The Birds of Rushcliffe

Flycatchers, Tits, Crows, Finches and Buntings

Spotted Flycatcher Dramatically declined in numbers since the 1980s when it could be found in many open glades in woods and orchards.

Pied Flycatcher This is a very scarce migrant through Nottinghamshire, stopping off briefly in mature woodland (and occasionally breeding) but in Rushcliffe the woods are far from ideal and very few are found.

Bearded Tit Holme Pierrepont reed beds sometimes host this beauty. The record number of 14 were there on 2nd October 1977 but there are some years when none are found in the county at all.

Long-tailed Tit Never on their own it seems. Common and widespread and always roaming through woods and lightly wooded areas including gardens.

Blue Tit Common and widespread

Great Tit
Great Tit

Great Tit Common and widespread

Coal Tit Common where there are conifers and an occasional garden visitor.

Willow Tit 'In some parts of the country this species has declined dramatically but in Rushcliffe it is still quite easy to find especially in marshy areas.' That's what I wrote in 2012 when I launched this website but now in 2015 they are effectively extinct in Rushcliffe.

Marsh Tit Fewer than there used to be but present in Cotgrave Forest for example.

Nuthatch Restricted to the more mature woodlands such as Old Wood but there aren't many in Rushcliffe.

Treecreeper Quite widespread and happy to use the smaller younger woodland and open countryside.

Golden Oriole A very rare migrant to Nottinghamshire though Rushcliffe has had its fair share. There was a pair near East Leake in 1917, but the rest were single males which draw attention with their lovely song. One at Holme Pierrepont on 25th May 1992 and one at Clifton Grove on 27th June 1998.

Red-backed Shrike Once a regular breeding bird in England but never common in Notts, there have been no recent records.

Great Grey Shrike Occasional birds used to be found at Holme Pierrepont until about 1990 but these have now dried up, however there are some suitable locations that aren't watched regularly so the occasional visitor may escape notice.

Jay Not particularly common in Rushcliffe and, apart from their noisy call, quite secretive but their autumn excursions to collect acorns in the open countryside brings them to attention.


Magpie Much more numerous and bold than they once were and suspected of many wildlife misdemeanours.


Jackdaw Common and widespread.

Rook Common and widespread.

Carrion Crow Common and widespread.

Hooded Crow During the 20th century this species, which used to winter here in some numbers, became a true rarity and there have been none in recent years.

Raven Since the 1980s this species has become increasingly present in Rushcliffe and a pair bred at Stanford in 2013 - the first time in recent history that the species has bred in Notts.


Starling Not as common as they were in my childhood when pre-roost murmurations were a wonderful sight and flocks of thirty or more came for scraps on the lawn.

Rosy Starling One was at Wilford in March 1947 but this is a great rarity from eastern Europe. Amazingly one appeared in the Cotgrave garden of a keen NBW member in 2015

House Sparrow Still very common in Rushcliffe with no sign of the declines noted elsewhere. A resident flock of 30 or so have used my garden for years.

Tree Sparrow As with all the seed-eating farmland birds, this species has declined in numbers with the switch to winter cereals and the big winter flocks (of mixed species) are no more. However Tree Sparrows are still present quite widely and benefiting from the agricultural incentives.

Chaffinch Common and widespread, but as with many species, in smaller numbers than formerly.

Brambling Few and far between. Sometimes seen among other finch flocks especially where seed crops are grown for Pheasants. They are much more numerous in central Notts.

Greenfinch Common and widespread. Look out for their spring flights and listen for their wheezy song if you doubt this. They do seem less frequent at garden feeders though.


Goldfinch Common and becoming more common - perhaps as a result of the niger seed being provided in many gardens. A pair nested in my Scots Pine in 2012.

Siskin Occasional garden visitors but otherwise most likely foraging through the Alders at Holme Pierepont. It has increased as a winter visitor and bred in central Notts.

Linnet Reasonably widespread in small numbers throughout.

Twite Very few birds are occasionally seen in the Trent Valley and Holme Pierrepont has had a few but the species is becoming rarer still.

Lesser Redpoll Was present during the summer at Holme Pierrepont in the 1980s and may have bred but now very scarce. An occasional garden visitor.

Common Redpoll Apart from occasional years when the species invades in their hundreds (as in 1995-96) this is a very rare bird.

Common Crossbill As a Nottinghamshire bird, this species is mainly restricted to the Dukeries area and is scarce in Rushcliffe but they have been noted at Clifton Grove and Holme Pierrepont and I expect they are more frequent in Cotgrave Forest than is realised as the area is under-watched.

Bullfinch Not uncommon but rarely in gardens and quite unobstrusive.

Hawfinch Used to breed at Widmerpool but now unknown from Rushcliffe.

Lapland Bunting Most often identified from its call as it passes overhead, by very keen and experienced birdwatchers and has been recorded from Holme Pierrepont.

Snow Bunting An occasional winter visitor to the county but very rare in Rushcliffe.


Yellowhammer Fairly common and widespread bird of the countryside but likes nice tall hedges and tidy farmers are not Yellowhammer friendly.

Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting

Reed Bunting Quite common in the right places eg. Grantham Canal and Holme Pierrepont.

Black-headed Bunting A very rare vagrant to Britain with confusion caused by possible escapes from aviaries. However the probable first for Britain was shot in either June or July 1884 between Radcliffe on Trent and Bingham. (An earlier record from Sussex is questionable).

Corn Bunting Once quite common and now very rare. In my personal experience this bird has declined the most markedly in the last thirty years and I used to hear their song all around Bradmore and Ruddington but they are there no longer. However, an area around Clifton and Barton in Fabis has a persistent population and there must be other small breeding colonies.