The Birds of Barton in Fabis and Clifton

Systematic List 1995 - 2016      

Compiled by Robert Hoare          

The systematic list (including sub-species) now stands at 197, recorded in the Clifton and Barton-in-Fabis area between 1995-2013. The following accounts feature a number of photographs, arrival dates of regular migrants and detailed accounts of rarer species recorded within the area. Black-Throated Diver (Gavia arctica), Leach's Storm-petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) and Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix) have only been recorded here once prior to 1995. They have not occurred since, but are very important records and are included here.

I have been recording birds here for over twenty years, but only on a more regular basis since 2002.  I don't confess to have seen all the species recorded here, and actually missed the Cattle Egret in May 2008 when it arrived on the same day that I flew out to Lesvos for a two-week birding trip.

The latest addition to the area is the record of a Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) from the Barton-in-Fabis area on the 14th October 2015. 

Brent Goose Branta bernicla

A very rare winter visitor with just one record: The only record of this species is of the Pale-Bellied race Branta bernicla hrota. First seen in fields facing Barton Island on the morning of the 30th November 2008. It stayed loyal to this field with Canada Geese until the 12th December 2008 when it disappeared for a few days but was relocated in fields S/W of Barton-in-Fabis on the 14th December 2008 and was present at this location until the 20th December.

image of Brent Goose
image of Brent Goose Barton-in Fabis – 30th November 2008

Red-breasted Goose

Escaped: First seen over the Attenborough NR, late evening 26th May 2014 flying over the Clifton Pit, but then dropped into the river-side fields just behind Cottages. It was very flighty and was soon on the move again constantly circling around the area. It landed again very briefly, before flying upriver towards Long Eaton.

image of Red-breasted Goose Cottages Flash – 26th May 2014

Canada Goose Branta canadensis

Very common resident: Large numbers found in most locations along the river. Breeds in the area but not in very large numbers as one might have expected. 

Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis

All records refer to feral individuals: Very few records with one present in fields S/W of Barton-in-Fabis for three days from the 3rd - 5th January 2002.

An adult present with Greylags on the riverside fields Barton-in-Fabis - 24th February - 4th December 2011

Greylag Goose Anser anser

Common resident: A large feral flock of c100 birds can be found in fields near to the river around Barton-in-Fabis.

An interesting ringed individual seen on Barton Flash on the 15th April 2009 had the credentials of a true wild bird, but on receiving information back from the WWT it turned out that this was also of feral origin ringed as a gosling in York in 2006.  

Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus

Regular passage migrant /scarce winter visitor: Usually seen passing over in skeins as these birds migrate across the UK to and from their wintering and feeding grounds.

Pink-footed Goose Occurrences 2005 - 2013

Four skeins totalling over 1000 birds were seen heading S/W over Clifton Grove on the 31st January 2005.

Two skeins of 450 birds in total were again seen heading S/W over Clifton Grove on the 10th February 2006.

Four birds found feeding in fields with Mute Swan cygnus olor from the 31st January /5th February 2005 at Barton-in-Fabis.

A single bird found feeding with Greylag Geese Anser anser in fields near Barton Flash from the 15th February 2009 to the 5th April 2009. This was closely followed by the arrival of two different individuals in the same location on the 12th and 13th April 2009. 

Single bird with Greylag Anser anser on the riverside fields Barton-in-Fabis 27th-28th May 2010.

Eight skeins over Clifton Grove/Barton-in-Fabis to the S/E throughout the morning of the 24th October 2010 totalling over 2000 birds.

A skein of c160 S/E over Clifton Grove on the 7th November 2010.

A skein of c100 east over Barton-in-Fabis on the 21st November 2010. 

Two skeins c180 east over Clifton Grove 28th November 2010.

Five skeins south south/east c400, c350 over Thrumpton, c250, c150 and  c80 over Barton-in-Fabis between 8.00 - 11.30am on the 5th November 2011.

Single bird, present on the riverside fields Barton-in-Fabis between 2nd/24th May 2012.

Two skeins, consisting of c500 birds north -westerly over Barton-in-Fabis - 8th October 2012.

Several small Skeins of Pink-footed Geese high over to the south - south/east between 9.00 - 11.00am with a total of around c450 birds - 27th October 2012

A long staying individual was with Greylag on the riverside fields from the 12th January - 12th May 2013.

Tundra Bean Goose Anser serrirostris

Very rare winter visitor: A very old record of a very impressive thirty-seven Bean Geese feeding near the river at Barton-in-Fabis on the 19th December 1981 is the largest record of this species here.

After an absence of twenty years, a single Tundra Bean Goose flew into fields at Thrumpton at 11.30 am on the 13th November 2011.  It joined a small flock of White-fronted Geese that I had found earlier that morning, but later flew into the middle of the field where it stayed until flying off west at 1.30pm.

A small group of four Tundra Bean Geese were found in fields at Thrumpton on the 23rd November 2011 at 10.30am and were present until 4.30pm at least.

What must be the same four Tundra Bean Geese were again found in the large field at Thrumpton at 1,30pm on the 11th December 2011, with all 4 birds still present when I left the area at 3.30pm

A single adult was present all day on fields near the East Leake gravel pits, on the 24th March 2012.

image of Bean Geese Thrumpton - December 2011 image of Bean Goose East Leake Gravel Pits - 24th March 2012

White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons

Scarce winter visitor.

White-fronted Goose Occurrences 2000 - 2012

Two skeins 0f c200 and c100 were seen heading west over Barton-in-Fabis on the 16th December 2000.

Three White Fronted Geese were found with a large group of Greylags Anser anser and Canada Geese Branta canadensis feeding on stubble Fields south/west of Barton-in-Fabis on 16th November 2007.

On the 30th December 2010 nine adults were found feeding on stubble fields between Thrumpton and Barton-in-Fabis at 10.00am, but were quickly joined by a larger flock of 43 adults and Imms. All 52 birds stayed feeding on the stubble for over an hour before flying off high towards Clifton after being flushed by a farm vehicle.

A single adult was found on the riverside fields Barton-in-Fabis from the 24th-27th April 2011.

A small flock of five adults and tree Juv's found in fields at Thrumpton 13th November 2011.

Single adult with Greylags on the riverside fields, Barton-in-Fabis 4th- 10th December 2011.

A group of thirteen were present between Clifton Grove and Thrumpton from the 16th January - 25th January 2012. 

Ross's Goose Anser rossii

Escaped- native to USA, breeds Arctic Canada

An adult male was found with the Greylag Goose Anser anser flock on the river-side fields near Cottages Flash on the 17th April 2010 and was still present in late May. It was seen on several occasions trying to copulate with a female Greylag Goose. Obviously an escaped bird but a very smart looking individual.

Mute Swan Cygnus olor

Resident breeding species: Successfully breeds in small numbers within the area, with one pair breeding successfully on Holme Pit since 2000. Large herds of c50 birds have wintered on various Rape fields S/W of Barton-in-Fabis for many years.

Bewick's Swan Cygnus columbianus

Very rare winter visitor: Only two records that both involved small groups of four adults that stayed for several weeks. The first record is of four adults in fields with the Mute Swan Cygnus olor herd S/W of Barton-in-Fabis. All four birds were first seen on 28th December 2008 and were last seen on 26th February 2009.

All four birds would sometimes go missing and were recorded at Long Eaton Gravel Pits Derby's on two occasions. One of the adults was bearing a white plastic ring on the right leg below the knee with the letters BJN. Information from the BTO showed that the bird was ringed as an adult female on Lovetskiiy Island (coast) Gulf of Korovinskaia Russia on the 16/08/2007 by a research team from the WWT. This was the first confirmed sighting of this bird since the ringing date.

On 26th Dec 2010 four adults joined a herd of Mute Swan on Barton Lane, Barton-in-Fabis that stayed faithful to this site up to their departure on 29th January 2011. All four birds would fly off from the field prior to dusk to roost over the river on Clifton Pit at the Attenborough Nature Reserve, returning every morning just before first light.

image of Bewick's Swans Barton Lane - January 2011  

Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus

Scarce winter visitor.

Whooper Swan occurrences - 2002 - 2013

Single adult present in fields between Barton-in-Fabis and Thrumpton for one day only - 3rd January 2002

A group of seventeen seen flying over Beeston Weir heading towards Attenborough on the morning of the 12th November 2007

Single adult that joined the four Bewick's Swans in the field S/W of Barton-in-Fabis for two days on the 30th/31st January 2009.

Single adult was also present for two days near Cottages Flash from 26th/27th April 2009. 

Two adults over Beeston Weir heading west - 30th October 2010

Two adults that arrived with four Bewick's Swan to join the large Mute Swan herd on Barton Lane Barton-in-Fabis - 26th December-31st December 2010.

A group of nine birds in the large field at Thrumpton 12th January 2012

A herd of twelve adults Thrumpton - 23rd March 2012 

Eight flew into Attenborough from the direction of Thrumpton - 17th February 2013.

A large herd of 39 birds was present in fields between Barton-in-Fabis and Thrumpton - 13th March 2013.

Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegytiaca

Resident feral population: A count of eighteen birds in December 2008 is the highest number recorded in the area. An adult seen in June 2008 with 5 goslings was the first confirmed breeding attempt that I have seen in the area.

Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna

Scarce visitor: The most recent records of this species are of two birds on Cottages Flash on the 24th March 2009.

A juvenile, seen heading high south over the Rough Wood in August 2009.

Two adults feeding near Cottages Flash 8th January 2012.

Single adult on large field between Barton-in-Fabis and Thrumpton - 6th February 2013.

A group of Nine flew over Barton Flash and headed off in the direction of Beeston Weir on the 10th February 2013.

Up to two birds present on floodwater on field off Manor Rd, Barton-in-Fabis from the 3rd - 9th April 2013.

image of Shelduck Site count record of nine individuals over Barton Flash - 10th February 2013

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea

Escape. Native to Europe, Asia and North Africa: A male bird first found feeding in fields with Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegytiacus S/W of Barton-in-Fabis on the 7th December 2008. It stayed in this general area throughout its stay and is the only record of this species recorded here.

The last sighting of this bird was on the 1st February 2009, although it was reported as present over the river at Attenborough shortly after its departure from the area. On the 7th March 2010 a female was seen flying over Barton Flash. A male and female followed this on Barton Flash on the 8th Mach 2010 with the male bird again on the 13th March 2010. 

image of Ruddy Shelduck December 2008 - Barton-in-Fabis

Cape Shelduck Tadorna cana

Escape. Native to South Africa: An adult female was found feeding on fields near the river at Thrumpton on the 25th/26th February 2012.

image of Cape Shelduck Thrumpton - February 2012

Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata

Scarce visitor: The first record was of an adult Drake on seen swimming around the semi-submerged trees on the river bend, 24th January 2010. Followed by a pair that were seen to fly onto Holme Pit on the 27th February 2010 but quickly disappeared in the reed beds.

A single Drake flew into Cottages Flash on the 26th May 2014 but quickly flew off down river but was relocated the following day under willows on Barton Island.

image of Mandarin Cottages Flash – 26th May 2014

Gadwall Mareca strepera

Another scarce bird in the area with only small numbers seen on either Holme Pit or any other area of water in the area. Numbers usually peak in February but very rarely get into double figures. 

Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope 

Common winter visitor: to the area mainly in the months of December to March. Counts of sixty-two birds on cottages flash are the largest number seen in the area.

Mallard Anas platyrhychos

Common resident: A very common species throughout the area.

Northern Pintail Anas acuta

Rare visitor: Three birds flying high over Beeston Weir, 10.30am on the 17th September 2011 is the only record of this species in the area.

Eurasian Teal Anas crecca

Annual winter visitor: Numbers fluctuate from year to year but numbers have peaked in the last four years in February. The favoured location is on Holme Pit or Branshill Ponds where they stay near to cover of the reed beds.

Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata

Annual winter visitor: An uncommon visitor to the area with only small numbers visiting at any one time, with all records coming from Holme Pit and Branshill ponds mostly in the winter months.

Garganey Spatula querquedula

A very scarce passage migrant and very rare breeder.

Garganey Occurrences 1999 - 2010

A pair were resident throughout the breeding season at Barton-in-Fabis in 1999 and possibly made an unsuccessful breeding attempt.

A female was on Branshill Ponds on the evening of the 15th September 2007.

Two females/moulting males were seen briefly on Branshill Ponds before disappearing into cover on the 1st September 2010

Red-crested Pochard Netta ruffina

Scarce visitor: A female seen on the river Trent in front of Barton Island on the 5th December 2009 was the first record of this species. Although a returning pair have now been seen annually on Holme Pit since March 2012.

Pochard Aythya ferina

Scarce winter visitor: Another scarce duck to the area with only a handful of sightings with the latest being two females on Holme Pit in February 2009. In February 2010 up to eight birds were present on Holme Pit peaking at ten birds on the 11th. 22 were seen on the river during winter 2010; the highest count for this species since Recording began. 

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

Common resident: One of the commonest ducks found in the area with up to twenty birds regularly seen on Holme Pit and smaller numbers on other ponds in the area. Numbers peak from August onwards if breeding is successful.

Goldeneye Bucephala clangula

Scarce winter visitor: Small numbers seen most winters with all sightings coming from the River Trent and occasionally Holme Pit.

Smew Mergellus albellus

Very Scarce winter visitor: Very few records of Smew have been recorded in the area, and they only seem to occur here in very cold winters.  A redhead was found on the river bend, Clifton Grove for one day only on the 2nd March 2000. A redhead seen in flight over Beeston Weir on the 1st January 2009 and a 1w drake on the river near the riverside chalets at Thrumpton on several dates in December 2010.

image of Smew Redhead Clifton Grove - 2nd March 2000 image of Smew 1w male Thrumpton - 19th December 2010 

Goosander Mergus merganser

Regular winter visitor: to the River Trent but numbers tend to remain small. Counts into double figures are very unusual but do occur in very hard winters. Birds tend to arrive at the end of December and have usually left the area by early April.

Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator

Very scarce winter visitor: Only eight occurrences of this very scarce winter visitor, with all but one turning up in very hard winters. 2010 was one of the coldest winters recorded here with temperatures down to -14. This produced two different birds on the river Trent during this period of extreme weather.

Red-breasted Merganser Occurrences 1997 - 2013

Female/immature - Beeston Weir 15th January 1997

Redhead - near Barton Island 28th December 2009

Redhead - Ratcliff-on Soar Power Station pond 10th November 2010

Redhead - Clifton Grove on the river bend 1st-7th December 2010

1w male - Clifton Grove between the weir and the river bend 25th December 2010. 

Female on the river below Cottages Flash - 23rd February 2013.

Female on the river near the riverside chalets Thrumpton - 5th March 2013

An adult male found on the 14th April 2013 was a most unexpected find. It was first seen as it flew down the river from the direction of Beeston Weir, but was soon lost as it flew round the river bend, and brief search further along the river produced no further sign of the bird. I presumed that it had flown straight through the site.

After around an hour it was again relocated on the river halfway down the Grove, were it showed very well although a bit flighty. This is the first adult male bird to be recorded in area.

  image of Red-breasted Merganser 1w male - Clifton Grove 25th December 2010 image of Red-breasted Merganser Clifton Grove - 14th April 2013

Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis

Very rare visitor: Only a four occurrences with all records coming in December 2010.

December 2010 was a very cold winter with all ponds freezing over both sides of the river, with the river Trent being the only option for wildfowl. Ruddy Duck Occurrences 2010

Imm/female found on the river facing Clifton Grove - 4th December 2010

Male near Barton Island - 28th December 2010

Male and female near Barton Island - 31st December 2010

image of Ruddy Duck  Imm/female Clifton Grove - 4th December 2010 image of Ruddy Duck Male and female near Barton Island - 31st December 2010

Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa

Common resident: Common around The Drift, Barton Lane and Clifton Pastures with sightings of 20 or more a common sight. Although it is very hard to distinguish how many of these birds are true wild birds, as many captive bread birds are released by the shooting community. 

Grey Partridge Perdix perdix

Scarce resident: A resident but threatened farmland species.

A covey of up to sixty birds on Clifton Pastures in 2009 is evidence that this species was once doing well in the area. Although in recent years no large coveys have been noted at any site in the area.

image of Grey Partridge Barton-in-Fabis - June 2009.

Quail Coturnix coturnix

Rare summer visitor: Only a small number of summer records from Gotham Moor and Clifton Pastures in recent years of singing males.

It is possible that many birds go unnoticed here and I wouldn't be surprised if this was a regular summer visitor on the Clifton Pastures/Gotham Moor area.

The most recent records are of two singing males from Gotham Moor on the 23rd June 2009 and possibly the same two singing males on Clifton Pastures on the 5th July 2009.

Pheasant Phasianus colchicus

Very common resident: throughout the area but lots of birds are captive bread and released for shooting purposes.

Black-Throated Diver Gavia arctica

Very rare winter visitor: Only an old record of this very rare species for the area, seen on the River Trent from Clifton Grove on the 22nd February 1979. 

Leach's Storm-petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa

Very rare storm-driven visitor: An old record of a single bird showing from late morning until 14:15 on the River Trent between Barton-in-Fabis and Attenborough 30th September 1978.  This was one of three Leach's Storm Petrel to be found in Nott's on this day, forced inland by severe storms associated by a still vigorous Hurricane Flossie in the Atlantic.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis

Resident breeding species in small numbers: Noted regularly in suitable locations in the area, main sites between Holme Pit and Branshill Wood Ponds.

Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena 

Very rare: Single record from the River Trent on the 30th December 1995.

Great Crested Grebe   Podiceps cristatus

Resident Breeding Species: Common in small numbers on the River Trent and Holme Pit.

Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia

Rare passage migrant, with only three records: An adult bird was seen drifting high S/W towards Thrumpton/Ratcliff-on-Soar at 1.00pm, viewable from Cottages Flash on the 3rd April 2009. This bird was initially found feeding over the river on Clifton Pit at Attenborough at around 10.00am, and was only viewable here when it flew off from this site.

The second record here was also seen as it left the Attenborough Nature Reserve, on the 13th April 2013. It was originally found at 7.30am as it flew over the visitor centre, and was quickly located feeding on Works Pond. At 9.30am I was heading down Foxcovert Lane towards Beeston Weir when I saw it fly up near Beeston Marina. I then watched as it slowly spiralled up and drifted off in a north-easterly direction. The Darvic ring on the left leg read FJ9. This bird was ringed as a nestling on 9th April 2007 at Sevilla, Casa Neves, Spain and sexed as a probable female. It has wintered on the Taw estuary, Devon, every year since 12th October 2007 and visited several counties including Somerset, Dorset and Norfolk.

The third record here and the first bird to land on this side of the river was found on the 19th March 2015. It was seen as it flew low over Cottages Flash towards Attenborough 07:42, returning to Cottages Flash 10:45 before flying off high north-west at 11:05.

image of Spoonbill Attenborough - 13th April 2013  [photo - Sean Browne]

Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris

Scarce winter visitor: The first Bittern to be recorded here was in December 1998 from the reedbed on Holme Pit. The next occurrence wasn't for another nine years, when in March 2007 the second Bittern arrived and was again from Holme Pit.

Since 2007 Bittern has become an almost annual winter visitor, recorded every winter up to 2011 apart from one absent year in 2008. The severe winter of 2010/2011 was an exceptional winter, with four different birds present on Holme Pit on the same date 11th Dec 2010.

The only records of Bittern away from Holme Pit are of one to two Bittern throughout early December 2010 that were seen to fly into Beeston Weir at first light, and a single bird  that was seen walking around the field near Barton Flash 18th December 2010. 

A small female Bittern was also caught and ringed on Beeston Weir using a baited walk-in trap in early December 2010 by local ringer Chris Southall [ring number: 128657 on left leg] an amazing achievement.

Bittern Occurrences 1998 - 2013
1 Holme Pit 27th/28th December 1998
1 Holme Pit 3rd March 2007
1 Holme Pit five dates between - 17th/28th December 2007
1 Holme Pit 23rd December 2009
1 Holme Pit 6th January 2010
1 Holme Pit 27th/28th February 2010
1 Holme Pit 23rd/28th November 2010
1 Holme Pit 3rd December 2010
1 to 2 Beeston Weir Throughout early December 2010
4 Holme Pit 11th December 2010
2 Holme Pit 12th/13th/18th December 2010
1 Barton Flash 18th December 2010
1 Holme Pit 19th/25th/31st December 2010 
1 Holme Pit 1st/6th/9th/22nd January 2011
1 Holme Pit 18th/19th November 2011
2 Holme Pit 28th November 2011
1 Holme Pit 1st December 2011
1 Holme Pit 4th December 2011
1 Holme Pit 10th December 2011
1 Holme Pit 2nd January 2012
1 Holme Pit 14th March 2012
1 Holme Pit 19th/21st January 2013
1 Holme Pit 2nd February 2013
2 Holme Pit 16th February 2013
Holme Pit - December 2010 

Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax

Very rare vagrant: A stunning adult male was found [P.Buxton] on the ANR at 06:45 on the 26th April 2015 before it flew over Barton Lane towards the River Trent.

It was then relocated in willows on the Barton-in-Fabis side of the river 08:25 before flying back towards the ANR. It was quickly relocated roosting in willows on a island off the Wet Marsh Path, 10:00 -16:30 when it flew south. After a going missing for a couple of hours it was again seen flying back onto the ANR from Barton-in-Fabis c18:15, but was only seen on one more occasion again in flight.

image of Night Heron Over the river Trent – 26th April 2015

Squacco Heron  Ardeola ralloides

Very rare vagrant with an incredible two records: A superb adult male spent just over an hour in the vicinity of Barton Flash on the 27th June 1998.

It was originally found on the delta over the river at the Attenborough Nature Reserve on the 27th June 1998 [R.Martin].  In the mid afternoon it flew across the river from Attenborough and landed in the vicinity of Barton Flash where it stayed for perhaps an hour or so before flying back over the river, and onwards towards Attenborough village not to be seen again. It was then rediscovered at Martins Pond Wollaton on the 29th June where it remained until 1st July.

On the 29th October 2011 I had spent most of the morning over the river watching the Juvenile Squacco Heron that was discovered on the 28th, I left the site and had a walk along the river from Barton-in-Fabis.

As I reached Barton Island I was totally "gob smacked" to see the Juv Squacco Heron fly in. It landed on the river bank Just in front of Barton Island at 12.45 pm at some distance to where I was stood, and then walked out of view into willows. As I moved closer, it flew out and over the river landing on Barton Island but quickly disappeared into cover and wasn't seen again.

image of Squacco Heron Barton Island – 29th October 2011

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis

Very rare vagrant: Single record of an adult summer bird, present on fields near Barton Flash, Barton-in-Fabis for one day on the 3rd May 2008. This bird was originally found over the river at the Attenborough Nature Reserve on the 2nd May 2008.

image of Cattle Egret Barton-in-Fabis – 3rd May 2008.   Photo: Lynne Demaine

Grey Heron   Ardea cinerea

Resident:  A large Heronry in Branshill Wood was deserted in March 2007 after continuous harassment from Common Buzzard Buteo buteo that took up territory in the area. The now deserted heronry regularly held up to 40 breeding pairs and was one of the largest remaining heronries in Nottinghamshire. A smaller heronry consisting of twelve active nests in spring 2009 in conifer trees behind Thrumpton Hall is now the only heronry in the area. 

Great White Egret Egretta alba

Rare visitor to the area: The first record was of an adult seen flying along the river Trent near Barton-in-Fabis on the 21st October 2007.

Following records were a single bird flying along the river towards Long Eaton Gravel Pits on the 27th September 2008. An adult was seen from Attenborough flying down the river Trent on the 6th June 2009. on the 4th May 2010, an adult male in full breeding plumage was seen feeding on Cottages Flash at 07:30. It then flew off down river towards the Long Eaton Gravel Pits (P.Buxton).

Sightings are now becoming more frequent, but it still remains a rare visitor to the area.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

As with the national trend this species is now becoming a regular visitor to the area.

The first record of this species was of a pair seen flying into the heronry at Branshill Wood, Barton-in-Fabis on the 25th March with the same pair again copulating in the heronry later on the same day. The second record involved three birds seen flying over Cottages Flash September 2006. There were several sightings throughout August 2007 from Cottages Flash and sightings are now becoming more frequent as it continues to colonise Nottinghamshire.  

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo carbo

Resident non-breeding species: A very common sighting on any area of water in the area. Large numbers can be seen flying up the River Trent prior to dusk to roost over the river at the Attenborough NR. 

Osprey Pandion haliaetus

Scarce, but regular spring/autumn passage migrant, with birds possibly moving through undetected.

Osprey occurrences 2002 - 2013

The first record of Osprey here was of an adult bird fishing on Holme Pit for 30mins on the 31st March 2002.

The second and third sighting were probably the same bird first seen heading high SW over Branshill Wood towards Attenborough on the 29th April 2007. The following morning possibly the same bird was seen slowly drifting towards Branshill Wood from the direction of Attenborough.

An adult was seen drifting south-west over the top of Branshill Wood on the evening of the 3rd September 2008

A juvenile bird was circling high over Barton Flash at midday slowly drifting SW towards Attenborough 19th October 2008.

A single adult flew over Beeston Weir and onwards towards Beeston on the morning of the 3rd May 2011.

An adult was seen flying up river from Clifton Grove at 7.00am on the 24th May 2012.

High over the river, before drifting off towards Beeston - 7th April 2013.

An adult flew over Branshill moor prior to dusk at 6.45pm and roosted the night in the area of pines in Branshill Wood. It was seen to leave the roost site the following morning at 5.45am but quickly left the area 12th/13th April 2013.

An adult went north-west over the Clifton Estate at 6.00am on the 5th July 2013. 

  image of Osprey Clifton Grove - May 2012

Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus

Common resident: A very common Raptor throughout the area, with sightings of one or two birds seen on most visits.

Goshawk Accipiter gentilis

Very rare visitor: Only a single record of this magnificent Raptor.

On the 13th September 2003 an adult male was seen catch a Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus on the edge of Branshill Wood Barton-in-Fabis. I watched this bird at very close range for around an hour as it devolved it prey from a fence post, before it flew off over the wood towards Barton in Fabis.

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus

A rare but increasing annual passage migrant with one or two records in recent years

Twelve individuals recorded since 2004 of this very scarce passage migrant, but many more must pass through undetected.

Marsh Harrier Occurrences 2004-2013

A male and female were seen over Gotham Moor/Clifton Pasture 8th August 2004

Single female Gotham Moor/Clifton Pasture 30th July 2005

Two females seen quartering the area around Branshill Ponds 8th September 2006

Single female over Clifton Pasture 26th October 2008

A male was seen from the Grove, over fields on the opposite side of the river 12th January 2009.

A cream-crown bird was following the Fairham Brook on Gotham Moor/Clifton Pastures on the 1st May 2010

Cream crown over Clifton Pastures till dusk when it dropped down to roost near the Fairham Brook  - 2nd August 2010

Cream crown over Clifton Pastures/the Drift - 5th August 2010

Cream crown over Clifton Pastures - 18th April 2011

Cream crown over Clifton Pastures - 18th May 2011

Juv over Barton Flash/Branshill Moor from 3.00 to 3.30pm on the 13th August 2011 then  slowly drifted of west towards Thrumpton.

Female high over Barton Lane towards Barton-in-Fabis - 18th March 2012

On the 2nd April 2013, three Marsh Harrier passed through the area with a adult male heading east over Clifton Woods, a cream crown heading south - east over Branshill Wood and a second cream crown cross the river from Attenborough and head off towards the Grove.

Cream Crown over fields behind Cottages Flash before drifting off towards Thrumpton late evening - 15th May 2013 

image of Marsh Harrier Clifton Pastures - 1st May 2010 image of Marsh Harrier Barton-in-Fabis - August 2011   

Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus

Very rare visitor.

Hen Harrier Occurrences - 2006 - 2012

Ringtail, over fields towards Beeston Weir on the 30th October 2006.

Ringtail, quartering fields around the Drift on the morning of the 9th November 2008. 

Ringtail, Clifton pastures on the afternoon of the 31st January 2009. It was last seen at dusk when it dropped down into an area of set-aside next to Fairham Brook at around 5.00pm.

A 3rd cy male bird was seen appear from over Branshill Wood and drift slowly over Barton Flash and then over the river towards Attenborough -16th May 2009

A ringtail was reported quartering an oilseed rape field near Barton-in-Fabis - 16th May 2010, observer unknown.

Ringtail over Branshill Moor, 17:00 until dusk. When it was seen to drop down near Branshill Ponds to roost, 30th September 2010.

Ringtail, present in the vicinity of Barton Flash and Branshill Moor. 2nd - 4th November 2011.

Ringtail, Thrumpton/Barton-in-Fabis late afternoon, heading northeast over the river, 25th October 2012.

  image of Hen Harrier Ringtail January 2009 - Clifton Pastures image of Hen Harrier 3rd cy male May 2009 - Barton-in-Fabis                                                                     

Montagu’s Harrier Circus pygargus

Very rare passage migrant: On the 3rd June 2013 at 1.15pm I watched a ring-tail harrier that was hunting over the area of Branshill near to Burrows Farm early afternoon. It was fairly distant at first, but after around 10 minutes turned and started heading straight towards where I was stood. Within seconds it was directly overhead and gradually began gaining height circling up, before finally drifting off towards the river where it was lost from view.


The following ID features all taken from my photos confirm that this was a 1st summer bird.

The length and shape of P5 (the fifth primary counting from the carpal), which is short and blunt, does not form a 'finger' and is not emarginated. This rules out Hen Harrier, which would have a longer P5 forming a finger, as it is emarginated. The very prominently barred axillaries and prominent white around the eyes rule out Pallid Harrier, which shows a similar wing shape to Montagu's.

It is a first-summer based on the longer (newly replaced) central tail feathers, and probably also the seemingly worn outer primaries. Without looking into the subject further it is very difficult to sex bird.

image of Montagu's Harrier
image of Montagu's Harrier Branshill - 3rd June 2013

Red Kite Milvus milvus

Rare visitor: Although records have increased in recent years, with birds sighted on many occasions from the Barton-in-Fabis/Thrumpton area.

Red Kite Occurrences 2008-2013

Single birds reported from over Branshill Wood on 5th April 2008 and 21st December 2008.

A single bird was seen almost daily in the winter of 2008/2009 in the Brickyard Lane area of West Leake and is possibly the same bird that has been reported in the Barton area

A Juvenile bird appear low over the flood-bank at Barton-in-Fabis, as it approached it almost flew directly over my head. It then drifted off slowly over Branshill Wood. At 12.00am the same bird was relocated on Clifton Pastures following the plough with two Common Buzzard Buteo buteo. It was watched feeding on insects disturbed by the plough for over half an hour before it flew into the small copse area facing the Gotham Road lay-by - 13th September 2009

Single adult drifted from over the river and up over Branshill Wood - 25th March 2012

A single bird on Clifton Pastures near the Fairham Brook - 31st March 2012

Two adults flew over Thrumpton towards the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station on the afternoon of the 1st April 2012 

Single adult over Branshill and Branshill Wood - 16th April 2012

Single adult over the riverside fields and Branshill Wood - 19th May 2012

Single bird over Clifton Pastures - 17th June 2012.

Adult over Ratcliffe-on-Soar - 2nd April 2013.

  image of Red Kite Juvenile September 2009 - Barton-in-Fabis image of Red Kites Thrumpton - April 1st 2012.

Common Buzzard Buteo buteo

Common Buzzard has become one of the commonest sightings throughout the area. In the early nineties any sighting of this species were virtually unknown. In 1996 regular reports started to suggest that after a long absence the Common Buzzard was once again colonizing the area. 

Breeding was first suspected on 3rd July 2005 when two adult Common Buzzard were seen feeding a juvenile near Branshill Wood. Since this date pairs have been seen displaying on a regular basis in the area. In February and March 2007 the most unexpected act of avian cleansing began as the Common Buzzard with the help of an escaped Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis began the eviction of the Grey Herons from the heronry in Branshill wood. Continuously harassing nesting birds with regular aerial assaults resulted in all the Grey Heron been flushed time after time, by the end of March 2007 the heronry was deserted. Common Buzzard were soon seen to take up territory in the heronry with two different birds seen sat in various heron nests on the 17th March. 

Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis

Escaped native to North America: This bird was first seen very briefly on the 23rd January 2006 sat in a larch tree in Branshill Wood. As it flew off into the woodland I noticed that it had a reddish pale tail, but with such a quick glimpse of the bird in flight I put the tail colour down to a trick of the light. It was not until late May early June 2006 whilst watching displaying Common Buzzard that I again noticed that one of the displaying birds had a very bright orange tail and was also noticeably larger in size. My first impression was Steppe Buzzard Buteo vulpinus but it was very distant and its true identity wasn't solved until a few weeks later when I managed to get some good views and photos of the bird. In July and August it was seen displaying with a Common Buzzard Buteo buteo over Branshill Woodand and on one occasion was seen carrying sticks into the woodland as if it were nest building. I observed a male Common Buzzard copulating with this bird on three occasions in June 2008. This bird has now been holding territory in the same area for four years but successful breeding has yet to be confirmed as no hybrids have been seen in the area so far. Where this bird came from is anyone's guess, although an escapee is the most likely answer. It prompted some interesting emails from as far afield as the U.S, with the majority commenting that it is probably a light morph eastern Canadian bird.

image of Red-tailed Hawk August 2007 – Barton-in-Fabis image of Red-tailed Hawk June 2012 - Barton-in-Fabis

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus

Uncommon passage migrant/winter visitor: Calling birds can be heard on Holme Pit from November to March with up to five calling birds on some occasions. Holme Pit and the brook that runs through Clifton Wood are the only two locations in the area where Water Rail has been seen. It is very possible that this species breeds in the area but it hasn't been proven and records from April to September are very scarce.


Moorhen Gallinula chloropus

Resident breeding species: Common with pairs resident on all areas of water and wet marsh. 

Coot Fulica atra

Resident breeding species: Common species on all suitable habitat especially Holme Pit and Branshill Ponds.

Common Crane Grus grus

Rare vagrant

Common Crane Occurrences - 2004-2012

Adult, on fields near to Barton Island. Observed from the river path, at the Attenborough NR on the 14th October 2004.

Two seen heading high over the Attenborough NR, from an easterly direction at 5.30pm on the 14th May 2009. 

A single bird was seen heading high N/E as it flew over the area, observed from the Attenborough NR - 11th July 2010.

A single adult circling high over Barton Flash before it flew over my head as it headed off east over Branshill - 1st May 2011.

2 adults flew west at 09.25 over Holme Pierrepont on the 16th June 2012, at 09.35 they were over Beeston and then over the Long Eaton Gravel Pits at 9.45am. These 2 birds must have flown over the area somewhere between Clifton Bridge and Clifton Grove, as I was stood at Barton-in-Fabis waiting for them to fly over after a tip off that they were heading my way.

image of Common Crane Branshill - 1st May 2011

Oystercatcher Haemantopus ostralegus

Scarce passage migrant/visitor: Regular records from the Cottages Flash area since 2002, with the most recent sightings of two adults throughout March and April 2009

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta

Rare passage migrant: A single bird was present on cottages Flash from 11.45 - 3.00pm on the 4th April 2013, before it relocated over the river on Tween Pond, Attenborough.

image of Avocet Cottages Flash/Attenborough [photo - M.Harvey]

Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

Uncommon breeding resident, abundant passage and winter visitor.

A once common breeding species in the area has declined in recent years, but still doing fairly well as a breeding species in suitable locations. Large flocks gather in the winter months with regular counts of c1000 birds.  

Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria

Regular passage migrant/winter visitor

Annual visitor to the area but numbers fluctuate from year to year. In 2007/2008 very large numbers were present from December 2007 to March 2008 on Clifton Pastures and The Drift with numbers peaking at 2500. 

European Golden Plover Sightings Dec 2007- March 2008
Location Date Number
 Drift Lane    26/12/2007     250
 Drift Lane    27/12/2007     1500
 Drift Lane    02/01/2008     450   
 Drift Lane    03/01/2008     350 
Drift Lane    04/01/2008     300  
 Drift Lane    20/01/2008     350
 Clifton Pastures  16/02/2008  1045
 Drift Lane    16/02/2008     1000
 Drift Lane    17/02/2008     1100  
 Drift Lane    29/02/2008     1500
Drift Lane    04/03/2008     2515  
 Drift Lane    06/03/2008     2000   
Drift Lane    08/03/2008     2515  
 Drift Lane    11/03/2008     2050 
 Drift Lane    12/03/2008     1600 
 Drift Lane    16/03/2008     846 
 Clifton Pasture  16/03/2008   1100   
 Drift Lane       24/03/2008   152 
 Barton-in-Fabis  26/03/2008   450 
Barton-in-Fabis  30/03/2008   33 

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola

Rare passage migrant: Only a single from Cottages Flash late afternoon of the 1st May 2014, staying for Just a few hours and departing at around 17.30.

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

Scarce summer visitor/Passage migrant

Ringed Plover Occurrences - 2007-2013

An adult was on Cottages Flash on the morning of the 25th August 2007 before flying off high east.

A single adult was seen flying high east calling repeatedly over Beeston Weir at 6.30am on the 7th May 2011.

2 adults found on Cottages Flash on the 27th April 2012

3 adults were present on Cottages flash from the 31st May - 1st June 2012

Single adult on Cottages Flash - 24th September 2012

One to three birds were on floodwater off Barton Lane, Thrumpton from - 23rd March - 2nd April 2013 

  image of Ringed Plovers Ringed Plover - Cottages Flash April 2012

Little-ringed Plover Charadrius dubius

Scarce passage migrant

Little Ringed Plover Occurrences - 2004-2013

Single adult from Cottages Flash - 25th March 2005

Single adult Cottages Flash1 1th April 2009.

The only autumn record is of a single bird on Cottages Flash on the 3rd August 2002.

A failed breeding attempt was observed on Cottages Flash in spring 2010. A male bird present from the 2nd April 2010 was joined by a female in

early May. Mating was observed on several occasions and a nest scrape was prepared on the edge of the flash but both birds vacated the site when of cattle were introduced onto the flash by the landowner. 

An adult was present for a few hours on the steps of Beeston Weir on the 20th May 2012 

Adult on Cottages Flash - 6th April 2013

Three were present on Cottages Flash between the 22nd - 24th April 2013, with just one remaining bird present between the 25th - 29th April 2013. 

image of Little-ringed Plovers Cottages Flash - May 2010

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus

Scarce passage migrant: Two birds flying over Barton Flash heading towards Attenborough on the 5th May 2005.

Two birds were seen on the shingle ridge near Beeston Weir at 8.30am before flying off down-river - 5th May 2011

A single adult was found roosting on Cottages Flash on the evening of 15th May 2013, and was still present at dusk.

Three birds found on the morning of the 26th May 2014 feeding in fields behind Cottages Flash. All three birds stayed in the area until the 6th May at least.

image of Whimbrel Cottages Flash - 15th May 2013

Curlew Numenius arquata

Scarce passage migrant/winter visitor: With the majority of the records  been in the spring. In the very cold winter of 2010 up to six birds were present in the area.

Curlew Occurrences - 2005 - 2013

Two birds flying high over Barton Flash calling on the 1st April 2005.

Single bird flying high calling S/W over Holme Pit on the 22nd March 2009

Single bird high over Clifton Pasture heading west on the 26th April 2009.

A single bird present on the riverside fields Barton-in-Fabis from 9th October-6th December 2010.

Six birds present on stubble Fields between Barton-in-Fabis and Thrumpton on the 19th December 2010

Two birds on stubble fields Barton-in-Fabis 27th December 2010

Two over the riverside fields and onwards towards Thrumpton - 18th March 2012

Single bird high over Holme Pit - 7th April 2012

Calling bird high south-east over Cottages Flash 8th July 2012.

2 birds on flood water on the riverside fields Barton-in-Fabis - 10th March 2013.

Calling bird in fields off Manor Rd, Barton-in-Fabis - 13th March 2013.

Four birds flew high from Attenborough and onwards over Burrows Farm - 4th April 2013.

Single bird flew east from Barton Flash - 6th April 2013

Calling adult high north-east over Branshill at 6.30pm - 8th July 2013

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica

Rare passage migrant: Only one record of a single adult found feeding behind Cottages Flash with 3 Whimbrel, on the 26th May 2014. It was only present for around an hour and was lost from view as it disappeared behind the flood bank.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

Regular passage migrant:

Black-tailed Godwit Occurrences - 2004 - 2013

Single bird briefly on Barton Flash on the 16th August 2004

Thirteen birds flying over Holme Pit on the 17th August 2006

Seven birds feeding on Cottages Flash Barton-in-Fabis on the 29th July 2007

Twelve birds briefly on Cottages Flash on the morning of the 19th July 2009.

Two birds briefly on Cottages Flash before flying off high west - 14th July 2010

A flock of 10 birds were seen fly south/east over Attenborough and high over Branshill Wood on the 21st April 2012.

A group of eight stunning summer plumaged  birds of the race islandica and were found late afternoon on Cottages Flash on the 26th June 2012 and were present until 6.45pm when they all flew off high south/east.

5 birds present from Cottages Flash, on the 7th July 2012. With one bird remaining bird until the 8th. 

Single bird from Cottages Flash - 27th July 2012.

Single bird on Cottages Flash - 17th August 2012

Three birds found early morning, Cottages Flash - 18th August 2012.

Single bird present on Cottages Flash from the 19th-22nd August 2012.

Five birds were seen to fly onto Cottages Flash on the morning of 26th August 2012, but 2 flew east shortly after being disturbed by an angler.

Three of the remaining five stayed on Cottages Flash six days, when two departed on the 31st August 2012. The final bird departed the next day on the 1st September 2012.

Single adult winter bird, Cottages Flash - 10th March 2013 

Single adult near summer bird on flood-water off Barton Lane, Thrumpton - 23rd/24th March 2013

Two near summer plumaged birds, Cottages Flash - 29th April 2013. 

Knot Calidris canutus

Rare passage migrant: Only one record, found at 08:40 on the 22nd March 2015 on Cottages Flash. A very confiding bird, watched feeding within 20ft from where I was sat. It was present all day and was last seen at 17:00.

Ruff Philomachus pugnax

Rare passage migrant: The first record here was of a single adult found on Cottages Flash on the 23rd April 2012.

Two adult males present followed this on Cottages Flash on the 28th April 2012. They were then joined by a third male on the 29th. The last sighting of these birds was of a single male present on the 30th April 2012.

The third record involved a winter bird found on the 2nd December 2012, feeding with Golden Plover on the large flooded field between Barton-in-Fabis and Thrumpton.

Sanderling Calidris alba

Rare passage migrant: On the 31st March 2013 at around 15.30 I was scanning over an area of floodwater on fields off Barton Lane, Thrumpton when I picked up on 3 very pale waders that I quickly recognised as Sanderling. As I continued to watch, they were joined by a further 4 birds. All 7 birds were present until 16.30, when they all flew off high towards the river.


The second record here was of a single bird reported from Cottages Flash early morning on the 2nd April 2013, before flying off high east.


Dunlin Calidris alpina

Scarce passage migrant

Dunlin Occurrences - 2010-2013

2 adult summer birds were flushed from the edge of Cottages Flash on the 11th May 2010

2 adult birds were found feeding around Beeston Weir late morning on the 2nd May 2011.

A single bird was seen to fly high over Branshill from the Clifton Pit at Attenborough [S.Browne] on the 4th November 2011

A single bird was present on Cottages Flash on the 31st May 2012 and was joined by a second bird on the 1st June 2012.

2 adults found feeding on Cottages Flash - 27th July 2012.

Single adult on Cottages Flash - 5th August 2012.

Single adult winter bird on Cottages Flash - 10th March 2013.

Woodcock Scolopax rusticola

Scarce winter visitor: One or two sightings most winters, that are usually flushed from underfoot from any suitable area.

Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus

Rare winter visitor: Very few records of this very secretive bird in the area with the most recent records been, two on Barton Flash 6th February 2005 and two from Cottages Flash on the 20th January 2008 

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago

Regular passage migrant/winter visitor: This is another bird that has declined in recent years and has been lost as a breeding species. The favoured areas are Clifton Pastures, Barton Flash, Cottages Flash and the many dikes that are in the area.

12 birds found feeding together on Cottages Flash, 23rd September 2012 was a very good record for the area.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

Regular passage migrant: Only small numbers seen here with all records coming from either the River Trent, Beeston Weir and and Cottages Flash. The most recent sightings are of two birds on the edge of the river at the side of Cottages Flash on the 19th April 2009, 18th/19th July 2009 and 7th September 2009. Cottages Flash - 26th/27th/28th April 2013, and a second bird on Beeston Weir 27th April 2013. 

Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus

Regular passage migrant

Green Sandpiper occurences 2004 - 2013

Very few records of this scarce passage migrant to the area, although 2012 was a excellent year for sightings of this species.

Single bird Cottages Flash from the 16th - 29th August 2004. 

Single bird on Beeston Weir 25th August 2010

Single bird Cottages Flash on the 29th August 2010.

Single bird on Beeston Weir 1st May 2011.

Single bird on Barton-in-Fabis ponds 28th January 2012.

Single bird on Cottages Flash - 26th June 2012

Single bird on Cottages Flash - 7th July 2012

Single bird on Cottages Flash - 21st July 2012

2 birds on Cottages Flash - 23rd July 2012

4 birds on Cottages Flash - 24th July 2012

3 birds on Cottages Flash - 27th July 2012

Single adult Cottages Flash - 29th July 2012

2 adults Cottages Flash - 4th August 2012

6 Green Sandpiper found on Cottages Flash late evening on the 5th August 2012, was a count record for the area.

2 adults, Cottages Flash - 12th August 2012. 

Regular sighting of a single bird on Cottages Flash from late August to 27th September 2012.

Single bird on floodwater on the Thrumpton Hall Estate - 17th February/17th March 2013. 

image of Green Sandpipers Six Green Sandpiper - Cottages Flash August 2012

Common Redshank Tringa totanus

Rare passage migrant/winter visitor

Common Redshank Occurrences 2009-2013

Single bird on flooded fields, S/W of Barton-in-Fabis 0n the 28th February 2009.

A calling bird high over to the north, from Barton-in-Fabis on the 10th September 2009.

A single bird high over Barton-in-Fabis/Thrumpton 31st December 2010.

A single bird high over Beeston Weir, heading east 21st May 2011.  

A single bird feeding along the edge of the ponds, west of Barton-in-Fabis village on the 28th January 2012.

A single bird was on the far side of Cottages Flash - 26th May 2012.

4 Common Redshank were found on the far side of Cottages Flash early morning on the 10th July 2012.

Calling Redshank on Cottages Flash but not seen 15th July 2012.

Single bird on Cottages Flash - 11th/12th April 2013.

A single bird was present on Cottages Flash - 12th July 2013

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola

Rare Passage Migrant: The only record of Wood Sandpiper is of a single bird feeding on the far side of Cottages flash for around 10mins on the evening of the 6th May 2014, before it flew over the river towards the Attenborough NR.

Greenshank Tringa nebularia

Rare passage migrant

Greenshank occurences 2007 - 2013

An adult was present on Cottages Flash on the 12th August 2007.

The second record also came from Cottages flash on the 10th June 2009.

An adult bird was present on Cottages Flash from the 7th - 21st July 2012

On the 9th July 2012 at around 7.00pm, 2 calling Greenshank flew high over Cottages Flash, but headed off south/east

A Juvenile was present for around 30mins early morning on Cottages Flash - 26th August 2012. 

An adult was present on Cottages Flash from the 22nd - 27th April 2013

image of Greenshank
image of Greenshank Cottages Flash – August 2012

Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla

Very rare with one record: An adult was found lingering around Beeston Weir for five minutes before heading off upriver at 8.00am on the 14th October 2013. 

  image of Kittiwake Over Beeston Weir - 14th October 2013

Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Resident: very common species throughout the area, with numbers at their greatest in winter with counts of 1000 birds not uncommon.

Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus

Rare passage migrant: Between 6.00 - 8.00pm on the 25th April 2012 there was a large passage of Little Gull flying south/east over Thrumpton, with c40 Arctic Tern.

All had been present over the river on the Windsurfing Pit, before flying overhead. Most if not all were then picked up by observers on the A52 Pit at Holme Pierrepont.

Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus

Rare visitor

Mediterranean Gull occurences 2005 - 2013

The first record here was an adult seen near the Fairham Brook outlet that flows into the River Trent near Clifton Bridge on the12th August 2005.

This was quickly followed by a second adult seen on the 9th September 2005 in the exact same location as the first record, with both records probably relating to the same individual. 

A 1w, was seen on the 1st January 2010 on Beeston Weir with Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibbundus before flying off over towards the marina where it was lost from view.

On the 22nd October 2011 a first winter bird was found feeding with large numbers of Black-headed Gull Larus ridibbundus on Clifton Pastures, before flying off towards Barton Lane. A first winter bird was seen again on the 25th October 2011 at the same location, and is very likely to be the same individual.

A 2s, was found on Cottages Flash on the 9th July 2012. 

image of Meditteranean Gull Clifton Pastures - October 2011

Common Gull Larus canus

Regular but scarce visitor: from August till April, very rare outside this period. 

Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus

Scarce winter visitor: Very scarce anywhere in the area apart from birds flying over en route to roost.

Herring Gull Larus argentatus

Scarce winter visitor: Large numbers pass over en route to roost, but otherwise scarce

Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis

Rare visitor: An adult summer bird was found feeding on newly ploughed fields on Clifton Pastures on the 3rd August 2011,  followed by a second sighting of this bird feeding on fields near Gotham village on the 4th August 2011. [J.Hennig ]

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus graellsii

Regular flyovers: Very scarce on the deck although large numbers are seen passing over en route to roost sites.

Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis

Very rare passage migrant: An adult was found on briefly on Cottages Flash on the morning of the 1st April 2013 was the first record here. It was later seen shortly after its departure flying downriver from Thrumpton.

On the 12th April 2013, I arrived at Cottages Flash Just before 5.00pm a Tern was seen flying towards me from the direction of Clifton, I soon realized it was a Sandwich Tern [second site record] and quickly got it in the camera as it flew past Cottages Flash. It then turned and flew over the river towards the Clifton Pit where it was lost from view.

Making a few phone calls it was soon relocated [P.Buxton] across the river on the Sailing Lake, Attenborough, where it sat out the rainstorm perched on a buoy.

Little Tern Sternula albifrons

Rare passage migrant: Two adults were seen to go through Beeston Weir and over the Marina on the morning of the 2nd May 2011.

Common Tern Sterna hirundo

Common summer visitor: Seen daily on the river and Holme Pit in the summer months, but no breeding records as there are no suitable breeding sites within the area.

Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea

Scarce passage migrant: Numbers vary from year to year with most years producing no records. The spring passage can occasionally bring a large movement of birds through the area. 

On the 19th April 2010 fithteen birds were seen on passage as they flew down river from Beeston Weir An adult summer bird was found on Beeston Weir for 20min at 7.30pm on the 28th July 2011.

A large passage of around c40 birds flying south/east, on the evening of the 25th April 2012.

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus

A very rare vagrant with just one record

As the rain clouds darkened on the evening of the 25th April 2012, a stocky tern with the jizz of a marsh tern came flying high over the river from the direction of Ratcliff-on-Soar.

As I got it in the scope it was apparent that It had the short marsh tern tail but not the coloration of Black Tern that I was inspecting. The white cheeks and dark underparts were obvious and stood out against the dark skies. I soon grasped that I was watching a adult "Whiskered Tern”. I quickly grabbed the camera and fired off a few record shots as it flew high over where I was stood. As it flew northeast over the river it was quickly obscured from view by the willows on the river path and was lost from view not to be seen again.

image of Whiskered Tern Whiskered Tern - Thrumpton - April 2012

White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus

Very rare: An immature, was present with the flock of 13 Black Tern that were seen to fly up the river from Thrumpton, 13th September 2006.

This bird was first seen on the Long Eaton gravel pits, Derbyshire earlier in the day. Staking out the river facing the Long Eaton gravel pits, I was rewarded as it flew up the River Trent past Thrumpton heading into Nottinghamshire.

image of White-winged Black Tern Photo: Glyn Sellors.

Black Tern Chlidonias niger

Scarce passage migrant: Black Tern occurrences 2006 - 2012

A flock of seventeen were seen flying up the River Trent at Thrumpton on the 13th September 2006.

An immature, was seen flying up the River Trent past Barton-in-Fabis on the14th September 2006.

Adult summer, viewed from Thrumpton feeding over the windsurfing pit, 16th May 2009.

Three adult summers, viewed from Thrumpton feeding over the windsurfing pit with large numbers of Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea on the 25th April 2012

Feral Rock Dove Columba livia

A very common breeding species: that is found throughout the area.

Stock Dove Columba oenas

Resident breeding species: A common resident throughout the area, numbers greater in the winter months when birds join the large Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus flocks to roost over at Attenborough. Breeds in small numbers where it is in competition with Jackdaw Corvus monedula for suitable tree hole nest sites. 

Woodpigeon Columba palumbus

Common resident: Probably the most abundant species in the area, with recent winter flocks in 2009/2010 estimated at 3000/4000 birds.

Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur

Rare summer visitor: As with the national trend this once fairly common summer visitor has declined alarmingly with only four sightings in 2007 and none in 2008.

A single bird was a very welcomed site on the Drift Lane location on the 18th June 2009.

A second sighting on the 29th June 2009 from fields near Barton-in-Fabis village was probably the same bird seen earlier in the month on the drift. 

An adult was flushed from the Rough Wood on the evening of the 23rd August 2011 and flew up over Branshill landing in the hedgerow in front of Burrows Farm.

A “purring” adult male was found in territory in Barton-in-Fabis village, June 2015. It stayed faithful to the area for the whole summer but sadly never attracted a female. It was seen on several occasions displaying to the local Collard Dove.

image of Turtle Dove Foxcovert Lane - July 2000.

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto

Common resident: in gardens and residential areas, less abundant in the more rural locations.

Cuckoo Cuculus canorus

Scarce summer visitor: Three or four sightings regularly each spring, but the familiar sound of the Cuckoo in the spring is getting worryingly scarcer. 

After a blank year in 2011 it was nice to see singing males back in the area in 2012. 

2 singing males were heard from Gotham from the 5th - 9th May 2012

Singing male from Crownhill Wood Thrumpton - 10th May 2012

Singing male from the area near Branshill Ponds - 10th May 2012

Singing male from Barton-in-Fabis village - 30th May 2012

Singing male on the river bend Clifton Grove - 13th June 2012

Adult male, in flight over the river, 10th May 2013.

Singing male on the hedgerow behind Cottages Flash, before flying off towards Barton-in-Fabis - 15th May 2013.


Barn Owl Tyto alba 

Scarce Resident: But increasing resident in the area. With the help of the Rushcliffe Barn Owl Group this species has made a dramatic comeback to the area, with successful breeding in the area helped by a nestbox scheme.

image of Barn Owl Barton-in-Fabis - February 2010

Tawny Owl Strix aluco

Scarce resident: One pair successfully bread in Clifton Grove 2008. Up to eight calling birds were heard in Clifton Woods and Branshill Wood areas in spring 2008. A Regular roosting adult has been present at the same roost for the last three years and still present January 2016.

Little Owl Athene noctua

Scarce resident: in the area with only one previously known breeding pair that successfully nested in a dead Ash tree in spring of /2006/2007/2008, but in the winter of 2008 this nest site was lost when the tree was felled in a heavy storm. In June 2009 a pair of Little Owl were noted on many occasions in a new location but breeding wasn't proven. Two pairs were found to be breeding in the area in spring 2010 with both birds feeding owlets in the last week of May.

In Spring/Summer 2013 a pair of Little Owl successfully nested for the first time in one of five nest-boxes that I erected throughout the area.

Long-eared Owl Asio otus

Very rare resident: only a small number of records from the area. But it is possible that this species could be more common than records suggest, as roosting birds can be very tricky to locate even when you know the roost site. Due to this species been a very rare breeding bird within the county all site locations are undisclosed.

Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus

Scarce winter visitor: Short-eared Owl remains a scarce winter visitor to the area with most years producing no records, whilst in other years up to five birds have been present together. January 2006 was an especially good Month with three birds present all month in the set-aside area near Barton Flash peaking to five individuals.

Since Autumn 2014, the landowner has mowed all fields that were previously untouched for years resulting in no habitat and no records in these years.

Most recent Occurrences 2009 - 2012

A single bird on Clifton Pastures was present on several dates between January/February 2009 (J.Christmas).

On the 20th/21st February 2010 a single bird was found hunting the fields between Barton-in-Fabis and Thrumpton.

A single bird that was flushed from the side of the Fairham Brook on Clifton Pastures on the 21st August 2011 before landing on a hay bale 100ft away,  is the only summer record of this species. [J.Christmas]

A single bird was flusher from the bottom of a hedgerow in Thrumpton 27th November 2011.

A single bird was found roosting along a drainage dyke before flying off towards Thrumpton on the 2nd January 2012.

A single bird was seen flying low over fields from Thrumpton heading towards Barton-in-Fabis 14th March 2012.

An adult was watched hunting over Clifton Pastures on the 20th May 2012.

Single bird flying around the Beeston Marina Chalets on the 28th August 2012.

Single bird flushed from cover along Wood Lane, Gotham - 24th January 2012

Swift Apus apus

Abundant summer visitor/passage migrant.

Arrival Dates 2002 - 2010

2002 5th May / 2003 6th May / 2004 27th April / 2005 7th May / 2006 29th April / 2007 21st April / 2008 29th April / 2009 24th April / 2010 2nd May

Generally arrives late April and departs mid August. Large numbers recorded daily after arrival date.

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

Scarce resident: At least two pairs have been known to use the same breeding locations for many years, with other undetected nesting burrows possibly within the area. 

Hoopoe Upupa epops

Very rare passage migrant: On the 15th April 2006 I heard that a Hoopoe had been reported inside the grounds of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station. Driving over to the Power Station I was told by security staff that there was strictly no access to the site. Not to be put off I spent the rest of the day viewing the golf course area from the main road but with no luck. I spent the next few days trying to arrange some sort of access to be let in for a few hours to see if I could relocate the Hoopoe, but the situation seemed hopeless. On the morning of the 18th Andy Hall informed me that access had been granted for a small group to enter the site for one hour. On entering the complex one of the staff told us he had just seen the Hoopoe feeding below one of the cooling towers. We were all issued with high visibility vests and were driven over to the cooling towers by the security staff. On arrival at the cooling towers the Hoopoe was seen feeding on a rough patch of ground and showed very well allowing very close approach. After an hour we were told that we had to leave and were all escorted back to the gatehouse. A big thankyou to all involved that pushed for access to be granted.  

     image of Hoopoe
image of Hoopoe Ratcliffe-on-Soar - 18th April 2006

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor

Scarce resident: This has never been an abundant species in the area, but the lack of recent records show that this is another species that is declining worryingly throughout the area.

The most recent record of this species is of a calling male bird from Clifton Grove high in the trees behind Clifton Hall on the 28th February and 1st March 2009.

A calling male on the 12th, 19th and 25th February 2012 in the vacinity of the Church Yard and water users car park, Clifton Village.

Calling male from Clifton church yard - 4th April 2012.

Calling male high in trees on the Thrumpton Hall estate - 3rd February 2013.

Male calling from Clifton village church yard - 24th March 2013.

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major

Common resident: with regular sightings throughout the woodland areas. 


Green Woodpecker Picus viridis

Common resident: throughout the area with sightings on most visits to the area. 

Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

Common resident: At least three pairs along the Trent Valley region of the area and several. Seen virtually on every visit.

Merlin Falco columbarius

Regular winter visitor: One or two birds usually present each winter mainly from the more open areas of Clifton Pastures and Thrumpton.

Occurrences 2008 - 2013

The most recent records are of a male present for one day only in fields S/W of Barton-in-Fabis on the 1st November 2008.

A female that was present on Clifton Pastures from 2nd November 2008 to 12th March 2009.

Female in the Barton-in-Fabis area, on the 1st January 2009 and 7th February 2009. 

On 20th February 2010 a male bird was seen on Barton Lane/Gotham Road Junc perched on a road sign before it flew off in the direction of the Drift.

The same bird or another male was then seen again from Clifton Pastures on the 28th February 2010 (J.Christmas).

Adult male hunting skylark on the Drift 27t October 2011 [J.Christmas]

Imm/fist winter male in hedgerow at Thrumpton 6th November 2011

Imm/female on the Drift 11th October 2011.

Imm/female over fields at Thrumpton 13th November 2011.

imm/female chasing Skylark over fields near Thrumpton 5th December 2011.

Male, hunting Skylark in the large field at Thrumpton 20th December 2011.

Male sat out on fence post between Barton/Thrumpton - 21st March 2012

Male in pursuit of Skylark over the large field at Thrumpton - 24th March 2012

Juv/female Barton-in-Fabis - 27th September 2012

Imm/female hunting Skylark Thrumpton - 20th October 2012.

female over Barton Lane - 20th January 2013

A male was seen perched up in trees near the river at Thrumpton - 17th & 23rd February 2013

image of Merlin Female Clifton Pastures - January 2009 image of Merlin Male Thrumpton - 6th November 2011

Hobby Falco subbuteo

A regular summer visitor and rare breeder

Arrival Dates 2002 - 2010

2002; 4th May. 2003; 12th May. 2004; 2nd May. 2005; 7th May. 2006; 27th May. 2007; 30th April. 2008; 16th May. 2009; 26th April. 2010; 18th April

Fairly regular sightings from May to mid September, but August is by far the best month to see this species here, with Juveniles as well as adults present throughout the month. The latest record of Hobby here is of a Juvenile seen over Branshill Wood on the 3rd October 2006. The best area's to find this species is the Branshill Wood/Ponds area and Holme Pit where they can be watched hawking dragonflies.

image of Hobby One of five adults present over Branshill Wood - September 2014

Peregrine Falcon Falcon peregrinus

Regular visitor: Peregrine sightings vary from year to year but are getting more regular. Recent sightings are of an adult seen throughout the winter of 2008/09 on Clifton Pastures and Barton-in-Fabis. In August 2008 a Juvenile was present throughout the month around Branshill Wood and an adult was also seen in the same area throughout August 2008. Pairs have successfully nested at the Ratcliff on Soar Power Station for many years, on a nesting platform erected at the top of one of the cooling towers. This is viewable from the Park Way car park next to the power station complex.

  image of Peregrine Juvenile Branshill Wood - August 2008 image of Peregrine Adult Clifton Pastures - 3rd January 2010        

Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio

Very rare passage migrant: Only a single record of a first summer female found on fence posts near the riverside chalet at Barton-in-Fabis on the 27th May 2010. It was present from 5.30pm until dusk when it was seen to go to roost in the hedgerow. Seen by twenty or so local birders after I quickly put the news out, but it couldn't be relocated the following morning despite many birders searching the area.

Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor

Very rare winter visitor: Only an old record of a bird present Attenborough/Barton-in-Fabis from October 3rd - December 31st 1978, and again from January 4th - March 3rd 1979.

Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus

Very rare passage migrant: Just a single record of this very rare passage migrant. The unmistakable fluty notes of a singing male were heard in the early morning at Clifton Grove on June 27th 1998

Jay Garrulus glandarius

Common Resident: in all the areas woodlands but birds are more often heard than seen. A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of thirteen birds throughout the area on a early spring visit and eleven on a late summer visit. 

Magpie Pica pica

Common resident: throughout the area with the highest counts seen in the winter months. The largest single count is fifty-two birds on the edge of Clifton Grove in December 2007.   A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of eighty-five birds throughout the area on an early spring visit and one hundred sixteen on a late summer visit.

Jackdaw Coloeus monedula

Common resident: throughout the area with small numbers nesting in the same tree holes in the Grove and Clifton Wood year after year. Large numbers of Jackdaw can be seen in the Barton-in-Fabis and Clifton Pastures areas from October to March with counts of 1600 birds not uncommon.  A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of eighty-one birds throughout the area on an early spring visit and sixty-three on a late summer visit.

Rook Corvus frugilegus

Common visitor: in the winter months when large numbers can be seen feeding on fields with other corvids. Only small numbers recorded breeding here, as there are no large Rookeries within the area.  

Carrion Crow Corvus corone

Common resident: Breeds in a number of locations throughout the area.  A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of hundred thirty five birds throughout the area on a early spring visit and hundred eighty six on a late summer visit.

Hooded Crow Corvus cornix

Rare visitor: On April 3rd 1989, S.Browne and C.Mills found a Hooded Crow on the Attenborough Nature Reserve, It was seen to fly in from the large field behind Barton Island, Barton in Fabis.

Raven Corvus corax

Scarce but increasing visitor: The first record was of a single bird seen over the Ratcliff -on- Soar power station on the 6th May 2005.

Two birds were seen mobbing a Peregrine Falcon peregrinus over Branshill Wood on the 2nd August 2008 

Two birds over Branshill Wood on the 17th August 2011 [ P.Buxton & S.Roberts ]

Two birds feeding on carrion just off the Gotham Road on the 1st September 2011

Two Ravenwere found over Branshill Wood late afternoon 25th September 2011 

A single bird was found feeding on a dead Sheep near Barton Flash 5th January 2012.

Single bird over Gotham Hills - 23rd May 2012.

Single bird over Gotham Wood - 28th July 2012.

Single bird feeding in fields with other Corvids till dusk when it flew off towards Ruddington Moor - 11th October 2012.

Single bird over Branshill Wood  and a second sighting of probably the same bird over Gotham Wood - 11th November 2012.

Single bird calling from over Branshill Wood - 7th May 2013.

Displaying pair over Branshill Wood - 11th May 2013.

Single bird over Branshill - 26th May 2013.

Bohemian Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus

Scarce Irregular winter visitor: A group of twenty two birds were found feeding on rowan berries on Greencroft Clifton on the 2nd April 2005, with five birds were still present on the 10th April.

A small flock of twelve birds were present in the grounds of the South Nott's University feeding on a small Rowan tree outside the Darwin building from the 15th - 17th January 2009.

Six birds were found feeding on a small Rowan tree in Morrisons car park Clifton 24th October 2010

12 birds were feeding on berries on Green Lane Clifton 28th November 2010.

Two small groups of twenty and twenty two birds were found on Southchurch Drive Clifton, and roosing in trees outside the University south entrance 6th December 2010

A single bird was on church street Thrumpton 12th December 2010.

A flock of twenty birds were feeding on berries in a private garden in Gotham village 23rd December 2010.

Two birds were seen flying into private gardens in Clifton village 25th December 2010.

A flock of fifty-five birds were found in trees on Southchurch Drive Clifton 1st January 2011

A flock of c20 birds were seen flying out of the Clifton estate on the 26th March 2011.

A small flock of up to Nine Waxwing in trees within the Nottingham Trent University campus - 6th/7th and 8th November 2012.

A flock of c40 flew over Southchurch Drive, Clifton - 19th November 2012.

14 in trees within the Nottingham Trent University - 24th November 2012.

c40 feeding on Rowan trees near the Darwin Building within the Nottingham Trent University - 25th November 2012.

Coal Tit Periparus ater

Common resident: Small numbers in suitable woodland areas.

Marsh Tit Poecile palustris

Scarce resident: This once fairly common resident species has become very scarce within the area. Several records of single birds throughout 2010 suggests that this species is just about holding on in the area.

Willow Tit Poecile montanus

Scarce resident: This once fairly common species has shown a huge decline in recent years, with no recent sightings.

Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus

Very common breeding species throughout the area:  A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of ninety five birds throughout the area on a early spring visit and eighty seven on a late summer visit.

Great Tit Parus major

Very common species throughout the area: A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of fifty three birds throughout the area on a early spring visit and fifty seven on a late summer visit.

Woodlark Lullula arborea

Very rare passage migrant: The first record of Woodlark here was found on the 27th February 2010. The approaching bird was first picked up by its very distinctive 'fluty' call of which I immediately recognised as woodlark. As it passed overhead the short tail and short rounded wings and general Jizz were confirmation of Woodlark. It was only in view for a few minutes, as it flew straight through along the flood-bank towards Barton-in-Fabis were it was lost as it disappeared from view.

A second bird was reported from the Riverside Fields Barton-in-Fabis 2nd January 2011.

Skylark Alauda arvensis

Common resident and passage migrant: The area still holds a healthy breeding population with pairs occupying most suitable habitats within the area. In the winter months large numbers have being recorded on Clifton Pastures. A massive flock of over 1000 birds were recorded on the 7th February 2009 with 500 birds still present in this area for at least a week feeding in fields near Fairham Brook.

Sand Martin Riparia riparia

Arrival Dates 2002 - 2010

2002 17th March / 2003 25th March / 2004 20th March / 2005 20th March / 2006 31st March / 2007 25th March / 2008 16th March / 2009 16th March / 2010 18th March / 2011 12th March

Common summer visitor: Generally arriving mid March with numbers increasing into April. Birds have bread in the area with small nesting colonies in suitable riverbank locations. 

Swallow Hirundo rustica

Arrival Dates 2002 - 2010

2002 17th March / 2003 19th April / 2004 20th March / 2005 31st March / 2006 31st March / 2007 9th April / 2008 31st March / 2009 29th March / 2010 27th March /2011 13th March

Common summer visitor: Regularly seen during the summer months with birds starting to arrival by mid March. Breeding pairs nest in any available outbuildings and any other suitable locations within the area. Post-breeding flocks begin to build up from August, and southerly passage generally begins in September.

House Martin Delichon urbica

Arrival Dates 2002 - 2010

2002 7th April / 2003 19th April / 2004 27th March / 2005 9th April / 2006 10th April / 2007 15th April / 2008 5th April / 2009 10th April / 2010 2nd April

Common summer visitor: Generally arrives mid to late March with numbers increasing by April. Breeds in most residential location in the area but numbers seem reduced in recent years. 

Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica

A very rare vagrant to the area with one record: Originally found feeding over the river on the afternoon 26th April 2013. News got out late but luckily I managed to get onto it within a large group of Hirundines high above the river, between the derelict chalet and Cottages Flash. It was only in view for around a few minutes before it drifted off over the river. This was an exceptional find by S.Aitken.

Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti

Scarce but increasing visitor: On the 27th November 2007 I was looking for Bittern on Holme Pit when I heard a  Cetti's Warbler calling from the reed-bed in the far left corner of the pit. As usual with this species it proved very elusive and wasn't seen despite searching the area until dusk. On a return visit on the afternoon of the 28th the Cetti's was once again heard calling from the same area at 3.30pm. It was located calling from the bottom of a Hawthorn Bush near one of the fishing platforms where it stayed in view for about five minutes before disappearing into the reed-bed. It wasn't seen or heard again until the 9th December when it was very vocal for long periods but staying very elusive showing only occasionally from 1.00pm - 2.00pm.

Two birds, seen and heard on several occasions from Holme Pit in November 2008.

A Singing male was present on Holme Pit from the 31st March - 24th May 2012 and was seen with a second bird on the 7th April 2012

Singing male from willows on the river bend Clifton Grove - 4th April 2012

Singing male on Barton Island - 7th/9th April 2012

Vocal bird calling from from Barton Island 23rd January 2013

Calling from Barton Island - 18th March 2013

Singing male on Barton Island - 14th April 2013

Singing male on Barton Island - 18th May 2013

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus

A very common resident: throughout the area with mobile flocks very noticeable in the winter months.

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus

Fairly common summer visitor: although it has shown a slight decline in recent years.

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita

Abundant summer visitor with numerous records from March to September. Several records of over-wintering birds that were all seen in with mobile Tit flocks.

Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix

Rare passage migrant and rare summer visitor: Only one recent record of this now very rare summer visitor of an adult male singing in Clifton Wood on the 30th May 2004

Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

Common summer visitor: Breeds in good numbers in the reed beds at Holme Pit and in any suitable habitat by the side of the river.

Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus

Scarce summer visitor: Breeds in reasonable numbers in the Holme Pit reedbed. Has also been heard occasionally on the small pond east of Barton-in-Fabis, the Yellow Gate Pond and the wet area in front of the Rough Wood. 

Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia

Scarce summer visitor

A very scarce summer visitor here with only small numbers recorded prior to April 2009, when there was an influx of singing males in brambles on Branshill Moor facing the Rough Wood in the second week of April, with two birds present on the 13th April peaking to five on the 14th April. Males were still singing in the middle of May so it is very likely that several pair’s bread in this area.

On the 5th September 2009 a single individual was seen moving along the hedgerow between the Rough Wood and Branshill Wood, this record constitutes as the only autumn record.   

image of Grasshopper Warbler The Rough Wood Hedgerow - 5th September 2009

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla

Common summer visitor: numerous records from April to September. Several recent records of over wintering birds.

Garden Warbler Sylvia borin

Scarce summer visitor: with birds more often heard singing than seen. The autumn passage can produce larger numbers as birds migrate through the area.

Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca

Scarce summer visitor: Only a few sightings most years, with number fluctuating annually. The autumn passage always produces the best chance of seeing this species, probably breeds in small numbers.  image of Lesser Whitethroat Rough Wood - September 2009

Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis

Common summer visitor: with birds recorded from most locations throughout the area from April to September.

Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla

Rare visitor: Only a single record of a bird present in a Clifton garden on the 12th March 1998.

Goldcrest Regulus regulus

Common resident; More abundant in the winter months where birds can be seen foraging with mobile Tit flocks. Autumn can occasionally produce double figure counts as birds arrive from Europe. Breeds in small numbers in the woodland areas.

Wren Troglodytes troglodytes

Very common resident: A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of sixty one birds throughout the area on a early spring visit and sixty five on a late summer visit. This species was less abundant in the winter of 2007 with thirty one recorded on an early visit and only twenty three on a late visit.

Nuthatch Sitta europaea

Common resident: near the church car-park in Clifton Village where birds can be heard calling or seen high in the trees on most visits.

Elsewhere in the areas woodlands it is less abundant but still fairly common. A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of fourteen birds throughout the area on a early spring visit and nine on a late summer visit.

Treecreeper Certhia familiaris

Fairly common resident: throughout the Grove, Clifton Wood and Branshill Wood, with proved breeding at all three sites.

Starling Sturnus vulgaris

Common Resident: throughout, with numbers building in June when there are lots of Juveniles birds. In the winter months large numbers of birds flock together prior to dusk to roost in favored areas, but in recent years only smaller pre roost flocks have been seen. On the 4th July 2000 a leucistic individual was seen amongst a flock of Juvenile's in my garden in Clifton. It was seen on several occasions throughout July and was last seen on the 27th July 2000.

Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus

Annual passage migrant: Two male birds present in the field opposite the Rough Wood on the morning of the 20th April 2008. Both birds were watched at distance for over an hour before they both flew over my head towards Branshill. 

On the 20th April 2010 three males and a single female were found feeding on Branshill and Branshill Moor on the exact same date and location as the first record. All four birds could be very elusive when feeding on the ground but with persistence showed very. All four birds were present until the 27th April, but went missing on two of the days between the 20th-27th. It was reported on several bird information services that five birds were present on several dates between the 20th-27th, but I only ever saw a maximum of four individuals.

A female was found on the 15th April 2011 feeding on Ivy berries on the edge of the Rough Wood, before flying off over Branshill.

A male was seen on fence posts and trees on Branshill Moor/Branshill on the 22nd April 2011 [LC.Archibald/K Archibald].

Female present on Branshill and the Rough Wood hedgerow - April 10th/11th 2012

Two male and a female found on Branshill on the 17th April 2012, with one of the male's present on Branshill until the 24th April 2012

Blackbird Turdus merula

Common resident: throughout the area with numbers increasing slightly with the arrival of winter thrushes during the Autumn.  A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of sixty-six birds throughout the area on a early spring visit and eighty seven on a late summer visit.

Fieldfare Turdus pilaris

Common winter visitor: throughout the area with the first birds arriving in the first weeks of October. 

Redwing Turdus iliacus

Common winter visitor: with arrivals returning from the second week of October.

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

Common resident: Despite the national decline of this species Song Thrush seems to be doing well here with a recent breeding bird survey producing good numbers. A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of forty-four birds throughout the area on a early spring visit and fifty two on a late summer visit.

Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus

Resident: A recent breeding bird survey produced very small numbers of Mistle Thrush throughout the breeding season with only six birds found in a early spring visit and only five on a late summer visit. 

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata

Scarce Summer Visitor/Passage Migrant: This once common species is now almost a rarity to the area. With just one recent spring record in 2012, all records here are of autumn birds passing through the area.

A single bird in Branshill Wood on the 8th September 2006.

Two on the 11th September 2008 by the ponds in front of Branshill Wood.

Five birds on the edge of the Rough Wood on the 14th September 2008.

A single bird on the edge of the Rough Wood and Branshill Wood on the 28th August 2009.

Single bird on the edge of the Rough Wood 5th September 2009.

Two in the horse paddocks in Barton-in-Fabis village 5th September 2009.

Two birds on the edge of the Rough Wood 5th September 2010.

Two Birds in trees behind Clifton Hall 5th September 2010.

A single bird found in the Rough Wood 27th August 2011.

Three birds were found feeding around Branshill after a heavy rainstorm on the 4th September 2011.

A single bird was present in the Rough Wood area on the 18th September 2011.

Three birds were in the Rough Wood Hedgerow 20th September 2011. 

The first spring Spotted Flycatcher since recording began was present near Clifton Bridge on the 12th May 2012.

Single bird in horse paddocks on New Road, Barton-in-Fabis is the earlist autumn record to date- 11th August 2012

Four birds found feeding around the Rough Wood hedgerow on the 2nd September 2012.

Single bird on the edge of the Rough Wood - 3rd September 2012.

2 birds present on the edge of the Rough Wood and a third in a large Oak in the Grove on the 8th September 2012.

image of Spotted Flycatcher The Rough Wood - September 14th 2008.

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Very common resident: A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of fifty seven birds throughout the area on a early spring visit and seventy four on a late summer visit.

Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos

Very rare summer visitor/passage migrant; Only a single record from the from Fairham Brook, that was seen and heard singing on at least three occasions from the 23rd June to the 5th July 2000.

Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros

Rare visitor/passage migrant: An adult male was present at the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station for one day only on the 26th June 1997.

Two first winter males were found at the Lark Hill Retirement Village Clifton, on the 27th November 2009. Both birds were seen feeding together on the same rooftop. The last confirmed sighting was on the 27th December 2009.

On the 19th March 2011 a female/1w male was seen on rooftops of the Clifton Estate from my back garden!

image of Black Redstart Clifton - 13th December 2009. 

Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus

Scarce passage migrant: A moulting male found by D.Kirman was recorded from Gotham Moor on the 6th August 2006.

An adult female was seen in the Rough Wood in the evening of the 9th September 2009. It was only seen briefly before it flew into cover and was lost from view, and couldn't be relocated.

On the 20th April 2010 two adult males were found on Branshill Moor just behind the hedgerow near the Rough Wood. One bird showed very well briefly perched out in the open, but both birds were generally elusive disappearing for long periods into the hedgerow.

A moulting male was found in the hedgerow near to the entrance to Branshill Wood  on the 12th September 2010 and was still present on the following morning.

A moulting male was seen in the Roughwood/Branshill location on the 3rd/4th September 2011

A single female was present on the edge of the Rough Wood on the 22nd April 2012.

A first winter male Common Redstart was found in the small hawthorn bush's near the vehicle access gate to Holme Pit, along Foxcovet Lane - 15th September 2012.

A adult male was found along the Rough Wood hedgerow/Rough Wood - 21st April 2013. 

Branshill Moor - 20th April 2010

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra

Scarce passage migrant: This once fairly common summer visitor is now a scarce but annual passage migrant. The set-aside areas in front of Branshill Wood have been the favoured locations to see this species in the last few years.

The 5th September 2006 was an exceptional date with a passage of seven birds present in the set-aside in front of Branshill Wood in the evening.

The most recent records are of a single female in the set-aside facing Branshill Wood on the 11th/12th October 2008.

A single female in the rough field facing the Rough Wood on the 2nd May 2009.

A 1st winter male on fence post near the flood-bank behind Barton-in-Fabis on the evening of the 9th September 2009.

Three males were found in the area in spring 2010 with one on Gotham Moor on the 1st May.

A male on the 5th/6th May 2010 near the riverside chalet Barto-in-Fabis.

A male on fence posts near the Yellow Gate on the 16th May 2010.

Autumn 2010 was an exceptional season with a staggering fifteen birds found in the area.

Autumn 2011 was another good season with eight different birds present between 27th August and 18th September 2011.

A single female was present along Foxcovet Lane on the 7th May 2012.

Five different Whinchats were present between Branshill and Barton-in-Fabis from the 28th - 29th August 2012. 

An adult male was on the Riverside fields at Barton-in-Fabis - 21st April 2013.

Two females were on fence post's halfway up Branshill on the - 25th April 2013.

Two males in the hedgerow bordering the riverside fields, Barton-in-Fabis - 28th April 2013. 

image of Whinchat Female near the Rough Wood - 2nd May 2009

Stonechat Saxicola torquata

Scarce winter visitor: This once annual winter visitor to the area has now declined possibly due to three very cold winters in 2010/2011 and 2012. 

The only recent sightings are of a single male feeding along the floodbank off Manor Road, Barton-in-Fabis on the 7th January 2012 and a single male on the 24th September 2012.

image of Stonechat    Branshll Moor - January 2008

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe oenanthe

A regular passage migrant to the area with over 250 individuals recorded since 2002. The majority of these records have occurred during the spring, with the earliest spring arrival date recorded on the 13th March 2002. Surprisingly only 8 of these records have came from autumn with the latest autumn record recorded on the 20th October 2007.

There has also been a very remarkable summer record of 2 Juveniles seen in the location of Beeston Weir on the 28th June 2008.

The highest fall recorded in the area was a count of 47 individuals on the 27th April 2012 with birds present between Beeston Weir and Barton-in-Fabis.

   image of Wheatear Juvenile, Beeston Weir - 28th June 2008.

Greenland Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe leucorhoa

Very scarce passage migrant: Only seven individuals of the race Leucorhoa have been recorded in the area but has possibly been overlooked.

A female bird present in the Beeston Weir area on the evening of the 26th April 2006 was thought to be of this race.

On the 8th May 2010 a very bright male and two females were found on fence posts on Foxcovet Lane between the Yellow Gate and Beeston Weir.

Another paler male was found in the same location on the 9th May and was  present until the 11th May 2010.

A female was present on fence posts on Foxcovet Lane between the Weir and the Yellow Gate on the 6th October 2011.

A single male was present on Branshill Moor on the 21st May 2012.

An adult male was present on the Riverside fields, Barton-in-Fabis 11th/18th May 2013 

Dipper Cinclus cinclus gularis

Very rare visitor: Only a single record from the Fairham Brook on the 3rd February 2003. 

House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Common Resident: Despite the national decline of this species it is still a fairly common resident around the Clifton estate and other Urban locations within the area. 

Tree Sparrow Passer montanus

Scarce Resident: Tree Sparrow is one of the areas scarcest residents with numbers rarely reaching over twenty birds. Favoured locations are the area of hedgerows near Barton Island, and the area near the Yellow Gate. In October 2006 I placed a number of nest-boxes in suitable locations to try and tempt pairs to breed. Success was achieved in the first season with five nest-boxes occupied. Since 2006 pairs have bread every year with several pairs having second broods. I am now thinking of adding more nest-boxes to the area.  

image of Tree Sparrow

Dunnock Prunella modularis

Very common resident: A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of forty birds throughout the area on a early spring visit and twenty eight on a late summer visit. 

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava flavissima

Arrival Dates 2002 - 2010

2002 20th April / 2003 19th April / 2004 14th April / 2005 9th April / 2006 19th April / 2007 22nd April / 2008 17th April / 2009 11th April / 2010 10th April

Scarce summer visitor/Passage migrant: Generally recorded as a passage migrant with large numbers recorded passing through the area from the last week of August. Small numbers of breeding pairs are usually in evidence in the first weeks of May. Has been known to breed in good numbers on Clifton Pastures/Gotham Moor and on any other suitable cereal field within the area.

Autumn 2011 was an exceptional season for passage Yellow Wagtail through the area with an estimated 250 birds through between 27th August and the 1st October.

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea

Scarce Resident: Only a few records each year with most sightings coming from the area near Beeston Weir, one pair has probably bread in this location as newly fledged Juvenile birds have been seen here in the last few years. On the 10th August 2009 two adults and five Juveniles were seen feeding on the steps of the weir, confirming that breeding had taken place on the weir. 

Blue-Headed Wagtail Motacilla flava

Rare passage migrant: An adult male bird was seen in the ploughed field facing Branshill Wood on the 23rd/24th April 2006. 

A female wagtail seen on the riverside fields Barton-in-Fabis on the morning of the 24th April 2011 is thought to be of this race.

Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba yarrelli

Common Resident: throughout the year with numbers peaking in the winter months, where large numbers can be seen feeding together in various fields.

White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba

Arrival Dates 2002 - 2010

2002 28th April / 2003 no records / 2004 11th April / 2005 6th May / 2006 8th April / 2007 9th April / 2008 19th April / 2009 8th April / 2010 24th March

Annual passage migrant: Most years produce small numbers, with birds usually arriving in the second two weeks of April. Numbers fluctuate from year to year with the largest number recorded in the area been eleven birds feeding together on a newly ploughed field facing Branshill Wood on the19th April 2006.

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis

Scarce resident/common passage migrant: Small numbers are present throughout the year in suitable habitat with male birds heard singing and displaying from March to April. This species is more numerous as a passage migrant with large numbers moving through the area in recent years.

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis

Scarce passage migrant: A singing male was found singing from willows near Branshill Wood on the 23rd April 2007.

A calling bird flew high over Clifton Woods on the 27th August 2011 [C.Southhall]

On the 28th August 2011 another Tree Pipit was found in hawthorns on the edge of the Rough Wood [LC.Archibald, K.Archibald].

Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta

Very Rare visitor with only three records

On the 2nd December 2012, 2 Water Pipit were found whilst scanning through a large number of c350 Meadow Pipit that were feeding on the edge of a flooded field at Thrumpton, at a distance of around 1000 metres.

Although I got great views through the scope, It was impossible to get to within any suitable distance to photograph the birds, as there was a massive area of flood water between me and where they were feeding. Both birds were very weakly streaked on the underparts with streaking mainly confined to the breast, giving the birds a clean white belly appearance. Upperparts were generally grey with little if any streaking. A strong white Supercilium was also a very obvious feature on both birds; leg colour was seen to be dark compared to the pale orangey legs of the Meadow Pipits.

Both Pipits showed very well although at distance for over an hour, before flying off high towards the river with the Meadow Pipit flock.

The second record of Water Pipit was found on the 23rd March 2013, feeding at distance within a large flock of Meadow Pipit. Again this species was found on the same large field as the first record, off Barton Lane Thrumpton.

On the 24th March 2013 A.Brittern & M.Tring found the areas third record of a single bird feeding briefly with Meadow Pipit near Branshill Ponds. It is very likely that this was the same bird as the Thrumpton individual, although a new bird is always a possibility.

Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus petrosus

Rare Visitor: A very well marked bird seen feeding in fields near the Landing Stage whilst looking for wheatears on the 15th April 2008, is the only record here.

Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

Very common resident: A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of sixty six birds throughout the area on a early spring visit and ninety five on a late summer visit.

Brambling Fringilla montifringilla

Scarce Passage Migrant/winter visitor

Three birds present in the Alder Plantation, at the rear of Clifton Wood throughout January/February 2008.

Two birds were seen with Chaffinch Carduelis chloris feeding in fields near the Clifton Estate on Clifton Pastures January 2009.

Single male in the hedgerow by the old riverside Chalet Barton-in-Fabis 14th November 2010

Two to three birds high in the tree tops of the Rough Wood from the 15th-16th April 2011.

A single bird was noted in a private garden at Clifton Grove 21st January 2012.

Four birds found feeding high in beech trees in the Thrumpton Hall estate - 20th October 2012.

A small group of 4 or 5 calling Brambling flew over the Alder Plantation with a mixed finch flock - 10th November 2012.

Two flew over the Alder Plantation towards the Rough Wood - 18th November 2012.

A male Brambling was found in the willows on the river bend Clifton Grove - 22nd November 2012

Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes

Very rare: with just two records of two small flocks both from Clifton Wood. The first record was of three birds seen in the Alder Plantation at the rear of Clifton Wood 1.00pm on the 23rd December 2005. All three birds stayed in the area for around an hour before they flew off high towards Clifton Grove. The second record was again from the Alder Plantation on the 12th March 2006 and involved a small flock of four birds. Again they stayed in the area for around an hour before they flew off in the direction of ANR.

image of Hawfinch The Alder Plantation - 23rd December 2005

Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula

Resident: Small numbers can be seen on most visits and are always seem to be seen in pairs. Good numbers of Juvenile birds were seen in September 2008 feeding on black berries proving that this bird is successfully breeding here. The best sites to see this species is along the hedgerow between Clifton Wood and Branshill Wood, another favored area is the hedgerow along the footpath in the Alder Plantation. A breeding bird survey in 2008 found only fifteen birds throughout the area on a early spring visit and thirteen on a late summer visit.

Greenfinch Carduelis chloris

Very common resident: A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of forty nine birds throughout the area on a early spring visit and hundred eighteen on a late summer visit.

Twite Carduelis flavirostris

Rare winter visitor/passage migrant: A single bird was observed at close range feeding on millet with a flock of sixty Linnet Carduelis cannabina on the edge of a set-aside behind Barton Flash at 10.30am on the 3rd February 2007. 

Linnet Carduelis cannabina

Fairly common resident: A fairly common breeding species throughout the area in suitable locations. Large numbers can be seen feeding together in flocks during the winter months with one hundred birds not uncommon. Favoured areas are Clifton Pasture and any set-aside in the area. A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of twenty-four birds throughout the area on a early spring visit and eighty two on a late summer visit.

Mealy Redpoll Acanthis flammea

Very rare visitor: A single Mealy Redpoll was found with a larger flock of Lesser Redpoll in fields in Thrumpton on the 18th December 2011. It was watch at very close range before it flew off towards the river and was lost from view.

image of Mealy Redpoll Thrumpton - December 2011  

Lesser Redpoll Acanthis cabaret

Scarce Resident/Winter visitor: Very scarce winter visitor with only records been of small groups of birds feeding on alders with Siskin Carduelis spinus. Themain locations to see this species is in the Alder Plantation and Clifton Wood where it can be found feeding on alder trees usually with Siskin Carduelis spinus.. A single bird seen feeding on seed heads in April 2009 is the only spring record. 


Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra

A very rare visitor: A Common Crossbill was heard calling as it flew pretty low over the Rough Wood heading towards Barton-in-Fabis at 11.00am on the 4th June 2012. [C.Southall & I.Blackmore] first site record.

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

Very common resident: A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of fifty birds throughout the area on a early spring visit and eight six on a late summer visit.

 Siskin Carduelis spinus

Scarce winter visitor: Siskin numbers fluctuate yearly with some winters holding flocks of up to a hundred birds in the area, but in recent years numbers have been poor with less than twenty seen all winter. The best site to see this species is either the Alder Plantation at the rear of Clifton Wood or the small group of alder trees at the end of Clifton Wood near Fox Covet Lane. 

Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra

Rare resident: The Corn Bunting is probably the most Threatened species throughout the area. The small breeding population is now threatened with various construction projects that will cut right through their favoured breeding sites, and will almost certainly push this species to the brink of extinction in the area. Having been red-listed in all three "Birds of Conservation Concern" reviews, this farmland species continues to be an urgent conservation priority.

image of Corn Bunting Clifton Pastures – June 2006

Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella

Scarce resident:  Found In suitable locations such as Clifton Pastures and Branshill Moor. Birds do flock in the winter months with double figure counts not uncommon.  A breeding bird survey in 2008 found a total of twenty-two birds throughout the area on an early spring visit and fifty-eight on a late summer visit.

Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniculus

Scarce resident / breeding species: A breeding bird survey in 2008 found only ten birds throughout the area on a early spring visit and twenty four on a late summer visit.

Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis

Very rare: with only one record Only a single record of a female seen feeding on the  Weir Field on the 20th November 2005. It was watched at close range before it flew off in the direction of Attenborough.