Bird Records For Thorne Moors 1984

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 1984 only. 

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis  

There were occasional April-June records from New Cross Drain, plus an area to the south of the Canals on 22nd April.
Shag Phalacrocorax carbo
[On 5th February, 11 Phalacrocorax sp. flew north-north-west, and were considered to be Shag.]

Grey Heron
 Ardea cinerea
One was seen on 1st April.

Mute Swan Cygnus olor                    
Two were present on Inkle Moor Pond on 26th February, 3rd/11th March, on which latter date one of the birds was shot. Its mate remained at the pond, being seen on 18th March. What was presumably the same bird was present at the Paraffin Cuttings on 29th March. Three flew over Inkle Moor on 24th May.

Goose spp. Anser
Over 80 Anser geese occurred on 30th January.

Pink-footed Goose A. brachyrhynchus 
One skein was seen this year.

Greylag Goose A. anser
Two flew over Inkle Moor Pond on 11th March.

Canada Goose 
A. Canadensis
Eight were recorded overflying the moors on 12th June.
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope 
Two were seen on 4th November.

Common Teal A. crecca 
Resident, 10 were seen on 1st April for example. 

Mallard A. platyrhynchos


Northern Shoveler A. clypeata 
Two were seen on 19th August then three on 29th August. 

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
A pair was observed at Thorne Waste Drain on 6th June.


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 (unrecorded this year); 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.

Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus 
Up to four present in the winter months, the last being a ringtail on 21st March. A ringtail was seen on 21st and 23rd October, with two in December, and a male was seen on 26th November, with two present in December.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus       
No more than three pairs bred and the maximum outside the breeding season was no more than four.

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 

Merlin F. columbarius 
Singles were seen during January and February, with two on 29th January. A male was seen on 15th and 27th April, and again a single male was seen on 18th August. Two birds were present November and December.

Hobby F. subbuteo
First bird was seen on on 29th April, followed by three plus on 25th June and one or two through July and singles up until 26th August.

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus
Two were heard in the Canals area on 28th June.

Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
Four were seen on 12th March, and 22 were seen on 25th November.


Grey Partridge Perdix perdix 
Two were seen on 19th February for example.

Quail Coturnix coturnix
One was heard calling on 16th June, grid 738160.

Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
A resident species, 21 were seen near Angle Drain on 13th November.

Moorhen Gallinula chloropus   
Resident, common and widespread especially in larger water bodies.

Common Coot Fulica atra
Not as common as Moorhen, one recorded on winter dates of 2nd January and 26th February at Inkle Moor Pond were unusual.

Little Ringed Plover
 Charadrius dubius 
Three recorded this year, all in the colliery area, with two on 22nd April, one on 14th May and two on 14th July.

Great Ringed Plover
 C. hiaticula 
A pair was present at the colliery from 11th March till 14th May, though there was no evidence of breeding. 

European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria           
One was displaying and calling over Inkle Moor Pond on 20th May.

Northern Lapwing
 Vanellus vanellus 
Two were seen on 11th February for example. There were odd records of landed birds on peat on several dates: Near the Shoulder o’ Mutton one was present on 29th March, with a pair there in May, three or four there on 29th April and 13th May and a single on 29th July. Three displayed over the Canals on 7th May, and on 29th June five were on peat south of there. On 3rd July, one was flushed from the Canals area and on 22nd one was landed at Mill Drain Marsh. A single was noted at the Paraffin Cuttings on 19th August.

Calidris alpina
One flew overhead on 23rd September.

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago 
One was seen on 20th April for example.

Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata
This species was observed on peat near the Shoulder o’ Mutton on two dates, with one there on 29th April and two there on 13th May. Others were recorded on spring passage.


Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
One was flushed from peat workings on Goole Moor on 18th August.

Common Redshank
 T. totanus
One flew over on 6th June.

Common Greenshank
 T. nebularia 
One was flushed from peat workings on Goole Moor on 18th August.
Green Sandpiper T. ochropus

Maximum count was of seven, on 12th August.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
About 50 were present at the Shoulder o’ Mutton on 29th March, with c.70 on 8th April; subsequent counts in April included c.100 on 22nd and c.160 on 29th. About 120 were present on 7th May, though with only 20 on 20th May. At nearby Mill Drain Marsh c.60 were seen on 8th April and c.30 on 29th April, the latter however probably involving some Shoulder o’ Mutton birds’. Around 80 at the Paraffin Cuttings on 13th May had risen to c.100 on 22nd July. At the latter site, August counts included c.40 (and some flightless young) on 5th.

Common Gull L. canus 
Two were seen on 1st April. 

Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus 
Infrequently seen, no dates.

Herring Gull
 L. argentatus 
Infrequently seen, no dates.

Great Black-backed Gull
 L. marinus
Infrequently seen, no dates.

Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus 
The largest roost flight was of c.1500, on 9th February.

Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
A single was seen on 20th January.

European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus 
On the night of 30-31st May 16 territorial males were counted.     

Common Swift Apus apus
Present from April, generally seen over the whole of the moors and fields, but mainly seen over open areas of water. 

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis 
Probably occurred once or twice, records vague.

Green Woodpecker Picus viridis 
Resident, one was seen on 20th April for example.

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major

Sky Lark Alauda arvensis 

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
Two were seen on 20th April, at the Southern.


Meadow Pipit A. pratensis
Up to 45 were seen in April, and 22 were counted on 4th November.
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
One flew over Goole Moor on 16th September.
Pied Wagtail M. alba
Resident, a count of 80+ birds was observed leaving a reedbed roost near the colliery on 7th October.
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Hedge Accentor Prunella modularis 


Robin Erithacus rubecula


Rufous Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos 
Eight were recorded on the night of 30-31st May, and 11 were recorded overall.

Black Redstart
 Phoenicurus ochruros
A male sang at thorne Colliery on 8th April. This is the first record for Thorne Moors.

Common Redstart
 P. phoenicurus
The joint earliest ever (with 1983) was on 15th April.

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra    
First noted on 18th April, the earliest ever. Also seen on 27th April.

Common Stonechat S. torquata 
A pair was seen on 10th October.

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
The latest ever was recorded on 23rd October.

Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus
A male attempted to sing at Elmhirst pumping station on 20th April.

Blackbird T. merula 

Fieldfare T. pilaris 
About 50 were present in the colliery area on 25th December.

Song Thrush
 T. philomelos 
Four were seen on 12th March for example.


Mistle Thrush T. viscivorus
Only four records, the first being of a single over the Canals on 23rd May. Five were at Inkle Moor on 23rd September. A pair were at peat workings west of the Shoulder o’ Mutton on 22nd and five plus were in the same area on 29th July.  

Willow Warbler 
Phylloscopus trochilus
Noted on 14th April, with eight counted on 20th April.

Bearded Tit Panurus biarmicus
Three pairs occurred in a reedbed near Thorne Colliery on 21st October.

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Resident, seen on 1st April for example.

Willow Tit Parus montanus 

Coal Tit P. ater
Seen infrequently usually in singles or pairs, with two on 19th February. 

Blue Tit P. caeruleus 
Resident, with four seen on 1st April for example.

Great Tit P. major
Resident, four were seen on 11th February, 16 on 18th March and c.14 on 12th August.

Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
Eight were seen on 11th February. 

Pica pica

Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula
Two were noted overhead on 10th October.

Carrion Crow C. corone
Roost counts included c.50 on 23rd February, and c.75 on 9th December, of which c.65 were at a pre-roost gathering east of Mill Drain Marsh. Noted on peat workings on 22nd (20) and 29th (25) July. A nestling ringed in Owston Wood, Doncaster, on 22nd May 1984 was recovered on Inkle Moor on 15th March 1986.

Tree Sparrow
 Passer montanus
Recorded most visits at the west end of Jones Cable, around the old sewage works and rough fields particularly and occasionally closer to the peat moors.

Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs


Brambling F. montifringilla 
The first of three records was of 100+ at the colliery yard on 23rd October. Three were seen on 30th October and one on 6th November.

 Carduelis chloris
Resident, 20 were seen on 12th March.


Goldfinch C. carduelis 


Siskin C. spinus
One was at Rawcliffe Moor on 2th January. Most records came from the Alder Thickets however with c.25 present in January and counts reaching 45+ on 19th and 26th February. There were then two on 11th March and 8th April and one at Rawcliffe Moor on 15th April. 

Linnet C. cannabina 

Common Redpoll C. flammea


Common Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula 
Resident, generally one or two seen.

Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
Resident, nine were noted on 25th December.


Reed Bunting E. schoeniclus 



List of Observers 1984-1989

R. Armstrong, C. Auld, H. Avery, David Beaumont, M. Betts, R. Bridson, A. Craig, Trevor A. Ede, Brian C. Eversham, A.R. Farrar, Clive Featherstone, G. Featherstone, R.A. Frost, Adrian Handley, Steve Hiner, John Hornbuckle, David Hursthouse, T. Isherwood, M.F. Jackson, Steve L. James, Martin Limbert, Alan Marshall, Claud Marshall, R.A. Marshall, T.M. Melling, Andrew Middleton, D. Page, William H. Priestley, S. Reed, Colin Rook, Peter C. Roworth, Adrian Scutt, C. Straw, P. Sutton, W.A. Taylor, N. Thoresby, Bryan P. Wainwright, Colin Wall, Terry J. Wells, K. Whiteley, D. Wozencroft, John Wozencroft.