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Bird Records For Thorne Moors 1982  

This was originally a typed report by Terry J. Wells and it has been reformatted and word processed by Bryan P. Wainwright (2003) with additional records included from other sources, notably Limbert, M., Mitchell, R.D., and Rhodes, R.J. (1986) Thorne Moors Birds and Man. Doncaster and District Ornithological Society: London.


English and scientific names, and sequence of birds, follows the List of Birds of the Western Palearctic (British Birds Ltd, 1997). The RSPB species of conservation concern cannot be used retrospectively, and so has not been used. Exceptional records such as earliest dates refer to the period up to 1982 only.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis

Recorded on 10 occasions between 14th March and 25th July, at Inkle Moor Pond. Two pairs were seen here on 11th April and a pair with two juveniles was seen on 25th July (ML). There was one sighting at Shoulder o’ Mutton (no details).

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

Single birds were seen on nine dates between 12th April and 20th November. The only exception was of possibly two (because of different observers) on 12th, with one at New Cut Drain and one at Shoulder o’ Mutton.

Mute Swan Cygnus olor  
At New Zealand pump, one seen on 15th May (ML). One flew east over the colliery area on 8th August and four flew south east on 4th December.
Grey Goose spp. Anser
A skein of 70 flew north east over the Dairy Farm on 7th January (TJW). A skein of 50 flew south west on 2nd February (CM, EH) and 50 flew over on 14th April (ML, WHP).

Canada Goose Branta canadensis
A bird thought to be this species flew south over the ‘Middle Moor’ on 2nd March (CF). Three geese thought to be this species flew overhead on 14th March (ML) and two flew south west over the Southern Canals on 30th March.

Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope 
Six flew south over the Paraffin area on 16th January (CF) and 10 were at Inkle Moor Pond on 7th November (ML).

Common Teal A. crecca 
Recorded from February to November. On 11th February 30 were seen, and on 2nd August 40 adults and 15 juveniles were counted. There were 100 by 10th October (ML) with a maximum of 200+ on 31st October and 7th November (ML).

Mallard A. platyrhynchos
Recorded every month except September, with most records of between 10 to 20. Maximum was 50+ on 24th November. Ten ducklings were seen in May at the Shoulder o’ Mutton, and eight young were seen in June.

Tufted Duck A. fuligula 
A female was at Inkle Moor Pond on 24th October (ML). 

Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
An immature female was at Shoulder o’ Mutton on 7th November (ML).

Birds of prey
Sites given for raptors are general. Usually only the first area of observation is stated, except where sites were very far apart. A comma between records of the same date means separate records. Depending on views the same bird of prey may be recorded differently by different observers. For example with Marsh Harrier; recorded as a female by one observer or a cream-crown by another, therefore with the following records this is taken into account and only the minimum number of birds per day is taken. Totals are the minimum possible numbers, calculated for all areas, plumages and observers for that day. All are adult birds, unless otherwise stated. Some birds are not aged and sexed due to distance or poor views.


White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla

The bird was seen flying over Will Pits and ‘Middle Moor’ area on the afternoon of 28th February by WHP (who also photographed it) and by GS and ADW. The following morning the moors were inundated with birders from as far away as Teesside and many other areas of the country, but it was only seen by the Teesside group, more or less disappearing into the distance heading north east, very early in the morning. This represents the first modern record for Thorne Moors, and was accepted by BBRC.

The bird had roosted on the moors overnight before departing for Spurn where it was recorded on 1st March. 

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus 
A cream-crown was at Shoulder o’ Mutton on 23rd May (ML).

Hen Harrier C. cyaneus 
Recorded from January to April, with a maximum of five, two males and three ringtails, on 1st March. Two were seen on 14th April, the last bird of winter was on 20th April. Returning autumn birds appeared on 8th October, with a male and ringtail seen. There were three further sightings this month all of ringtails. During November four males and two females were seen, with a ringtail in the colliery area and another bird at Casson’s on 23rd for example. In December single males and ringtails were recorded.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 
Seen in all months this year except June. Virtually all records were of single birds exceptions were two on 3rd, 6th January and 12th September. A female was displaying over Will Pits on 9th May.

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 
Recorded every month with many sightings. Maximum number was at least six on 19 April (WHP). Also sighting of four or five birds was not uncommon. 

Merlin F. columbarius 
Recorded from January to March with an average of one to three birds, though there were four on 9th January and five on 16th January. Four were also seen, on 1st March and there was a maximum of six for the last record of the last part of winter, 22nd March. The next record was on 1st August with a juvenile on peat at Shoulder o’ Mutton. There were no records for September, two records of singles in October, four records in November with two females on 7th. In December there were seven records all of single birds.
Hobby F. subbuteo  
There were seven records all of single birds, the first on 23rd May over Mill Drain Marsh (ML). A single was over the Paraffin area on 30th May, and one over the same area on 27th June (WHP). Next record was from the Southern Canals on 11th July (WHP) then over Mill Drain Marsh on 18th July (CF). The last sightings were of hawking birds chasing dragonflies, and on one occasion a Barn Swallow.

Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
Resident breeder with a maximum of 30 on 7th February, but average counts were of around four. A bird with six young was seen on 19th June.

Grey Partridge Perdix perdix 
Not as numerous as Red-legged Partridge, the maximum was 10 on 27th March.

Common Quail Coturnix coturnix
One was at Plum Tree Farm north of Moorends, on 11th June (JWH). 

Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
Recorded every month with between one to five generally seen and a maximum of 17 on 11th of September, mostly at Goole Moor.

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus 
There were six sightings from Southern Canals and Paraffin area, one on 1st and 23rd April, two on 13th May, one on 7th July, one on 1st August and one on 29th November. After the serious fire in June a nest was found on Canal Tow Path, the eggs roasted (TJW).

Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Resident breeding species, mainly in drains around the edge of the moors, with a maximum of six on two dates. 

Common Coot Fulica atra
Small numbers breed at Inkle Moor Pond, Shoulder o’ Mutton, Paraffin Cuttings and Bell’s Pond; the first was seen at the former on 14th February. One was found shot dead at the latter in April.


Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 
There were three records, one on 21st April, two on 25th April and three on 16th May all in the colliery area.

European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria  
Uncommon species usually seen flying over. Two flew over on 1st January, one heard on 3rd January, six flew over on 4th April and three flew over Goole Moor on 4th September (ML).


Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 
Usually seen flying over in small numbers, the maximum being 80 on 3rd January (WHP). A pair was recorded on peat stacks at Shoulder o’ Mutton on 23rd and 26th May. On 17th December 64 in two flocks (16+ and 48) were seen (CF).
Dunlin Calidris alpina
One flock left a pool in the colliery yard on 7th November (WHP).

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago 
Resident breeding species, usually counts are between one and five with nine recorded on 11th February. The maximum though was 13 drumming males on 12th April (CF). 

Woodcock Scolopax rusticola 
Often observed when roding in the breeding season with a maximum of six on 16th May (BCE). Winter records are usually of single birds.

Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata
One flew over the moors on 1st March (ML) and two were on peat stacks on 12th April (WHP). Two were near Elmhirst, on 30th April, one flew over Inkle Moor on 23rd May and two were flying about the south east area of Southern Canals on 17th to 19th, and one was at the same area on 11th July. Breeding probably took place near the Shoulder o’ Mutton. 

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus  
One flew over the Pony Bridge area on 8th August (ML).

Common Redshank T. totanus 
Three over flew the moors on 10th January, one on 10th and 22nd and one went north east over Shoulder o’ Mutton on 22nd March. On 6th June one flew over southern part of Southern Canals and one flew over Mill Drain Marsh. 

Common Greenshank T. nebularia 
One flew over Mill Drain Marsh on 18th July (ML) on 2nd August one flew over Shoulder o’ Mutton, and one was heard on 8th August. On 15th August one landed on flooded wasteland near the colliery with Black-headed Gulls (ML). 

Green Sandpiper T. ochropus
Recorded on 12 dates, with three dates in April, one on 16th, two on 17th and a single on 22nd. There were four records in July, with the monthly maximum being three on 17th. The August maximum was two (ML) and there were three other records in the month. The last one was 4th September (ML).

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
There were 50 on 14th April and the maximum was c.200 on 9th and 26th May, 100 at Shoulder o’ Mutton and 200 at the Paraffin Cuttings. The breeding season was unsuccessful at all sites. 
A pullus ringed here on 18th June 1980 was recovered at Davyhulme Sewage Farm, Greater Manchester on 17th October 1982.

Common Gull L. canus 
On 25th July, 10 passed over and two were on peat stacks.
Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus 
On 6th January, 12 flew north east over ‘Middle Moor’.

Herring Gull L. argentatus 
On 6th January, 5 flew north east over ‘Middle Moor’.

Great Black-backed Gull L. marinus
Two were seen on 23rd November. Two were recorded on 4th December. Also recorded on 25th December.

Stock Dove Columba oenas
Seen in small numbers most months, with between one to eight often seen at Woodpecker Corner.

Wood Pigeon C. palumbus 
Good numbers in winter months with a maximum of c.1000 on 9th January and 800 by 24th January. There were 700 in March and 500 in two flocks in November, 100 at Elmhirst and 400 at Will Pits.

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Usually small numbers are seen around the edges of the moors. One or two were regular at Will Pits from March to at least May. Maximum count was 50+ at the Dairy Farm grain store on 21st December.

Turtle Dove S. turtur 
Summer visitor, breeds, maximum was nine in June. First and last records were two on 30th April and two on 12 September (WHP). 

Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
A call was heard distantly on 12th April and the first definite record was on 22nd April with a maximum of c.11 by 9th May. On 13th May a rufous phase was seen along the Canal Tow Path and again at the Southern Canals on 31st May. Two juveniles were seen on 15th August (ML) and the last record was on 30 September. 

Little Owl Athene noctua
Between 15th and 16th May there were four sightings, one at the end of Jones Cable, one in the colliery area, one near Pony Bridge and one between Casson’s and Elmhirst. The only other record was of one at the end of the Dairy Farm track at the coal store area on 21st October.

Tawny Owl Strix aluco
Recorded between May and August. On 15th and 16th May six birds were calling one along Jones Cable, one near colliery area, one at Woodpecker Corner, one at Limberlost Farm, one at moor edge at Medge Hall and one near Swinefleet Warping Drain. There was one record in July and August. 

Long-eared Owl Asio otus
Nestlings were calling on the edge of Crowle Moor on 15th and 16th May.

Short-eared Owl A. flammeus 
Singles at Southern Canals on 8th January and at Crowle Moor on 10th December.

European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus 
First heard on 15th and 16th May, with one east of Casson’s and one was near Jones Cable (BCE). On 17th May, four churring males and one sighted female were along Elmhirst Tram (WHP). In June a nest with one egg was found, which later hatched. In total there were 31 churring males, about 10 down on last year. 

Common Swift Apus apus
The first was on 6th May, rising to 60+ by 26th May, with around 50 throughout June then small numbers until the last record on 28th September.

Green Woodpecker Picus viridis 
Observed every month, usually between one or two birds recorded but with three on 8th and 17th December.


Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
Observed every month, with a maximum of five including juveniles on 12th, 19th and 30th June.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker D. minor
One was seen along Swinefleet Warping Drain north of the Pony Bridge area on 27th March (WHP).

Sky Lark Alauda arvensis 
Resident mainly in small numbers, maximum was 30 heading south on 3rd January. There was a light movement of birds on 3rd October, and 20+ in November.


Sand Martin Riparia riparia 
Five records received, with one on two dates in May. The year’s maximum count was of nine on 22nd August (ML), and the last was on 9th September.


Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 
First one was seen on 23rd April, and the maximum was a passage of 20 on 4th September, with the last 15 birds recorded on 10th October.

House Martin Delichon urbica
Eight over New Cut Drain on 3rd May (CF) and one on 30th September, were the only records.

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
There were 12 sightings, the first being one at Woodpecker Corner and a pair along Pony Bridge Tram on 25th April and the last on 22nd August. Maximum count was eight.

Meadow Pipit A. pratensis
Recorded most months but usually in low numbers of between one and 10, with maxima of 35+ on 27th March, 25 in April and 22nd in October.

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
Recorded on nine occasions the first on 18th April, with a maximum of 11 on 23rd May and the last on 22nd August.

Pied Wagtail M. alba
There were two counts of 10 in March and May, with a maximum of 13 on 3rd October.

Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Resident breeder, but only small numbers recorded this year with a maximum of 12 on 5th December.

Hedge Accentor Prunella modularis 
Recorded throughout the year, mainly as singles at the moor edge, with a maximum of four on 20th April.

Robin Erithacus rubecula
Generally distributed around the moors, mainly in peripheral woodlands, with a maximum count of 15.

Rufous Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos 
There were 11 singing males holding territories. On the first date one was at Pony Bridge Wood (CF), one was at Will Pits with another at Crowle Moor (WHP). Other areas were between Casson’s and Limberlost Farm, with the last at Elmhirst pump. First and last dates were 9th May and 8th June.  

Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus 
The only record from the first part of the year was the earliest ever, on 17th April. One at Angle Drain area on 1st August (ML) and one at the Southern Canals on 22nd August (ML) and the latest ever of one on 21st October, and these were the only records.

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra 
The first one was seen on 19th April, the earliest date ever. Usual numbers seen were between one and 10 with seven on 25th April. The last one was on 4th September.

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Six records, the first along Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram (CF), the next was on 27th April (TJW). On 9 May there were 10, with a male at Elmhirt pump and two males and seven females on peat stacks (WHP) later the same month there was one on 16th (ML). There was one in July (JE) and two on the last date (ML). First and last dates were 12th April and 15th August.

Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus 
One male was at the colliery area on 4th April (ML, WHP).

Blackbird T. merula 
Breeds in small numbers with highest counts in winter. Maxima were 64 on 30th November and in December 45 on 14th and 30 on 1st. 

Fieldfare T. pilaris 
Between January and April there were generally small numbers on eight dates with the highest counts being 20 and 28 at Elmhirst and 31 at the colliery area. The last two were at Moorends Recreation Ground. There was one bird on the first return date, building to 50 by 19th and 200 at the colliery area by 27th. November maxima were two flocks totalling 540 on 7th and 600 on 15th, tailing off to a maximum of 300 in December.


Song Thrush T. philomelos 
Usually seen singly with maxima of 10 on 7th March and 21 (6 and 15) at the colliery area on 10th October (ML, CF).

Redwing T. iliacus 
In the early part of the year the only record was of one at Moorends Recreation Ground, on 12th April (WHP). The first to return comprised a flock of c.90 on 10th October, with the only other large count of the month of 63 on 24th (ML). In November maximum numbers were c.240 on 7th, 100 on 24th and 130 on 30th. In December numbers ranged from 12 to a maximum of 63 on 4th.

Mistle Thrush T. viscivorus
Three over flew the moors on 7th November and the maximum was 17 at Inkle Moor on 10th October (ML) and this is a record count.

Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia 
No more than nine present, with the maximum day number of four, on 9th May. First and last dates were 20th April and at Will Pits on 9th June. 

Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
The maximum was 15 on 9th May. First and last dates were one at Inkle Moor on 25th April and 1st August. 

Reed Warbler A. scirpaceus
A maximum of 12+ was recorded on 9th May. First and last dates were 2nd May and 4th September.


Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
First was on 9tth May, then one on 16th May and the only other record was on 22nd August. 

Common Whitethroat S. communis 
The first was on 21st April, reaching a maximum of 35+ on 9th May. Numbers thereafter varied from one to 20, and the last two were seen on 4th September. 

Garden Warbler S. borin
All records in May as follows, the first was on 13th with a maximum of five on 9th, then one on 23rd and 30th. 

Blackcap S. atricapilla  
A maximum of seven on the first date 20th April and the last record was on 25th July.

Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
First record was of two on 3rd April then 5+ by 19th, which was the highest number and the last one was on 3rd October (ML). 

Willow Warbler P. trochilus
On the first date, 8th April, 18 were recorded and this rose to c.50 by 12th and c.170 the year’s maximum by 19th April (WHP). Last record of this widely breeding species was on 11th September. 

Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Seen on 10 dates between January and April, with a maximum of six on 24th January. There were a further 13 sightings between 19th October and 25th December, again with a maximum of six. Two singing birds were heard on 14th March.

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
On 13th May two pairs were present, one at the colliery area, the other at Woodpecker Corner. There were a further five sightings of single birds, the last at Goole Moor on 11th September.

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Parties of up to 10 fairly regular, highest counts were of 25 monthly except in July.

Willow Tit Parus montanus 
Resident numbers varied between one and 10 with a maximum of 13 on 24th October.

Coal Tit P. ater
Four records, one on 17th January, one at eastern boundary of Southern Canals next day and two on 14th February, lastly two on 4th December.

Blue Tit P. caeruleus 
Seen every month on many dates usually in small numbers. The maximum count was 36 on 14th February. 

Great Tit P. major
Fairly common and widespread seen throughout the year for example on 13th April and 25th December.

Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris
One was seen, along the Canal Tow Path, on 15th February (TJW).

Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor 
Probably what was the same bird as seen on 30th December 1981, was seen this year at Inkle Moor on 3rd and at Warp Farm underpass on 16th January (WHP, CF). On 12th April, one was seen again at Inkle Moor and in autumn one was present on 24th October (ML).

Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
Present all year usually with between one and five, and double figures on three dates, the maximum being 20 on 10th October.

Magpie Pica pica
The number of records doubled from last year to 18 dates, usually of one or two birds but with between four and eight on five dates. Eight were seen on 14th November for example. 

Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula  
The only record was of four that flew over the colliery area on 31st May.

Carrion Crow C. corone
Usually seen flying over the moors in small numbers, 21 flew to roost amongst peat stacks north east of the Paraffin area on the evening of 24th October, with the maximum of 39 in two flocks on 7th November. 

Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris

Very few seen on the moors, mostly seen passing over in small numbers.

House Sparrow Passer domesticus
No records from the peat moors, but seen along Jones Cable on 25th December, for example.


Tree Sparrow P. montanus
Only records of note was 60+ at Inkle Moor on 3rd January, also seen along Jones Cable on 25th December, for example.


Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
There were 29 sightings, usually of one to two but occasionally of three to four. Maxima were of 15 on 1st January and 10 on 7th November.

Brambling F. montifringilla 
One was seen in the colliery area, on 1st January (ML).

Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
There were 30 at the colliery area in January, with the only large flock there, of 70+ on 22nd March, infrequent most of the year.

Goldfinch C. carduelis 
There were 23 sightings usually of parties of one to four, with the year’s maximum of 15 on two dates, one in September and the other November.

Siskin C. spinus
One at the colliery area on 24th January, and three at the Alder Thicket on 22nd February (ML).

Linnet C. cannabina 
Most counts were between one and 20+ with exceptions being counts of 32 and 45 in April and of 52 and 67 in October. The maximum was 120 on 5th November though (ML).

Common Redpoll C. flammea
Counts varied between one and 56. The large counts were 42 in November and c.50 on 5th December, (ML). The year’s maximum was seen in three parties (33, 14 and 9) at Will Pits and Woodpecker Corner on 17th December (ML). 

Common Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula 
Usually between one and five seen with 10 on two dates one in February and the other in March. The year’s maximum was 18+ on 27th March. 

Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes
One juvenile was present at Bell’s Pond on 7th November (WHP) the first record for Thorne Moors.


Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
Seen frequently although numbers were very low. The only records of note were 17 in June, 30 + in September and 20+ November.

Reed Bunting E. schoeniclus 
A common species around the moors, with the largest count of c.40 to 50, on 21st October.

Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra 
One was seen over Inkle Moor on 14th February (ML).


List of Observers
Brian C. Eversham, Jack Eversham, Clive Featherstone, J.W. Hartley, Steve Hiner, Martin Limbert, William H. Priestley, G. Sellors, Bryan P. Wainwright, A.D. Warren, Terry J. Wells.