The Birds of Rushcliffe

Skuas, Gulls and Terns

Pomarine Skua There was one at Holme Pierrepont in June 1973. This migratory seabird rarely gets inland.

Arctic Skua This species seems to migrate across country in small numbers and a few stop off at likely locations en route. They are very few and far between however but a notable 5 were at Holme Pierrepont on 13th August 2006.

Great Skua I was astonished to see one chasing a Carrion Crow along the A52 at Gamston/Holme Pierrepont on 19th February 1983 and there are two earlier records from there. The only other Rushcliffe sighting is of one at Langar Airfield in September 2001.

Mediterranean Gull Increasingly common in the county as elsewhere. Holme Pierrepont has hosted the species in eight consecutive years up to 2010 and they are also seen in the Clifton Grove recording area.

Little Gull 2009 and 2010 saw above average numbers of this species at in Notts and included a party of 22 on 16th April 2009 plus a couple of autumn records and another on 13th October 2010. In average years, they don't get recorded here.

Black-headed Gull Common throughout the year on playing fields and lakes - even gardens.

Common Gull Fairly frequent on farmland and lakes in winter.

Lesser Black-backed Gull Quite likely in fields and on lakes during winter and passage periods. Has increased considerably over the past thirty years or so.

Herring Gull Common as a passage migrant and wintering bird almost anywhere in Rushcliffe.

Yellow-legged Gull
Yellow-legged Gull

Yellow-legged Gull Like a Herring Gull but with the yellow legs of a Lesser Black-backed Gull (as an adult) this was just a race of Herring Gull until recently, but now that it's a "tick" people are looking for it and finding it quite regularly. Holme Pierrepont recorded the species on 10 dates in 2009 and in 2010 there were 7 present on 24th July.

Caspian Gull Another recent "split" that was considered a sub-species of Herring Gull. It needs experience of the other gulls in all their plumages to identify this one with confidence and that id is usually made by dedicated observers working methodically with a telescope through the big gull flocks and roosts. In 2010 this resulted in 5 birds being seen in the county. In 2009 one bird was found at Holme Pierrepont briefly on 4th March. Keep looking!

Iceland Gull This species and the next is usally found by patient observation of big gull roosts and these are north of the Trent. But they do occasionally get found at Holme Pierrepont.

Glaucous Gull Glaucous is perhaps a little more likely than the smaller but similar Iceland Gull but the same generalities apply.

Great Black-backed Gull Fairly common in the winter. In terms of numbers the commonest gulls are Black-headed, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed and Great Black-backed; Roughly in that order.

Kittiwake Normally just a handful of these true sea gulls are recorded passing through the county and there's a chance of finding one at Holme Pierrepont. In 1988, there was an exceptional passage through Notts but Holme Pierrepont got just two.

Sandwich Tern An annual passage migrant in very small numbers.

Common Tern
Common Tern

Roseate Tern One at Holme Pierrepont briefly in May 1966. A summering tern there (and at Colwick) between 1992 and 1995 which was initially identified as a 1st summer Roseate Tern but which then failed to get any older was eventually presumed to be a hybrid Roseate/Common Tern.

Common Tern A common summering bird now which favours the Trent Valley but which will go fishing at lakes throughout Rushcliffe

Arctic Tern Sometimes migrates through in spring in very large numbers but usually there are just a few. Holme Pierrepont had 200 on 7th May 1991.

Little Tern Very scarce passage migrant in the Trent Valley. You could be lucky one day.

Whiskered Tern A national rarity. The fourth Notts bird flew over the Trent from Thrumpton on 25th April 2012.

Black Tern Uncommon passage migrant but sometimes in large numbers and there were over 100 at Holme Pierrepont in September 1992.

White-winged Black Tern One frequented Holme Pierrepont and other Trent valley sites between 24th September and 9th October 1994.