, and a maximum in the paddock of 26 on 27th.

  

†Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur. May records commenced with one along the Rhododendron Path on 12th.  Other May singles were at Durham’s Garden (23rd), Green Belt (16th/17th/30th), Bank Top (17th), Pony Bridge Wood (19th) and Will Pits (20th/25th).  There were two at Top House Farm on 18th May. Up to two were seen on June dates, specified localities being the Will Pits/Will Pits Scrape area and Green Belt.  Counts of one-two in July involved Durham’s Garden, the Rhododendron Path, Green Belt (a pair, display-flight on 1st), Mill Drain Marsh, Will Pits, the Southern Canals and

Crowle Moor.  Higher July figures began with a record of five (lacking any details) on 1st.  On 19th,

Turtle Doves were encountered at Green Belt (one) and on telegraph wires in the Jones’ Cable – Thorne Colliery area (two). The same wires held three on 25th and five on 29th.  In August, these wires attracted Turtle Doves on 3rd (six), 4th (two) and 5th (three).  At and around Chadwick’s Field, there were four on 23rd/26th.  At Green Belt, two were present on 3rd, with one on 18th and two on 21st.  September records involved two at Durham’s Garden on 3rd and one on the wires on 22nd.  

 

Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus.  Hardly encountered in April: two on 21st/23rd and one on 27th.  Counts in May reached three, plus four on 4th and seven on 31st (including four together at Will Pits).  On 12th May, one was chased by a Meadow Pipit.  Up to three in June were exceeded by four on 2nd/18th. After two on 1st July, there were singles in that month to 17th, and in August there was a juvenile at Durham’s Garden on 3rd.  

 

Barn Owl Tyto alba.  January was the best month, with five records.  In the southern fields, there were nocturnal birds on 2nd/18th (two) and 13th (one).  In addition, singles were observed on 6th (edge of Crowle Moor) and 23rd (Mill Drain).  There was also one along this latter drain on 8th

February, with further singles nocturnally in the southern fields on 15th/18th.  One was in the Red House Farm area on 7th April; in the same month, one on Goole Moor on 27th might have been the same owl.  In May, there were singles at Creyke’s on 14th/17th, with a second sighting on 14th at Will Pits Scrape.  Records of singles nocturnally in the southern fields on 2nd-3rd/23rd June and 19th September were probably related to a nestbox located on farmland there.  One was at Bank Top at dusk on 7th July.  Another was in the area of the Moorends (Paraffin) Works on 19th September (and apparently on other dates around that time).  The last was a nocturnal bird from Mill Drain on 10th October.  

 

Little Owl Athene noctua.  Singles were at Thorne Colliery on 4th February and at Red House Farm on 16th March.  Present in Hybrid Black-poplars Populus x canadensis at Moorends recreation ground on 2nd June (one), 27th June (two) and 8th July (one).  One was at Limberlost on 21st July, with one in that area on 3rd August.  In September, one was at Elmhirst on 20th and calling nocturnally from Elmhirst Wood on 27th.  Further singles were at Creyke’s Crossing on 19th October, and at Moorends recreation ground on 10th/29th November.  

 

Tawny Owl Strix aluco. January locations were Green Belt, the Thorne Colliery area and the Limberlost area. The latter also yielded two calling birds in the early hours of 7th February.  There were two on 12th February (no details).  Singles were at Will Pits on 3rd/18th March.  Present nocturnally in the southern fields on 13th/16th March. During the evening of 24th, Tawny Owls were recorded in the Will Pits – Swinefleet Warping Drain – Goole Moor – Crowle Moor area, totalling five birds.  Finally in March, singles were at Will Pits and on the eastern side of Goole Moor on 30th.  

During the evening of 2nd April, heard at Will Pits (two), Goole Moor (eastern side) and Crowle

Moor.  Other records April – early July emanated from Will Pits, including two owlets in a willow Salix on 25th May and a juvenile on 4th July.  During the annual European Nightjar survey, three pairs of Tawny Owl (two of which had young) were located (Middleton Ecological Consultancy).  On 13th July, one at Elmhirst clutched a half-grown Brown Rat.  Other records July – September and November were obtained from Limberlost/southern fields and possibly elsewhere.

 

Long-eared Owl Asio otus.  One was heard nocturnally in the Thorne Colliery area on 26th January.  Singles were calling at Will Pits on 3rd/24th March and 2nd April.  One was at Inkle Moor on 7th May.  Breeding evidence was forthcoming in this latter month.  On 15th, an adult had young on Goole

Moor, and on 25th a nest in a birch Betula on Crowle Moor held two young.  During the annual European Nightjar survey, two pairs of Long-eared Owl on Crowle Moor were “proven by located juveniles” (Middleton Ecological Consultancy).  One was in the southern fields on 24th June.  July records began with one hunting on Goole Moor on 4th, and progressed to one on 8th in the southern fields, one on farmland near Casson’s on 13th, an adult with young on Thorne Waste on 21st/25th, and one in the southern fields on 26th.  The only later sighting was on 5th August, when one with prey flew to bushes in the southern fields (“on wind farm road”).  

 

Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus.  A very good year, with records from 34 dates, but no evidence of nesting.  Present in January from 14th, and then with one-two on many dates to June, plus four on 3rd March, three on 24th March and four again on 7th April.  After one at Creyke’s on 22nd May, two were seen on 2nd June, respectively on Goole Moor and near the Viewing Platform.  There was a further sighting on Goole Moor on 7th July.  Later records were obtained on 27th September (one), 10th October (one high over Goole Moor mobbed by Carrion Crows), 16th October (two), 31st October (one) and 9th November (one).

 

†European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus.  The earliest was a female on Crowle Moor on 16th May, with a male there on 25th.  The last was a bird on Fisons’ Road on 13th August.  The annual survey revealed 46 territories, although this total was regarded as “almost certainly conservative” (Middleton Ecological Consultancy).  The report is available as a download on this website.  Five birds were ringed at Green Belt. On 19th July a male, perched on low twigs at Green Belt, churred briefly at 3.30pm.

  

Common Swift Apus apus. The vanguard comprised singles in April over Goole Moor on 17th (with three House Martins) and 21st (“lingering”).  The former equalled the previous earliest date, in 2004.  Larger counts were obtained on 27th (c.55) and 28th (36+).  There were numerous records in the first three weeks of May, maxima c.320 on 11th, c.400 next day, c.480 on 15th and 300+ on 20th.  In the final week of May the maximum was c.30 on 31st.  June figures exceeded 100+ during 1st-12th on 2nd (c.200), 8th (c.120) and 12th (c.110).  Eighty-eight on 17th June was over double any other June count after 12th.  Although many July figures did not exceed 14, there were higher totals on 7th (300+), 9th (c.350), 29th (c.100) and 31st (c.180).  Twenty was a good count in August, although with c.90 “moving around a shower” on 7th.  After 14 high to the west on 28th August, the last were four, also heading west, on 1st September.  

 

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis.  One was along Thorne Waste Drain on 15th/22nd September.  Two were along Chadwick Dike on 4th November.  

 

Green Woodpecker Picus viridis.  In the first half of the year, the only records were of single(s) at Will Pits during 26th February – 3rd March.  Subsequently, there were singles on the Moors on 28th29th July, with more records in August, again all single birds except on 12th (three) and 18th/23rd (two).  Further singles occurred in September – October and on 5th/13th November.  Overall, the stated locations included Inkle Moor, Goole Moor and Crowle Moor, but more prolific were the areas of Durham’s Garden – Chadwick’s Field and Will Pits – Will Pits Scrape.  

 

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major. There were almost three times as many records of this species as of Green Woodpecker.  Stated localities were Woodpecker Wood, the Alder Woods, the northern margin of Goole Moor, Will Pits and Crowle Moor, but most records consisted of a date and number only.  Virtually all daily totals were of one or two, but with three on two August dates, and three again at Will Pits on 6th November. ‘Drumming’ was heard at Will Pits from mid-March to early May.

   

Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor.  One flew from Blackwater Dike to Goole Moor on 28th January (RJS). 

 

Magpie Pica pica.  Counts from 1st January – 17th April occasionally reached eight, exceeded in January by nine on 1st and 10 on 23rd.  There were virtually no May – July records, although breeding was proved along Jones’ Cable, with the nest built in a Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna.  August – November totals again reached eight, but with 20 on 15th September, 22 on 17th October, 15 on 20th October (all in the Chadwick’s Field area) and nine on 10th November.  

 Some official culling of Magpies was undertaken, involving both shooting and capture in a Larsen trap, resulting in the despatch of 18 birds.   

 

Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius.  Throughout January – April up to four were seen, though with five on 16th March.  Fewer records during May – July involved one or two individuals, with again one exception, five on 26th July.  One to three were noted during August – September, with six (including a family of five) on 21st August.  There were frequent records during October – November.  These  included some relatively high counts during 9th October – 3rd November, with up to seven eclipsed by October totals on 13th (15), 19th-20th (11) and 29th (12), with 10 on 3rd November.  

 

Western Jackdaw Corvus monedula.  The first were two separate birds heading NE on 21st April.  Seen in May on 9th (two high to the north) and 11th (two over Will Pits and Crowle Moor).  The next were on 21st August (one in Chadwick’s Field) and 23rd September (two east over Thorne Colliery).  There were seven records in October.  These were obtained on 9th (one NNE), 11th (10 on farmland east of Bank Top), 18th (four arrived at Chadwick’s Field from the west), 19th (one over Creyke’s), 20th (two on farmland east of Bank Top), 26th (20 west over the Thorne Colliery area, a record count) and 28th (two at Chadwick’s Field).  Of interest was a calling individual heading north on 11th November.  It got temporarily mixed with Carrion Crows gathering to roost, but then resumed its northward course. 

 

Rook Corvus frugilegus.  Seven on farmland near the Swinefleet Works on 9th March was the only record until August.  In that month, on 9th, 40+ adults and juveniles arrived from the west and landed at Chadwick’s Field.  In October, farmland east of Bank Top held c.50 on 11th and 10 on 20th.  On 22nd November, c.120 Rooks were on Goole Fields, and sometimes over Goole Moor.

 

Carrion Crow Corvus corone.  The larger totals were associated with roosts.  Counts from 1st January – 1st March sometimes reached 30, occasionally up to 44.  Figures beyond this were 61 on

5th January, 67 on 22nd January, 112 on 23rd January, c.90 on 1st February and c.220 on 28th February.  Counts were then much lower to early September, rarely attaining double figures, maxima 25 on 21st July and 20 on 23rd August.  In the second half of September totals reached 30, plus 65 on 22nd.  In October, 700+ to roost at Will Pits on 10th constitutes a moorland record.  During the rest of the month, the highest submitted count was c.40 on 31st.  November totals did not exceed eight, except roosts on 7th (182), 18th (c.100), 20th (146) and 22nd (c.120). 

 Some Carrion Crows were officially captured in a Larsen trap or shot, the latter mainly at the roost at Will Pits.  Around 250 birds were accounted for in total.

 

Goldcrest Regulus regulus.  After two on 1st January, there were occasional singles to the last on 31st March.  Much more apparent from September onwards, beginning with two on 3rd.  September totals reached four, with October maxima being 15 on 13th and 25 on 20th.  In the first part of November, 15 were ringed on 1st, with 10 ringed on 3rd, and nine reported on 10th, but only up to three thereafter.  The December maximum was seven+ on 9th.  The ringing total for the year was 72, all from Creyke’s. 

 

Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus.  During January – April, four counts in double figures peaked at 15 on 24th January.  On 7th April, a bird was seen nest-building in the hole of a dead birch at Will Pits.  One ringed on 17th May was the only record in that month, followed by others on three June dates (including eight on 13th and two juveniles on 18th) and on 3rd July.  The August maximum, on 7th, was c.20 – including juveniles – in a mixed flock at Will Pits; 10 on 18th was also noteworthy.  Counts from September onwards reached 10 on 29th September and 15 on 18th October.

 

Great Tit Parus major.  During the period from January – mid-April, counts of up to five were superseded by higher totals in two clusters.  Firstly, in late February there were 10 on 26th and eight on 28th, followed by 10 again on 1st March.  Secondly, there were nine on 9th April and then six on 13th.  Five on 11th May was followed by up to three in mid-June.  Two adults with young were at Will Pits Scrape on 7th July.  Small counts, punctuated by higher ones, also characterized the rest of the year.  At Will Pits, 10 on 9th August included eight juveniles.  There were 12 on 28th August, 10 on 13th October and 11 on 27th November.  

 

Coal Tit Periparus ater.  Reported from Will Pits on 13th January (one), 23rd January (two), 26th February (one) and 18th/24th March (singles).  Interestingly, a juvenile was in a mixed flock along the Rhododendron Path on 29th July.  In August, singles occurred at Will Pits on 7th/10th/24th, and at Creyke’s on 13th.  Other records, all of singles, were obtained on 1st September (Creyke’s), 9th October (Creyke’s), 13th November (Will Pits) and 17th November (Top House Farm).  Four of the foregoing were ringed during the year, at Will Pits (one), Creyke’s (two) and Top House Farm (one). In addition, there were two retraps at Creyke’s on 19th October.    

 

†Willow Tit Poecile montana.  There were records on 70 dates, especially in March and during August – November.  Six were ringed during the year, at Will Pits and Creyke’s.  Overall, stated locations were Inkle Moor, Durham’s Garden, the Rhododendron Path, Green Belt, Will Pits/Will Pits Scrape, Creyke’s, the northern edge of Goole Moor and Crowle Moor.  Of these, the Will Pits area was the most productive, with the Durham’s Garden – Rhododendron Path area also significant.  Daily counts January – April occasionally reached three, and included a pair on Crowle Moor on 7th April.  With one exception, May – June records were restricted to two on both 3rd May and 8th June.  The exception was a proven nesting attempt in May.  On 5th, a nest was found in a dead stump beyond the southern limit of the Thorne Colliery spoilheap.  It contained fledged young at the end of the month.  Other suspected breeding locations were Will Pits and Crowle Moor, with July records including two adults with young at Will Pits Scrape on 7th.  Daily counts August – November often amounted to one or two, occasionally three, with four on 6th-7th October.  There were five on 24th August and 22nd September, the latter involving one at Durham’s Garden and four at Will Pits/Will Pits Scrape. The maximum was six, on 18th August, comprising two at Durham’s Garden and four (possibly a family party) at Will Pits.  The last were singles on 9th/16th December.

 

Skylark Alauda arvensis.  The first record involved 41 north on 14th February.  From then until September, daily counts exceptionally reached eight, plus 10 (seven singing males) on 11th March.  After 15 south on 29th September, October proved to be the best month.  Eleven in Chadwick’s Field departed singly to the south on 3rd.  There were then relatively high counts on 13th (31), 17th (16), 19th (15) and 20th (17, 10 of them SW).  Late in the month, 45+ occurred in a stubble field near Creyke’s on 27th, with the same number in fields between Creyke’s and Creyke’s Sidings on 29th.  November totals exceeded eight on 10th (14) and 18th (16).  

 

Sand Martin Riparia riparia.  A poor year, with a mere 24 birds on seven dates.  After three north on 24th March, there was one on 19th April.  May records involved singles on 4th/14th and two on 11th/15th.  The sole autumn report was of 14 feeding at the ‘Thousand Acre floods’ on 13th September.  

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica.  In April, after transient singles on 11th/13th, 10 on 14th heralded higher numbers and a continuous presence.  Up to 22+, on 19th, was superseded by c.50 on 21st.  From 3rd-19th May, counts reached 28 (on 15th), plus higher figures on 4th (200+ feeding at the ‘Thousand Acre floods’), 11th (c.40) and 19th (c.100 feeding at the ‘Thousand Acre floods’).  For the remainder of May and through to early August, no daily totals were over seven, except in June: 15 at

Bank Top on 12th,  20+ on 15th/18th and 70+ on 27th.  A nest was located in a shed at Bank Top.  There were also two nests in buildings at Elmhirst.  From one of these nests four young fledged.  Higher counts were heralded by c.80 on 9th August, some of these congregated around Thorne Colliery and others heading west.  There was a steady movement west on 10th August (64), and counts from the rest of that month included 25 on 22nd and 35 on 28th.  September totals began with 88 on 1st, with further peaks on 13th (60+ feeding at the ‘Thousand Acre floods’), 14th (c.30 SW), 15th (c.60), 22nd (c.110) and 29th (45 south).  Four passed south on 1st October, with two on 3rd/7th and a straggler on 13th.

 

House Martin Delichon urbicum.  Three with a Common Swift on 17th April were the first (and the earliest ever), with one or two on three other April dates.  At the beginning of May, there were three with Barn Swallows on 4th and “a few” overhead on 6th.  During the period 11th-19th May there were several good counts, those beyond 20 being c.30 on 11th, 46 on 15th and c.75 on 19th.  For the rest of May and during June, there were occasional totals of one to four, though with 10 on 20th May and 8th June.  House Martins were recorded throughout August, exceeding five on 3rd (c.40 over Inkle Moor), 4th (10 over Inkle Moor), 15th (c.30) and 28th (11).  The last were in September.  Totals in the first three weeks occasionally reached seven, but spiked at 300+ (feeding at the ‘Thousand Acre floods’) on 13th, with c.90 SW next day.  Towards the end of the month, there were eight SW on 22nd and eight west on 29th.

 

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus.  From January – May, daily counts occasionally exceeded 10, maximum 16 on 28th February.  There were few records during June – July, but with 22 together on 12th June, perhaps indicating successful breeding.  Known nesting locations were Durham’s Garden, Will Pits and on Goole Moor.  From August, counts sometimes reached 15, occasionally more, maxima being 25 on 13th September, 40+ on 22nd September, c.30 on 20th October and 28 on 18th

November.

 

Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita.  One was ringed at Will Pits on 12th March, with singing birds present from 18th.  Nest-building was observed at Green Belt on 24th April, and there were large young in this nest by 23rd May.  Also during May, a nest with young was found on Crowle Moor on 16th.  Numerous daily counts were submitted, those of 15 or more being obtained in March – April, July and especially September.  The maxima were all in the latter month: 23 on 8th, 32 on 22nd and 20 on 29th.  There were records from six October dates, maxima 12 on 6th and six on 13th.  In November, one was ringed at Creyke’s on 1st (q.v.), with further singles at Durham’s Garden on 2nd and at Will Pits on 24th, this latter being significantly late.

 The Common Chiffchaff caught on 1st November was reported as showing characters of the race P.c. abietinus (see ringing report).  No greyish northern/eastern races of this species have previously been recognized on Thorne Moors.  Photographs are included on the Thorne Moors blog.    

 

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus.  The earliest were three on 1st April, with further records from 4th onwards.  Breeding locations were Will Pits (a nest on 25th May) and Crowle Moor (a pair feeding young in a nest on 27th May).  Throughout the months to August, counts in excess of 25 were sometimes obtained.  The dates were 14th April (26), 28th April (30+), 1st July (40+ males), 12th July (40 ringed and one retrapped at Creyke’s), 10th August (32) and 24th August.  The latter record involved c.52 in a loose flock of passerines at Creyke’s, the flock also including eight Common Chiffchaffs.  After eight were ringed on 1st September, there were no totals in that month above four, these records ending with three on 22nd.  One seen well on 6th October (WHP) was the latest ever. The grand total of ringed birds was 225, mostly at Creyke’s.

 

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla.  Recorded for eight months, the first being one in song on 29th March.  From then until August, totals reached eight, occasionally up to 13, with maxima in June of 15 on 13th and 18 on 17th, and 15 again on 21st July.  Nesting was proved at Durham’s Garden, Will Pits and on Crowle Moor.   In August, a female at Will Pits had two juveniles on 18th, and two juveniles were also seen on 23rd.  After seven were ringed on 1st September, records continued to 8th, when five were recorded.  The last were one on 22nd September, three (two males and one female) on 6th October and one (male) on 13th October.  The ringing total was 81, including 66 at Creyke’s.

 

Garden Warbler Sylvia borin.  After singles on 28th/30th April, regular during May, maximum five

(ringed) on 24th.  On 2nd June there were two at Durham’s Garden and six at Will Pits.  Seven on 8th June was also notable.  Subsequent daily counts did not exceed four, except seven ringed on 3rd/5th August.  In September, two were ringed on 1st and two were noted on 8th.  Fifty were ringed during the year, including 44 at Creyke’s.    

 

Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca.  The first was one along the Rhododendron Path on 27th April.  There were records from four dates in May, including singles along the Rhododendron Path on

4th/12th/20th.  Other singles were heard on 5th (Jones’ Cable and Green Belt) and again on 12th (Thorne Colliery).  Singles were also recorded in June, on 8th/17th along the Rhododendron Path, and in July on 1st at Green Belt.  In August, one was ringed at Creyke’s on 8th, another was at Durham’s Garden next day, and two were at Thorne Colliery on 25th.

 

Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis.  After one on 20th April, recorded continuously until September.  Monthly maxima were April four, May 13, June 12, July 15, August 12 and September four.  The July count of 15 on 21st included juvenile birds.  Nests were discovered along Mill Drain (two on 23rd May), Jones’ Cable (also on 23rd May), and Fisons’ Road (30th May).  Reports from September began with four on 1st and ended with two on 22nd.  The annual ringing total was 80, with 70 of them captured at Creyke’s.

 

Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia.  Two on 19th April were the first.  Counts of ‘reeling’ males, from arrival to mid-July, reached 10 on 21st/23rd April, 11 on 3rd May/27th June, 15 on 1st June and 12 on 20th June.  The last was on 14th August.  Locations were often not given, making it impossible to estimate the population.  Named places included Durham’s Garden, the Green Belt area, the Fisons’ Road area (five+ on 4th July), the Will Pits area and Pony Bridge Marsh. In addition, during the annual European Nightjar survey, 29 ‘reeling’ birds were located.  The surveyors noted that the population “is no doubt much greater because the ones recorded are located from tracks and there are many areas with suitable habitat for this species that are not covered during the nightjar survey” (Middleton Ecological Consultancy).  

 

Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus.  The first was on 19th April, with a subsequent monthly maximum of eight on 30th.  The May peak was 18 on 3rd.  The June maximum was 10+ on 17th, with notable July totals of c.20 on 1st/7th and 20+ on 21st.  In August, food-carrying was observed on 7th; there were counts of 13 on 4th and 10 on 21st.  A minimal presence beyond that month involved just one on 1st September.

 

Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus.  Few April records, commencing with singles on 19th-20th and two on 21st, all in the Durham’s Garden area.  The last was at Will Pits Scrape on 22nd September.  As with Grasshopper Warbler, there were regrettably few localized records.  Named locations were the Durham’s Garden area, the Rhododendron Path, Green Belt, Fisons’ Road, the Canals, ‘Middle Moor’, Will Pits Scrape and Creyke’s. Monthly maxima were April two, May 21, June 20+, July 15+, August 12 and September five.  The peak total, 21 on 19th May, was distributed between the Rhododendron Path, Fisons’ Road, the Canals and Will Pits Scrape.  

  

Waxwing  Bombycilla garrulus.  The first November records were obtained this year.  Four headed north over Thorne Colliery on 5th (BPW), and 11 flew over Rawcliffe Moor on 10th (BPW).  Interestingly, also on 10th November there were six at Moorfields Farm (JJ).

Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris.  The year opened with singles along Jones’ Cable, at the Alder Woods and at Will Pits on 1st January.  Singles were at Will Pits again on 2nd/13th/17th/23rd, with the Alder Woods holding another on 16th.  Seen in February at Will Pits on 23rd (one) and 28th (two).  In March, singles were at Will Pits on 1st/12th/18th, with two there on 24th and a singing bird on 27th.  Breeding was proved in April at Will Pits.  In that month, after one on 7th, a nest was found on 15th, low down in a dead stump, with a bird sitting on a c/5.  During May – July there were three records of singles, on 4th May (Durham’s Garden), 17th May (Will Pits) and 26th July (unspecified).  Noted in August at Will Pits on 7th/18th/24th.  Also at Will Pits, in September there was one on 13th and two on 22nd.  Singles were reported in October on 1st (Durham’s Garden), 11th (“Paraffin area”), 14th (Durham’s Garden) and 29th (Creyke’s).  In November there were further singles, on 1st/3rd (Creyke’s), 7th (Will Pits) and 16th (Creyke’s).  The ringing figures, included in the foregoing, were four at Will Pits and three at Creyke’s.

             

Wren Troglodytes troglodytes.  Most monthly maxima varied from seven to 16, the latter count on 13th June.  Breeding locations were Cottage Dike and the Will Pits – Will Pits Scrape area.   

 

Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris.  Counts in January reached c.80 on 10th/18th and c.120 on 21st.  There were two on 9th March at Chadwick’s Field.  On 29th May, a juvenile was in a willow bush along Fisons’ Road east of Middle Moor Tram.  Fourteen flew to Goole Moor on 18th June.  Other records were obtained on 8th August (13 SW), 26th August (20 at Chadwick’s Field) and 22nd September (32 in a field at Creyke’s).  Records were more numerous in October.  These included c.60

SE on 14th, c.60 on farmland east of Bank Top on 20th, c.1700 to roost at the south-western edge of Thorne Waste on 26th, c.150 east on 27th and c.480 west on 29th.  On 30th, 5100+ mainly comprised two flocks from the east.  Finally, on 31st, a flock of c.2300 flew low to the west and c.2000 roosted at Inkle Moor.  On 1st November, c.2540 flew to roost at the south-western edge of Thorne Waste, and an estimated 10,000 roosted in Common Reeds at the northern edge of Goole Moor. Next day, c.1500 were at the allotments close to Thorne Colliery.  The Goole Moor roost held c.7000 on 4th November; and on 7th, c.3750 flew to roost at the Shoulder o’ Mutton area in Common Reeds and other vegetation.  Early on 9th, a long flock estimated at c.4500 birds headed west over the northwestern edge of the Moors.  The Shoulder o’ Mutton area roost attracted c.4000 on 11th and c.700 on 18th.  The latter was the last high figure.  There were other significant counts in November (e.g. c.200 on 3rd and c.120 on 22nd), but they were not accompanied by any details.

      

Blackbird Turdus merula.  Apart from 14 on 1st January and 12 on 13th February, there were no other double-figure counts until October.  In that month, 10 were exceeded by 17 on 18th, 14 on 26th and 12 on 30th.  Counts in November were more dynamic, beginning with 12 on 2nd, c.20 on 4th and 13 on 5th.  There were higher figures subsequently, with 31 on 10th, 26 on 14th, 35 on 23rd, 20 on 27th and 17 on 28th.  Next day, 39 were logged, “probably far more”.  Breeding proved, including fledged birds at the Rhododendron Path (being fed) and Green Belt. 

 

Fieldfare Turdus pilaris.  The numerous January records reported many counts of c.100-200, with c.300 on 7th, c.400 on 14th and c.250 on 28th.  The only February count of note was c.150 on 25th, with March numbers exceeding c.70 on 7th (c.500) and 12th (c.120).  Irregularly recorded in April, including c.60 west on 2nd, 34 on 7th, and 24 at Moorends recreation ground on 21st.  There were then no more reports until 24th October (62), with other notable counts in that month on 26th (87), 27th (320+), 28th (c.200), 30th (637 west) and 31st (153).  Numbers climbed higher in the first half of November, reaching c.880 on 2nd and 500+ on 4th, and still c.400 on 11th, but down to c.100 on 18th.  The only sizeable count in December was 172+ roosting on Goole Moor on 9th.     

  

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos.  Daily maxima were mostly of two or three.  However, six occurred on 13th June, but with no other June total exceeding two.

 

Redwing Turdus iliacus.  January counts reached c.20 on 7th/10th, and there were c.30 on 25th

February.  In March, records were restricted to one on 3rd and four at Moorends recreation ground on 31st.  After one on 9th October, there were frequent records in that month, with numbers increasing during 20th-30th, exceeding c.30 on 24th (c.90), 26th (c.140) and 27th (c.50).  The equally frequent November records sometimes reached c.60, with peaks of 250+ on 4th, c.120 on 6th/23rd, c.90 on 10th and c.140 on 27th.  There were no more than 30+ subsequently.

   

Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus. One-three were logged on four January dates, then one on 7th

February, three on 31st March and singles in mid-April.  Stated locations were Chadwick’s Field and Moorends recreation ground.  At the eastern end of Grange Road towards Thorne Colliery, a nest was found in a Hawthorn on 3rd May.  Later in the month, on 16th, at the southern end of Crowle Moor an adult and two juveniles were feeding. The next records occurred in July, from Chadwick’s Field: two apparent families totalling 10 birds on 21st and five on 31st.  August records began with eight at Chadwick’s Field on 3rd, six over Long Meadow on 9th, and 16 in the field between Thorne Colliery and Moorends recreation ground on 26th.  Up to four were encountered in September – October, the locations given as Durham’s Garden and Chadwick’s Field.  The exception was six, at Chadwick’s Field on 26th September.  In November at Chadwick’s Field there were six on 1st and five on 14th, with no subsequent figures exceeding three.  

 

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata.  One was along Swinefleet Warping Drain near Top Moor

Farm on 13th-14th May, and one was at Pony Bridge Wood on 8th June.  In August, singles were at Durham’s Garden on 23rd, and between Collis’ and Elmhirst Trams on 28th.  On 22nd September, there were reports of singles at Durham’s Garden, Will Pits and Will Pits Scrape, involving three+ birds.

 

Robin Erithacus rubecula.  From January – August, daily counts occasionally reached six, plus eight on 26th February.  Counts increased towards the end of September, with 14 on 22nd, nine on 27th and 15 on 29th.  In the second half of October there were significant counts of nine on 17th/26th, 16 on 18th and 14 on 30th.  The only subsequent record of note was nine on 18th November.   Breeding locations comprised the Rhododendron Path and Will Pits.  

 

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra.  Spring records commenced with two along Blackwater Dike on 30th April and two along Fisons’ Road on 9th May.  A female was along Fisons’ Road North on 14th May, with a male near Red House Farm next day.  A female and three juveniles along Shearburn & Pitts Drain on 9th August may represent an overlooked breeding pair.  Three along Fisons’ Road on 22nd August could have involved the same birds.

 

†European Stonechat Saxicola rubicola.  During January, lone male(s) were seen occasionally from 17th, with single male and female on 14th/28th and two females on 16th.  February sightings were restricted to a male on 7th-8th.  There were two spring records, both of females, on 14th March and 13th May.  The next records were in September: a pair and a juvenile (near the Viewing Platform) on 15th and a male on 29th.  Relatively frequent in October, with records of a male and female, being accompanied by a “probable juvenile” on 20th.  On 11th October the total was three males and three females.  In November, a male and female were again apparent, with an extra male occasionally.  Outwith this pattern, on 1st November there were five (including two males), on 16th there were two females, a male and an immature, and on 18th there was a single female.  In the first half of December, it is likely that the male and female remained, with a lone and perhaps extra male on 9th.  

 

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe.  There were two March records: singles on 20th (Fisons’ Road North) and 27th (Top House Farm).  Recorded on many April dates.  These comprised one-two, and three on 9th, until towards the end of the month.  Then the counts increased, with 14+ on 27th and nine on 30th.  During May, records spanned 10 dates from 9th-24th, with up to three apart from eight on 15th.  The spring localities included Snaith & Cowick Moor, the Creyke’s area, Goole Moor and the Chadwick’s Field – Long Meadow area.  However, most were from observers along Fisons’ Road/Fisons’ Road North.  There were two records in August, from Fisons’ Road (two on 15th) and Fisons’ Road North (one on 23rd).

 

Dunnock Prunella modularis.  Few records of significance.  Daily counts occasionally reached three, but with five on dates in February and October – November.  Breeding proved, including Jones’ Cable where “at least 2 singing birds through breeding season”.

 

House Sparrow Passer domesticus.  Reported from three peripheral areas.  “Quite a few” were in the Moor Lane area close to Jones’ Cable on 25th January.  Present with Tree Sparrows at Creyke’s Crossing on 13th April (and doubtless other dates).  Then noted at the horse paddock off Grange Road, Moorends, in late November, including 15 on 27th.

   

Tree Sparrow Passer montanus.  On 10th March, three were in a hedgerow at the western end of

Jones’ Cable.  Up to four were in the Red House Farm – Top Moor Farm area during February – April.  However, Red House Farm had “many” on 16th March and 14 on 11th April.  The only other April record was five at Creyke’s Crossing on 13th.  Up to three were seen on five June dates, the specified locations being Bank Top and Creyke’s.  In July, one-two were occasionally reported from the Red House Farm – Top Moor Farm area.  A Spurn-ringed bird was trapped at Creyke’s on 9th October.  In November, seen on 11th (three) and 17th (one), on both dates at Top House Farm.      

 

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava. After one overhead on 11th April, there were records of one-two until 24th May.  At farmland east of Bank Top, there were 10 on 26th May, then six next day and on 11th June.  Subsequent counts, including at Moorends recreation ground, occasionally reached six. Juvenile birds were reported in late July – early August.  In September, the maxima were seven (at Moorends recreation ground) on 8th and eight on 16th, the last date.

  

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea.  One flew along Swinefleet Warping Drain at Top Moor Farm on 20th October, with two over Goole Moor on 10th November. 

 

Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba. During January – July, there were irregular daily counts of one-two, the exceptions being on 29th March (six) and 12th June (four).  Counts during August – November often reached two, rarely five.  Numbers at the Moorends recreation ground were sometimes substantial, beginning with 11 on 4th August.  There were then up to 25 there in mid-August and 26 on 21st. 

September counts at the recreation ground reached 25 on 8th, 10 on 14th and 20 on 23rd.

 One White Wagtail M.a. alba was at floods situated at the junction of Fisons’ Road North and Goole Moor Tram on 21st April (BSt).

 

†Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis.  Disappointingly few records, the first being one at Pony Bridge Marsh on 11th April.  One was displaying at ‘Middle Moor’ on 23rd April, with one singing on Crowle Moor on 28th and one at Green Belt on 30th.  There were singles in May on 4th (near the Viewing Platform), 9th (at the eastern end of Angle Drain) and 19th (at the southern edge of Pony Bridge Wood).  On Crowle Moor, singing birds were noted in May and on 6th June, maximum seven in song throughout Crowle Moor on 27th May.  One was singing at Pony Bridge Marsh on 18th June, with no later records. 

 

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis.  One-two on three dates during January – February were succeeded by slightly higher counts in March of up to eight.  However, 19 on 29th March heralded several higher totals in April.  These exceeded 12 on 1st (16), 13th (13) and 17th (18).  For the rest of the year, the pattern was broadly similar, with counts of up to 12, but reaching 21 on 13th June, 16 on 12th July and 29th September, and 15 on 2nd November.  The first singing bird was reported on 7th April, and one chased a Common Cuckoo on 12th May. There were no confirmed breeding records, and no observable autumn passage.   

 

Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs.  January counts were mostly associated with a roost in the

Durham’s Garden – Rhododendron Path – Green Belt area.  Thus there were daily counts of 184 on 1st and c.50 on 18th, plus 327 leaving the roost on 23rd. Counts during February – July were unexceptional, maximum 14 on 26th/28th February.  Breeding occurred on Crowle Moor: two nests were found on 16th May, one in the fork of a Hawthorn, the other in thick cover formed by Bramble Rubus fruticosus agg. and the twigs of a fallen birch.  August data included 26 at Chadwick’s Field on 21st, and a roost in the Green Belt area that held 52 on 23rd and 28 on 26th.  September – November totals occasionally reached 24.  However, roost counts in mid-October from the Green Belt area declined from a peak of c.100 on 16th.  At the same roost, 224 departed on 29th November. 

 

Brambling Fringilla montifringilla.  In late October, one was heard with Common Chaffinches on 26th.  Fourteen were at Top House Farm on 29th.  At the end of the month, there were five SSW on 30th and one over Will Pits Scrape on 31st.  Recorded in November – December from Top House Farm: in November on 1st (three), 4th (one), 11th (two) and 15th (two), then two on 30th December.

 

Greenfinch Chloris chloris.  Records during January – March were unexceptional, the only count in excess of 18 being 27 on 1st January.  Apart from two on Goole Fields on 8th April, the next records were in June, including fledged young being fed at Bank Top on 12th-13th.  Until November, numbers exceeded four only on 18th October (16).  November totals reached 18 on 9th and 22 on 19th, and exceeded these on two dates.  On 16th, c.180 fed on “dwarf sunflower heads” (apparently Sunflower Helianthus annuus) at Top House Farm.  Next day, c.120 were recorded there.  

 

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis.  Recorded throughout the year, though with only single-figure totals from mid-March to the end of July.  Outside this period, counts in the early months exceeded c.30 occasionally, with c.40 on three dates during 23rd January – 18th February, c.50 on 10th January and c.60 on 7th February.  There were no overt breeding records, but “frequently seen along Jones’ Cable, with juveniles showing up in the summer”.  Totals in August reached 46 on 9th, 90+ on 18th, c.100 on 21st and c.70 on 28th.  Chadwick’s Field was favoured in August, including the entire total on 21st. Counts dropped in September (maximum 34 on 27th).  The October peaks were c.40 on 13th and c.85 on 30th.  In November, a number of counts were in the range 36-46, with c.60 on 3rd/22nd, c.70 on 6th/13th, 77 on 19th and 82 next day.  Named localities for flocks in November were Will Pits, Bank Top and Top Moor Farm.  

 

Siskin Carduelis spinus.  The only records in the early months were obtained in February: one over Goole Moor on 23rd and three at Will Pits on 26th.  The next were two at Will Pits on 20th May, the latest ever date.  Then recorded July – November, though in July there were only three dates: 4th (one), 12th (two) and 26th (three).  The former was the earliest return date on record.  Noted on six

August dates, one-three except six on 26th.  September totals of two-11 were exceeded by 15+ on 8th, “roaming parties” on Crowle Moor on 10th, and c.20 on 15th.  Frequent in October, though rarely in totals above eight, maxima c.50 on 9th, 18 on 10th and c.80 on 13th.  Numbers in November reached

c.70 on 3rd, decreasing to c.30 on 10th and 15 on 15th, with no other totals exceeding four.  Unrecorded in December. 

 

Linnet Carduelis cannabina.  Counts in January attained c.30 on 2nd/16th, with c.80 at Chadwick’s Field on 23rd.  Counts during February – April reached c.30 on 30th March, and in April c.70 on 17th, c.65 on 19th and c.50 on 27th.  These April Linnets were mostly on farmland east of Bank Top.  From May – late September, counts were lower, maximum 11 on 15th September.  Thirty-four on 29th September signalled four larger counts, with c.30 next day, c.50 on 7th November and 36 on 22nd November.  No other October – December totals exceeded 18.  Nesting locations included the western edge of Thorne Waste (in Heather Calluna vulgaris), Green Belt (Bramble) and Mill Drain (a small Hawthorn).

 

Lesser Redpoll Carduelis cabaret.  Although recorded on seven January dates, most records were from October – November.  Double-figure counts in January were 24 on 1st and 10 on 16th.  During February – March there were occasional reports of up to six (on 28th February), plus three on 1st April.  Next recorded in the last week of September, maximum six on 22nd/29th.  The numerous

October – November reports gave six daily totals of c.30-40, plus c.60 on 12th October and 3rd November, c.80 on 13th October, 62 on 18th October and c.65 on 1st November.  No December figures exceeded 15 on 16th.  A creditable 69 were ringed at Creyke’s.

 

Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea. On 17th January, six were on the ground along Fisons’ Road North (BPW).  Six were also identified on 22nd September at Will Pits (RW), being the first record from that month.  Two+ were seen on Crowle Moor on 30th November (RW).

 

Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra.  There were five records, beginning with five that landed at Will Pits on 7th April (KHP et al.), the first record from that month.  The remaining birds were in July – August.  In the former month, four flew SW over the Viewing Platform on 21st (WHP), with eight over Durham’s Garden on 26th (DR).  One female/immature flew west along Fisons’ Road on 9th August (BPW), and two passed south over the Rhododendron Path on 21st August (BPW).

 

Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula.  Counts throughout the year tended to be in low single figures, rarely double figures.  The maxima were 14 on 1st January, 12+ on 23rd February and 13 on 18th August.  At least one juvenile was seen on 9th August.

 

Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella.  Although there were records throughout much of the year (not February and December), daily counts tended to be the only details given.  Seven on 23rd January was notable, as was five on 3rd May, 2nd June, 29th September and 18th October.  The only higher counts were 19 on 14th May and eight on 23rd November.  Three were on the Thorne Colliery spoilheap on 13th October.  Singing birds were reported from Jones’ Cable, Green Belt, Snaith & Cowick Moor and Crowle Moor, with four at the latter on 12th July.

 

Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus.  Again, reported throughout the year but with dated counts only.  Totals above 19 were uncommon, with three of 20 (June, August), 25 on 7th August, 35+ on 18th November (20+ in one group) and c.36 on 2nd February (c.25 in one group).  Breeding proved. 

 

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

 

Green Pheasant Phasianus versicolor.  Males were again reported.  Two were in fields east of Bank

Top on 16th-17th January, with two again on 24th January.  In February, there were reports on 1st (two), 18th (one) and 26th (three), then two on 12th March.  Records in April were obtained on 9th/13th, both singles.  Two were seen on 13th June, with the next on 24th August.  In October, there were singles on 11th/17th/27th, with one on 9th November.  These latter were at Will Pits.  

 

BIRD RINGING REPORT by B.M. Baxter

 

During 2012, 38 visits were made to Thorne Moors, with 919 birds of 36 species being ringed, and an additional 83 retraps and two recoveries.  Three sites were selected: Will Pits, Green Belt and Creyke’s, with the majority of birds ringed at the latter.

Willow Warbler topped the list of totals with an impressive 225 ringed.  Numbers of Blackcap (81), Common Whitethroat (80) and, in particular, Garden Warbler (50) were excellent.  Goldcrest and Lesser Redpoll were also ringed in good numbers.  Common Chiffchaff was a little disappointing with only 20.  This may mean that Thorne Moors is not a good breeding area for this species, or the weather played a major part in a poor season.  

Ringing commenced at Will Pits on 12th March, and by 11th June eight visits had been made, with the catch of 111 ringed birds including a Common Cuckoo.  However, by June the persistent rain had saturated the area and Will Pits was judged to be unringable due to flooding.

A narrow strip of vegetation was located at Creyke’s, where only 12m mist-nets could be erected, but they proved to be very efficient.  Twenty-seven visits were made between 2nd June and 24th November, and over 85% of all birds ringed came from here.  At this location, 788 birds were ringed, along with 69 retraps and two recoveries.  At a time when easterly winds were bringing a flurry of eastern migrants to the east coast, a very grey Common Chiffchaff was trapped at Greyke’s on 1st November with characters of P.c. abietinus (breeding north-east Poland, Russia and Turkey). 

The bird did not call, but a good series of photographs was obtained.

The only other area to be visited was Green Belt.  Most notably, evening visits resulted in five adult European Nightjars being mist-netted and ringed.  

The two recoveries were from Creyke’s on the same day, 9th October:

          L547151 Lesser Redpoll.  Ringed Finningley, Doncaster, on 20th November 2010.  Distance travelled 19km

          DO70421 Tree Sparrow.  Ringed Spurn, 6th October 2012.  Distance travelled 66km.  This was the only Tree Sparrow caught during the year, and had been ringed just three days earlier

 

Species

Will Pits

Green Belt

Creyke’s

Totals

Eur. Sparrowhwk

1

 

3

4

Common Cuckoo

1

 

 

1

Eur. Nightjar

 

5

 

5

G.S. Woodpecker

1

 

 

1

Jay

 

 

1

1

Goldcrest

 

 

72

72

Blue Tit

16

 

15

31

Great Tit

9

 

7

16

Coal Tit

1

 

2

3

Willow Tit

3

 

3

6

Long-tailed Tit

12

 

48

60

Common Chiff.

5

 

15

20

Willow Warbler

6

5

214

225

Blackcap

15

 

66

81

Garden Warbler

5

1

44

50

Lsr Whitethroat

 

 

1

1

Com. Whitethroat

8

2

70

80

Sedge Warbler

1

 

1

2

Reed Warbler

2

5

12

19

Eur. Treecreeper

4

 

3

7

Wren

4

 

25

29

Blackbird

4

 

11

15

Song Thrush

1

 

1

2

Redwing 

 

 

6

6

Robin

6

 

24

30

Dunnock

 

1

3

4

Meadow Pipit

 

 

2

2

Comm. Chaffinch

3

 

5

8

Greenfinch

 

 

27

27

Goldfinch

 

 

4

4

Siskin

 

 

7

7

Linnet

 

 

10

10

Lesser Redpoll

 

 

69

69

Bullfinch

3

1

6

10

Yellowhammer

 

 

4

4

Reed Bunting

 

 

7

7

TOTAL 2012

 

 

 

919

 

Table 1. Ringing totals for Thorne Moors in 2012.

 

In concluding this report, I would like to thank the following for their invaluable help: Robert Adams, B.P. Wainwright, K.H. Pearson, Lianna Stogden, Ben Whitworth, and the management team of Natural England. 

 

 

 

                                                                 MAMMALS             

 

Pygmy Shrew Sorex minutus.  On 24th January a corpse was found on Goole Moor Tram.  A live animal, running over snow, was seen along Fisons’ Road on 7th February.

 

†Water Shrew Neomys fodiens.  One at Inkle Moor Pond on 11th May.  Another was at “Green Belt Cuttings” (SE712165) on 3rd July (both MH).

 

[†Whiskered/Brandt’s Bat Myotis mystacinus/brandtii.  At Will Pits and along Swinefleet Warping Drain at Top Moor Farm, bats described as “possibly Whiskered/Brandt’s” were seen during the evenings of 30th March (two) and 2nd April (four)].  

 

[†Daubenton’s Bat Myotis daubentoni.  A bat described as possibly this species was at an unspecified location during the evening of 25th June].

 

[†Pipistrelle Pipistrellus sp. An apparent pipistrelle was at Moorends recreation ground on 17th October].

 

Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus.  In the Will Pits – Bank Top area, counts reached 24 in June, but with 48 on 7th July.  At Creyke’s, there were eight on 5th August.  In late August, several were seen at Chadwick’s Field.  A Common Buzzard caught a Rabbit along Fisons’ Road at Will Pits on 14th May.  A Rabbit was pursued by a Marsh Harrier on 16th September.  As with Brown Hare (q.v.), sometimes seen in the southern fields nocturnally, maximum 10+ on 15th June.  On 28th August, Rabbits in the southern fields included some infected with myxomatosis.  

 

†Brown Hare Lepus europaeus. During much of the year, Brown Hares were seen, often nocturnally, in the southern fields.  There were up to 10 in January and eight+ in February.  In March, the peaks were eight on 13th and 18 on 22nd.  After a hiatus in April, no May counts exceeded 12 except c.20 on 11th.  Numbers were highest in June, with 18 on 2nd, c.35 (including many juveniles) on 15th, c.20 the next night, and then c.15 (again including juveniles) on 30th.  During July, there were five counts of 12-18, plus 23 on 7th.  The August figures reached 14 on 3rd-5th, and those in September peaked at 10 on 19th.  There were no data during subsequent months from the southern fields.  Other records often lacked locations.  Daily counts occasionally reached three, exceptionally more.  At Creyke’s, up to four occurred in June (on 7th-8th); and six were at Chadwick’s Field on 27th August.  Other sites were Thorne Colliery – Durham’s Garden, Green Belt and – especially – Fisons’ Road.

   

Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis.  At Durham’s Garden, there were singles on 1st March, 7th July and 23rd November, plus two on 11th September and 18th October (the latter feeding on haws).  Singles occurred at Will Pits on 24th May, 17th June, 3rd July and 18th November.    There was one at Woodpecker Wood on 28th August.

 

Field Vole Microtus agrestis.  One ran across Fisons’ Road on 10th October.  A vole, possibly this species, was caught at Bank Top on 10th August by a female Eurasian Sparrowhawk. 

 

†Water Vole Arvicola terrestris.  MH reported that he was “struck by the abundance and very widespread occurrence of field signs of Water Voles”.  The evidence occurred over almost the entire range of wetland habitats. He added:

 I only actually saw Water Voles at one location, a heavily-populated ditch adjoining the access road to the former Thorne Colliery...Elsewhere, records were based on food stashes comprising bitten-off shoots of soft rush (Juncus effusus), common reed (Phragmites australis) and cottongrasses (Eriophorum angustifolium and E. vaginatum).  Invariably, droppings were also present, often in distinct latrines.  Grazing ‘lawns’ were also evident at some sites, especially on the tops of large tussocks of hare’s-tail cotton-grass.  Such tussocks appeared to be an important focus for Water Vole activity: in one pool on Snaith & Cowick Moor, a large hummock surrounded by open water was honey-combed with burrows and littered with droppings.

The detailed records are as follows:

          1st May: In the dike adjoining the colliery access road at SE699165, on three visits during April – May, “abundant evidence” was noted and voles seen.  This included 1st May, when sightings, many active burrows and latrines were recorded (water eutrophic, pH 8.23, electrical conductivity 760 µS/cm)  

          23rd May: Vole activity on Rawcliffe Moor at SE722187, a former milled peat working with strongly acidic water (oligotrophic, mean pH 3.84, electrical conductivity 148 µS/cm).  The “Feeding signs and latrines” were amongst tussocks of cottongrass  

          30th May: Vole activity on Rawcliffe Moor at SE722187, a former milled peat working with strongly acidic water (pH 3.77). Field signs amongst tussocks of Hare’s-tail Cottongrass E. vaginatum

          6th September: At Will Pits Scrape, there were abundant feeding signs and latrines in fringing Common Reed.  The habitat was described as “Reedy fringe to a large oligotrophic water body on milled peat” (water pH 4.6, electrical conductivity 110-150 µS/cm)

          6th September: From a ?peat cutting (“Richly vegetated linear pools”) at SE740155, latrines and feeding signs were found (water pH 5.16, electrical conductivity 130 µS/cm)

          8th September: Several latrines were seen at an old peat cutting SSW of Will Pits at SE740155

          12th September: There were “Frequent latrines and feeding signs” amongst marginal Common Reed at Bell’s Pond.  The water was described as mildly brackish (pH 7.83, electrical conductivity 7070 µS/cm)

          17th September: At Will Pits Scrape there were “numerous latrines”, mainly amongst Common Reed along the eastern margin

          17th September:  In old peat cuttings close to Pony Bridge Tram (at SE741141), latrines were detected amongst tussocks of Hare’s-tail Cottongrass.  The water was very acidic (pH 3.97)

          20th September: At Pony Bridge Marsh (SE741141), feeding signs and latrines were encountered.  The habitat was described as “Regenerating bog on old...hand-dug peat cuttings.  Deep multi-species Sphagnum layer with bog rosemary [Andromeda polifolia] and cranberry [Vaccinium oxycoccos]” (water pH 3.97, electrical conductivity 70 µS/cm)

          1st October: At Inkle Moor Fen (SE701168) there were localized droppings and feeding signs along a “reed-choked runnel”, also described as a “Defunct ditch in relict fen on cut-over peat”(water pH 5.16, electrical conductivity 430 µS/cm)

          19th October: On Snaith & Cowick Moor, at SE718180, in regenerating mire on former milled peat, dominated by cottongrasses with some open water, there were feeding signs, latrines and burrows in a large tussock of Hare’s-tail Cottongrass (water pH 4.03, electrical conductivity 60 µS/cm)

          19th October: South of Goole Moor Tram, at SE743169, latrines and feeding signs were found, the area described as a “Former milling flat with dense mixtures of [Soft-rush] Juncus effusus, [Common Cottongrass] Eriophorum angustifolium, Phragmites and [Purple Smallreed] Calamagrostis canescens” (water pH 4.34, electrical conductivity 50 µS/cm)

          24th October: In the moor boundary drain on Rawcliffe Moor at SE719184, latrines, runs and active burrows were found.  The water contained much ochreous sediment (water pH 6.59, electrical conductivity 460 µS/cm)

          24th October: In Sphagnum mire (SE707172) adjoining the Paraffin Cuttings, feeding signs and sparse latrines were recorded (water pH.3.96, electrical conductivity 80 µS/cm)

          15th November: At Durham’s Garden (SE716159), there were feeding signs and abundant latrines in an area of “Shallow pools with mixtures of Juncus effusus, Phragmites and

Eriophorum angustifolium in open patches amongst [Rhododendron] Rhododendron scrub”.  The water was very acidic (pH 3.75, electrical conductivity 200 µS/cm)

          15th November: In the Southern Canals at SE720156, feeding signs and latrines were present, the water being very acidic and oligotrophic (pH 3.76, electrical conductivity 50 µS/cm)

From the results of fieldwork on both Thorne and Hatfield Moors during 2012, Martin Hammond concluded that Water Voles occur in almost all wetland habitats and vegetation types represented on the peat moorland:

At one extreme, Water Voles occupy areas of old, shallow peat cuttings on Thorne Moors supporting a reasonable approximation to Sphagnum papillosum – [Cross-leaved Heath] Erica tetralix raised mire as described by Rodwell (1991) [British plant communities. 2: mires and heaths].  This is characterised by a hummocky, multi-species Sphagnum layer with cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos) and bog rosemary (Andromeda polifolia) growing amongst the cottongrasses in the herb layer.  At the other extreme, they occur also in reedbed fringing the artificially brackish Bell’s Pond at Thorne Colliery and in nearby eutrophic ditches.  Promisingly, field signs were also widespread on re-wetted milling fields which were dehydrated dust bowls ten years ago...

 Evidence of Water Voles was found in very acidic and oligotrophic water bodies through to alkaline and eutrophic sites.  Water pH readings varied from 3.76 to 8.23, with electrical conductivity (a measure of ionic content) ranging from 50 to 7070 µS/cm.  In other words, Water Voles occupy the full range of wetland habitats on the Humberhead Peatlands [NNR] in terms of water pH, solute content and trophic status.

Other records of Water Vole during the year were obtained on seven dates.  On 31st March one was at Durham’s Garden, with another (no details) on 9th May.  In August, there was one in a dike at Chadwick’s Field on 23rd, and two in a dike beyond the eastern extremity of the Thorne Colliery spoilheap on 28th.  Recorded singly on three November dates: 1st (in a drain at the side of Fillingham’s Gate), 3rd (in the eastern stretch of Shearburn & Pitts Drain) and 29th (in a drain at the side of Thorne Colliery spoilheap).       

 

Wood Mouse Apodemus sylvaticus.  There were occasional nocturnal sightings in January – February in the southern fields (Tween Bridge wind farm construction site).  The only other record, also involving February, was one running over snow on Fisons’ Road on 5th.

 

Brown Rat Rattus norvegicus.  Resident at Elmhirst, where a Tawny Owl clutched a half-grown Brown Rat on 13th July.

  

Fox Vulpes vulpes. Recorded on 34 dates, in all months except December, with usually a maximum of two per date.  Stated locations included Chadwick’s Field – Durham’s Garden, Fisons’ Road – Blackwater Dike, Will Pits, Bank Top and Pony Bridge Marsh.  There were a number of sightings in the southern fields; and one from Goole Fields on 18th November.  Proof of breeding was obtained on three dates.  In June, three cubs were at Will Pits on 8th, and another was along Blackwater Dike on 27th.  On 21st July, two young Foxes were seen nocturnally in the southern fields.    In addition, 26 Foxes were culled during the year.

  

Stoat Mustela erminea.  Single Stoats were seen on 21st February (at Will Pits Scrape), 21st May (with prey along the farm track to Fillingham’s Gate), and 27th October (along Fisons’ Road).

 

Weasel Mustela nivalis.  First recorded (along Fisons’ Road) on 17th May.  In June, there were singles at Creyke’s on 8th and Swinefleet Warping Drain at Top Moor Farm on 27th.  All four subsequent records emanated from Fisons’ Road, where Weasels occurred on 3rd July, 18th August, 7th November (at Will Pits) and 19th November. 

 

†Mink Mustela vison.  On14th March one was in Blackwater Dike (new length), and later in the month, on 27th, a single was seen at Will Pits Scrape.  Another was at Fillingham’s Gate on 7th July. On 18th October, one was seen along Mill Drain near Will Pits.

 

†Badger meles meles.  Present during the year, but continued persecution precludes publication.  

 

†Red Deer Cervus elaphus.   January totals, including the southern fields, reached six, plus peaks on

27th (c.40 in the southern fields) and 28th (11 stags and eight hinds nocturnally in the southern fields). 

The first notable February record was eight on Goole Moor on 14th.  From 15th-23rd February, totals from the southern fields reached up to 24, bettered by 41 on 16th and 35+ on 20th.  The only other February record of note was 33 on 24th in the southern fields.  March counts included three of 20, and c.30 on 16th, again all from the southern fields.  Totals in April occasionally reached 20, plus c.30 on 14th in the southern fields and c.40 at Bank Top on 21st.  There were relatively few records in May, but they included 22 at Bank Top on 7th.  The June maxima were 14 (on Goole Moor) on 17th and 20 (in the southern fields) on 30th.  Breeding evidence in June was forthcoming from Will Pits: a spotted calf with three adults on 12th, and a calf accompanied by a hind on 18th.  Totals in the southern fields in July reached eight, though with an isolated peak of 31 on 28th.  The highest counts in the southern fields in August were 26 on 3rd and c.30 on 4th.  During the evening of 27th August there were 26 at Chadwick’s Field.  In September the first roaring stags were heard, and the southern fields counts included c.20 on 5th and c.30 next day.  October – December records involved small numbers, maximum 12 on 22nd November.  Interestingly, away from the usual haunts, a stag was in the Durham’s Garden area on 12th/16th October, including the track from Thorne Colliery to Whaley Balk.

 

†Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus.  Daily totals in January occasionally reached seven.  Higher totals were obtained on 16th (10), 17th (15, including eight in a field at Creyke’s), 20th (eight, mostly Snaith & Cowick Moor and a field at Creyke’s) and 27th (eight+).  Other January locations included Goole Moor, Fisons’ Road – Will Pits, Green Belt, Durham’s Garden and the southern fields.  Daily counts in February again attained seven, but with 17 on 2nd, and 27 (mainly on Goole Moor) on 14th.  Other locations were Fisons’ Road – Will Pits and the southern fields.  March counts reached 10 on 29th, with the exception of 28 on 16th.  The locations included Green Belt and Durham’s Garden, but especially the southern fields.  April counts in excess of seven were 15 on 9th, 35 on 10th, 10 on 17th and eight on 19th.  Few locations were given, but included Will Pits.  Counts in May – June only exceeded five on 27th June, when 11 were counted.  Locations included Creyke’s, Snaith & Cowick Moor, Shoulder o’ Mutton, Shearburn & Pitts Drain, Green Belt and the southern fields. Fawns were occasionally recorded in June.  They were also apparent in July, including a doe with two at Green Belt on 7th.  July totals reached seven (including two fawns on 29th), the locations including Creyke’s, Green Belt and the southern fields. On 4th August, one buck, three does and two fawns represented the month’s peak count of six, with two fawns at Green Belt on 25th.  August locations included Creyke’s, Green Belt, the southern end of Thorne Waste and the southern fields.  From September onwards, daily counts were unexceptional (maximum eight on 27th September), with records from Durham’s Garden, Green Belt, Fisons’ Road, the southern end of Thorne Waste and the southern fields.

 

AMPHIBIANS

 

†Common Frog Rana temporaria.  On 13th March, several adults and much spawn were alongside Fisons’ Road to the north of the site of Blue Bridge.  On 29th, there were colonies in Blackwater Dike at Will Pits, alongside Mervyn’s Tram, and “two lots of spawn” along Fisons’ Road between the Green Belt floods and Middle Moor Tram.  On 30th, there were three clumps of spawn in Inkle Moor Pond.  On 13th April, tadpoles were present in the scrape at Snaith & Cowick Fen (SE7048 1731).  Also in April, clumps of spawn were observed in a drain along Goole Moor Tram.  On 26th June, a “thumbnail sized” Common Frog at SE744147 left Angle Drain and crossed Angle Moor Track.  Finally, on 7th July, a dead adult was found along Fisons’ Road close to Will Pits.  

 

†Common Toad Bufo bufo.  At night on 9th March, a large adult was on Fisons’ Road near the site of Blue Bridge.  During the evening of 9th July, another large adult was at Green Belt Scrape, on a track close to Fisons’ Road.

 

†Smooth or Common Newt Triturus vulgaris.  Adults and tadpoles were present in the scrape at Snaith & Cowick Fen (SE7048 1731) on 13th April.  On the same date, adults were netted in the moor boundary drain south of Snaith & Cowick Moor (at SE709179).  In the dike adjoining the Thorne Colliery access road at SE699165, several adults were netted on 30th April.  In May, adults were noted in Cadman’s Pond (SE6962 1652) on 1st, in Inkle Moor Pond on 7th, and in a dike at Snaith & Cowick Fen (SE707177) on 15th.  On 7th June, two females and numerous tadpoles were netted in the main canal adjoining the old towpath at SE7334 1540.  On 6th September, tadpoles were present in Will Pits Scrape.  A few days later, on 12th, tadpoles were encountered at two locations.  These were a dike at Snaith & Cowick Fen (SE704171) and a further dike at the boundary of Long Meadow and the arable reversion field at SE708167 (all MH).  In a drain near disused Thorne Colliery buildings, counts of adults in May peaked at 12 on 11th (BPW).

 

FISH

 

Three-spined Stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus.  On 13th April, present in the scrape at Snaith &

Cowick Fen (SE7048 1731) and in the moor boundary drain south of Snaith & Cowick Moor (SE709179).  Met with in Durham’s Warping Drain at SE705172 on 15th May.  Described as “abundant” in Bell’s Pond on 12th September.

 

†Ten-spined or Nine-spined Stickleback Pungitius pungitius.  Present in the moor boundary drain south of Snaith & Cowick Moor (at SE709179) on 13th April.  Also in April, noted in the dike adjoining the colliery access road at SE699165.  On 15th May, located in a dike at Snaith & Cowick Fen (SE7070 1778) and in Durham’s Warping Drain at SE705172.  Described as “numerous” in Swinefleet Warping Drain near the bridge at SE7431 1448 on 17th September (all MH).

 

ADDITIONAL RECORDS OF BIRDS 1975 – 2011

 

1975

Willow Tit.  The record of P.m. borealis is one of two officially accepted in Britain.  Following a review by the British Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee, it is noted in its 38th report (October 2009) that the race is retained on the British List and the two records upheld (Ibis 152: 199-204). 

 

1984

Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis. On 5th February, 11 Phalacrocorax sp. (all seemingly the same size) were seen heading NNW on the moor edge between Inkle Moor and Thorne Colliery.  The birds were felt likely to be Shags by the observer (ML).  However, they were not close and the number seemed excessive for an inland site, even one relatively close to the upper estuary.  The birds were therefore described in A Supplement to Thorne Moors: Birds and Man as “probably Shags, despite the number involved”.  They were included in the recent Annotated Checklist as Phalacrocorax sp., appended to Great Cormorant.  Additional information has since become available.  On 27th February 1984, D.W.

Byrne reported 11 birds/Great Cormorants/Shags (details not clear) which had been roosting at Brockholes (SE6725) near Drax “for the past two weeks”.  On 20th, one of them had been found dead there.  It was a ringed Shag (number G6098), confirmed at Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery.  The British Trust for Ornithology has stated (Sabine Schaefer in litt. 3rd May 2013) that this Shag was ringed as a nestling on 18th June 1983 on West Wideopen, Farne Islands, Northumberland. 

 Although the new data do not allow the 11 to be characterized as Shags, they do support their inclusion on the Thorne Moors list as Phalacrocorax sp. under Shag rather than Great Cormorant.

 

2007

Black Kite Milvus migrans.  The record for 3rd June was rejected by the Lincolnshire Bird Club.

 

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus.  One on 29th June.

 

2008 Hobby.  Eight on 21st May.

 

2009

Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus.  One on 8th August (RJS) was accepted by the Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union Birds Section.

2010

Whooper Swan.  On 3rd February, 20 near Thorne Moors (Yorkshire Bird Report).

 

Pink-footed Goose.  Count on 16th September was 34 (not 27).

 

Greylag Goose.  The March maximum was c.150 (Yorkshire Bird Report).

 

2011

Pink-footed Goose.  The count on 2nd April was 15 (not 12).

 

Common Shelduck.  Four on 8th April.  

 

Shoveler.  Twenty on 1st April.

 

Grey Partridge.  Two pairs at Priory Farm on 12th April.

 

Common Quail Coturnix coturnix.  In June, one was in the Yorkshire Triangle on 22nd, and one was by Moor Road close to Creyke’s Crossing on 28th.

 

Hen Harrier.  A male and ‘ringtail’ on 12th April.

 

Montagu’s Harrier Circus pygargus.  An adult male was seen from Fisons’ Road North on 6th June (DS, TM, BM).  First seen passing low to the south, it then flew round for a period of time, before it started to circle and gain height, and then flew off to the NE or NNE.  Accepted by the YNU Birds Section. The fourth modern record.

 

Hobby.  Two on 25th April.

 

Northern Wheatear.  In April, one on 3rd, three on 5th/8th, two on 12th/30th and four on 19th.

 

Arctic Redpoll Carduelis hornemanni.  The record of two on 25th February was regarded as not proven by the YNU Birds Section.

 

Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra.  In April at Creyke’s Sidings, noted on 12th (nine) and 13th (14).

 

MAMMALS 2009-11 

 

Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus

2010.    Two dead juveniles (no visible marks) were found along Jones’ Cable on 18th July.

2011.    One adult was along Blackwater Dike (at c.SE732171) on 22nd April (JGH).

 

Mole Talpa europaea

2009.  One was found freshly killed (with only the hindquarters left) along Elmhirst Tram on 1st April.  

2011.  Has now colonized Chadwick’s Field, and molehills were also seen near Will Pits Scrape.

 

Common Shrew Sorex araneus    

2009.    One was found dead along Fisons’ Road, near Will Pits, on 3rd October.

2010.    One was close to Fisons’ Road, near the site of Blue Bridge, on 19th April.

 

Pygmy Shrew

2009.  One was found dead near the site of Blue Bridge on 14th February.  Individuals were reported on Goole Moor Tram on 15th August and at Natural England’s shed on 25th September.  One was found dead on Goole Moor Tram on 11th November.

 

†Water Shrew  

2009.    One was found dead at the Shoulder o’ Mutton on 13th February (per KH).

2010.    One was at Green Belt (approximately SE717162, an area of Heather and cottongrass) on 21st January (SH).  

 

[†Whiskered/Brandt’s Bat

2010.  A bat recorded as probably Whiskered Bat was at Durham’s Garden on 15th May.

2011.  Bats, described as Whiskered Bat, were seen on several nights in late August – September at Elmhirst, feeding around the security lights of the Tween Bridge wind farm substation.  There were one or two per date, plus three on 4th September].

 

[†Daubenton’s Bat

2010. A bat seen at Green Belt on 18th June was reported as probably this species].

 

[†Pipistrelle Pipistrellus sp.

2009.  One bat, described as probably a pipistrelle, was seen along Collis’s Tram on 15th November.

2010.  One bat, described as a pipistrelle, was at Durham’s Garden on 15th May.

2011.  One or two bats, described as pipistrelles, were frequently seen during July – September, feeding around security lights at Elmhirst, as above].  

 

Rabbit

2009.  Present throughout the year.  The majority of the sightings were along Fisons’ Road, near Swinefleet Warping Drain, during 24th February – 13th May and 12th June – 10th October.  The maximum was 30 on 28th February and 12th June.  Twenty were seen on Goole Moor on 27th May.   2011.  “Relatively numerous around the edges of the moors, particularly the southern fields.  Less frequent on the moors” (BPW).  There were two cases of myxomatosis in late summer, adjacent to the Thorne Colliery spoilheap.

 

†Brown Hare   

2009.  In April, the southern fields held one near Casson’s on 2nd and three on 8th.  On 2nd May, a leveret was found on Goole Moor Tram and an adult was at the Shoulder o’ Mutton.   Only otherwise reported in September, on 9th (along Fisons’ Road North on Rawcliffe Moor) and 11th (Goole Moor).    2010.  In May, two were at Creyke’s on 10th and one was at Bank Top on 12th.  Singles were seen on Snaith & Cowick Moor on 2nd-3rd August, and one was reported (no location) on 5th November. 2011.  Singles were at Creyke’s on 11th May and 27th December.  Frequent nocturnally in the southern fields.  In August, up to c.20 were seen there regularly, maxima on 8th-9th/11th, and ten on 20th included adults and juveniles.

 

Grey Squirrel

2009.    Singles were seen at Will Pits on 21st January, 25th February and 7th March.  Two were at Woodpecker Wood on 31st August, with singles there on 25th September and 5th October. 

2010.    Singles were at Woodpecker Wood on 22nd February and 27th April.

2011.    There were records of singles in February on 22nd (at Will Pits) and 25th (at the Alder Woods).  There was also one on 22nd April, again at Will Pits.  Two others occurred in the Thorne Colliery area, on 1st June (Entrance Bridge) and 18th October (Durham’s Garden).

 

†Water Vole

2009.  One was seen in an arable land drain south of Crowle Moor (SE748138) on 24th February.  On

1st March one was reported near the Viewing Platform, with another single in the Western Boundary Drain on 25th April.  An adult and a juvenile were in the ditch alongside the railway at Moors Bridge on 2nd August. 

2011.  One was seen in Swinefleet Warping Drain at Will Pits on 16th April.

 

Wood Mouse

2009.  One was found dead at the western end of Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram on 12th October.

Brown Rat

2011.  Present “in and around drains” at Elmhirst during 8th-15th August and on 7th September.  The maximum was “a few”.    

 

Fox

2009.        Singles were encountered in all months up to September, with no reports thereafter.  A young Fox was seen on 29th July.  On 30th September, Fox droppings across the moors were purple from the fruits of Bramble.   

2010.        In January, one was along Elmhirst Tram on 7th, with another in a field south of Crowle Moor on 31st.  On 16th February, a single was along Mervyn’s Tram.  Next day, one was limping badly at Will Pits, and was found dead on the following morning. Also in February, one was along Elmhirst Tram on 22nd.  In April, there was one on 22nd (no details), one at the Moorends (Paraffin) Works on 27th, and one at Elmhirst on 29th.  In June, singles were seen on 18th (at Will Pits), 23rd (two juveniles nocturnally at Middle Moor Tram) and 28th (one at flooded workings along Fisons’ Road).  July records involved singles along Collis’s Tram on 6th and along Fisons’ Road on 10th.  The single October sighting was one at Long Meadow on 19th.  One was on Rawcliffe Moor on 4th November. 

On 21st December, singles were seen at Chadwick’s Field and at Will Pits.

2011.        In the early months, reported on 20th March, 8th/16th April, 21st/27th May (all singles) and 31st May (two).  Specified locations were Durham’s Garden, Goole Moor, Will Pits, Angle Drain Track and the ‘Woodside floods’.  At the latter, on 27th May a Fox was wading into water to plunder the eggs of Black-headed Gulls.  A Fox was at Will Pits on 17th June.  On 17th August, singles were at Durham’s Garden and in the southern fields, the latter being repeatedly mobbed by an owl (Longeared/Tawny) after dark.  There were occasional records from October – early December, all singles except two in the southern fields in the early hours of 6th December.  The other locations included the Durham’s Garden – Rhododendron Path area, Will Pits and Goole Fields.

Stoat

2010.  First recorded on 15th March, at Whaley Balk, with the next on 17th August, along the track from Thorne Colliery to Whaley Balk.  In October, singles were seen at the Shoulder o’ Mutton on 2nd and along Fisons’ Road on 25th.

 

Weasel

2009.  Singles were reported on 29th June (at the Swinefleet Works) and 10th November (on a footpath at Casson’s).

2011.  One was at Green Belt at 22nd October.

 

†Mink

2009.     An adult was seen closely (and photographed) on 27th June (Sorby NHS).  One was seen at

Natural England’s shed on 28th August.  Natural England staff commented that Mink are now “common” and are causing concern with regard to the Water Vole population of the Moors.  One was trapped during the year.

2010.     In March, one was at Will Pits on 13th, with a female at Natural England’s shed on 25th.

2011.     One was at Bank Top on 11th March.  On 5th May, one was observed swimming in the moor boundary drain at the Alder Woods.  During “summer nights”, at least two were seen at the Tween Bridge wind farm construction site (BPW).

 

†Badger

2011.  Present during the year, but continued persecution precludes publication.

 

†Red Deer

2009.    The first record was two hinds at Will Pits on 29th January.  There were three hinds at Bank Top on 14th February.  In March, three hinds were on Fisons’ Road at Will Pits on 7th/15th, with two stags and a hind in fields adjoining Crowle Moor on the latter date.  In April, on 1st a stag was heard roaring in Pony Bridge Wood, on 6th eight hinds were at Will Pits, and on 25th a hind was on Fisons’ Road at Will Pits.  5th May brought records of 12 in three groups at Will Pits, with seven on 15th at the same location.  There were three records in June, all at Will Pits: on 10th (one), 24th (a hind and calf) and 29th (three hinds).  A stag and five hinds were at Will Pits on 4th August.  On 7th August a blind calf at Will Pits was culled on humane grounds.  On 24th August, five hinds with three calves were along Angle Drain and a calf was at Pony Bridge Marsh.  September records began on 7th, with a hind and “yearling” on Goole Moor Tram.  Will Pits yielded three hinds on 16th and several subsequent dates, plus a roaring stag on 21st.  A “huge” stag on Collis’s Tram on 25th completed the month’s records.  Stags were recorded in October on 3rd (one at Will Pits) and 5th (three roaring at the southern end of the Moors).  Four stags were seen at Will Pits on 19th November, “including three prickets, one with only one antler”.  Occasional hinds were in the Will Pits area in late November.  Sightings on 8th December involved 13 individuals along Mervyn’s Tram and two hinds at Will Pits, these being the last report of the year.           

2010.    The first were two hinds at ‘Middle Moor’ on 22nd February.  In April, two were at Will Pits on 24th and on Goole Moor on 27th.  Nineteen were at Will Pits on 14th May.  In June, one stag was on Crowle Moor on 2nd, two hinds were with a calf at Natural England’s shed on 11th, and two were at Will Pits on 18th.  On 23rd June, two hinds and a suckling calf were along Fisons’ Road at Will Pits.  The only July – August record was three in a field east of Bank Top on 5th July.  Stags were heard in Pony Bridge Wood on 26th September and 2nd October, at Will Pits on 28th September and 8th October, and in the Pony Bridge area on 28th September.  On 9th October, 18 were at Will Pits and in adjacent fields, with six at Will Pits on 7th November.

2011.    The only record until April was obtained on 22nd February, when 27+ were noted at Will Pits (only one with visible antlers).  Seen on nine dates in April, four of them involving Will Pits: 4th (six), 9th (three hinds), 16th (12) and 19th (seven hinds).  The other dates were 7th (10), 14th (seven at Pony Bridge Marsh), 21st (10 on Crowle Moor), 23rd (18 hinds along Blackwater Dike) and 26th (one stag and six hinds on Goole Moor).  On 14th May there were four on Goole Moor, and on 11th June there were two hinds (no location).  During the night of 11th July, eight were in fields near Elmhirst.  In August there were nocturnal records from the southern fields of up to 18, plus 33 on 15th.  Also in the southern fields, there were nocturnal records in September on 4th (one) and 7th (19).  All October – December records of Red Deer were apparently from the Will Pits area. On 7th October, one was seen and a roaring stag heard.  Single stags were heard on 19th October and seen on 9th November.  There were records in December on 6th (25), 12th (four hinds), 13th (10, including an immature stag) and 28th (five).  

 

†Roe Deer

2009.  There were frequent records during January – May, ranging over most of the Moors and surrounding arable land.  The highest count in January was six on 4th.  In February, eight were recorded on 24th at Bank Top.  Also notable was 28th February, with eight in the northern part of the Moors, two at the flooded workings along Fisons’ Road, two at the Shoulder o’ Mutton, one along the Western Boundary Drain, and a last single in the southern fields (total 12+).  The first fawn was recorded on 29th June at Green Belt.  Singles were occasionally reported July – August, with two on four dates, plus a doe and fawn on 4th August.  There were seven records in September, including three adults on Goole Moor on 11th and a fawn at Bank Top on 23rd.  October brought four records, including eight adults on 20th (no details).  Subsequently, singles were encountered except on 11th November (three does on Goole Moor) and 27th December (six adults at Will Pits/Goole Moor).     2010. There were a number of January records, with daily counts occasionally reaching five, but 11 on 7th/12th. Locations included Green Belt, the Fisons’ Road – Will Pits area, Goole Moor Tram, Snaith & Cowick Moor and Creykes.  With fewer February contacts, no total exceeded two except on 3rd, when does were seen at Green Belt (one) and on Snaith & Cowick Moor (five).  The other records included a doe at the Swinefleet Works on 23rd.  There were occasional records in March.  The maximum was five on 1st, mostly at Chadwick’s Field.  There were three at flooded workings on 16th/18th, and four on 25th (single pairs at Will Pits and the site of Blue Bridge).  Records increased in April, mostly of singles, but occasionally up to three, rarely more.  On 10th, 11+ were at Long Meadow.  On 19th there were Roe Deer between Green Belt – Will Pits (three, including two bucks) and in a field north of Church Piece on Crowle Moor (one buck).  Also in April, six were seen on 27th (no details).  In May, apart from five along Fisons’ Road on 15th, other records in that month concerned one-two only, in the Durham’s Garden – Chadwick’s Field area, at Green Belt, in the Will Pits – Fisons’ Road area and at Creyke’s.  The first June record was of a doe suckling a fawn along Middle Moor Tram on 11th.  Other June records involved one-three to the end of the month.  Two bucks and a doe were along Fisons’ Road on 3rd July, with up to four on subsequent July dates, the locations including Jones’ Cable and Chadwick’s Field.  Frequently seen in August, the totals amounting to one-four, except nine on 17th that included a fawn at Bank Top.  Other specified August locations were Chadwick’s Field, Green Belt, Fisons’ Road – Will Pits, Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram and Goole Moor.  Counts in September did not exceed three (on 16th), and included a doe and fawn at the

Moorends (Paraffin) Works on 5th.  Five were along Fisons’ Road on 1st October and 20th November.  Other records in the last three months of the year were few, but included eight (no details) on 21st December.

2011.  Reported in March on 11th/18th, the latter involving four Roe.  Until July, there were irregular reports of up to three (including nocturnally in the southern fields), plus April totals of 14 on 6th/9th, eight on 7th-8th/12th/19th, five on 11th and 10 on 13th.   A pregnant doe was seen on 20th April.  Near the Viewing Platform on 31st May, five were seen with a fawn, as were four with a fawn (no location) on 17th June.  A female with a fawn was along Fisons’ Road on 3rd August.  In the southern fields on August nights there were up to four or so, plus six on 15th.  Other August counts included nine on 31st (no details).  There were occasional records in September, including two nocturnally in the southern fields on 7th.  Up to three Roe in October – November were superseded by eight on 9th November, but details were few. December reports, also minimal, began on 1st and continued to 28th, with four being eclipsed by 11 on 4th and seven on 7th.    

 

†Reeve's Muntjac Mutjiacus reevesi

2011.  In the first week of December, one was seen well (including visible tusks) in the field between the Thorne Colliery spoilheap and the Moorends allotments (VJ). 

 

AMPHIBIANS 2011 

 

†Common Frog.  On 22nd March, two colonies were discovered, with c.10 adults in each, and both with large clumps of spawn.  The first was on the northern side of Fisons’ Road near the site of Blue Bridge.  The second was south of Fisons’ Road, SW of Will Pits and towards Mervyn’s Tram.  A few days later, on 26th, six adults and five small amounts of spawn were at Inkle Moor Pond.  Eight adults with spawn were in Blackwater Dike close to Bank Top on 1st April, and were seen again during the next few days.  On 6th April, Common Frogs and spawn were observed at Will Pits Scrape, with up to three adults in a nearby minor drain in early April.  Finally, an adult was at Will Pits on 2nd July.

 

†Common Toad.  At Inkle Moor Pond, recorded in March on 22nd (three) and 26th (two).  

 

LIST OF OBSERVERS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

Thanks are offered to all who have obtained records quoted in this report (with apologies for any omissions).  

Charlotte Adams, Paul Adams, Robert Adams, B.M. Baxter, Stuart Beeby, Robert Broch, Kevin Bull (Natural England), Robert Croxton (Sorby NHS), L.J. Degnan, Richard Drew, Chris

Evans (Natural England), Denis Goodwin, Melvin Grasby, Barry Greenacre, Chris Halstead, Martin Hammond (Martin Hammond Ecology), Pat Heath, Janet Heath, Keith Heywood, James Hinchliffe, Steve Hiner (Natural England), Peter Hinks (Goole & Dist NHS), J.G. Hitchcock, Jack Hollingsworth, Jim Johnson, Vernon Jones, Peter Kendall, Helen R. Kirk, Paul Leonard, Martin Limbert, Tom Lowe,

J. McDermott, Ian McDonald, Simone Maw, Bernard Minskip, Tom Minskip, Ron Moat, Ian Morley,

Col Neale,  Justin Parker, K.H. Pearson, Ray Poole, Carl Poulston, Michael Poulston, W.H. Priestley,

Des Roberts, Steve Routledge, P.C. Roworth (Natural England), Adrian Scutt, Kieran Sheehan (JBA

Consulting), Julian Small (Natural England), Brian Smith, D.W. Smith, Jim Snowden, R.J. Sprakes, Ben Steel, Lianna Stogden, G. Thomas, Barry Thompson, Brian Thompson, Stewart Todd, Graham Todd, B.P. Wainwright, Colin Wall, Mark Waller, Simon Warwick, Robert Watson, Ben Whitworth, John Wozencroft.  Middleton Eco Consultancy (A. Cawthrow, D. Little, P. Middleton, W. Middleton, D. Pearce).

  Bev Baxter kindly supplied the report on bird ringing, which includes acknowledgements to all those involved during the ringing visits.

Chris Evans (Natural England) is thanked for furnishing reports on two monitored species of bird, and for supplying information on culled species.  He also communicated the Environment Agency’s results of fish sampling in 2008, these results being compiled by Dr Jerome Masters MIFM.

 

GULL-BILLED TERN ON THORNE MOORS by Bryan P. Wainwright

 

At 11.00hrs on 30th May 2012, I was birding from the area of Fisons’ Road where Middle Moor Tram joins it, scanning through a breeding colony of Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus. This was situated east of the tram and south of the road (the ‘Woodside floods’).  The weather was hot and sunny, with a light west wind.  In good light at c.250m range, I noticed a tern at rest on a flat and almost water-covered area of peat.  

        Though the heat haze was bad, the tern did not seem to be either of the species I might expect on

Thorne Moors, that is Common Tern Sterna hirundo and Arctic Tern S. paradisaea.  In size it seemed little smaller (though slimmer) than the Black-headed Gulls, and did not appear to have red on either bill or legs, which all appeared dark. I was excited by the prospect of it being a Sandwich Tern S. sandvicensis, a species I still wanted for my local patch list.  I needed closer views and fortunately had my ’scope.  I walked down Middle Moor Tram a short way until nearly opposite the bird c.100m east of this path.  The negative effect of heat haze was gone, and with a zoom lens up to x40, good views were had for a couple of minutes.  The tern then became nervous and made a short flight, landing further from the path but back the way I had come. Continued observation confirmed other points.  Much of the length of the bird comprised the long swept-up wings that projected far beyond the short tail.  The outer primaries were edged black on the trailing edge.  In flight, the tern was gull- like with its noticeably short forked tail.  Also, the bill was like that of a small gull, short, deep and uniformly black.  The legs were black or very dark grey, and fairly long for a tern.  It was not a Sandwich Tern because of two features in particular, namely the smooth glossy black cap, lacking a shaggy crest at the back, and the all-dark bill without a yellow tip.  It seemed that it could only be an adult summer-plumaged Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica, a fact quickly confirmed by the Collins Bird Guide (second edition).  My experience of this species was limited to several abroad, and all were some years earlier.

 After another brief viewing of the tern it flew north across Fisons’ Road, and mingled with the breeding Black-headed Gulls there for a short time before landing out of sight.  In general, the tern did not often mix with the gulls.  It was now 11.30hrs, and I needed a second observer to support my identification.  I therefore phoned Rob Adams, who lives nearby and is also a photographer, but he could not come immediately, arriving shortly before 13.00hrs.  The tern had not been seen by me between phoning Rob and his subsequent arrival, but as he approached, the tern appeared again right on cue, where I had first observed it.  Once Rob had obtained close views unhindered by heat haze he was in no doubts that it was a Gull-billed Tern.  Rob was able to take photographs of the tern, the first time this had been done in Yorkshire.   

 As Thorne Moors is part of a National Nature Reserve, Natural England was contacted to ask if the news of the Gull-billed Tern could be released.  It was stated that the news should not go beyond local birders, because I was working a contract of a sensitive nature for NE.  Inevitably, the news did leak further and around 30 people travelled to see the bird, though very few actually did so, as it departed to the north, with a single Black-headed Gull, at c.18.45hrs.  However, more photographs were obtained, by Chris Harris and John Hewitt.

 This Gull-billed Tern was the tenth modern Yorkshire record, being accepted by the Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union Birds Section Adjudication Panel.  The first of these terns was at Spurn in 1976

(Mather 1978), and all were coastal except for one at Old Moor RSPB reserve in 2003 (Waddington 2003).  The Thorne record is therefore the second for South Yorkshire. The previous Yorkshire records were in May or during July – September, the four in May including the Old Moor bird.  An article about the Thorne occurrence was contributed to Yorkshire Birding (Wainwright 2012), which includes photographs taken by Rob Adams and John Hewitt.  The relevant Thorne Moors blog entry features photographs by Rob Adams and Chris Harris.  Interestingly, less than three months after the Thorne Gull-billed Tern, another inland record was obtained in Yorkshire, from Tophill Low in the Hull Valley (Hodges 2012). 

 Reference to Wainwright (2010), the annual reports for 2010-11 and a draft of this report, showed that the Gull-billed Tern was the seventh species of tern to be recorded on Thorne Moors.  In addition to Common Tern, there have been a number of Black Terns Chlidonias niger (10+ records) and Arctic Terns (11 records).  There were Sandwich Terns in 1994 and 2011, and both Little Tern Sternula albifrons and Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia in 1998.

 

References

Hodges, M. [2012] The Gull-billed Tern at Tophill Low.  Yorkshire Birding 21: 78-80.

 

Mather, J.R. (1978) Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union Ornithological Report for 1976.  Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union, [Doncaster].

 

Waddington, D.M. [2003] The Gull-billed Tern at Old Moor.  Yorkshire Birding 12: 59-60.

 

Wainwright, B.P. (2010) The Birds of Thorne Moors.  An Annotated Checklist. THMCF Technical Report No. 19.

 

Wainwright, B.P. [2012] The Gull-billed Tern at Thorne Moors.  Yorkshire Birding 21: 45-47. [Editorial comment pp.47-48]. 

 

WATER VOLES ON COVERT CAMERAS by Ron Moat

 

In April 2008, James Hinchliffe of Top House Farm, near Rawcliffe Bridge, informed me he had Water Voles Arvicola terrestris in some of his drainage dikes close to Thorne Moors.  On the same day I visited the area he described with my camera, and without any problems located and photographed a Water Vole.  It was easy, and I intended to return in the near future to take more photographs, in search of the perfect shot, which one very rarely achieves.  I was not to see another Water Vole at Top House Farm until April 2012. Although, when walking the dikes in the intervening years we saw quite a few holes which we thought were Water Vole, and swimways through the waterweed which however could have been Moorhen Gallinula chloropus, we did not notice any Water Vole latrines.  This led me to believe that Water Voles were no longer to be found in the area.

          At the beginning of April 2012, one of the locals said they had seen a Water Vole or Brown Rat

Rattus norvegicus in one of the dikes near the railway crossing at Top House Farm.  James and I visited the area but did not see anything we could definitely say was a Water Vole and not a Brown Rat. Both James and myself had covert cameras which we used on Thorne Moors recording Rabbit

Oryctolagus cuniculus, Fox Vulpes vulpes, Stoat Mustela erminea, Mink M. vison, Badger Meles meles, Red Deer Cervus elaphus and Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus, as well as owls and other birds.  These cameras are quite small, the largest one being 150mm x 100mm x 50mm.  They run on battery power, are waterproof, and are fitted with a wide angle, fixed-focus lens.  They operate with combined heat and motion sensors, which are adjustable to pick up motion from the size of a Wood Mouse Apodemus sylvaticus upwards. One of our cameras films in high definition, and both take either stills or video.  We prefer video, as it is more informative than a still shot, and can be set to run from one to 60 seconds, with a minimum interval between shots of one second and a maximum of 60 minutes.  Daylight capture is in full colour.   Night-time capture is in black-and-white, illuminated by infrared light which runs off the camera battery.  Infrared light is not detected by human or animal eyesight, so the subject is unaware of its operation.  The date and time of each film clip or still can be recorded with each shot, yielding valuable information on the habits of mammals and birds.  

 Returning to the Water Voles, we set up two cameras in what we thought were the likeliest spots on 12th April 2012, and recorded four instances of Water Vole activity in the first 24 hours of surveillance.  We then regularly recorded Water Voles in the areas surveyed by the cameras, and were able to identify different voles by damage to their ears and differences in their tail markings.  

 

 

 

After the exceptionally wet winter of 2012-13, some of the dikes which we had previously surveyed became almost full to overflowing and we wondered if the Water Voles had been flooded out.  So again we employed the covert cameras to survey what we thought were the prime Water Vole areas, and were able to record that the voles had survived any possible flooding.  During this surveillance, we recorded a Stoat systematically entering the vole burrows which we were surveying, and again became concerned for the voles’ survival.  However, later recording showed that some, if not all voles had survived the Stoat’s attempted predation.  Also, the recordings indicated that Water Voles were back in the dike in which we originally saw them in 2008.  

 Without these covert cameras we would have been unsure of the existence of Water Voles within the dike complex of Top House Farm.  We were also able to gain some knowledge of territorial behaviour, number of individuals, times of activity and food preferences, all over 24 hours per day, seven days per week, when with physical recording we would have been lucky to survey more than a few hours each week.

 

ELECTROFISHING IN 2008 by Martin Limbert

 

The Environment Agency sampled the fish fauna of Swinefleet Warping Drain on 15th February 2008.  Four species were encountered: Common Bream Abramis brama, Roach Rutilus rutilus, Pike Esox lucius and Perch Perca fluviatilis.  The results are given in Table 1.

 

Section

Map reference

Length

Results

Upper

SE7659821089

100m

Common Bream (1),

Roach (3), Pike (1)

Mid

SE7658121195

100m

Roach (10), Pike (1),

Perch (1)

Lower

SE7650121749

480m

Common Bream (3),

Roach (15), Pike (1)

 

Table 1. Results of electrofishing in Swinefleet Warping Drain on 15th February 2008.

(Source: Environment Agency)

 

The Environment Agency reported to Natural England (per C. Evans in litt.):

Low numbers of fish were caught and the species diversity was low, with only coarse fish species being captured.  The efficiency of the electrofishing surveys was impacted by the high turbidity (poor clarity) of the drain on the day of the survey.  When under the influence of an electric current, many fish species will come to the surface, however some species do not, therefore making capture in high turbidity water difficult.  [European] Eels [Anguilla anguilla] often stay near the bed of a waterbody when electrofished and are therefore difficult to see and catch in poor conditions.  Although Eels were absent during this survey, it cannot be confirmed that they are not present within the drain.  The flap valves at the confluence of Swinefleet Drain with the Ouse form a barrier to migration for fish species that might otherwise migrate in from the Humber (e.g. Eel, Flounder [Platichthys flesus]).

Notwithstanding the comment regarding the “flap valves” at Swinefleet Clough, river water does routinely access the drain, perhaps unintentionally, although the extent and duration of this are not known.

 

LITERATURE SOURCES

 

The following citations are new, or additional to those in ‘The Birds of Thorne Moors.  A Guide to Literature Sources’ (THMCF Technical Report No. 18). 

          [Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union excursion, 9th July 1881]. Doncaster, Nottingham, and Lincoln Gazette, 15th July 1881

          Baxter, B.M. (2013) Bird ringing report.  Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report 2012: 25-26

          Croxton, R. (2009) Meeting to Crowle and Thorne Moors – 27 June.  Sorby Natural History Society Newsletter 503: 13

          Hitchcock, J. [2011] Thorne Moors Crane Watch Report 2011. Unpublished report to Natural England

          Hitchcock, J. [2012] Thorne Moors Crane Watch Report 2012. Unpublished report to Natural England

          [Howes, C.A.] (1974) More Harvest Mouse Records.  Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union

Newsletter 23: 2-3  

          Limbert, M. (2012) Bird-related collections at Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery: a description and bibliography.  Lapwing Special Series 16: 6-36

             [J.H. Verhees and Alfred Hazelwood egg collections]

          Limbert, M. (2012) Common Cranes on Thorne Moors 1970-2008.  Lapwing Special Series 16: 5

          Limbert, M. (2013) Electrofishing in 2008.  Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report 2012: 40

          Lunn, J., P. Middleton and K. Bull (2011) The restoration of Thorne and Hatfield Moors.  British Wildlife 22: 322-332

[Includes some information on the vertebrate fauna, including the erroneous statement

“Palmate Newt Lissotriton helveticus exists on the site’s periphery”]

          Middleton, P. [2012] Breeding Nightjar Survey – 2012 – Humberhead Peatlands NNR, SAC, SSSi, SPA (Thorne, Goole and Crowle Moors).  Unpublished report by Middleton Ecological Consultancy, Barnsley, to Natural England

          Moat, R. (2013) Water Voles on covert cameras.  Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report 2012: 3840

          Wainwright, B.P. [2010] Humberhead Peatlands National Nature Reserve.  Common Crane Grus grus Warden’s Diary 2010.  Unpublished report to Natural England

          Wainwright, B.P. [2011] Humberhead Peatlands National Nature Reserve.  Common Crane Grus grus Warden’s Diary 2011.  Unpublished report to Natural England

          Wainwright, B.P. [2012] The Gull-billed Tern at Thorne Moors.  Yorkshire Birding 21: 45-47 [editorial addition pp.47-48]  

          Wainwright, B.P. (2012) Thorne Moors 2002/03.  In: D. Hazard (editor) Doncaster Bird

Report 2002/03.  Doncaster & District Ornithological Society, Doncaster

[Downloaded from doncasterbirding.co.uk/wordpress]

          Wainwright, B.P. (2013) Gull-billed Tern on Thorne Moors.  Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report 2012: 37-38

 

 

 

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