Bird Records For Thorne Moors 1998

Compiled by Bryan P. Wainwright
English and scientific names, and sequence of birds, follow the List of birds of the Western Palearctic (British Birds Ltd, 1997).


Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Birds appeared first as usual at the Paraffin Cuttings, with three on 15th February, which was the maximum count here, with three again on 22nd March. Normally, however, only one, and occasionally two, were seen here. Two were frequently noted at Will Pits Scrape from 15th March, maximum here was three on 14th April. A Little Grebe was noted on 22nd March in a new area: the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road. They became regular here, with up to three often and four on 13th May. Another area where birds were sometimes observed was Mill Drain Marsh, with one from 14th April. Maximum day count was six on 10th May, comprising two at Will Pits Scrape, three on the flooded workings, and one at the Paraffin Cuttings. None were recorded from a formerly regular area, Inkle Moor Pond. A Little Grebe was noted still in summer plumage on 6th September, at the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road. Records of single winter plumaged birds came from Will Pits Scrape on 19th September and 11th October. The final one was on the flooded workings on 18th October.


Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
First seen on the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road, when a single adult in full summer plumage was seen on the evening of 18th April. The bird was active, diving frequently and remained in the open for over an hour (JMR, PCR, RJS, BPW). On 24th April another, or the same, full summer plumaged bird, also very active, was watched for two hours (WHP). This is a species new to the Thorne Moors list.


Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Fifteen records; mainly in spring and autumn, with three records in winter also. First was one on 3rd January flying north-east. A new record count for Thorne Moors was set on 29th March, when nine went north-north-west over the flooded workings. In with them was a white headed individual, possibly of the Continental race P. c. sinensis (RJS). Most other records were of single birds, sometimes two. Three were seen on 2nd (north) and 4th April (south), and 3rd October (south-west). On 4th October an immature landed briefly west of Shoulder o’ Mutton before flying west. Four went north-west then returned, over the flooded workings on 29th November. A dead bird that was beheaded was found in the field between Inkle Moor and the colliery area around 10th October.


Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Seen all months except February. Two birds were disturbed from their roost at the top of trees, in Woodpecker corner, on the night of 11th July. Five (two adults and three juveniles) were at Bell’s Pond on 27th June, with three on 25th August (two juveniles and an adult) on flooded workings. On 19th September, two birds were observed feeding (probably on insects) on flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road, where no fish are present.


Mute Swan Cygnus olor
On 22nd May one was down at the Shoulder o’ Mutton and later also at Green Belt Scrape. One south-west over flooded workings on 20th June. Four came in from the west and landed on the flooded workings, before leaving south-east, on evening of 20th September. An adult and an immature came from the east and landed on the flooded workings on 18th October. On 6th December, a single distance swan, possible this species, went east over the colliery and on 20th December three immatures landed on flooded workings on Goole Moor.

Whooper Swan C.  cygnus
Seventeen roosted on Green Belt Scrape on 29th March. Three were on the flooded workings on 8th November, before leaving high to the west. Two were on the flooded workings on 14th November. On 17th December three adults and a juvenile were feeding on Goole Fields.

Around 15 unidentified swans, possibly Whoopers, flew east over Goole Fields on 29th November.


Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus
On 2nd January, 19 passed east-north-east, and c190 flew west on 11th January. On 10th February, skeins totalling 600+ birds were seen flying over Thorne, c. 200 of these were recorded over the Moors going south-west. Not seen again until 3rd October when 44 went low east calling. Next, 30 were seen to circle the flooded workings before leaving east on 9th October. The following day, 30 were in a stubble field between Inkle Moor and the colliery area; later 22 were seen on the flooded workings. There were 26 in both areas again on 11th October. Throughout the rest of October, these geese were often observed commuting between this field and the flooded workings. There were 27 in the latter area on 18th October, and on 25 October six were present there. A skein of 18 flew south over the moors on 29th November. On 18th December three skeins (70, 54 and 38) flew high east over Goole Moor, and similarly nine on 20th December.


Greylag Goose A.  anser
Small numbers frequently counted, with over 30 records. This is more than double the records of last year. Counts of single figures only, except, in August, 10 on the flooded workings on 21st and at Will Pits Scrape on 30th. Encountered at any area of open water.


Canada Goose Branta canadensis
Three flew east over Goole Moor on 15th March, and on 22nd March two were down on flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road. On 25th April one was flying around at the flooded workings. On 19th September, 20 roosted at the flooded workings, but left at dawn going south-south-east calling.


Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
All records of grounded birds came from the flooded workings. They sometimes over flew Pony Bridge Marsh and Will Pits Scrape. All single figure counts except for 12 on 10th May and 15 on 31st May, and 21 on 14th June. Latest in the first half of the year was one on 27th June over Pony Bridge Marsh. The only other record was of one down on the flooded workings on 20th September.


Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope
Single figures, all seen on flooded workings north of Fisons' Road. There were three pairs on 11th January, and this was only exceeded by four pairs on 27th March.  Latest one in first half of the year was a single female on 22nd May.  No more were seen till 29th August, when four males and a female were present.  Occasionally noted subsequently, with a maximum of four females and one male on 27th September.


Gadwall A.  strepera
Most records were in the first half of the year. The first sighting was the year's maximum of nine birds, five males and four females, on the flooded workings north of Fisons' Road on 22nd February. Mostly one or two pairs were present here or at Will Pits Scrape. However, a pair was at the Paraffin Cuttings on 13th April and 10th May.


Common Teal A.  crecca
Seen mainly at the flooded workings in the early months, though later in the year almost abandoning this area for more secluded waters. These latter included the Paraffin Cuttings, Collis's Tram, Will Pits Scrape and Casson's Marsh. Broods of young were seen with two females on the flooded workings.

Maximum monthly counts were: January 160, February 100+, March 72, April 100+, May 32, June 10, July 25, August 224, September 100, October 100+, November 38, December 45.


Mallard A.  platyrhynchos
The flooded workings north of Fisons' Road were the main areas. Casson's Marsh also proved attractive, with 60 there on 2nd January and c160 on 16th August. The Paraffin Cuttings held up to 350 in September, as on 19th. Will Pits Scrape had a maximum of 200 on 16th September. Feral birds with aberrant plumage are sometimes noted, with three such birds on 19th December. In May, young were seen from 3rd, at the Paraffin Cuttings. At Mill Drain a female with young gave a broken wing display on 23rd May, and on the same date a female with five young was at Will Pits Scrape. On 26th May, five broods were noted: one at Mill Drain, one at Will Pits Scrape and three on the flooded workings. A female with eight young was seen on Thorne Waste Drain near Woodpecker Corner on 7th June. A female with seven young was on the flooded workings on 14th June. These floods also held 11 young on 13th May and 22nd June, with five young there on 24th June. A female and young were at Pony Bridge Marsh on 30th June. Fledged young were seen by 31st July.

Maximum monthly counts were: January 435, February 97, March 54, April 45, May 70, June 23, July 40, August 350. September 350, October 250, November 112, December 127.


Pintail A.  acuta
On 11th January, seven males and two females were on the flooded workings near Shoulder o’ Mutton. No more were seen till 7th March, when a male was seen. In the same area on 13th March there was a pair that departed to the east, and a male was seen down on 28th March, before also leaving east.  Two were seen distantly over the flooded workings on 25th October.


Garganey A.  querquedula
A good year, with three records, all of a lone male in May on the flooded workings north of Fisons' Road. The first date was 8th (WHP), then 15th (WHP) and 24th (IML).


Northern Shoveler A.  clypeata
More than double the number of recorded dates this year, than last. Most were at the flooded workings or at Will Pits Scrape, and occasionally from the Paraffin Cuttings. First record, on 22nd March, was of a single male at the flooded workings. Most records were one or two males. However, a pair was noted on 6 and 25th April. On 3rd May, a male at Will Pits Scrape and a pair at the flooded workings. Also in May, three males on 8th, then two on 10th, and two males and a female on 16th. Four males on 22nd, then three males again on 23 and 24th May. On 5th June there were three males. On 6th there were four males and two females, and on 7th three males again. On 26th July four females/ immatures; and on 23rd August two females/immatures were flying with Mallards. By 25th August there was only one female, but on 30th and 31st August, there were six females/immatures. In September, two females were present on 27th. Two flew off the Paraffin Cuttings on 4th October and two males passed over Cassons' Marsh on 6th December.

Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina
A male with two females was present at the flooded workings north of Fisons' Road on 15th February (ML, RJS). This is a new species to the Thorne Moors list.

Common Pochard Aythya ferina
A male was with a pair of Tufted Ducks on 6th April at Will Pits Scrape (PCR).


Tufted Duck A.  fuligula
Frequent on open areas of water and at the Paraffin Cuttings. None till 15th February, when a male and two females were at the Paraffin Cuttings, with five males and two females there on 27th. Records picked up gradually through March, April and May. Eight or more in a day were fairly frequent, but may sometimes have involved some of the same birds in two areas. Maximum counts involved 10 (six males and four females at the Paraffin Cuttings on 12th April), and 11 (seven males and four females at the flooded workings, and a pair at Will Pits Scrape, on 5th May). Through June there were often sightings of a single male at Will Pits Scrape, with two males and two females present there on 19th. Into July, a female was at the flooded workings north of Fisons' Road, and on 19th was observed with seven unfledged young. The female still had seven young on 22nd July, but by 26th there were only four observed. This is the third confirmed breeding record for Thorne Moors. The only record past July was of a single male at the Paraffin Cuttings on 19th December


Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
A female on 8th November was flushed off the new (late 1997) Goole Fields Reservoir, the first species to be noted there except gulls (ML).


Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
All records were in May, with a pair present at Will Pits Scrape on 21st (ML).  A male was there on 25th and a pair at the same place on 26th, with the male displaying (JMR, PCR).


Marsh Harrier Circus aeructinosus
Sites given for raptors are general. Usually only the first area of observation is stated, except where sites were very far apart. Totals are the minimum possible numbers, calculated between all areas and observers for that day. Adult birds, unless otherwise stated.
A massive increase in records and number of different individuals over last year.
13th March 1 second-year male

15th March 1 cream-crown 'Middle Moor'

21st March 1 cream-crown Pony Bridge Marsh

22nd March 1 distant over Pony Bridge Marsh

11th April 2, 1 adult male, 1 second-year male over flooded workings

12th April 1 second-year male 'Middle Moor'

13th April 1 cream-crown Shoulder o’ Mutton

14th April 1 male (with distinct silver white tail) Southern Canals

25th April 2, 1 adult male Mill Drain Marsh, 1 female 'Middle Moor'

28th April 1 female Swinefleet Warping Drain

03rd May 1 female

05th May 1 male flooded workings

07th May 1 N over Mill Drain Marsh

08th May 1 male Southern Canals

10th May 1 male fields near Inkle Moor

13th May 2, 1 male Mill Drain Marsh, 1 female 'Middle Moor' later mobbed by two Eurasian Curlews at flooded workings

14th May 1 Pony Bridge Marsh

15th May 1 cream-crown Southern Canals

16th May 2, 1 male and 1 cream-crown Goole Moor

17th May 1 cream-crown Pony Bridge Marsh, landed once

21st May 1 cream-crown Will Pits Scrape

24th May 1 female Will Pits-Crowle Moor

25th May 1 immature mobbed by a Common Kestrel, Mill Drain Marsh

26th May 2, 1 immature landed in rushes at the flooded workings, 1 female Will Pits Scrape

28th May 1 immature Will Pits Scrape

01st June 1 cream-crown 'Middle Moor'

04th June 1 female Will Pits

05th June 1 male Shoulder o’ Mutton

07th June 2, 1 female and 1 immature 'Middle Moor'

12th June 1 female Swinefleet Warping Drain

14th June 1 female 'Middle Moor'

19th June 2, 1 female and 1 immature male Shoulder o' Mutton

20th June 1 female Shoulder o’ Mutton

21st June 1 distant

22nd June1 female mobbed by a Carrion Crow

27th June 1 immature mobbed by Hobby at Angle Drain

28th June 1 immature male 'Middle Moor'

29th June 1 cream-crown Pony Bridge Marsh

03rd July 1 female Green Belt

05th July 1 female Green Belt

19th July 1 female Southern Canals

01st August 1 female Pony Bridge Marsh

05th August 1 cream-crown Southern Canals

07th August 1 cream-crown

15th August 2, 1 immature Southern Canals, 1 adult male northern half of the moors, landed then took off carrying an Adder Vipera berus (RJS)

16th August 1 immature

20th August 1 immature

21st August 1 adult male

22nd August 1 cream-crown flooded workings

23rd August 1 immature Shoulder o’ Mutton

24th August 1 female Crowle Moor mobbed by two Peregrine Falcons

25th August 2, 1 adult male northern half of the moors, 1 immature Will Pits Scrape

28th August 1 cream-crown Shoulder o’ Mutton

29th August 1 cream-crown Pony Bridge Marsh

30th August 3, 1 male and 2 cream-crowns at flooded workings

31st August 3, 1 immature mobbed by 3 Common Kestrels, 1 male mobbed by a Hobby over Will Pits, 1 female flooded workings

01st September 1 cream-crown mobbed by Eurasian Jays flooded workings

05th September 1 female 

06th September 2, 1 female and 1 immature flooded workings

12th September 4, 2 immatures, 1 female and another all in air at once at Green Belt and 1 Pony Bridge Marsh

13th September 3 immature flooded workings; one had strikingly white carpal patches

17th September 1 female flooded workings

19th September 4, 1 immature, 1 female, 1 immature male and 1 near adult male

20th September 2, 1 immature and 1 male flooded workings

26th September 2, 1 cream-crown Will Pits, 1 male southern half of the Moors

27th September 1 cream-crown flooded workings

03rd October 3, 1 immature ‘Middle Moor’

04th October 1 immature ‘Middle Moor’

10th October 1 cream-crown Shoulder o’ Mutton

11th October 2, 1 female colliery area, 1 immature Will Pits


Hen Harrier C.  cyaneus
An average year, few records of adult males

01st January 1 female Shoulder o’ Mutton

11th January 1 ringtail Pony Bridge Marsh

14th January 1 male ‘Middle Moor’

17th January 1 female Green Belt

25th January 1 female flooded workings

31st January 1 ringtail Will Pits

07th February 1 male Southern Canals

01st March 1 ringtail near Pony Bridge Marsh

07th March 1 colliery area

08th March 1 ringtail to roost New Cut Drain

14th March 1 ringtail Mill Drain Marsh

27th March 1 female Will Pits Scrape

29th March 1 ringtail, a small bird at the Shoulder o’ Mutton

02nd April 1 ringtail Pony Bridge Marsh

04th April 2, a male and a female Pony Bridge Marsh

05th April 1 female Pony Bridge Marsh

07th April 1 Elmhirst area

22nd April 1 ringtail Pony Bridge Marsh

10th May 1 ringtail flooded workings

03rd October 1 female Southern Canals mobbed by carrion crows

04th October 1 female 'Middle Moor'

09th October 1 ringtail Shoulder o’ Mutton

10th October 1 female Will Pits Scrape

11th October 1 female flooded workings with distinct broad black tail centre

25th October 1 male chased from Goole Fields to Rawcliffe Moor by a female Merlin

15th November 1 female 'Middle Moor'

28th November 1 ringtail Shoulder o’ Mutton

20th December 1 female west of Will Pits

24th December 1 female Green Belt, later mobbed by Carrion Crows at ‘Middle Moor'

26th December 1 ringtail flooded workings

Eurasian Sparrowhawk A.  nisus
Single birds mainly, seen throughout the moors, even in areas devoid of vegetation.  Sometimes observed chasing, or with, prey.  Two on 25th January were at Elmhirst Tram, one with prey.  One flew along Green Belt path and flushed and caught a Fieldfare on 7th February.  One was mobbed by a Northern Lapwing on Crowle Moor on 4th June.  On 16th July a female was seen with prey at Will Pits.  A male was seen with prey coming from Moorends Recreation Ground to the colliery area on 19th July.  One chased Bullfinches at the colliery area on 5th August.  Then on 15th August a male was seen with prey at Green Belt and when flushed flew north.  An immature female chased Meadow Pipits at the flooded workings on 13th September.  A female pursued Fieldfares at the colliery area on 7th November.  A male chased tits at 'Middle Moor' on 15th November.  One was seen with prey near the colliery on 20th November.  On 25th December a large female was observed being aggressive towards a smaller female, probably over territory.  The larger female made constant cat like "peeow" calls, and with undertail coverts fanned, dived at the smaller bird and performed a slow undulating flight just above the scrubby birch.  They locked claws three times, once spinning down together into the bushes.  The larger female also did a 45o degrees dive at the other.  The display was prolonged, lasting 10 minutes.

Three were seen on 1st January, 5th April, 6th September and 7th November.  Four birds were seen on only one date, 10th October (one Inkle Moor, a male and female at Woodpecker Corner and one female Will Pits).


Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
One was heading south over Pony Bridge Marsh on 28th May (AB).


Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
A least one pair bred in the vicinity of the moors.  The confirmed pair nested in the old colliery buildings, where a pair was often seen and prey was observed being taken.  On 14th June one was carrying prey there (possibly Field Vole Microtus agrestis). Prey was carried by a male over Pony Bridge Marsh on 4th April.  Three Common Kestrels, including one or more young birds, were at the colliery buildings on 18th July.  Four birds in the air at once over the moors was not uncommon.  Five were seen on 28th August.  Three mobbed a Marsh Harrier on 31st August over the flooded workings, and one mobbed a male Peregrine Falcon over the Shoulder o’ Mutton on 26th September.


Merlin F.  columbarlus
An average year.

01st January 1 male flooded workings at Shoulder o’ Mutton

11th January 1 female north to flooded workings

31st January 1 male perched on heap, Goole Fields 

01st February 1 male going west over flooded workings

21st February 2, 1 male and 1 female on Goole Fields

14th March 1 female chased passerines all over the flooded workings, caught one on the ground and flew off fast north-west

24th March 1 female perched on sleepers to side of Fisons’ Road

15th August 1 female/immature Goole Fields to Goole Moor

12th September 1 female colliery area

09th October 1 female flooded workings

18th October 1 female flooded workings

25th October 2, 1 female chased male hen harrier at Rawcliffe Moor.  1 male flooded workings

07th November 1 female over Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram

28th November 1 female on Goole Fields


Hobby F.  subbuteo
Returned on an earlier date than last year and a good increase in records; breeding proven.

26th April 1 Mill Drain Marsh

28th April 1 flooded workings

03rd May 2 Mill Drain Marsh

08th May 1 flooded workings and Southern Canals

09th May 1 Southern Canals

16th May 1 Rawcliffe Moor

17th May 1+ Mill Drain Marsh

22nd May 2 Southern Canals

24th May 2 flooded workings

25th May 1+ Will Pits and Mill Drain Marsh

28th May 2 Mill Drain Marsh

30th May 1 Mill Drain

31st May 1 Mill Drain Marsh

05th June 2 display calling, flooded workings

06th June 1 Southern Canals

07th June 1 Green Belt

12th June 2 Southern Canals

18th June 3 Mill Drain Marsh

19th June 2 Southern Canals

22nd June1 perched and flying Northern Canals, still hunting at 9. 40 pm.

27th June 1 mobbing a Marsh Harrier at Angle Drain

28th June 5 together, at ‘Middle Moor’, at least two were adults

04th July 1 Pony Bridge Marsh

05th July 1 Southern Canals to flooded workings

12th July 1 flooded workings

19th July 3 Mill Drain Marsh

26th July 1 Pony Bridge Marsh

31st July 3+ hawking Southern Canals

01st August 3+, 1 a juvenile perched, Mill Drain Marsh

02nd August 3, 1 and 2 juveniles, flooded workings

03rd August 1 flooded workings

04th August 4 Southern Canals

05th August 2, 1 a juvenile

09th August 2 Rawcliffe Moor and flooded workings

10th August 2 Rawcliffe Moor

11th August 2 Rawcliffe Moor

12th August 1 Southern Canals

15th August 5, 2 juveniles flooded workings, 3 Will Pits

16th August 2, 1 unaged and 1 juvenile flooded workings

21st August 1

22nd August 4+ Southern Canals and Shoulder o’ Mutton

23rd August 2+, 1 Pony Bridge Marsh, 1 adult Southern Canals, Shoulder o’ Mutton and Rawcliffe Moor

25th August 4+ Southern Canals, Will Pits and Shoulder o’ Mutton

27th August 4+, 2 unaged and 2 juveniles

28th August 3, 1 unaged and 2 juveniles Rawcliffe Moor

29th August 3+ - 1 unaged and 2 juveniles Southern Canals and Shoulder o’ Mutton

30th August 4, 3 unaged (at least 1 at flooded workings) and 1 juvenile

31st August 3, 1 unaged and 2 juveniles flooded workings

01st September 1 Mill Drain

02nd September 2, 1 unaged and 1 juvenile Rawcliffe Moor

06th September 2+, 1 unaged individual mobbed a Peregrine Falcon, and 1 juvenile at the flooded workings

08th September 1 Rawcliffe Moor

12th September 2, 1 juvenile and another unaged Rawcliffe Moor

13th September 2, Rawcliffe Moor and Will Pits

18th September 1 juvenile Rawcliffe Moor

20th September 1 Rawcliffe Moor


Peregrine Falcon F.  peregrinus
An average year.
04th January 1 juvenile female flooded workings, mobbed by two Carrion Crows

24th January 1 female flooded workings

08th February1 juvenile male chasing and diving at Carrion Crows, flooded workings

13th February 1 male flooded workings

14th February 2, 1 male, 1 juvenile female killed a feral Rock Dove at the flooded workings

15th February 2 Paraffin Cuttings

22nd February 1 female Blackwater Dyke appeared to be carrying prey

05th March 1 Woodpecker Corner

14th March 2 females; seemed aggressive, touching talons at Blackwater Dyke, left in opposite directions.

15th March 1 female flooded workings

22nd March 1 male Southern Canals over the flooded workings

05th April 1 male flooded workings

14th April 2, 1 female north over Shoulder o’ Mutton.  One very small male mobbed by similar sized Common Kestrel, then spent hours soaring high up and stooping (not vertically) to attack and chase feral Rock Doves.  Did so on three occasions without success

16th August1 juvenile female mobbed by Common Kestrel at the flooded workings

22nd August 1 juvenile female hunting stock doves in the colliery area

23rd August 1 juvenile female

24th August 2 mobbing a Marsh Harrier, Crowle Moor

28th August 1 juvenile female Shoulder o’ Mutton, down

29th August 2, 1 male, 1 juvenile female Shoulder o’ Mutton

30th August 1 juvenile Shoulder o' Mutton

31st August 2, 1 juvenile female attempting to catch flying Common Teal; 1 male mobbed by two hobbies; both at the flooded workings

01st September 1 Goole Moor

05th September 1 male (possibly juvenile) west of Shoulder o’ Mutton

06th September 2, 1 juvenile and 1 male mobbed by a hobby at the flooded workings

13th September 1 flooded workings

19th September 1 juvenile female chasing birds, flooded workings

20th September 1 juvenile female caught a Wood Pigeon near Will Pits

26th September 1 male mobbed by a Common Kestrel at the flooded workings

03rd October 1 juvenile female trying to flush passerines at Southern Canals

09th October 2, 1 male and 1 female at the flooded workings

10th October 1 juvenile female flushed from ground at the flooded workings

11th October 2, 1 male and 1 female at the flooded workings

18th October 1 male Goole Moor then north-west

08th November 2, 1 male 'Middle Moor'.  A female chasing Wood Pigeons over Goole Moor.  Later a female took one and landed near Will Pits, when flushed it took a second Wood Pigeon

29th November 2, 1 female Shoulder o’ Mutton, later flushed from bare peat here, and 1 male Goole Moor

26th December 1 male Green Belt


Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
Single figure counts, except 10 on 1st January east of Shoulder o' Mutton.  Eight at 'Middle Moor' on 1st February.  On 1st September an adult was seen with two juveniles in a stubble field between the colliery area and Inkle Moor.  Otherwise, maxima were seven on 13th September near the Shoulder o’ Mutton, and seven on 19th September.


Grey Partridge Perdix perdix
A decline in records and numbers, with only two double figure counts: 12 on 4th January, and later in the year 13 on 14th November.  Main areas were the Shoulder o’ Mutton and Mill Drain.


Common Quail Coturnix coturnix
In all, three males were present.  First was at Goole Fields on 6th June.  On 9th August there were calls heard from singles on the northern edge of Goole Moor and from pea fields adjacent to Rawcliffe Moor.  On 11th August two were calling from first light until 7am from fields next to Rawcliffe Moor (all PB).


Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
Exceptional counts were of 47 on 11th January and 60 on 22nd February.  Birds are reared and released all around these moors.


Water Rail Rallus aquaticus
All records.  A better year than last year.

06th February 1 calling Green Belt

10th February 1 calling Mill Drain Marsh

14th February 1 calling Mill Drain Marsh

15th March 1 calling Will Pits Scrape

22nd March 1 calling Will Pits Scrape

29th March 1 calling Pony Bridge Marsh

31st March 2 calling Pony Bridge Marsh

02nd April 1 calling Pony Bridge Marsh

04th April 1 calling Pony Bridge Marsh

05th April 1 calling Pony Bridge Marsh

07th April 1 calling Pony Bridge Marsh

11th April 1 calling Mill Drain Marsh

12th April 1 calling Mill Drain Marsh

25th April 3 calling 1 Mill Drain Marsh, 1 Pony Bridge Marsh and 1 'Middle Moor'

26th April 1 calling Northern Canals

01st May 1 calling Pony Bridge Marsh

08th May 1 calling Shoulder o’ Mutton

10th May 1 calling Canal Tow Path

17th May 1 calling Canal Tow Path

21st May 1 calling Pony Bridge Marsh

27th September 1 short flight after flushed, colliery area

24th October 1 calling Bell's Pond

25th October 1 dead, under electricity cables at the colliery yard; a broken leg was noted

25th December 1 calling Mill Drain Marsh, then flushed by dog


Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Fourteen double figure counts, two over twenty, maximum 28 on 15th March. Twenty on 14th November, of which 16 were together on the road towards the EN shed, next to Swinefleet Warping Drain. Young were observed on 13th May, when two were present with an adult at Will Pits Scrape. Out of six seen on 6th June, three were young. One young was seen with three adults on 18th July and again on 19th July (with one adult).  An adult and young were seen again on 3rd August on flooded workings.

Common Coot Fulica atra
Expanding in numbers, range and stay on Thorne Moors.  Maxima were nine on 16th May (eight at the flooded workings and one at Will Pits Scrape) and on 30th May (six at the flooded workings and three at Will Pits Scrape).  Common Coot was seen at a new locality Pony Bridge Marsh, where one was flushed by a dog on 31st March.  The Shoulder o' Mutton flooded workings had few records last year.  This year the species was present over all parts of the flooded workings, with one young there on 3rd August.  Breeding took place at Will Pits Scrape, with one young on 28th May and three young seen on 30th May.  On 14th June there were two adults and one chick at Will Pits Scrape.  One young was there on 3rd August.


Oystercatcher Haematiopus ostralegus
A marked increase with 13 records, virtually all of single birds.  All records of landed birds were from the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road.  Records began on 7th February, with one low over the flooded workings.  One down, then flew off west, on 19th April.  One down on 15th May and two on 23rd May.  Six south-west calling on 25th May and one down on 30th May, and three leaving east on 20th June.  Maximum count, which is also a new Thorne Moors total, was of a flock of 23 birds on 5th July.  They came from north-west eventually landing, but did not stay long (BPW). Single birds were flushed and flew west on 1st and 6th August, and on 6th September one came in over Green Belt Scrape and landed.  Lastly one was down and calling on 18th October.


Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
Two adults came from the south at 8. 50 am on 15th May.  They flew around calling constantly and were mobbed by a black-headed and a great black-headed gull.  They landed at the flooded workings three times in all, in different parts.  First they landed at 9. 15 am, when they were actively feeding, but later they were observed sleeping.  Present for 40 minutes in all, then flew off north-east when a marsh harrier flew over (WHP). Two came low over the flooded workings west of the Shoulder o’ Mutton on 9th August at 9. 12 am.  They circled over the flooded workings, gradually gaining height before heading off east at 9. 18 am (RJS).


Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
All records came from the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road and the adjacent area east of Mill Drain Marsh, with one exception: the colliery spoil heap had a pair on 25th April.  All counts were in single figures, with up to five seen regularly, six on 24th April, and seven the following day.  Eight were counted on 9th May.  Breeding was observed and a nest with four eggs found on 13th May.  By 26th May the nest was empty and the adults gone.  Another nest, in a different area, was found on 12th June.  On 27th June an adult was calling, it then gave an injured wing display very close to the observer.  By 17th July one adult was seen with three fledged young near the Shoulder o’ Mutton, and two young were seen there on 26th July.  In August between one and three young were seen, as on 5th and 6th August (one), 11th August (three), 29th, 30th and 31st August (two). First and last dates were 28th March – 31st August.

Great Ringed Plover C.  hiaticula
Often seen with dunlin.  Numbers stayed in single figures till the second week of May, when increased passage got underway.  There were 21+ together near the Shoulder o’ Mutton on May.  Later in May, high counts were more frequent: 13th 21, 22nd 22, 24th 16, 25th 10 and on 30th 23, all at the flooded workings.  This continued into early June, as on 5th when there were 25. The rest of June and July had low counts.  No attempts at breeding were observed.  Return passage had commenced by 5th August, when there were 13. On 9th August there were 14, with similar counts through the month.  On 11th 12, 15th 10, 16th 31, 21st 25, 22nd 16, 23rd 13, 25th 12, 28th 10 and 29th 14. High counts in September were on 1st 13-20, 12th 32 together, 13th 15, 19th 17 together, and 20th 10. In October, single figures only up to 20th, with only one subsequent record: three present near the Shoulder o’ Mutton on 15th November.  A one legged bird was observed in active feeding on 8th August, only able to hop when others ran. First and last dates were 15th March –15th November.


From 26th September, individuals considered to be of the race C. h.  tundrae were seen. On occasions they were close enough and with nominate race, for comparisons to be made. On 26th September, two nominate race were with two birds, considered to be C. h.  tundrae that were smaller and darker on the back. They were not young birds since they lacked any ‘scaly’ back markings and had very broad breast-bands. These features were obvious even from some distance, especially when the two races were side by side. On 4th October one regarded as C. h.  tundrae was present with five nominate race. These were the only dates when good enough observations could be made, through others were suspected between the first sighting and 11th October (BPW, RJS).


European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria
Few records in the first half of the year, commencing with 11 over ‘Middle Moor’ on 11th January. Then 30 flew south on 15th February. On 29th March, 37 north over flooded workings then 18 circled over later. No more till 2nd August with one over. Other similar records over the next few days. Larger numbers were seen in October, with nine north-east on 2nd, seven south on 3rd, 19 north on 4th, 12 north-west on 9th and 28 north on 10th. Many of these flocks came from adjacent fields. In the southern fields there was an almost resident flock at this time of up to 200-300, with 150+ (on 10th October) and 200 (on 12th October). 45 flew over south on 18th October. Small flocks flew over in November as well, with 13 south on 7th and 18 north on 8th. Birds were seen at Goole Fields, with 20 on 14th November. On 5th December, 40 flew south in the morning, and c400 went north at sunset over the colliery.


Grey Plover P.  squatarola
Eleven records, all from flooded workings except the last. One down on 4th January. Nine on 8th May, seven in winter plumage and two in summer plumage, a new Thorne Moors maximum count (BPW). Next day there were five, with only three in winter plumage, one attaining summer plumage and one in full summer plumage. On 21st May there was one summer and one winter plumaged. On 24th May there was a single down, and on 12th July there was a winter plumaged individual. Autumn saw one in summer plumage on 9th August, which called. None then till 10th October when two winter plumaged birds were present, next day only one was left. The last ones on 8th November flew over Goole Fields Reservoir, the first went east-north-east, the second, though unseen, probably went the same way.


Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
Frequent over the moors, with grounded birds also often encountered at the flooded workings and at Will Pits Scrape. In autumn, large flocks were nearly a permanent feature of the adjacent fields. Fewer records in winter, with erratic numbers. Some large flocks in the early part of the year, followed by a drop in spring, but the largest counts were in the post-breeding flocks in late July and August. Breeding took place with a pair at a nest on milling fields south of Fisons’ Road on 8th May. In the same area two adults and a juvenile on 21st May. An adult was seen with two unfledged chicks on 22nd June at the flooded workings. On 11th July a juvenile was seen in a small group of adults also on the flooded workings. Two Marsh Harriers flushed 80 from the flooded workings on 6th September.

Maximum monthly counts were: January 120, February 90, March 27, April 10, May c30, June 61, July c300, August 750+, September c90, October c200, November 86, December c300.


Red Knot Calidris canutus
Three birds flew over the moors going east on 11th January (BPW, WHP). The first record of birds actually landing, and a new Thorne Moors maximum, came on 26th April at the flooded workings just north of Fisons’ Road, when eight birds came in at 7 am, all winter plumaged (BPW). By midday three remained (RJS, RTP, ML, PCR) and by 6 pm only one remained. There were two further records on 1st and 2nd August. One in full summer plumage on 1st August that also called; and two summer plumaged the next day (brightest one from day before).  (BPW).


Sanderling C.  alba
Two summer plumaged birds were seen on flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road on 8th and 9th May (WHP).


Little Stint C.  minuta
The only spring passage involved two (possibly three) summer plumaged birds on 24th May, at the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road. All autumn records were from this area. This passage began when two adults were present with Dunlin on 1st and 12th August. There were many records in September, as on 5th seven, 6th seven, 12th four, 13th eight together, 16th three. On 19th September there were 10, a new Thorne Moors maximum, which included adults and juveniles (BPW). On 20th September, nine together, on 26th four, and on 27th three.

White-rumped Sandpiper C.  fuscicollis
A stint-like bird in non-breeding plumage was found at the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road and just south of Shearburn & Pitts Drain. It was the late evening of 21st August and gale force westerly winds were blowing. The ‘stint’ was present with Great Ringed Plover.  In the adverse conditions identification was difficult. Due to certain features, it was suspected that it was not a little stint, but possibly White-rumped or Baird’s Sandpiper C.  bairdii. Calls could not be heard due to the wind and when the bird flew it kept low and did not go far (BPW). The following day it was found by another observer, on exactly the same spit of peat at the edge of the flooded workings. It was still with Great Ringed Plovers, and the weather was much more favourable. It was observed for an hour, in which time it was heard to call and was also seen in flight. A positive identification as White-rumped Sandpiper was made (WHP). The observer was later joined by two other birders, and further watched. Later than evening the bird could not be re-found.  Accepted by the British Birds Rarities Committee and a first record for Thorne Moors.


Curlew Sandpiper C.  ferruginea
First record was of a juvenile on 26th August at the flooded workings west of Shoulder o’ Mutton (WHP). Other records were from here and flooded workings just north of Fisons’ Road. At the latter area, three juvenile birds were with Dunlin and Great Ringed Plover on 5th September (BPW). They were still present the next day (AB), and were joined by five more midday and later another four, making a new Thorne Moors record count of 12 (RJS). Later in September, a juvenile was present on the following dates: 20th (BPW), 26th (BPW, WHP, RJS) and 27th (RJS, WHP, ML, AB).


Dunlin C.  alpina
All records were from the flooded workings. The first was heard on 25th January, and 20 were down on 22nd February. There were four on 15th March. Through April there were many more records, starting with one on 4th. April maxima were 15 on 24th and 14 on 26th. In May numbers increased with 26 on 10th and 20 on 21st. By 25th May there were three (two summer and one winter plumaged), and on 30th nine, nearly all in full summer plumage. The only records for June were eight on 5th and 6th. In July there was one on 3rd and 17 on 26th. August had strong return passage, commencing on 1st with up to 41. This comprised 10 east, but two returned and joined 25 others already at the flooded workings. Six others were further over. On 5th and 6th August there were 22. Juveniles and one first-summer were noted on 8th August, from a group of 10. Next day there were 11. August had its maximum of 22 on 16th. Numbers slackened in September, with mostly single figure totals, except 25+ on 13th. For other September dates there were no more than eight (on 20th). October was similar, on 4th 11 (one still in summer plumage). There was a new Thorne Moors maximum on 10th October with 63. This comprised 50 south west over Green Belt, when 13 were also on the flooded workings (WHP, RJS). On 11th October there were eight, on 18th two and on 24th one. There were two on 1st November, possibly of different races (one a larger, longer billed adult and the other a small, short billed juvenile). From then, there were

singles on 7th November, two on 8th November and a single on 14th November.


Ruff Philomachus pugnax
All records were from the flooded workings, north and south of Fisons’ Road. The first was a female on 11th, 12th and 18th April. Then a male and a female were present on 24th and 25th April. By 26th April there were five (one a male in full summer plumage). On 2nd May there were two males and a female. On 3rd two, on 8th and 9th one male, and on 24th May one. There was one on 5th June. In August a female on 2nd and on 5th an adult summer female, but next day a juvenile female. Three on 22nd, 23rd and 24th August, and on 26th August one female. On 29th August there were seven, with a year maximum of at least nine on 30th, and seven again on 31st. September had up to eight on 1st, two on 5th and on 13th six. On 19th September, five went low over ‘Middle Moor’ going south-west. For 20th, 26th and 27th September there was only one; and one on the last date, 13th October.


Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus
All records were of single birds, from the flooded workings. One flushed three times on 22nd February; then flushed twice on 29th March and 11th October.


Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
Few double figures, commencing with 14+ on 11th January at the flooded workings, next 13 on 22nd March. In August, 23 were noted mainly going south on 29th, and 14 were presented at the flooded workings on 30th. The year’s maximum of 26 on 20th September, and then 10 on 26th September. On 31st October, 15 flew over Bell’s Pond and one was at the Paraffin Cuttings. This was the only double figure count in October. Single figures only in November, and December (on the colliery spoil heap on 6th December and at the flooded workings on 19th December.

‘Chipping’ or ‘drumming’ common snipe were observed on the following dates. On 31st March two were ‘drumming’ over the northern half of Crowle Moor. On 5th and 19th April one was ‘drumming’ over Pony Bridge Marsh. There was ‘drumming’ at Will Pits on 22nd April and on 10th, 30th and 31st May. On 14th and 25th June one was ‘drumming’ over Pony Bridge Marsh.


Woodcock Scolopax rusticola
Recorded in all months except February, August and September. At Will Pits, 16 records, all of single birds except two on 16th May and 1st June. These included 10 dates for single roding birds there, between 23rd April and 29th June. At Will Pits Scrape, there were 10 records all of single birds, except two on 11th May, 1st and 4th June. These included seven dates for single roding birds there between 11th May and 4th July. At Pony Bridge Marsh, there were four records of single roding birds, between 1st May and 6th June, with two on 11th May (one roding), and 28th May: both roding.

Other areas. One at Elmhirst on 8th March and 20th June, the latter roding. One at Limberlost on 12th March. One from Rhododendron Path on 11th April. One from Green Belt on 24th October; two birds off the colliery spoil heap to Bell’s Pond on 7th November, and one at the Paraffin Cuttings on 11th October and 20th and 24th December. Final one was at Pony Bridge Marsh on 30th December.


Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
On 19th April, 14 in summer plumage were seen on an island on the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road. They flew off later (BPW, WHP). On 21st April a remarkable count, which is a new Thorne Moors record count, came from the flooded workings near the Shoulder o’ Mutton. Two flocks (38 and 14) joined in poor light and drizzle and flew low over the water several times before eventually landing at the water’s edge (PCR, JMR). On 1st August, five were down on the flooded workings, and later two flew straight through west over the flooded workings (BPW).


Bar-tailed Godwit L.  lapponica 
Three in winter plumage and a male in summer plumage were present on the flooded workings on 29th March. They were observed for over an hour from 5. 30 pm until flushed by a helicopter.  They then flew off north-west turning west (RJS). This is a new Thorne Moors maximum.


Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
A single bird was disturbed off the flooded workings and flew north-east calling on 18th April.  On 22nd April, a single bird went north-west over Pony Bridge Marsh. The next were on 3rd May, when two were on a bare area of peat and on flooded workings. Later in May, on 24th, one was flushed from the flooded workings, and on 26th May three were there. One was on the flooded workings on 7th June. In July at about midnight on 11th, one was heard calling as it flew south over Elmhirst Tram.  Two flew over the flooded workings on 12th August, and on was here on 20 thAugust.


Eurasian Curlew N.  arquata
One or two birds mainly, with three on four dates and four on three dates. In addition, on 21st June, 17 were together on the flooded workings, six later leaving north-west. On 25th August, a new Thorne Moors maximum was set. One came in and landed at the flooded workings, and later a flock of 22 came from the south then turned north-west over there (SLJ, BPW, WHP). On 30th August eight flew low over the flooded workings and went north-north-west. On 26th April, one was displaying continuously with another nearby at the flooded workings.


Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
Five records. Three full summer birds on the flooded workings near Shoulder o’ Mutton on 24th April (WHP). On 26th April there were two separately, one in full summer plumage the other nearly so, on the flooded workings (BPW). On 16th May, another was present at the flooded workings (PB). One was at Green Belt Scrape on 16th August (AB). On 6th September two were on flooded workings calling (RJS).


Common Redshank T.  totanus
Eleven spring records from 30th April to 19th May, more than double this in autumn from 26th July to 27th September. A new Thorne Moors maximum of 14 on 9th August was obtained on the flooded workings (RJS). Also four on three dates: 2nd and 16th August and 1st September. Seen on the flooded workings and at Green Belt Scrape, but only once at Bells’ Pond (on 1st September).


Green Sandpiper T.  ochropus
Seen on more than 20 dates. There were only two spring records, with three on 24th April and two on 26th April. Following these was a single bird at Rawcliffe Moor on 7th June. Three was the maximum, as seen also on 3rd and 16th July, and 2nd and 6th August. Areas were Green Belt Scrape and the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road. Also one was at Woodpecker Corner on 15th August. The last one was at Green Belt Scrape on 31st August.


Wood Sandpiper T.  glareola
Single birds were at the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road on 21st August (SLJ) and 12th September (WHP).


Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
There were 10 records from 24th April to 16th August, all from the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road. Most records were of singles birds except four on 2nd August (RJS), which is a new Thorne Moors maximum, and two on 9th, 15th and 16th August.


Turnstone Arenaria interpres
There were five records, all from the flooded workings, and all of single birds. They were obtained on 24th May, 6th, 22nd, 23rd and 24th August.


Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus
A record of a dark phase bird on 27th August. It flew, at times erratically, south-west over the flooded workings, at 3. 20 pm. (PCR). This is only the second record for Thorne Moors.


Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus
Three records, all of adult birds in winter plumage. On 16th August one was on peat north of Fisons’ Road with a large flock of other gulls, many of which were Black-headed. It flew when the gulls were flushed (BPW, WHP). One flew over the Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram circling with black-headed gulls before heading south-west on 6th September (ML, BPW, AB). One flew over the colliery spoil heap in the company of a few Black-headed Gulls at dusk on 28th November, the gulls continued north away from the moors (BPW).


Black-headed Gull L.  ridibundus
Probably no more than five pairs managed to breed, all at flooded workings. For this and the four other main gull species, if both morning and evening roost counts at flooded workings were taken, then only the larger count is used for the following figures. From a total of 101 day counts for which Black-headed gull was recorded the monthly maximum, average (), and average percentage of all gulls counted, were:

January 700 (125)         =15. 82%

February 216 (52)          =6. 64%

March 160 (66)              =20. 69

April 350 (70)                 =36. 08% Commonest species this month

May 90 (27)                    =35. 06%

June 60 (48)                  =6. 84%

July 450 (166)               =16. 6%

August 840 (227)           =44. 25% Year’s maximum count

September 36 (14)          =10. 69% Year’s minimum count

October 97 (54)              =17. 53%

November 225 (101)       =15. 68%

December 74 (41)           =10. 51%


Common Gull L.  canus
Often could be found on peripheral fields and around the colliery. This species is the least common of the frequent gull species on Thorne Moors. It was the scarcest species overall this year, with only Lesser Black-backed Gull marginally scarcer in three winter months. From a total of 58 day counts for which common gull was recorded, the monthly maximum, average (), and average percentage of all gulls counted, were:

January 190 (7)             =0. 89%

February 6 (3)                =0. 38%

March 5 (4)                    =1. 25% Scarcest species this month

April 8 (3)                       =1. 55% Scarcest species this month

May 1 (1)                        =1. 30% Year’s minimum count; scarcest species this month

June 2 (1)                      =0. 14% Scarcest species this month

July 4 (2)                       =0. 2% Scarcest species this month

August 4 (2)                   =0. 39% Scarcest species this month

September 3 (2)              =1. 53% Scarcest species this month

October 5 (3)                  =1. 97% Scarcest species this month

November 42 (15)           =2. 33% Year’s maximum count

December 5 (4)               =1. 03% Equal scarcest species this month, with lesser black-backed gull


Lesser Black-backed Gull L.  fuscus
The commonest species in summer (May-September). From a total of 88 day counts for which Lesser Black-backed Gull was recorded, the monthly maximum, average (), and average percentage of all gulls counted, were:

January 6 (3)                 =0. 38% Scarcest species this month

February 4 (2)                =0. 26% Year’s minimum count; scarcest species this month

March 7 (7)                    =2. 19%

April 100 (20)                 =10. 31%

May 214 (34)                  =44. 16% Commonest species this month

June 1518 (628)            =89. 46% Commonest species this month

July 1627 (on 5th)(768) =76. 8% Maximum Thorne Moors count (on 5th) ever (BPW); Commonest species this month

August 1000 (263)         =51. 27% Commonest species this month

September 274 (100)      =76. 35% Commonest species this month

October 25 (13)              =4. 22%

November 7 (4)               =0. 62% Scarcest species this month

December 5 (5)               =1. 28%


Herring Gull L.  argentatus
This is the commonest gull overall on Thorne Moors, and one of the commonest of all species (along with Wood Pigeon). It was the commonest gull in winter months (January-March) and from October onwards. From a total of 109 daily counts for which Herring Gull was recorded, the monthly maximum, average (), and average percentage of all gulls counted, were:

January 2302 (on 24th)(543) = 68. 73% Maximum Thorne Moors count in any year (BPW, WHP); commonest species this month

February 1635 (691)      =88. 25% Commonest species this month. Highest monthly average count

March 827 (237)            =74. 29% Commonest species this month

April 200 (59)                 =30. 41%

May 40 (9)                      =11. 69%

June 47 (10)                  =1. 42%

July 5 (2)              =0. 2%Year’s minimum count. Equal scarcest species this month, with common gull

August 9 (6)                   =1. 17%

September 15 (7)            =5. 34%

October 432 (133)          =43. 18% Commonest species this month

November 1060 (467)     =72. 52% Commonest species this month

December 763 (273)       =70. 0% Commonest species this month


Yellow-legged Gull L.  cachinnans
Records refer to L. c.  michahellis only. All records of adult birds. First suspected at the end of June but not confirmed until 5th July, when one was down on the flooded workings (BPW). It was immediately next to a second-summer Herring Gull (one of few) and many Lesser Black-backed and a few Great Black-backed Gulls. It proceeded to walk through the gulls changing direction as it went; conditions were bright but fully overcast. One briefly down on flooded workings before taking flight on 19th July (BPW, RJS). At least three on flooded workings on 2nd August (BPW), this is a new Thorne Moors maximum. The weather was bright but lightly overcast. Two were standing directly next to Herring Gulls, and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were all around, also present were Great Black-backed Gulls. One or more were present on 9th August on the flooded workings (BPW, RJS). On 16th August one or more were present on the flooded workings when four Herring, one Great Black-backed, 700 Lesser Black-backed, and more than 500 Black-headed Gulls were also there (BPW, WHP). The final definite record was on 6th September, when one was present, again with mainly Lesser Black-backed Gulls, but also other species, at the flooded workings (BPW, ML).


Iceland Gull L.  glaucoides
Present with 800 gulls (700 Herring and 100 Great Black-backed Gulls) leaving the moors roost on the flooded workings on 17th January, going south-west. The bird was seen in flight and was in first-winter plumage; it was distinctly smaller than the Herring Gulls (WHP, BPW). The second record for Thorne Moors.


Glaucous Gull L.  hyperboreus
The only record was of a second-winter bird flying east-north-east (towards the moors) low c. 7 m) over the colliery compound on 18th April. It was with about 15 Herring Gulls (BPW, RJS).


Great black-backed Gull L.  marinus
From a total of 93 daily counts for which Great Black-backed Gull was recorded, the monthly maximum, average (), and average percentage of all gulls counted, were:

January 446 (on 24th) (112) = 14. 18% Maximum Thorne Moors count in any year (BPW, WHP)

February 82 (35)            =4. 47% 

March 10 (5)                  =1. 57% Year’s minimum count

April 119 (42)                 =21. 65%

May 10 (6)                      =7. 79%

June 40 (15)                  =2. 14%

July 100 (62)                 =6. 2%

August 100 (15)             =2. 92%

September 25 (8)            =6. 11%

October 371 (105)          =34. 09%

November 179 (57)         =8. 85%

December 133 (67)         =17. 18%


Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
An adult summer plumaged bird was present on the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road between 19:40 and 20:35 hours on 21st June, in good clear evening light. It then flew around before leaving probably to the west (PCR, JMR, ML).  The record has been accepted by the British Birds Rarities Committee, and this is a new species for Thorne Moors list.


Common Tern S.  hirundo
First seen on 9th May, when one was present at the flooded workings. All later records were from this area. There were two on 30th May, one being in full summer plumage, the other not quite so. On 22nd June two sent south, one was calling. One was present on 1st August. Four were harassing a Hobby over the flooded workings on 2nd August, and this is a new Thorne Moors maximum (RJS).


Arctic Tern S.  paradisaea
The second and third records for Thorne Moors. Three or four were present at the flooded workings on 2nd May, when three were feeding and later one flew over north (WHP). This is a new Thorne Moors maximum. Three terns were at the same place on 17t May, and two were positively identified as this species (ML).

Terns that were either Common or Arctic were seen on two dates. On 3rd May 15 went north-east over Pony Bridge Marsh, one went north over flooded workings, and five were reported by visitors north over Will Pits Scrape. A tern flew amongst gulls on 6th August.

Little Tern S.  albifrons
A single bird was watched flying, landed and bathing at the flooded workings on 9th May between 1:50 and 3:30 pm (WHP, PCR). This is a new species to the Thorne Moors list.


Black Tern Chlidonias niger
A full summer plumaged bird was flying and feeding over the flooded workings north of Fisons’ Road on 13th May, both in the morning and evening (PCR).


Rock Dove Columba livia
Numbers of feral birds have dropped, particularly around the colliery. They infrequently over-fly open areas of the moors and are still often to be found in peripheral areas.


Stock Dove C.  oenas
Frequently seen in single figures. The largest number was seen on 27th February, when 22 were in fields near the Paraffin Cuttings. There were 10 on 15th March, 22nd August and 27th September, then 19 on 11th October and 14 on 21st November. Other areas were Inkle Moor, Green Belt and the colliery (where there is a small roost). Nine birds were seen leaving a roost at Will Pits on 15th November, with Wood Pigeons.


Wood Pigeon C.  palumbus
Numbers rarely exceeded 1,000 for most of the year, except on three dates. On 11th January, 1,000+ were on western side of the Moors. On 29th November, 3,000+ dispersed from (a) roost(s) south over Pony Bridge Marsh, from the direction of Will Pits. This was the year’s maximum. The other large count was of 2,000 at Pony Bridge Wood on 6th December. Preyed on by Peregrine Falcons (q. v. ).


Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Regular areas were Top Moor Farm, where usually one or sometimes two birds were resident.  At ‘Bank Top’ they were also occasionally seen. Also rarely seen in the colliery area, with singles there, on 31st July and 26th September. Seen from Inkle Moor bridge, but never east of the railway this year. A pair was seen from the bridge on 7th June, five from there on 12th July and one from there on 26th December. The only record actually over the peat moor was of one over the English Nature shed at Will Pits Scrape on 10th June.


Turtle Dove S.  turtur
Four were rarely recorded, as on 23rd May, in the colliery and Green Belt area. Four were also seen on 26th July. Six were seen together on 6th September at Red House Farm. First and last dates were 26th April – 6th September.


Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Often seen, present in all areas of the moors. Seven were noted on 10th and 16th May, with a maximum of 10 on 21st May. First and last dates were 25th April to 25th August, the latter a juvenile at flooded workings.


Barn Owl Tyto alba
There was one on 15th February, near Swinefleet Mill at Rainsbutt Moor. In April on 22nd, one was at Hookmoor Farm near the Thorne-Goole railway, north of Goole Moor. A hunting bird was observed in daylight and again at dusk on 30th May between Swinefleet Warping Drain and Swinefleet Mill.


Little Owl Athene noctua
Just after dark on 19th June one was seen flying along the path from ‘Middle Moor’ to the Canal Tow Path. At Hookmoor Farm little owls were reported as frequently seen; the only date noted, however, was 22nd April.


Tawny Owl Strix aluco
Mainly heard calling, but quite often seen. Most records were of single birds. Frequent at Will Pits from 7th March. On 30th May a not quite fully fledged juvenile was perched at a nest hole in a broken Crack Willow Salix fragilis there. Three were at Casson’s Garden area at dusk on 14th March, and one there, on 27th March. Regular at the ‘Yorkshire Triangle’ area, where two were heard on 2nd April. One was calling from Pony Bridge Marsh on 4th April. One was close to Top Moor Farm on 16th May. Three adults were heard on the night of 19th June, one each at Crowle Moor, Will Pits and Elmhirst Wood. There were four records from Rawcliffe Moor. Eurasian Jays mobbed a roosting bird at Mill Drain on 20th September when one was heard. One was heard from the Rhododendron Path on 8th November. When a roosting bird was discovered on Northern Goole Moor on 14th November, it drove all the local birds away, which included 18 Blackbirds, two Eurasian Jays, tits, Wrens and Robins.


Long-eared Owl Asio otus
At the northern edge of Goole Moor on the evening of 14th May, a bird was seen hunting. Two juveniles called from Will Pits on 1st June, and one juvenile was heard here on 4th, 16th and 29th June also. There were up to seven juveniles calling on 19th and 20th June. Three at the eastern end of Elmhirst Tram and two each at Collis’s Tram and the colliery area. On the same night (20th June), another observer heard two juveniles and then saw one juvenile, in a tall stand of birch on Elmhirst Tram. Three juveniles were heard on 11th July, at Angle Drain, Elmhirst Tram and the colliery area.


Short-eared Owl A.  flammeus
A hunting bird was seen over Pony Bridge Marsh after dawn on 22nd April. Just before dark on 19th June, one was flying and perched at ‘Middle Moor’. Carrion Crows mobbed one over Goole Moor on 23rd August, and in the same area one was flying high with a Common Kestrel on 12th September. One quartered the fields between the colliery and Inkle Moor at first light on 4th October. On the evening of 31st October one was seen at Mill Drain, and a little later one near Woodpecker Corner. Last record was of two hunting over Pony Bridge Marsh on 14th December.


European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus
A total of 45 males were counted during the census (on the following nights: 8th-11th June, 9th June, 6th-9th July, 11th July). At Green Belt, a male was flushed in daylight on 14th June. An unusual area where a male was heard on several occasions was in scrub on, or near, colliery waste ground, between the colliery buildings and Moorends. A male was also seen in this area, feeding on the edge of the village near allotments, on 2nd July. First and last dates were 14th May and 28th August.


Common Swift Apus apus
Large movements were sometimes noted, for instance in the adverse summer weather. A mass of 330+ birds did intricate movements over the northern half of the moors on 6th June, as they tried to avoid frequent squally showers. One moment lots of them, the next none. On 14th June,c. 200 went east, meeting a spiralling column of another c. 580 birds over the colliery. They then went very high, all went east into a front of very heavy rain coming from the east, and they may have gone high, over the worst of the low rain clouds (BPW). This c. 780 is a new Thorne Moors maximum. Blanket rain moving south drove 54 birds ahead of it on 23rd August. At sunrise on several dates, the first birds were observed arriving, they would appear from high in the east, and drop down to the moors, as on 20th June (few), 5th July c. 71), 18th July c. 200) and 26th Julyc. 60). First and last dates were 8th May – 13th September.


Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Four records, all from Bell’s Pond or adjoining drains, in autumn. One was seen on 10th and 12th October and 7th November. Two were seen flying together at Bell’s Pond on 17th December (JGH).


Green Woodpecker Picus viridis
Often one or two seen. The colliery area had up to three juvenile birds present, as seen together on 31st July, suggesting at least five in this area if adults are included. The maximum count however was four, including birds in this area, the Southern Canals and Will Pits, on 26th September. Seen at all wooded areas such as at the colliery (and spoil heap), Woodpecker Corner, Will Pits and Pony Bridge Wood. Also seen in scrub areas such as Pony Bridge Marsh and Angle Drain.


Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
‘Drumming’ was only heard on 19th April in Will Pits, and there was no further evidence of territorial display or breeding. Birds were seen every month however, the maximum being four on 15th February. There was one record of three on 20th December. Seen mostly in larger woodlands around the moors. Also seen twice in the scrub area of Green Belt, on 8th August and 20th December.


Sky Lark Alauda arvensis
Low numbers, with no counts over 15 until 15th March when there were 46. This included birds on Goole Fields. Autumn passage did not get underway until 3rd October, when 101 passed south or east in 11 small groups through the day. This continued the following day when a count of 77, in seven small groups, went mainly north. By 10th October, however, there were 47 present but with no general movement, then 26 the next day. On 18th October 74+ were present at their roost along Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram at first light. On 20th October 11 went south. Movement took place into November, as on 1st October when 50 went west in 10 small groups. There were 22 present on 7th November. Wintering birds remained on Goole Fields, with 45 there on 8th November and 23 on 14th November.


Sand Martin Riparia riparia
Mainly observed over the flooded workings in low numbers, often with other hirundines. Mainly single figures until return passage got underway from the start of August. On 15th August, 62 went south-west. Then 87 were counted on 16th August, 44 west and 43 east. The second last count was also the highest, as 91+ moved west on 13th September. The last record was of four birds six days later. First and last dates were 7th April to 19th September.


Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Small counts until late April when there were 35 on 26th April and c 40 on 30th April. A tight group of 32 went low west into oncoming rain, towards clear skies visible behind, on 7th June. In August the highest count was c 60 on 25th. With return passage came higher counts, often from over the flooded workings. Here mixed groups of hirundines would come low to feed and gather back together before moving on. In September, 48 went south on 6th and 103 went south or west on 25 groups on 13th. Numbers dropped with 30 south on 19th September and 39 south or south-east on 20th September. Virtually all single figures in October, except for an unusual last count of 40+ over the colliery area. First and last dates were 22nd April to 9th October.


House Martin Delichon urbica
No large numbers until late August, with 50 on 29th. Birds congregated at the colliery headgear, with 100 there on 5th September, 37 of which left east. On 12th September there was the year’s maximum count, of 339, which were noted moving west in groups of up to 52. Next day 328 moved west. All later counts were below 20, except 20+ on 6th September. First and last dates were 24th April to 11th October.


Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
Another poor year for this species, all records are listed. A maximum of seven possible pairs, down from nine last year.

24th April 1 eastern boundary of Southern Canals

25th April 1 sang western edge of the Moors

28th April 1

30th April 2, one over Pony Bridge Marsh

08th May 1 at Green Belt

14th May until 2nd July 1 at Pony Bridge Marsh, on nine dates

17th May 1 Crowle Moor

19th May 1 at Green Belt

22nd May 1 at Green Belt

23rd May 1 at Green Belt

07th June 3, one each at east end of Collis’s Tram, Angle Drain (carrying food) and Green Belt

14th June 1 at Green Belt


Meadow Pipit A.  pratensis
Small numbers of winter residents were boosted by passage birds. On 14th March three were on the moors and seven went straight through west. The maximum spring count was on 14th April, when five were on the moors and 17 went directly west. On 18th April one carried nesting material at Shearburn & Pitts Drain. Highest numbers were in autumn, often large counts came from Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram and adjacent flooded workings. There were 40+ on 29th August. In September, numbers flew from c. 60 on 6th to c. 295 on 12th (234 went south and 61 were bathing and preening). Then c. 70 on 13th, c. 140 (some south) on 20th, and 100+ on 27th. There were more large counts in October. For example c. 140 on 3rd, c. 100 on 4th, and 150 on 18th (50 at flooded workings, rest flushed from low bracken by a Red Fox, on the northern edge of the moors). In November, mainly lower numbers. The best were 80+ on the northern edge of the moors, on 17th and c. 50 on 18th at flooded workings.


Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
All records came from the flooded workings. The first double figure count was 14 on 15th and 16th August. Much higher counts followed in August. A count of 28 on 16th August was exceeded by 63 together on 23rd August and 84 in two groups, on 25th August. Numbers dropped to 22 on 30th August. Last double figures were 16 on 1st September and 12+ on 6th September.  First and last dates were 11th April – 20th September.

Grey Wagtail M.  cinerea
One record of a calling bird, along a ditch in Will Pits on 26th September.


Pied Wagtail M.  alba
The only double figure counts in the first half of the year were 13 together on Goole Moor on 11th January, 11 on 12th April, 11 on 18th April (but including six ‘White’ wagtails) and 10 on 3rd May. From then, larger counts were 12 on 18th July, 17 on 25th August, 19 on 12th September and 20 on 20th September. For October, maxima were 20+ on 4th and 23 on 7th November. Combine counts with birds a Moorends Recreation Ground, or the colliery, made counts far higher. Examples are 31 at the former on 5th September (plus three on the moors), and 20 at the colliery buildings on 19th September (plus 13 on the moors). Juvenile birds were noted from 6th June (one), with a maximum of six juveniles on 17th July.


‘White’ wagtails M. a.  alba were seen on two dates. Six at the flooded workings on 18th April, a new Thorne Moors maximum (BPW), and two there the next day.


Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Highest counts were 48 on 15th February and 62 on 15th March. Later in the year, 42 were counted on 16th August and 32 on 18th October. Many other counts were around 20.


Hedge Accentor Prunella modularis
The only double figure count was 10 on 26th September, with nine on 15th March. In the second half of the year, nine were seen on 27th September and 11th October. A juvenile was seen at the colliery area on 4th August.


Robin Erithacus rubecula

Higher double figure counts in the first half of the year were 37 on 15th February and 33 on 15th March. No other large counts until September, when 32 on 13th September, 35 on 20th September (31 in Will Pits), 31 on 26th September (21 in Will Pits) and 36 on 27th September (24 in Will Pits). For October, notable counts were 30 on 3rd October (24 in Will Pits) and 45 on 10th October (27 in Will Pits).


Rufous Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos
Highest day count was four, with two in the colliery area and two at Will Pits on 24th April. There was a maximum of two in the colliery area, and three in Will Pits on 30th April. Other areas were Green Belt (maximum one), Elmhirst Wood (one briefly singing on 20th June) and Cassons’ rhododendrons (one on 20th June only). Probably no more than six males holding territory. First and last dates were 23rd April – 20th June.


Bluethroat Luscinia svecica 
A lone male ‘White-spotted’ Bluethroat L. c.  cyanecula was seen on 29th March again at Pony Bridge Marsh, and remained until 30th June, but again no breeding took place since it was the only bird (ML, BPW, PCR, JMR et.  al. ). A full account appears in Bluethroats at Thorne: an Observational Diary (ML & PCR).


Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Only record was of a single male at Green Belt on 24th April (WHP).


Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
A total of only 24 records. A decline from last year, with a maximum of only four on three dates: 24th and 27th June and 5th July. The main areas were the flooded workings, Pony Bridge Marsh, Green Belt and the Canals. The first record was from Goole Fields, of a pair, and was the only record from there. The first juveniles were seen on 3rd July (two, with an adult) and 5th July (three, with an adult). Juveniles were also seen in August: two with an adult on 1st August, one on 16th, two on 23rd, one on 30th and two on 31st August. Also one juvenile was seen on 6th September and 12th September. First and last dates were 23rd April – 12th September.


Common Stonechat S.  torquata
A total of 22 records, nearly equalling Whinchat for the first time.  Sightings in January were on 11th (a male at Shoulder o’ Mutton), 25th (a female on ‘Middle Moor’), and 30th (a male at the Shoulder o’ Mutton and a female at Fisons’ Road). On 1st and 14th February a female at Mill Drain: then a female at Will Pits Scrape on 13th March. Birds returned from 9th October, with six females/juveniles on the flooded workings near Fisons’ Road. On 10th October a female at Shoulder o’ Mutton, and nearly all other records came from here, plus the flooded workings, with a maximum of two, but comprising at least four birds. The other areas had a female at Mill Drain Marsh on 18th October, a male on 8th November at ‘Middle Moor’, and a male from Will Pits Scrape to Crowle Moor on 29th November, with two females near there on 6th December and two males there on 18th December.  Over-wintering birds move from one area to another. This was noted on 10th October when a female went from Fisons’ Road to the Shoulder o’ Mutton, and on 19th December a female went the opposite way.  


Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Nearly all records were from the flooded workings, with a single female there on the first date.  Other areas were the colliery spoil heap (two spring records), Goole Fields (a male on 23rd and a female on 26th April) and Bank Top (two on 12th August). Maxima were eight (five males, two females and one unsexed) on 3rd May, and seven at the colliery spoil heap and the Shoulder o’ Mutton on 25th April. Juveniles were only definitely seen on 5th and 16th August (seemingly the same two on each date), and 12th September (one and an adult male). First and last dates were 4th April – 18th October.


A male of the Greenland race O. o leucorhoa was seen at the flooded workings on 18th April (BPW).


Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus
Heard from scrub on the side of the colliery spoil heap on 24th and 25th April (WHP, BPW).


Blackbird T.  merula
Generally low numbers in January, with a maximum of 31 on 1st January. February highest was 19 on 15th February, then 23 on 15th March. Single figures through the breeding season, except for 11 on 16th May. Double figures again on 26th September with 10, and a steady increase to 20 on 31st October. Higher counts in November were 30 on 7th November, 12 at Inkle Moor on 8th November and 14 males in the colliery area on 29th November. At Northern Goole Moor, 18+ were flushed by a Tawny Owl that was being mobbed by Eurasian Jays on 14th November.


Fieldfare T.  pilaris
Low counts, all 100 or lower, in the first half of the year, except 500 to roost in the colliery area on 11th April. One was taken by a Eurasian Sparrowhawk at Green Belt on 7th February. Around 100 went to roost on 8th March. Autumn started off similarly, but there were some exceptional counts in November. A massive influx on 1st November saw birds streaming in from the east all morning, heading west. The total was 3114+ in more than 24 parties. There were no other counts over 500 except c. 600 on 7th November. Last and first dates were 2nd May and 18th October.


Song Thrush T.  philomelos
There were six on 30th May (five Will Pits and one in the colliery area), this being themaximum until October. On 3rd October 21 were counted, with one in the colliery area, one at Green Belt and 19 together in Will Pits. The only other double figure count was 14 on 11th October. Four juveniles were seen together at Moorends Recreation Ground on 26th July.


Redwing T.  iliacus
Again very low numbers this year, with no counts over 50. Highest count for first half of year was 45 (30 Moorends Recreation Ground and 15 Will Pits) on 13th March. The only other notable count was 30+ on 7th November. Last and first dates were 31st March and 9th October.


Mistle Thrush T.  viscivorus
Red House Farm and nearby held two on many dates. One was at Will Pits on 19th April, and on bare peat near there on 3rd May. Maximum count was obtained on 14th July, when eight were at Moorends Recreation Ground, and on 20th November eight at the colliery buildings. Resident birds from these latter areas could be encountered regularly anywhere between the colliery and Inkle Moor.


Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia
Maximum number was six on 25th April, with four in the colliery area and two at Mill Drain. The number of locations where birds were heard (mainly) would suggest a maximum of 17 males present. Area maxima were: colliery (four), Mill Drain/Marsh (two), Northern and Southern Canals (three), Pony Bridge Marsh (two), Paraffin Cuttings (two), Will Pits/Scrape (two), Shoulder o’ Mutton (one) and Green Belt (one). First and last dates were 12th April – 16th August.


Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Mainly heard. Five were recorded on 17th May and this was the maximum. Area maxima were: Green Belt (one), colliery area including Bell’s Pond (four), Mill Drain/Marsh (one) and Will Pits Scrape (one). This gives a possible maximum of seven males. On the last date there was an adult and a juvenile separately along Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram. First and last dates were 12th April, the earliest ever – 1st September.


Reed Warbler A.  scripaceus
Mainly heard. Seven were recorded on 7th June: one at Woodpecker Corner, four along Green Belt Tram and two along the Rhododendron Patch. These were the maxima in those areas. Other area maxima were: colliery area (three), Green Belt (one), Swinefleet Warping Drain (two), Canals (one), Paraffin Cuttings (two) and Inkle Moore (one). This gives a possible maximum of 17 males. First and last dates were 2nd May – 12th September.


Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
All records as follows. Singles in the colliery area on 25th April and 15th May. One singing male on Rawcliffe Moor on 2nd, 4th and 14th May. Single birds at Elmhirst and at Limberlost on 5th May and 19th July respectively. One was at Green Belt on 10th and 22nd May, and 14th June. One at the Rhododendron Path on 23rd May. First and last dates were 25th April and 6th September: the latter a male near the colliery.

Common Whitethroat S.  communis
No high counts, numbers rarely reached 10 or more. Dates that did were 30th April (10); on 7th May (10), 10th May (12), 14th May (10), 17th May (16), 18th May (10), 21st, 24th May (14) and 26th May (17); and 14th June (10). First and last dates were 26th April and 26th September. The last was at Shoulder o’ Mutton, the latest ever for Thorne Moors (RJS, BPW).


Garden Warbler S.  borin
A maximum of seven on 17th May. Usually heard, area maxima were: Bell’s Pond (one), Green Belt (two), Rawcliffe Moor (five), Will Pitts (three) and Southern Canals (one). This gives a possible maximum of nine males. First and last dates were 30th April – 30th August.


Blackcap S.  atricapilla
Only single figures, except for 16 on 24th April from the colliery area (four), Green Belt (two) and Will Pits (10). These were those areas maxima. The only other areas were Rawcliffe Moor (six on 4th May), and Mill Drain (a male on 18th July). Three juveniles were seen on colliery footpath with an adult male and female, also on 18th July. On 19th September, a pair was seen along the western edge of the Moors. First and last dates were 7th April and 26th September.


Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus
A single bird was observed at the limestone road junction near Swinefleet Warping Drain, at Will Pits on 10th October (WHP). It was following a flock of Long-tailed Tits into a scrub willow before they flew over the drain to Crowle Moor. It was observed in the willow for 30 seconds at 15m. The first record for Thorne Moors.


Common Chiffchaff P.  collybita
Usually heard. Highest numbers were 11 on 7th April (one Will Pits Scrape and 10 Will Pits) and 12 on 26th September (seven in the Bell’s Pond area, one at Green Belt and four Will Pits). Other area maxima were: Pony Bridge Wood (one), Elmhirst Wood (one), Inkle Moor (two), Crowle Moor (one, but probably more), Mill Drain (one) and the Colliery footpath (four). This gives a possible maximum of up to 25 males holding territory. A late record was of one in Will Pits on 15th November, the only one for that month. The last record was from Pony Bridge Wood on 6th December (RJS) and this is the latest ever record for Thorne Moors. First and last dates (of migrant birds) were 14th March and 18th October.


Willow Warbler P.  trochilus
An obvious drop in numbers, noticeable even without any full counts. All but one count was of 20 or less. However 40+ were counted on 24th April, from the Canals, Will Pits, colliery and Green Belt areas. First and last dates were 2nd April and 3rd October. The last was at Will Pits, the latest ever for Thorne Moors (WHP).


Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Mostly single figure counts, however there were 12+ on 10th October (Will Pits, the colliery and Canals areas), then 15 on 11th October. Last and first dates were 14th March and 13th September.


Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
Four records, all of single birds. At Will Pits on 30th May; on 9th and 30th August at Rawcliffe Moor; and at Will Pits on 26th September.


Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Counts mostly in single figures till late September, with only six counts exceeding this. The best was 20 (three flocks) on 14th February. A similar number seen on 27th September. In October, 35 on 3rd, 40+ on 10th, 52 on 11th and the highest count of the year, 58 on 18th.


Willow Tit P.  montanus
Frequently recorded but only in single figures, the only exception being in August, with 10+ on 22nd August. Juveniles were seen in a family of four at Pony Bridge Marsh on 6th June and at Bell’s Pond, on 3rd July, when at least five were in the colliery area. Three Juveniles and two adults were seen at the Southern Canals on 16th August.

Blue Tit P.  caeruleus
Best counts were 22 on 15th February, 18 on 15th March. Then 15 on 6th September and 17 on 27th September, and 16 on 20th December.


Great Tit P.  major
Numbers over 10 were infrequent. There were 10 on 22nd February and 15th March. Later in the year, 10 on 26th September and 19 on 27th September, and 10 on 11th October.


Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris
Single birds, in Will Pits on 11th October, and at Pony Bridge Wood on 30th December.


Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor
An adult female was found around the colliery compound on the evening of 9th October, after a shower of rain. It caught beetles (BPW, WHP, RJS). It was still present next day, but was more elusive and mobile. At one time it flew from a clump of dense bushes about 70m away, to a birch within 5m of the observers. From here it retrieved a stored, dead, Long-tailed Tit, before returning to its original position (BPW, WHP, RJS, CF, IS). A second bird was seen at Angle Drain, also on 10th October (SB).


Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
Four juveniles were seen at the Rhododendron Path on 20th June. The only higher count was five (four colliery area and one Will Pits) on 26th September. Seen at the Rawcliffe Moor and Paraffin Cuttings, and throughout the southern half of the Moors, particularly Green Belt and Woodpecker Corner. Two mobbed a Tawny Owl on Northern Goole Moor on 14th November.


Magpie Pica pica
The maxima were 13 on 25th January and 11 on 7th November. These were the only double figure counts. Juveniles were seen on 31st May (one plus, with four others Pony Bridge Marsh), 6th June (one ‘Middle Moor’) and 19th July (one colliery area).


Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula
Seen outside the breeding season. In March one east calling on 14th March, on 15th March one north-north-east over Goole Moor, and on 29th March one west over Pony Bridge Marsh. One went south-west on 11th April. On 20th September two south, and on 27th September one went south calling. In October, one flew south on 3rd September, two flew east over Will Pits on 10th September, and on 11th September four north-west over Will Pits.


Rook C.  frugilegus
Two (an adult and an immature) went over the flooded workings east but returned west on 19th September. Next day two went west over the flooded workings. Four went south-east over Will Pits on 18th October. Lastly one went west on 6th December.


Carrion Crow C.  corone
Usually less than 100, but at roost sites on the flooded workings or Pony Bridge Marsh numbers could sometimes be higher. There were 200 to roost at Shoulder o’ Mutton on 16th February. Around 250 were over Goole Moor/Fields on 8th August, then 150 at Pony Bridge Marsh on 12th September and 140+ on 27th September. At the flooded workings, one fed on a dead Herring Gull on 17th January. Two aberrant birds with white primary bases were seen on several occasions around the colliery. Both were there on 27th September. Fourteen mobbed a ringtail Hen Harrier on 10th October.


Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Very few were seen in the first half of the year. Two flew over on 1st January, one over on 22nd February and two over on 15th March. The next was east over Inkle Moor on 6th June, followed by 51 juveniles feeding around the colliery on 14th June. A flock of 60 went north-east to roost on 19th June. Small groups were then often on the flooded workings, or flying over them. On 26th July, 45 at the flooded workings. Largest counts came in with Fieldfares from east, as on 1st November (282 in 11 groups) and 7th November (238 in eight groups). Also on 14th and 15th November 58 and 68 went north-west respectively. Around 1200 were in adjacent southern fields on 6th December. One went over, and c. 25 were on Goole Fields with Northern Lapwings, on 20th December.


House Sparrow Passer domestics
The only record away from the colliery area was of a female on the disused Axholme Joint Railway at Goole Fields Reservoir on 20th December (ML).


Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
The only large counts came from the colliery roost. On 1st January 245, with 100 there on 11th January and 80 on 23rd January. There were 40 on 15th March, 29 on 11th October and 80 on 31st October. In the same roost were 30+ on 7th November and 46+ on 20th November.


Brambling F.  montifringilla
One over Will Pits Scrape on 11th October. One going west over flooded workings on 7th November, and one over Will Pits Scrape on 8th November.


Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
Roosts in the colliery area were where larger counts were made. With 100+ on 15th February, and 170+ there on 8th March.  On 7th November, 80 were feeding on Sunflowers in the southern fields.  There were 22 on Goole Moor/Fields on 8th November, with 21 there, on 15th November.  At the colliery area roost, there were 31 on 20th November.

Goldfinch C.  carduelis
Small numbers mainly, the highest counts being 14 on 2nd January and 18 to roost in the colliery area on 8th February. On 25th August 11 were at Will Pits Scrape, then on 29th August 100+ were present on the colliery spoil area. There were 13 at Will Pits on 26th September. In the colliery area 20+ were present on 9th October. There were 33 (two Will Pits, 30 Elmhirst Pumping Station and one in the colliery area) on 7th November, and twelve the next day.

Siskin C.  spinus
Most records were in January. On 1st January there were six at Pony Bridge Marsh, one over Elmhirst and two over Will Pits. Also, on 11th January one went over the colliery area, two over ‘Middle Moor’, three over Pony Bridge Wood, one over the Alder Thicket, and one over Fisons’ Road. On 17th January one flew over the flooded workings. Then on 25th January seven at the Alder Thicket and one over Will Pits. A male was in the colliery area on 12th April. One went over Will Pits on 24th April, and there were two on 7th November.

Linnet C.  cannabina
Seen in small flocks about the colliery area and the flooded workings. Maxima were 34 on 15th February, 31 on 22nd February, 30+ on 27th February, then 49 on 1st March and 28 on 15th March. For April there were 37 on 12th April. There were 25+ in small groups on 18th July, 22 on 26th July, 24 on 6th August and 40 on 27th September. Lastly 30 were at the flooded workings on 3rd October, 22 on 8th November and 21 on 20th December.


Twite C.  flavirostris
One record of three, on the perimeter fence of Goole Fields Reservoir, on 8th November (ML).


Common Redpoll C.  flammea
Mostly seen at the flooded workings, with a few larger counts from here in January. For example 33 on 3rd January, 50+ on 4th January, 60+ on 11th January, 35 on 16th January, 40+ on 17th January and 58 on 25th January. Again here in February, on 8th and 14th February there were 60, with 50 on 15th February and 40 on 27th February. On 8th March, 60 and 30 on 13th and 14th March.


Common Crossbill L.  curvirostra
Two females/juveniles were present in tall birch scrub on Pony Bridge Marsh near Swinefleet Warping Drain on 6th September (ML, BPW). The loud call drew attention, before one flew up and around, the other remaining perched out of view, but calling.


Common Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula
On 2nd January 10 (seven in the colliery area), and 11 on 1st November (two Will Pits, three Pony Bridge Wood/Tram, five Elmhirst Pumping Station and one in the colliery area). These were the only double figure counts. Will Pits is the main area for this species. One was chased by a Eurasian Sparrowhawk in the colliery area on 5th August.


Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
All but four counts in single figure. On 15th February there were 11, then 12 on 10th October, and 11 on 15th November. At Inkle Moore 20 were seen on 8th November. Often seen around the colliery area.


Reed Bunting E.  schoeniclus
Highest counts were 26 on 1st March and 34 on 22nd March. There were 21 on 30th May, and 24 on 14th June and 5th July. At Mill Drain, 18 were counted leaving a roost on 19th September. There were 23 on 11th October and 22 on 18th October.


[Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra
The nearest to the recording area were two noted N of Fisons’ Mill on 22nd April and 12th June, and from Croft Farm on 8th July (FO, SO, AP, JW)].



List of Observers
Richard Atterby, Peter Baxter, Stuart Beeby, Andrew Brown, Kevin Bull, Clive Featherstone, Steve Hiner, John Hitchcock, Stephen L.  James, Martin Limbert, Frank Oates, Stanley Oates, Maureen Okane, Terry Okane, Eric Pears, Brian Pepper, Alan Porter, William H.  Priestly, Janet M.  Roworth, Peter C.  Roworth, Ian Snowdon, Richard J.  Sprakes, Bryan P.  Wainwright, Colin Wall, Jonathan Ward, Richard Ward, Steve Warrilow, Rob Watson, John Wozencroft.



Thanks to Martin Limbert for help and advice in compiling this report, and also to Peter Roworth for proof reading and printing the report.