The Birds of Rushcliffe

Raptors

Honey-buzzard This scarce species has bred with mixed success in the Dukeries area of Nottinghamshire for many years and migrating birds inevitably pass through Rushcliffe but are only rarely witnessed. There were 2 over Holme Pierrepont on June 2nd 2002 and likewise, two over Rushcliffe CP (Ruddington) on 21/9/2000.

Red Kite Prior to the reintroduction of this species to England and Scotland, very few Red Kites were seen and one at East Leake in April 1981 had been poisoned with alphachloralose. This exemplifies the irrational and obsessive nature of gamekeeping especially at that time. Thankfully they are seen more frequently in the area now though with little predictability. One at East Leake - Bunny - Costock in 2009 was fairly obliging. One at Keyworth, March 2013. and one at Gotham, August 2013

White-tailed Eagle One was shot in November 1916 at Cropwell Butler. This was the fate of most unusual raptors at that time.

Marsh Harrier This species is becoming more frequent in Notts and bred in the county for the first time in recorded history. No breeding habitat exists in Rushcliffe but passage birds are seen with Ruddington - Gotham Moor, Holme Pierrepont, Shelford and, in April 2013, Thrumpton, having hosted this magnificent bird.

Hen Harrier Heavily persecuted on its grouse-moor breeding grounds, this species is getting scarcer but is still seen annually somewhere in the county with the flat lands of the Vale of Belvoir and Ruddington - Gotham Moors being favoured.

Montagu's Harrier One was at Holme Pierrepont on 24/6/2006

Goshawk A sporadic breeder in the county and another persecuted species. Needs good views to differentiate from much commoner Sparrowhawk but there was one at Cotgrave in April 2010.

Male Sparrowhawk
Male Sparrowhawk

Sparrowhawk Following its virtual disappearance in the 1950's and 60's due to poisoning, now very common throughout Rushcliffe. A frequent garden visitor.

Common Buzzard Dramatically increased in the Midlands since the 1980's and now the most frequently seen bird of prey in Rushcliffe. It breeds in almost all suitable woods and it soars and glides in twos and threes on sunny days throughout the Borough.

Rough-legged Buzzard A much scarcer winter visitor. One was picked up at Clifton (possibly in the City?) on 18/2/1975 which died later.

Osprey With an outside chance of being seen anywhere on migration, especially in April, areas of open water are more likely to host thei attentions for a while. In 2010 one was at Holme Pierrepont on 3rd May and another was at Flintham on 13th July.

Common Kestrel A common sight along our hedgerows throughout the Borough.

Red-footed Falcon Just one record of this scarce visitor to the UK. This was at Colwick "and area" from May 31st to June 6th 1973. I presume it made it across the river into Rushcliffe during this time.

Merlin A small, fast, low-flying falcon of open country in winter, rarely giving prolonged views. Clifton Pastures and Barton in Fabis produce sightings but beware of low, fast-flying male Sparrowhawks!

Hobby A summer visitor that is now more frequent than it used to be. Breeds in small numbers in Rushcliffe. Over the main pit at the side of the A52, there were aggregations of up to 17 on 16th May 2010. The species takes hirundines, Swifts and dragonflies.

Peregrine Falcon Increasingly common but still persecuted and many breeding reports are suppressed as a consequence. Famously breeds on City buildings but not at all uncommon in the Borough.