compiled by

Martin Limbert, Bryan P. Wainwright, Steve Hiner




1.                   Parameters of conservation.  Thorne Moors lies within the Humberhead Levels Natural Area, and the peatland and contiguous wetlands comprise the Thorne Moors Site of Special Scientific Interest.  The moorland forms a component of the Humberhead Peatlands National Nature Reserve, managed by Natural England and (in the North Lincolnshire section q.v.) the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.  The NNR has international designations to recognize its conservation importance.


2.                   Recording area.  For vertebrates documentation, the Thorne Moors recording area is deliberately interpreted somewhat loosely.  It comprises the whole of the peatland, contiguous unfarmed areas, the Thorne Colliery curtilage, and peripheral farmland and drains.  The limit to the north is defined as the line of the old Axholme Joint Railway.  Otherwise, a field width or so is a practical rule-of-thumb.  However, in this report all the land belonging to Top House and Priory Farms is included, extending to the edge of Snaith & Cowick Moor.


3.                   Place-names.  In broad terms, the name Thorne Moors is used to embrace both the peatland and the other areas under study.  The surviving peat is divided by parish limits, the parish names being Thorne Waste, Snaith & Cowick Moor, Rawcliffe Moor, Goole Moor and Crowle Moor.  Thorne Waste (except now the Yorkshire Triangle) lies in South Yorkshire, and the other parishes lie in East Yorkshire, except Crowle Moor and the Yorkshire Triangle, which are in North Lincolnshire.  That part of Goole Moor situated north of Rawcliffe Moor is designated as 'Northern Goole Moor' for recording purposes.  Within the parish framework, numerous place-names are employed for vertebrates recording.  These names were included on the place-names map issued with the Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report 2005.  This is now superseded by a place-names map on the website of the Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum (


4.                   Current sources of nomenclature and species sequence.  In this report, English and scientific names and sequence of species accord (where appropriate) with the following:

Beebee, T.J.C. and R.A. Griffiths (2000) Amphibians and Reptiles.  A Natural History of the British Herpetofauna.  The New Naturalist No. 87.  London: HarperCollins Publishers.

The British Birds List of Birds of the Western Palearctic; see (accessed 14th February 2009).

Arnold, H.R. (1993) Atlas of mammals in Britain.  Institute of Terrestrial Ecology Research Publication No. 6.  London: HMSO.

In addition, botanical nomenclature and sequence follow:

Stace, C. (1997) New Flora of the British Isles.  Second edition.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


5.                   Descriptions.  For nationally rare avian taxa, descriptions and visual evidence should be made available in accordance with the requirements of the British Birds Rarities Committee.  At county level, material should be prepared in compliance with the lists issued by the Yorkshire Naturalists' Union Ornithological Section Reports Committee or the Lincolnshire Bird Club, as appropriate.  Advice and blank forms can be made available upon request.


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


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




1.                   Number of records submitted.  Again, the number of records of vertebrates communicated was relatively low, preventing the production of a full annual survey.  Therefore, for some species only significant records are detailed here, and not all species are mentioned.


2.                   Statistics for 2008.  During the year, four species of fish, two species of amphibian, three species of reptile, 133 species of bird and 14 species of mammal were reported from Thorne Moors.  There were a number of interesting records amongst the non-avian vertebrates, including hibernating Smooth Newts and all three species of shrew.  Amongst the birds, there were three firsts for Thorne Moors: Golden Eagle, Water Pipit and Icterine Warbler, but two of these await ratification at county level.  The most remarkable event of the year was the occurrence of four Redfooted Falcons in May, a month that also saw at least ten Hobbies.  Other notable birds were Blacknecked Grebe (maximum five), Honey-buzzard (three) (subject to acceptance at county level), Red Kite (two), Osprey, Common Crane, Avocet (two or four), Little Gull, Hoopoe and Wood Lark.  The fortunes of breeding birds fluctuated, with Grasshopper Warblers in number (18+ 'reeling' males), but little evidence of Common Nightingale.  Forty-two European Nightjar territories were censused, but it is now rare to hear a 'drumming' Common Snipe.  Coal Tits in May were of interest, including a pair at Will Pits.    


3.                   Publications, reports, etc.  During 2008, second editions appeared of both 'The Fish and Herptiles of Thorne Moors' (THMCF Technical Report No. 13) and 'The Mammals of Thorne Moors' (THMCF Technical Report No. 15).  These provide full summaries of available records to the end of 2007 (reptiles to October 2008).  They include records 2004-07 that did not appear in the relevant Thorne Moors Vertebrates Reports.  As part of the data gathering for reptiles, Adder distribution was surveyed during the five years 2004-08.  In 2008, the website of the Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum displayed a map of Thorne Moors highlighting target areas where no recent records of Adder had been obtained.  An appeal was made via the website for any Adder records from the target areas.  In November 2008, the statements of species status, as given in the two reports, were added to the THMCF website (, as an accessible summary of all non-avian vertebrates recorded on Thorne Moors.  The website also now hosts a checklist of the birds of Thorne and Hatfield Moors.  

   In addition, the following references appeared during 2008, using vertebrates data concerning Thorne Moors, but not necessarily relevant to that year.  Published references to noteworthy species as news items are not detailed (unless accompanied by an image), nor are those references in which the site allusion is merely incidental or very minor:

       Lane, T. (2008) A Study of Bat (Chiroptera) usage of Thorne Moors NNR during 1999/2000 by the East Yorkshire Bat Group.  Thorne & Hatfield Moors Papers 7: 62-67.

       Limbert, M. (compiler) (2008a) Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report 2007.  Privately published, Doncaster.

       Limbert, M. (2008b) Historical Breeding by Ruff Philomachus pugnax in the Lower Don Valley.  Thorne & Hatfield Moors Papers 7: 68-73.

       Middleton Consultancy [2009] Breeding Nightjar Survey - 2008 - Humberhead Peatlands NNR, SAC, SSSI, SPA (Thorne, Goole and Crowle Moors).  Unpublished report to NE.

       Middleton, P. (2008) The 2008 Nightjar Survey of the Humberhead Peatlands National Nature ReserveYorkshire Birding 17: 104-106.




Pike Esox lucius.  Fished for in Swinefleet Warping Drain.


Roach Rutilus rutilus.  Fished for in Swinefleet Warping Drain.


Rudd Scardinius erythrophthalmus.  Fished for in Swinefleet Warping Drain (per PH).  The incidence, if any, of hybridity with Roach, is unknown.


Eurasian Perch Perca fluviatilis.  Fished for in Swinefleet Warping Drain.




Common Frog Rana temporaria.  Seen on two unrecorded dates in late spring in the Will Pits area: a juvenile at c.SE746161 and an adult at c.745155.


Smooth or Common Newt Triturus vulgaris.  On 7th May, seven were counted in the fifth canal of the Southern Canals.  Hibernating newts were found on 23rd November.  Fourteen were disturbed in a heap of granite used for repairs to Fisons’ Road.  The heap was near the site of the former Blue Bridge (henceforth Blue Bridge), and the newts were of different sizes, probably representing a small proportion of a population from nearby Mill Drain Marsh/Mill Drain.   



Viviparous or Common Lizard Lacerta vivipara.  The first was seen on 25th February, along the fifth canal of the Southern Canals.  On 17th April, one was on Crowle Moor at map reference SE748152, with another along Middle Moor Tram on 21st May.  Six were under a sleeper along Medge Hall Tram on an unrecorded spring date.  On 10th June, three were encountered: two along the fourth canal of the Southern Canals and one on 'Middle Moor'.  On 1st July, singles appeared along the Rhododendron Path and along the first canal of the Southern Canals.  One disappeared beneath a willow Salix stump in the Main Canal on 4th July.  Five juveniles were at the side of the Paraffin Tram, close to the Paraffin Cuttings, on 6th August.  On 15th December, a hibernating individual was disturbed by digging on the western part of Goole Moor.


Grass or Ringed Snake Natrix natrix.  An immature animal, perhaps 60cm long, was seen on 7th May along the fifth canal of the Southern Canals.  There were two sightings in June.  On 6th, one was on black polythene at Bank Top.  On 17th, another was along Angle Drain (SE7314), under a corrugated metal sheet employed for monitoring reptiles.  On was on the colliery road at Moorends Recreation Ground on 13th July.  Two were seen on 18th September: on black polythene at Bank Top, and on Fisons' Road, half way between Will Pits and the Blue Bridge.  Finally, one was along a track on the northern edge of Goole Moor (c.SE751171) on 13th October.


Adder Vipera berus.  The first were recorded on 11th February: single males at Green Belt and on the Rhododendron Path.  On 4th March, two males were again detected: at the Northern Canals and on the Rhododendron Path.  On 7th March, nine males were on a bank at Green Belt, with seven there on 11th.  Two days later, eight were counted along Mervyn's Tram, followed by two males at Mill Drain Marsh on 10th.  There were five at the latter location on 30th March.  On 4th April, one was along the Rhododendron Path.  Nine males were counted on 16th April: one along the Rhododendron Path and the rest at Green Belt.  Later in the month, on 25th, a male and female were at Green Belt Scrape.  On 11th May, a brick-red female was on Fisons' Road, followed on 13th-14th by a female at the western end of Blackwater Dyke.  On 21st May, two males were at Green Belt and a third was on Goole Moor.  The next records were obtained on 4th June (singles at Bank Top and on Crowle Moor at SE748152), followed on 9th June by an immature encountered on a track 50m north of the Blue Bridge.  On 14th June, a female was close to Thorne Colliery, on the track to the moors at map reference SE705162.  A female was on black polythene at Bank Top on 16th June.  Next day, there was a male along the Rhododendron Path, and a female along Angle Drain (SE740148).  On 28th June, a male was on a boardwalk along Eastern Boundary Tram.  

      Adders were reported on four dates in July.  On 1st, there were single males along the Rhododendron Path and along the first canal of the Southern Canals.  Two Adders were seen at Will Pits  (SE748156) on 4th, and on 11th a female occurred at Bank Top.  On 14th, a female was in a dry ditch south of the junction of Eastern Boundary Tram and Collis' Tram (SE726146).  First reported in August on 4th (a female on Goole Moor at SE751171). On 6th, two males were present at Bank Top.  A male was on Crowle Moor (at SE748152) on 11th, followed on 15th by another male along Collis' Tram.  Single male and female were along Angle Drain on 26th, the male under a corrugated metal sheet (SE7314) and the female at SE740148.  A headless corpse, 35-40cm long, was found on 8th September along Middle Moor Tram, 120m south of the Canal Towpath.  The last was one on 18th September along Fisons’ Road at Green Belt.




Mute Swan Cygnus olor.  Two were at the flooded workings on 9th/11th March.


Whooper Swan C. cygnus.  Reported on 20th March (three east over Snaith & Cowick Moor) and 8th April (six at the flooded workings).  In the later months, there were four on 15th October and six on 23rd November, all at the flooded workings.


Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus.  The only record in the early months involved 450+ north-west on 6th January.  In October, first seen on 3rd, when 12 were with c.100 Greylag Geese at Will Pits Scrape.  On 14th, c.160 and c.40 flew low over the flooded workings several times, and later 163 were at Will Pits Scrape.  The flooded workings also attracted 114 from the west on 18th.  On 26th, c.250 at Will Pits Scrape flew off to the south-east.  On 12th November, c.110 headed north-east, and later c.80 (same?) alighted at dusk in a field east of Bank Top.


Bar-headed Goose A. indicus.  One was with Greylag Geese at Will Pits Scrape on 26th October (PH).  The only other record was in 1971. 


Greylag Goose A. anser.  The maximum January-April count was seven, at Will Pits Scrape on 9th February.  The maximum during May-August was six - including a white bird - at the flooded workings on 6th May.  Pairs were at Will Pits Scrape and 'Middle Moor' on 14th March and 17th April respectively. Subsequently recorded to the year end, but with hardly a count exceeding 13. The exception was October, when maxima were c.100 on 3rd (Will Pits Scrape), c.70 on 14th (Goole Moor and stubbles east of Bank Top) and c.200 - including the white bird - on 26th (Will Pits Scrape).  In addition, there was an isolated record of 131 on 30th December.


Greater Canada Goose Branta canadensis. Occurred in May on 2nd (two over the Canals) and 6th (one near Mill Drain); and 11 flew east on 8th June.  The only other dates were 14th October (c.30 on Goole Moor and stubbles east of Bank Top), 21st December (35 at flooded workings west of Will Pits), and 23rd December (17 at the flooded workings).


Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna.  Relatively infrequent, with one-two on dates between 9th February-25th August, but three on 7th March, and four on 10th February and 3rd April.


Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope.  At the flooded workings in January, there were two pairs on 1st and 22 on 22nd.  Also a pair there on 9th February.


Gadwall A. strepera. Totals in the early part of the year at the flooded workings/Will Pits Scrape peaked at nine in January (on 22nd), and 21+ in February (on 10th).  Numbers in April reached six on occasion, and sometimes included paired birds.  There were also paired birds in May, when counts of three were obtained on several dates.  No subsequent reports.


Eurasian Teal A. crecca.  The maximum counts during January-April were c.150 on 28th January and 141 on 2nd February, but otherwise only double figures in the early months.  Records on 6th May included six pairs.  May-June counts reached c.30 on 17th June, and subsequent figures peaked at c.80 on 3rd September, 50+ on 26th October, and c.120 on 21st December.  Breeding proved, including on Crowle Moor.  


Mallard A. platyrhynchos.  High counts were obtained outwith the breeding season, maxima c.200 on 28th January, c.150 on 9th February and 1st September, and up to 200+ in December (maximum on 21st).  Breeding proved.  


Pintail A. acuta.  At the flooded workings, there was a pair on 9th February, and three (including two males) on 13th.


Shoveler A. clypeata.  One-three on dates during January-April, plus five on 9th February and 3rd April, 13 on 4th April, and three pairs on 14th April.  Subsequently, to the end of August, the maximum was seven single males and a pair on 6th May, with the notable exception of 30 (25 at the Shoulder o' Mutton and five at the flooded workings) on 9th June.  There were two-three pairs visible at the flooded workings in May. On 16th June, a female wing-flapping on water at the Shoulder o' Mutton was thought to be directing attention away from young.  Six were at the flooded workings on 3rd September.  In the same location, 14 occurred on 27th October.  In December, there were 14 on 21st and c.50 on 30th.


Common Pochard Aythya ferina.  At Will Pits Scrape, males occurred on 1st January (one) and 6th December (three).


Tufted Duck A. fuligula.  On 22nd January, there was a pair at the flooded workings and three at Will Pits Scrape.  These workings also held two males and three females on 28th January.  On 9th February, noted at the flooded workings (five males and five females) and Will Pits Scrape (one male and two females).  Four were at the flooded workings on 13th February.  There were more records from the flooded workings from 23rd March to the beginning of May, often of two males and two females.  On 6th May, two pairs and a single male were at Will Pits Scrape.  Subsequent counts in May-early June were frequent, maxima four males and two females at the flooded workings and Will Pits Scrape, and six (not specified) on 9th June.  There were also six at the flooded workings on 28th July.  Not recorded after July, except two on 21st December.


Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula.  A female was at the flooded workings on 6th December.


Goosander Mergus merganser.  Six (including four males) were at Will Pits Scrape on 22nd January, with a male there on 28th and three males on 30th.  Next was a pair at the same water on 9th February.  Two males and four females were at Will Pits Scrape on 9th March, with four males and two females there on 14th.  In December, recorded at Will Pits Scrape on 21st (one male and four females) and 30th (three males and one female).


Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis. The first was a female at Will Pits Scrape on 9th February.  A male was at Will Pits Scrape on 14th March.  Counts peaked in May at Will Pits Scrape, maximum five males and two females on three dates.  Totals in May-June at the flooded workings reached four males and one female in late May, but the incidence of overlap with Will Pits Scrape is unknown.


Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa.  Noted in the vicinity of Top Moor Farm on 28th January (five) and 9th June (two).  On 21st May, two were along Swinefleet Warping Drain near Top Moor Farm, and on 14th October 10 were at the former Swinefleet Peat Works.


Grey Partridge Perdix perdix.  In February, six were on the edge of Snaith & Cowick Moor on 8th, and two were at Fillingham's Gate on 16th.  A survey of Top House Farm on 24th October revealed 65 birds in eight coveys.


Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus.  No daily counts exceeded 15.  Breeding proved. 


Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis. Reported at the flooded workings from 13th February, with one-two there, and 'whinneying' heard, until 21st May.  'Whinneying' was reported from Will Pits Scrape in April-May, and at Bell's Pond on 14th March.  One was on Thorne Waste Drain at Elmhirst on 23rd September.


Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis.  Mainly recorded in May, with the first at Will Pits Scrape on 6th.  All subsequent May records were obtained from the flooded workings, involving three on several days and five on 21st.  In June at Will Pits Scrape, there was a pair on 17th, followed by a singleton on 27th.


Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo.  One flew north over Goole Moor on 23rd December.


Grey Heron Ardea cinerea.  Occasional overhead during January-February and May-June.


Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus.  Three were over the western part of the moors on 19th September, initially mobbed by Carrion Crows.  They then gained height and drifted off to the south (two) and east (one).  They comprised two dark birds and a single paler individual, and all were probably immatures (RJS).  Subject to acceptance at county level.


Red Kite Milvus milvus.  An adult over Pony Bridge Marsh on 30th May eventually gained height and disappeared from view (RJS).  It flew with an immature Marsh Harrier for a time.  Another was over Rawcliffe Moor on 15th July (RA).


Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus. Birds described as 'creamcrowns', females and brown birds were present throughout the year, with at least three on dates in January, April-May and AugustDecember, and at least two in other months. Males were much less frequent.  There were single males on 9th March, 17th April, 5th-11th May, 8th-17th June, 13th July, 29th August, 3rd/19th September and 16th November.  Two males were present on 27th May and 13th June.  Others characterized as immature males occurred on 2nd February, 9th May, 14th June and 6th December. Five on 23rd September were described as comprising single male and female, and three immatures soaring over the flooded workings.  The immature male on 9th May was displaying and calling to a female.  On 9th February, a 'creamcrown' harried a grounded immature Great Black-backed Gull on Goole Moor.  On 29th May, a female carried a young Black-headed Gull in its talons at Will Pits Scrape.  On 8th June, a male captured a Black-headed Gull chick and was mobbed by 300+ Blackheaded Gulls at the flooded workings.  Similarly, an immature male on 14th June took a gull chick.  A Marsh Harrier took a Common Pheasant poult at Moor Road, Top House Farm, on 5th August.  On several occasions, Hobbies were observed to mob Marsh Harriers.


Hen Harrier C. cyaneus.  'Ringtails' were present on 20th September, 12th November and on several dates from 6th-30th December.  A lone male was recorded on 12th November.


Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus.  Singles were recorded on many dates during the year (not November-December).  There were two on 6th May and on five September-October dates.


Common Buzzard Buteo buteo.  Seen overhead (singles unless stated otherwise) on 10th February, 11th February (two), 6th March, 9th March (two adults and an immature), 23rd/30th March, 17th April, nine dates 1st-29th May, 7th May (two) and 20th May (three+). Then singles overhead on 10th June and 13th July (mobbed by two Hobbies), and two on 11th August.  In September, singles passed overhead on 3rd-4th/8th, plus four on 1st and two on 19th.


Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos.  On 14th May, an immature birdwas watched soaring and gliding high over Woodpecker Wood (RJS).  An addition to the moorland list, subject to acceptance at county level.


Osprey Pandion haliaetus.  On 19th September, an adult occurred over Will Pits and then headed north following Swinefleet Warping Drain (RJS).


Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus.  On 11th May, there were two first-summer females and a first-summer male (RJS, LJD).  The species was then seen daily to 21st, comprising two firstsummer females, plus adult males on 14th/21st, though no description was furnished for the adult male on the latter date (RJS, PH, PCR et al.).  Two males were considered to be present on 18th May (RM, VM, JH).  One of the females was photographed on 21st May (RW). Often seen with Hobbies and Common Kestrels, and observed in flight and perched, with observations centred at Mill Drain Marsh, the Canals, the Viewing Platform and the 'Middle Moor' area.  The first-summer females were noted to roost in a dead tree at 'Middle Moor'.  A paper on all these birds is in preparation by R.J. Sprakes.


Merlin F. columbarius.  The first was one at Top House Farm on 26th August.  Single males occurred at the Paraffin Cuttings on 11th March, and chased a Meadow Pipit on 6th December.


Hobby F. subbuteo.  After one on 30th April, reported frequently from 2nd May.  The latter month was the best ever for this species.  Daily totals - often with the Red-footed Falcons - reached six, exceeded by nine+ on 14th and seven on 15th/21st.  Ten+ on 20th May included a party of eight together with a Red-footed Falcon (JC).  All specified birds in May were adults.  Also reported frequently in June, comprising singles, pairs, plus three on 4th and four adults on 8th.  In July, noted on 1st (one), 4th (two), 13th (seven, at least three of which were adults), 14th (three+), 28th (two) and 30th (two). There were occasional records of two in August, plus three on 25th.  In September, there were records from 1st-3rd (singles), 8th (a juvenile perched on Crowle Moor), 19th/21st (two) and 23rd (one).


Peregrine Falcon F. peregrinus.  Relatively infrequent.  In January, a pair was present on 6th, followed by one mobbing a Marsh Harrier on 22nd.  An immature was present on 16th February.    A male was present on 4th April, and an unspecified bird on 18th May.  Single females were seen on 21st-22nd April, 13th July, 21st September, 18th October and 21st December.  On 18th November, two females were calling and diving at each other.  A pair was observed on 6th October, the female attacking a Wood Pigeon.


Water Rail Rallus aquaticus.  Regular in the early months, with up to two at several locations.  Three were vocal on 30th March from flooded workings near the Shoulder o' Mutton.  One called from near the Viewing Platform on 9th May.  On 26th May, two were along the Canal Towpath, one of which was seen.  On 9th June, one called from the Shoulder o' Mutton.  On 14th July, an adult on the Canal Towpath, west of the junction with the Eastern Boundary Tram,remained there until two chicks crossedto the Main Canal, the adult then following them (CW). There were at least two on 30th December.


Moorhen Gallinula chloropus.  In February, seven were on the bank of Swinefleet Warping Drain on 13th, and ten were in the Will Pits area on 16th.  Breeding proved.   


Common Coot Fulica atra.  Frequently overlooked, with minimal coverage.  Maxima at the flooded workings were six on dates during May-June.


Common Crane Grus grus.  On 17th April, one circled high over the Green Belt area and drifted off to the south-west (RB).


Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta.  Two were at the flooded workings on 10th/18th June (RB, RJS).


Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius.  Present along Fisons' Road North from 18th May and throughout June.  Two eggs were first found on 14th June, but the outcome is unknown.


European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria.  At Top House Farm, counts involved c.150 on 27th January and 23 on 6th April.  On arable land close to Thorne Colliery, there were 17 on 30th January and 13 on 6th March.  Fifteen headed north on 19th September.


Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus.  A flock of c.130 flew south on 22nd January.  On 28th January, c.100 flew east.  Two days later, a pair was on arable land close to Thorne Colliery and c.70 flew south.  On 2nd February, 112 passed overhead.  A pair was displaying over the flooded workings on 11th March.  On 22nd April, two displayed on Goole Fields and five were on Goole Moor.  Records in May included a pair at Creykes, eight in the Will Pits-Shoulder o' Mutton area on 6th, and display flights in the latter area on other dates.  Four were at Will Pits Scrape on 12th May, and on 9th June c.40 were west of Will Pits.  A juvenile was noted on Snaith & Cowick Moor on 12th June, and on 21st July c.70 were grounded at the flooded workings.  On 28th July, c.100 were at the flooded workings, increasing to c.130 by 11th August.  On Snaith & Cowick Moor, 20+ on 26th August were superseded there by 350+ on 23rd September, with 12 on 24th December.  In mid-September, 190+ were at flooded workings on 19th and 300+ flew over the workings on 21st.


Dunlin Calidris alpina.  Seven were at the flooded workings on 3rd September.


Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus.  One was flushed along Middle Moor Tram on 19th September (RJS).


Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago.  One-three were recorded during January-March, plus five on 28th January.  Also four on 6th March.  Subsequently, there were records during April-December, usually of one-two, but three on 28th July, and 10 on 27th September.  'Drumming' males were recorded on 23rd April (over the Paraffin Cuttings) and 6th June (over Mill Drain Marsh).


Woodcock Scolopax rusticola.  There were up to five in the Bank Top-Will Pits area in February. In March, four singles were flushed in the Alder Woods area on 6th, one was on Snaith & Cowick Moor on 7th, and two were there on 9th.  Singles were reported from Will Pits on 18th May and 7th June.  Four were documented during the European Nightjar survey, but without locations.  Reported in October on 14th (one at Fillingham's Gate) and 20th (three at the Alder Woods).  There were up to two in the Will Pits-Will Pits Scrape area in November-December, plus two along Fisons' Road on 23rd November.  Also one near the Blue Bridge on 30th December.


Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus.  One was grounded at the flooded workings between Will Pits and Will Pits Scrape on 6th May.


Eurasian Curlew N. arquata.  Two were in fields at Priory Farm on 10th/16th April, with one on 18th.  Overhead, four headed north on 22nd April and one south on 19th June.  There were two at the flooded workings on 2nd May.


Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus.  One was at the Shoulder o' Mutton on 16th June.  Two were at Green Belt Scrape on 28th July, one was at the flooded workings on 11th August, and one was at the Shoulder o' Mutton on 3rd September.   


Greenshank T. nebularia.  One flew over Will Pits on 18th May.  Singles, occasionally two, were encountered during the period 13th July-26th August, mostly at the flooded workings.  These were followed by one along Thorne Waste Drain on 18th October.  


Common Redshank T. totanus.  Two at the Shoulder o' Mutton on 6th May displayed "animated behaviour" with much calling.  One was alarm-calling on Goole Moor on 15th May, to the north of the eastern end of Blackwater Dyke.


Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus.  Counts of birds flying overhead during July-September peaked at 30 on 1st September.


Herring Gull L. argentatus.  The maximum daily count was c.120 on arable land close to Thorne Colliery on 30th January.  Other totals exceeding 50 were 73 on 2nd February, and 50 (including 20 from a moors roost) on 21st December.


Great Black-backed Gull L. marinus.  There were up to seven on dates in January-February, occasionally grounded on arable land or at flooded workings. Counts from March-December, of gulls overhead or at flooded workings, reached up to seven in June, but more notably up to c.70 in December (maximum on 23rd).


Little Gull Hydrocoleus minutus.  A first-summerbird flew over 'Middle Moor' on 11th May (LJD, RJS).


Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus.  The flooded workings along Fisons' Road held 60+ on 30th March, 70+ on 9th May and 300+ on 8th June.  Breeding occurred there, and at Will Pits Scrape, where the peak was 250+ on 30th March.  Fifty were in fields near Top Moor Farm on 26th October.  Preyed on by Marsh Harriers (q.v.).


Stock Dove Columba oenas.  There were occasional records of one-two in April-May and September-October.  Six left a disused brick building along the former Axholme Joint Railway on 17th June.


Wood Pigeon C. palumbus.  The highest count submitted was 250+ at Will Pits on 4th November.


Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto.  One called from trees along the colliery road on 6th May.  Frequent at Red House Farm, usually up to eight, but c.60 on 26th October, though with none on 12th November.  In December, there were c.40 on 23rd and c.45 on 30th.  Also occasionally reported from nearby Top Moor Farm.  


Turtle Dove S. turtur.  Up to five were 'purring' during May-August, with extreme dates of occurrence being 1st May and 11th August.


Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus.  First recorded on 27th April, with up to six males calling subsequently.  One was still doing so on 28th June, and song was also heard briefly from a bird at Will Pits on 4th July, the last record.


Barn Owl Tyto alba.  Bred at Priory Farm (four eggs laid in an owl box).  One flew into a disused building at the former Creyke's Siding Peat Works on 30th June.  One was along Fisons' Road at the Blue Bridge on 22nd July.  In the Casson's-Limberlost area, one was occasionally seen hunting in August, with two on 2nd.  Two were hunting at the Alder Woods on 14th September, and one was at Creyke's on 24th October.  Occasional singles were in the Bank Top-Top Moor Farm-Red House Farm area during the last three months of the year.


Little Owl Athene noctua.  One was at Limberlost on 14th August.


Tawny Owl Strix aluco.  Five pairs were encountered during the European Nightjar survey, but were not localised.  Bred at Will Pits, with occasional records from around that area until 4th September.  In October, one was at Red House Farm on 14th, and one in Top House Farm Wood on 24th was mobbed by five Eurasian Jays.  


Long-eared Owl Asio otus.  Bred in the Creyke's area.  Also a young bird was at Elmhirst on 14th August.  Two pairs were reported during the European Nightjar survey, but without locations.


Short-eared Owl A. flammeus.  One was at Top House Farm on 12th November.


European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus. The first was one in an Elder Sambucus nigra on Goole Moor on 21st May.  The moorland population was put at 42 territories, 12 of them on Crowle Moor (Yorkshire Birding 17: 104-106).  Two nesting sites were found during the summer.


Common Swift Apus apus.  Counts included 1000+ on 30th April, 100+ on several dates in May, plus "hundreds" on 18th.  Also 200+ on 12th June and 500+ on 15th July.  The last was a single on 3rd September.


Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis.  In August, one was along Thorne Waste Drain on 2nd (Elmhirst) and 26th (Casson's).


Hoopoe Upupa epops.  One was at Bank Top on 4th April (CE).


Green Woodpecker Picus viridis.  Mostly singles reported, but occasionally up to three.  May have bred at Will Pits.


Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major.  'Drumming' was heard from the Will Pits-Will Pits Scrape area (13th February, April), the Alder Woods (April) and Woodpecker Wood (6th May).  Pairs bred in a willow near Will Pits Scrape and in a dead birch Betula on Crowle Moor.  Mostly singles reported outside the breeding season.


Wood Lark Lullula arborea.  One was flushed along Shoulder o' Mutton Tram on 9th June (PH).


Sand Martin Riparia riparia.  The first were two on 30th March, and no counts during April-May exceeded three.  There was a single double-figure count, of 20+ on 3rd September.


Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica.  The first was a single bird on 8th April.  The highest totals were 20+ over the flooded workings on 27th May, 14 on wires at Top Moor Farm on 28th July, and 30 south on 1st September.  Bred at Bank Top.


House Martin Delichon urbicum.  Two counts of note were c.40 on 12th June and 50+ on 3rd September.


Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis.  Two males were on Crowle Moor on 22nd April, with three there on dates from 25th April-23rd June, and four+ on 1st May.  Two different pairs were observed feeding young on Crowle Moor, on 26th June and 14th July respectively.


Meadow Pipit A. pratensis.  Ten were east of Fisons' Road North on 14th March, one of them displaying.  Thirty were counted on 4th April.  Only three were located along trams on 6th May.  On 9th June, c.30 were at the flooded workings and along Shoulder o' Mutton Tram.  There were no autumn counts of significance.  


Water Pipit A. spinoletta.  One called as it flew west on 10th February (RJS).  An addition to the moorland list.


Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava.  After three on 22nd April, reported from 18th May, with counts in May-June reaching four on several dates.  The last were six on 3rd September.


Pied Wagtail M. alba.  Fifty-three were in a field at Top House Farm on 13th February.  Breeding proved, including a double-brooded pair in a shed at Bank Top.   


Wren Troglodytes troglodytes.  On 2nd February, 39 were counted.  Breeding proved.


Dunnock Prunella modularis.  Breeding proved.


Robin Erithacus rubecula.  Breeding proved.


Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos.  A very meagre year.  One was singing at Durham's Garden on 7th May.  At Will Pits, one sang briefly on 21st May.


Whinchat Saxicola rubetra.  Remained rare.  Along Shoulder o' Mutton Tram, a pair occurred on 13th July, with two females/immatures on 3rd September. 


Common Stonechat S. torquatus.  There were frequent records outside the breeding season.  These were often from the central parts of the moors - partially reflecting observer coverage – but also from other places at times.  The respective monthly maxima in January and February were five: three males and two females on 1st January, and at least two males and three females on dates in February.  Counts in March reached six, plus 11 (six males and five females) on 6th.       

   Records in the breeding season are given in detail.  Throughout April, there was often a pair along Fisons’ Road, with two pairs on 17th.  On 10th, a male was along Mill Drain.  On 25th, singles occurred near the Viewing Platform and at 'Middle Moor'. On 2nd May, four males were encountered, at ‘Middle Moor’, Mill Drain Marsh, along Fisons' Road and at the Southern Canals.  One was along Shearburn & Pitts Drain on 6th.  On 9th, a pair was carrying nest material on Fisons' Road, and a second male was at Mill Drain Marsh.  On 11th, a male was seen in the Creyke’s area, two males were at the Shoulder o' Mutton, and a pair was along Middle Moor Tram.  On 14th, a male was at 'Middle Moor'.  On 15th, a pair was on Snaith & Cowick Moor, with another pair along Middle Moor Tram (between Cottage Dyke and Mill Drain).  On 18th, a pair was at 'Middle Moor'.  On 21st, males were along the Eastern Boundary Tram and along Fisons' Road, plus two males and one female along Middle Moor Tram.  On 26th, a pair and a juvenile were along Fisons' Road, and on 30th a pair was at ‘Middle Moor’.  On 8th June a male was along Middle Moor Tram, and next day pairs were along the Shoulder o' Mutton Tram and Fisons' Road.  On 14th, a pair was at 'Middle Moor'.  Two males were along Middle Moor Tram on 17th. Two males were carrying food at 'Middle Moor' (SE734154) on 19th.  A male was at 'Middle Moor' on 13th July.  

   One was along Shoulder o' Mutton Tram on 3rd September, with a male and two juveniles along Fisons' Road on 19th September.  On 21st, a male and two juveniles were at the Viewing Platform, and on the same date there were two males west of the Viewing Platform and single females at the Shoulder o' Mutton and along Fisons' Road.  In October-November, there were occasional records of pairs and singles, maxima being three females on 18th October and four on 16th November.  On 6th December, there was a male along Fisons' Road, two at 'Middle Moor', and two males at the Viewing Platform.  Other records in December also reached five, on 21st, mostly seen at the flooded workings and Mill Drain Marsh.


Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe.  The first were males in April on 8th/17th (Snaith & Cowick Moor) and 21st (Creykes), followed by a female on 30th on Snaith & Cowick Moor.  Males occurred in May on 18th (one at the flooded workings) and 21st (two at the Shoulder o' Mutton).  One was at the Blue Bridge on 11th August.  In September, one was along Goole Moor Tram on 1st, and one frequented Fisons' Road on 21st.  At Top House Farm, singles occurred on 9th April, 6th/18th May, 12th/26th August, plus two on 22nd April.


Blackbird Turdus merula. Daily counts reached 20 during February and December.  Breeding proved.


Fieldfare T. pilaris.  In the early months, the only count exceeding 52 was c.110 on arable land at the former Moorends Peat Works on 14th March.  In the later months, the maximum was c.50 on 26th October, with the exception of c.500 on 12th November in a field at Top Moor Farm.


Song Thrush T. philomelos.  Song was heard at Bell's Pond and Will Pits during March-May, including five singing at Will Pits on 12th May.  Here, a sitting bird was seen in a Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna on 1st May.


Redwing T. iliacus.  Counts during January-March peaked at c.70 at Top Moor Farm on 28th January, and 44 on 6th March at Moorends Recreation Ground.  The last were 26 there on 14th

March.  Subsequently seen from 26th October, maximum 18 on that date, plus c.50 at Moorends Recreation Ground on 30th December.


Mistle Thrush T. viscivorus.  Singles were at Thorne Colliery on 30th January, 13th February and (in song) on 6th March.  Two were in the same location on 14th March (one of them singing) and 6th May.  On 1st May, a sitting bird was seen in the fork of a birch near the eastern edge of Crowle Moor.  One flew over the Southern Boundary Drain on 21st May, and on 29th May an adult with three fledged young was at Bank Top.  Ten were in the Top House shelterbelt on 13th August, and one was at Natural England's workshop/store close to Will Pits Scrape on 21st December.  


Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia.  The first were two 'reeling' males on 25th April.  A good year for this species, with 17 singing birds heard during the European Nightjar survey.  Unfortunately, these were not localised, so could not be coordinated with other records of males.  However, one 'reeling' on colliery wasteland on 9th May was probably additional.  One 'reeled' along Fisons' Road from 9th June, and was still doing so at the end of July.  A pair bred at Mill Drain Marsh: an alarmed adult accompanied a juvenile on 4th June.


Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus.  The first were two on 22nd April, with a subsequent maximum of nine singing males on 9th May.


Reed Warbler A. scirpaceus.  First heard on 25th April.  Seventeen were singing on 6th May: four at Durham's Garden, two at Green Belt, nine along Thorne Waste Drain-Western Boundary Drain north of Woodpecker Wood, and two along Cottage Dyke.  Two sang along Swinefleet Warping Drain on 12th May.  Fifteen were singing on 21st May: two at Bell's Pond, four along Cottage Dyke, two at Will Pits Scrape, one on 'Middle Moor', and six along Thorne Waste Drain-Western Boundary Drain north of Woodpecker Wood.  Two sang at the flooded workings on 28th July.  Successful breeding was proved at Will Pits Scrape.  The last of the year was along Swinefleet Warping Drain near Will Pits on 8th September.


Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina.  One on Crowle Moor on 5th June (Lincolnshire Bird News).  An addition to the moorland list, subject to acceptance at county level.


Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla.  The first was on 22nd April.  The maximum counts were 14 singing (Crowle Moor and Will Pits) on 12th May, and nine singing on 21st May.  Two nests were found on Crowle Moor.


Garden Warbler S. borin.  First heard on 1st May.  Five sang on 6th May (Durham's Garden, Green Belt, Will Pits Scrape, Will Pits).  Six singing on 21st May included four in the Durham's Garden area.  Nests were found near Will Pits Scrape (one) and on Crowle Moor (two).


Lesser Whitethroat S. curruca.  In May, singles sang from a hedgerow at the eastern end of Chadwick Dyke on 6th and along Jones' Cable on 9th.


Common Whitethroat S. communis.  Present from 25th April.  The maximum was 16 singing males on 6th May.  Nests were found on Crowle Moor.


Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita.  Recorded from 23rd March, with twelve singing on 6th May.


Willow Warbler Ph. trochilus.  The earliest date was 4th April, and peak counts were reached in May, maximum 52 singing on 21st.  Bred at Will Pits and on Crowle Moor. 


Goldcrest Regulus regulus.  Two were on Crowle Moor on 22nd January.  One was in song at Bell's Pond on 14th March.  Two were seen on 8th September.


Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus. Maxima were 23 on 22nd Januaryand 35+ on 26th October.


Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus.  Sang in Will Pits on 6th May.


Great Tit Parus major.   Eight were seen on 13th February.  Four sang in the Durham's GardenGreen Belt area on 6th May.  On 29th May, two pairs were found on Crowle Moor.  One was feeding young in a nestbox fixed to a birch, and the second was nearby, feeding young in a cavity in a dead birch.  The largest count in the second half of the year was 14 on 30th December.


Coal Tit Periparus ater.  In January, singles were seen on 22nd (Swinefleet Warping Drain) and 30th (Alder Woods).  Interestingly, one sang at Will Pits on 30th March.  Equally so, on 1st May, a calling bird was on Crowle Moor and a pair was at Will Pits.  On 30th December, singles occurred at Durham's Garden, Pony Bridge Marsh and Will Pits Scrape.


Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris.  Two records involved one on 24th April (Alder Woods) and another on 4th August (Will Pits).


Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius.  On 24th October, five mobbed a Tawny Owl in Top House Farm Wood.


Western Jackdaw Corvus monedula.  One flew north on 19th September.


Carrion Crow C. corone.  At the flooded workings, it was observed that Carrion Crows had predated the eggs of Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Common Pheasant and Moorhen.


Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris.  On 28th January, c.100 were bathing at a flooded field north of Goole Moor.  Up to c.30 were seen on arable land near the former Moorends Peat Works in March.  Seen with food at Thorne Colliery on 6th May.


Tree Sparrow Passer montanus.  Eight were in conifers at Red House Farm on 30th December.


Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs.  Present in a finch roost at Durham's Garden during January-March, maximum 40+ on two dates in January.  Also present November-December, by far the highest count during this latter period being 481+ on 21st December.  Twenty sang on 6th May, and breeding was proved at Will Pits.


Greenfinch Carduelis chloris.  Sang at Thorne Colliery on 6th May.  No roost counts.  On 26th October, c.30 bathed in a puddle along Fisons' Road near Top Moor Farm.  On 23rd December, c.50 flew from a field edge east of Bank Top.


Goldfinch C. carduelis.  Several counts of 15-25, all peripheral, were exceeded on several dates.   At Top House Farm Wood, there were good counts on 6th April (38) and 21st July (30).  Thistleheads at the Alder Woods attracted c.120 on 19th September.  In October, up to c.40 were in the Bank Top-Top Moor Farm-Red House Farm area, and 32 were at Will Pits on 24th December.  Two sang in the Thorne Colliery area on 6th May, where also two pairs were noted on 21st May.


Siskin C. spinus.  There were c.20 in the Alder Woods on 30th January, andthree were logged near the Paraffin Cuttings on 2nd February.  The last record in the early months was of four in Top House Farm Wood on 6th March.  "Several" were feeding in birches near Will Pits Scrape on 30th July (RB).  Five were seen on 4th August near Will Pits Scrape.  Subsequently, birchesnear Bank Top attracted 30+ on 14th October, with 42 in the Alder Woods on 14th November.


Linnet C. cannabina.  Bred on Crowle Moor.  On 23rd December, there were c.40 in a field at Red House Farm.


Lesser Redpoll C. cabaret.  Single figure counts outside the breeding season were exceeded by 15 on 9th February, c.18 on 6th March and 10 on 26th October.  The only other record involved one flying over Goole Moor on 14th July.


Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula.  Maxima were nine on 1st January and 12+ on 30th December.  In May, a pair was near Will Pits Scrape on 1st, and on 21st another pair was at the Entrance Bridge, the female carrying food.


Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella.  Two-five were seen in most months, generally peripherally, but including Green Belt and Crowle Moor.  Up to 13 were on Snaith & Cowick Moor and on farmland in that area during February-April, plus 25 on 1st/9th February.  Also 12 were in a Hawthorn between Red House Farm and Top Moor Farm on 23rd December.  A male carried food at the edge of Snaith & Cowick Moor on 12th June, and breeding was proved on Crowle Moor.


Reed Bunting E. schoeniclus.  The maximum count was c.20 on 9th June.


Corn Bunting E. calandra.  Singles were at Priory Farm on 20th April and 7th May.  One was at Top House Farm on 22nd April.





Mole Talpa europaea.  Fresh hills were especially numerous at Will Pits in the early months.  A dead immature animal was on a molehill to the west of Will Pits on 23rd December.


Common Shrew Sorex araneus.  One was found dead along Shoulder o' Mutton Tram on 3rd September. 


Pygmy Shrew S. minutus.  One was found dead along Will Pits Tram on 12th November.


Water Shrew Neomys fodiens.  One was found dead along the fourth canal of the Southern Canals on 25th February (SH).


Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus.  Present in the Thorne Colliery area, including two juveniles on 22nd April.  On this date, ten adults and 15 juveniles were along Swinefleet Warping Drainbetween Bank Top and Will Pits.  On other dates, this same area (and sometimes including Red House Farm and Top House Farm) held up to ten visible Rabbits, sometimes more.  The maxima were 25+ on 14th October, 35 on 17th June, and 50+ on 28th July.  Less usual were two along Shoulder o' Mutton Tram on 6th March, and four on a track north of the Blue Bridge on 23rd December.


Brown Hare Lepus capensis.  Two were seen on 22nd April (Crowle Moor) and 1st September (Goole Moor).  The flooded workings also had two on 11th May.  Along Fisons' Road and Fisons' Road North, up to three were observed in May, August and December, plus seven, including two juveniles, on 31st May.  In the Creyke’s-Fillingham’s Gate area, after one on 2nd January, up to three were present in May, plus three on 26th August and two the next day.


Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis.  Singles were seen on 1st January at the eastern end of Jones' Cable and along the Western Boundary Drain, probably the same animal.  One was at the Entrance Bridge near Whaley Balk on 11th August.


Water Vole Arvicola terrestris.  Five were on the edge of Thorne Moors alongside Priory Farm on 10th April.


Wood Mouse Apodemus sylvaticus.  On 19th February, one was disturbed at Green Belt during the cutting of Rhododendron Rhododendron ponticum.


Fox Vulpes vulpes.  One-two were encountered in most months, plus three on 28th January.  A young animal was seen on 13th July.  At Red House Farm, a Fox carried a Common Pheasant on 18th May.


Weasel Mustela nivalis.  Singles were seen on 7th March (at the junction of Fisons' Road North and Shearburn & Pitts Drain) and 9th December (Natural England workshop/store).   


Badger Meles meles. One was seen at Hook Moor Farm c.7th May (per CF).  Setts were located on the northern and eastern edges of Goole Moor, and on the south-western edge of Thorne Waste, at which latter location a Badger was seen on 8th August.  Another ran across the track between Top Moor Farm and the former Swinefleet Peat Works on 27th June.


Red Deer Cervus elaphus.  The first record was four hinds at Will Pits on 25th February.  There were 14 hinds and 11 calves at Will Pits on 18th April.  On 12th May, two stags (part grown antlers in velvet) crossed from Will Pits Scrape, over Swinefleet Warping Drain and into the Yorkshire Triangle.  There were two hinds at Will Pits on 18th May.  Four hinds crossed from Swinefleet Warping Drain to Will Pits Scrape on 21st May, on which date one was also at Will Pits.  The latter location held a hind on 29th May and a stag on 31st May.  Six hinds were at Will Pits on 10th June, with a single hind along Collis' Tram on 14th June. Later in the month, on 27th, two hinds and a calf were at Will Pits.  In September, two hinds were at Will Pits on 1st, two hinds were along Shoulder o' Mutton Tram on 19th, and a stag was roaring at Will Pits on 21st/23rd.  On 14th October, a total of three stags and eight hinds were at Will Pits and in fields north of Crowle Moor.  Finally, in November at Will Pits, there were seven hinds on 4th and two hinds on 12th.


Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus.  There were frequent records during January-May, from Goole Fields south to the southern fields, and from fields near Inkle Moor to Crowle Moor.  Daily counts of up to six were exceeded in January (maximum 10, including two young, on 1st), February (maximum nine, on 2nd) and March (seven on 14th).  Also six+ in a field opposite Moss Terrace on 24th February.  A heavily pregnant doe was at Will Pits on 21st May.  There were fewer records from June onwards.  On 8th June, five were counted, including three at Mill Drain Marsh.  A doe and fawn were near the Paraffin Cuttings on 12th June, with what may have been the same pair at Green Belt Scrape two days later.  At Will Pits, a doe with a broken leg on 16th June had two newborn fawns.  Singles were occasionally reported in July, plus a doe with a fawn on 14th, and four on 28th.  On 28th August, there were three at Creykes, two of them immature, with other records in that month restricted to singles.  Dates in September were 1st (eight in the Goole Moor-Will Pits area, and five, possibly the same, in the 'Middle Moor'-Fisons' Road area), 2nd (six, including immatures, no location) and 19th (a buck at 'Middle Moor').  There were also six on 14th October (no location) and 12th November (Will Pits).  Other records in these two months included a maximum of four in November.  There were then counts in December of up to six, mostly in the Will Pits-'Middle Moor' region, plus eight on 30th.






Merlin.  One on 19th September (per Yorkshire Bird Report 2006).



"Other species of note recorded during the survey [reference below] included at least three pairs of long eared owl (Asio otus) proven by located juveniles, three pairs of tawny owl (Strix aluco), a single hunting hobby (Falco subbuteo), seven singing grasshopper warblers (Locustella naevia), a  whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) and a water rail (Rallus aquaticus)."

Middleton, P. [2007] Breeding Nightjar Survey - 2007 - Humberhead Peatlands NNR, SA, SSSi, SPA (Thorne, Goole and Crowle Moors).  Unpublished report to Natural England by Middleton Consultancy, Barnsley.


Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo lagopus.  Records of one on 26th/30th September and 2nd October were rejected by the YNU OS Reports Committee.


Mink Mustela vison.  Records were obtained on 10th March (two along Blackwater Dyke), 17th March (one with a Water Vole as prey along the western part of Southern Boundary Drain), and 2nd May (one along Thorne Waste Drain at Elmhirst) (all JGH).





The following is a list of observers who contributed to the systematic lists of species (with apologies for any omissions).  Thanks are offered to all who have submitted 2007 and 2008 records.


P. Adams, R. Atterby, T. Bassindale, R. Broch, M. Bruin, J. Clarke, L.J. Degnan, C. Evans, C. Featherstone, M. Grasby, J. Hinchliffe (Top House and Priory Farms), P. Hinks (Goole & District Natural History Society), S. Hiner (Natural England), J.G. Hitchcock, S.T. Holliday, M. Limbert, Simone Maw, R. Moat, Val Moat, P.C. Roworth, R.J. Sprakes, B.P. Wainwright, C. Wall, R. Watson, Chris Wilmot, P. Wilmot.


Lincolnshire Bird News.


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Fish and herptiles

All records of cold-blooded vertebrates are sought.  In particular, a detailed survey of reptiles is underway, coordinated by Steve Hiner of Natural England.  Microhabitat details and a map reference are requested for every reptile record.  



Martin Limbert



Following the publication of the second edition of 'The Mammals of Thorne Moors' (THMCF Technical Report No. 15), three additional historical allusions to Fox Vulpes vulpes have come to light.


The first concerns a reference to a Fox caught on Thorne Moors that appeared in the Doncaster Chronicle of 26th December 1862:

"REYNARD" IN DIFFICULTIES. - On Wednesday last [24th], Mr. Richardson's hind [presumably his farm bailiff], while working on the Thorne Moors, discovered an old fox in difficulties, he having been trapped by the leg, and was dragging the trap after him; he was easily caught, but he shewed his teeth and threatened vengeance.  The man "scuffed" him, muzzled him, and tied his legs, and, with the greatest coolness, hugged him under his arm on horse-back, to Mr. Richardson's, where he is now a prisoner.  


The other two allusions originate from the Doncaster, Nottingham, and Lincoln Gazette of 1879.  In the issue dated 14th March, under the title 'LORD FITZWILLIAM'S HOUNDS', it was recorded that a pursued Fox (and the hounds) swam the Stainforth & Keadby Canal at Thorne.  The horsemen used Maud's Bridge.  "The party quickly made for the edge of Thorne Moors which they traversed for some distance, and here both hounds and men appeared less at home than the fox".  The Fox eventually doubled back and re-crossed the canal.  It survived the chase, but the hunting party nevertheless had "an excellent day's sport".  


In the Gazette of 28th November 1879, a note appeared on a 'bagged' Fox:

REYNARD IN A TRAP. - A few days ago, as Mr. Armitage was walking over the Thorne Moors Farm he came across a sheep net in which was entangled a fine dog fox.  With his foreman's assistance the fox was seized and placed in a bag.  Reynard was eventually forwarded to the master of the Badsworth Hounds.  

The location of the "Thorne Moors Farm" is not ascertained.


From 'The Mammals of Thorne Moors', it may be noted that the quotation about Fox depredation near Medge Hall in 1891, taken from the Goole Weekly Times of 12th June, also appeared in the Doncaster Chronicle  of the same date.


I am grateful to Andrea Marshall for drawing these references to my attention.



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Martin Limbert (all vertebrates records, reptile data can be redirected):

Museum & Art Gallery, Chequer Road, Doncaster, DN1 2AE. Phone: (01302) 735408.  E-mail:

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Steve Hiner (reptile records):

1, Rose Villas, Thornholmes Farm, Owston Ferry, Doncaster, DN9 1BE.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.