The Birds of Rushcliffe

Larks, Hirundines, Pipits, Wagtails, Chats, Thrushes and Warblers.

Wood Lark Despite the fluctuating numbers from central Notts, this is not a Rushcliffe species. The occasional migrant may be detected in the Trent valley.

Sky Lark Still quite common in Rushcliffe. Most area have singing birds in the spring and small flocks in winter. Untimely cutting of set-aside land is a threat to this species and Lapwing.

Sand Martin Not normally found far from its breeding sites or waterbodies but reasonably common.

Swallow collecting mud
Swallow collecting mud for nest

Swallow When I was a lad there were vast numbers of hirundines - Swallows and House Martins - swooping about and weighing down the telephone wires in September in the thousands. Now, the autumn pre-migration gatherings rarely number more than half a dozen; A perfect illustration of how much of our wildlife has fared in the last fifty years but which is often so hard to quantify.

House Martin Much rarer than they once were and yet I still hear of people knocking their nests off from under the eaves because the tidy owners don't want droppings down their wall!

Red-rumped Swallow The first Rushcliffe record was at Barton in Fabis on 26th April 2013. First recorded in Notts in 1994 but becoming increasingly more frequent.

Richard's Pipit Almost a passage migrant in low numbers and a few make it to Nottinghamshire with two at Holme Pierrepont on 7th October 1994, another there on 14th October 2007 and again on 12th October 2013

Tree Pipit A summer visitor in declining numbers to central Notts but migrants are recorded by keen listeners as they fly through the Trent Valley.

Meadow Pipit An innocuous little brown job but it's out there in the Rushcliffe countryside in small numbers.

Rock Pipit A few migrants and winter visitors are to be found around the gravel pits and lakes and there were 5 at Holme Pierrepont on 18th October 1988. Also several birds of the Scandinavian race have made it with three at Holme Pierrepont; in 1983, 2003 and 2004.

Water Pipit A scarce winter visitor to be found perhaps, at Holme Pierrepont and similar sites.

Yelllow Wagtail
Yelllow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail Another species that has declined significantly. Large spring gatherings (which included the Blue-headed race) used to assemble at Holme Pierrepont on spring evenings and a few still nest out in the arable countryside.

Grey Wagtail Occasional birds visit our brooks, streams, waterbodies and sewage treatment works.

Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail

Pied Wagtail Widespread and quite common in the countryside and supermarket car-parks.

Bohemian Waxwing Completely absent or nearly so in most winters and then in others they turn up anywhere sometimes in flocks of over 100. I've even had them flycatching from Ash trees at the bottom of my garden - on 30th April 2005.

Cedar Waxwing The first and only British Cedar Waxwing was discovered amongst a flock of Bohemian Waxwings in the city on 20th February 1996 and during its stay, which lasted until 18th March, it occasionally ventured into Wilford.

Wren Common and widespread.


Dunnock Common and widespread.


Robin Common and Widespread.

Nightingale Nightingales used to breed in Cotgrave Forest but the varying forestry regimes and an overall retraction from northern localities ended their visits. Occasional migrants may still stop off and sing for a while almost anywhere.

Black Redstart Has bred in the city (but apparently no longer) and migrants pass through. My brother had one in his greenhouse in Cambridgeshire so anything is possible.

Redstart A rare central Notts breeder and passage birds can turn up anywhere (but mostly in the Trent valley).

Whinchat Now almost extinct as a breeding bird in Notts, migrants still continue to pass through in small numbers.

Stonechat Widely fluctuating numbers over-winter with Rushcliffe CP a likely venue.

Wheatear A migrant in small numbers which can turn up anywhere in spring and autumn, including arable fields. The record assemblage was of 34 birds on 22nd April at Lings Lane Keyworth during the cold spring of 2013.

Ring Ouzel Another unpredictable migrant but most occur in April. One near Wysall a few years ago was in a grass field that had been recently ploughed up and another was at Lings Lane, Keyworth on 25/4/2013 was on horse pasture..


Blackbird Common and widespread

Fieldfare A common winter visitor that enters gardens in harsh weather.

Song Thrush Their beautiful song is heard more often than they are seen. Their numbers have reduced but they remain fairly common.

Redwing Arrives and departs with the Fieldfare and also shares their company through the winter.

Mistle Thrush Widely distributed in smaller numbers than the other thrushes.

Cetti's Warbler This species is colonising England in a very sporadic manner and now breeds in Notts including at Holme Pierrepont, where it is now resident. The first Rushcliffe record was at Holme Pierrepont in 1981.

Grasshopper Warbler Fairly frequent as a spring migrant and it breeds in Rushcliffe in small numbers. Several were singing and probably breeding in a single grassy field with scrub at East Bridgford in 2009.

Sedge Warbler
Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler A common summer visitor to wetlands. This species can tolerate drier scrubby habitats but these must be near water.

Reed Warbler
Reed Warbler

Reed Warbler A common summer visitor to wetlands where there are generous stands of Common Reed.

Blackcap A common summer visitor and found in dense thickets in woods and field margins. Winters in increasing numbers and may come to garden feeders.

Garden Warbler Less numerous than Blackcap but it occupies the same habitat and the song is identical to my ears.

Lesser Whitethroat Learn the song and then go for a walk (in summer) where there are tall hedgerows. You'll hear Lesser Whitethroats.

Common Whitethroat Rather more obliging than Lesser Whitethroat as it has a song flight and is always churring or singing.

Yellow-browed Warbler One was in a garden in Cropwell Butler (for just 10 minutes) on 8th October 2012.

Wood Warbler Another bird of central Notts and only in Rushcliffe as a migrant. As with many migrants they can turn up anywhere but they usually seem to be in places that are heavily watched by birdwatchers - like Holme Pierrepont.

Chiffchaff Summer visitor and over-winterer in small numbers. Once the trees have leafed up the song of this and the next species need to be learned.

Willow Warbler Only around in summer but one of our most numerous birds then.

Goldcrest Breeds in coniferous woodland (such as occurs at Cotgrave Forest) and wanders widely at other times.

Firecrest Increasingly frequent as a wintering species though there are occasional blank years for Notts as a whole, (but bear in mind that this, and the Goldcrest are the smallest British birds and that they both like coniferous woodlands). Two at Upper Saxondale in mid March 2000 are the most recent records and one singing in Cotgrave Forest on 2nd May 1983 is the most intriguing.