The Birds of Rushcliffe

Swans, Geese and Ducks

Mute Swan Common on suitable waterways including Holme Pierrepont, Rushcliffe CP and the Grantham Canal. Breeds. In winter the Holme Pierrepont area holds up to 200 Mute Swans.

Bewick's Swan A rare winter visitor and becoming rarer. Occasionally a few spend time at Bassingfield and Barton in Fabis.

Whooper Swan Rare in Rushcliffe; occasional birds at Holme Pierrepont rarely stay long. Also recorded as flyovers from anywhere but only rarely. 12 birds in a field at Thrumpton on 12th January 2012 and 39 there in March 2013.

Bean Goose A very scarce winter visitor. There are two races, one of which, the Taiga Bean Goose winters in some numbers in the Yare Valley in Norfolk whilst the other, the Tundra Bean Goose doesn't routinely visit this country. Sometimes the race is not determined. As with many ducks and geese, it is often difficult to be sure that birds are truly wild and not escapes. These are believed to be wild birds that have visited Rushcliffe: 37 at Barton in Fabis on 19th December 1981, 4 at Holme Pierrepont on 13th January 1991, 3 at Holme Pierrepont in January 1996 for 7 days. 1 (Tundra race) at Thrumpton on 13th December 2011 and 1 at East Leake GP between 24th March and 4th May 2012.

Pink-footed Goose In winter, when weather patterns change, skeins of this species are sometimes seen migrating between East Anglia and Lancashire but they rarely land. Those that do may not be true wild birds. The skeins can number up to a couple of thousand strong and are a terrific spectacle.

White-fronted Goose Very rare though there were 52 in stubble at Barton in Fabis in December 2010 and 13 there between 16th and 22nd January 2012 but most White-fronts are feral birds mixing with Canada and Grey-lags.

Greylag Goose Common and resident as feral birds at Holme Pierrepont. Breeds (though not always with other Greylags as the photo below shows). This species is increasing in numbers (around 2000 are now present at Netherfield) and this seems to be at the cost of the next species.

image of Canada and Greylag parents
Canada Goose, Greylag Goose and likely hybrid offspring

Canada Goose. A very common and numerous feral species at Holme Pierrepont though its numbers are decreasing as Greylags out compete them. Breeds.

Barnacle Goose. A few feral birds occasionally appear at Holme Pierrepont.

Brent Goose Very rare winter visitor. Two races of this species occur in Britain and both have appeared in Rushcliffe. Dark-bellied Brent Goose is the more frequent and has been recorded at Holme Pierrepont and Shelford whilst the much scarcer Pale-bellied sub-species has been seen at Barton in Fabis.

Egyptian Goose. A feral species that is seen sometimes at Barton in Fabis/Clifton Grove (18 there in October 2013) and Holme Pierrepont.

Ruddy Shelduck. Another feral species that is seen occasionally at Barton in Fabis and Holme Pierrepont.

Common Shelduck. Holme Pierrepont records a few, mainly on their spring migration. Although it breeds elsewhere in Nottinghamshire, it doesn't appear to do so in Rushcliffe.

Mandarin Duck. Occasional birds at Holme Pierrepont are probably escapes.

Wigeon. A numerous winter visitor but restricted to particular sites. Again, Holme Pierrepont is favourite where 1,000 to 2,500 occur. Scarce elsewhere in Rushcliffe.

American Wigeon. One at Holme Pierrepont 22nd to 25th September 2002 and another on the A52 lake Feb till April 2015.

Gadwall. Another Holme Pierrepont speciality with over 150 in some winters but rare elsewhere.

Teal prefer marsh to open water but they are easily disturbed. Once again Holme Pierrepont is the Rushcliffe stronghold, though their numbers have declined here. This is a very scarce breeding species in Nottinghamshire but a pair raised 2 chicks at East Leake in 2007.

Green-winged Teal One was at Holme Pierrepont from 14th March to 2nd April 1999. Green-winged was considered to be a North American race of Common Teal until split as a species in 2000 This was the 5th Nottinghamshire record.

Mallard The commonest duck and familiar on almost all waters. Many are resident but winter populations are supplemented by wild birds that breed in Iceland. Breeds

Pintail A very scarce species with usually just ones and twos occurring at Holme Pierrepont in winter though there were 10 there on 6th September 2013.

Garganey A very scarce passage migrant at Holme Pierrepont. Most likely in spring but occasionally breeds in the county and late summer birds are not infrequent at Holme Pierrepont and 6 were on the A52 pit on 11th August 2013.

image of Shovelers

Shoveler Quite a common winter visitor with over a hundred likely at Holme Pierrepont and others at Rushcliffe CP.

Red-crested Pochard An increasingly frequent feral species and now regular at Holme Pierrepont. Others occasionally favour the Grantham Canal but it could turn up on any suitable wetland site.

Pochard Up to about 250 winter at Holme Pierrepont, but scarce elsewhere.

Ring-necked Duck Nationally very scarce. One was reported from Holme Pierrepont on 9th June 2012.

Ferruginous Duck One at Holme Pierrepont (and occasionally Attenborough) in autumn 1964 may have been an escape.

image of Tufted Duck
Tufted Duck

Tufted Duck With occasional counts of 500 to 600, Holme Pierrepont is a nationally important site for this species, but other open waters also host this common wintering duck. Breeds in very small numbers.

Greater Scaup Very scarce in winter. Occasional at Holme Pierrepont, indeed annual in recent years.

Lesser Scaup One at Holme Pierrepont from 26/10/2008 till 13/4/2009. Another there 22nd to 27th April 2013 and a third for the site (the first female) on 23rd to 24th April 2014. A very rare vagrant from North America.

Long-tailed Duck One at Holme Pierrepont on 16/6/2007 was the seventh there since 1990. One at Rushcliffe CP (Ruddington) 9th to 26th December 1995.

Common Scoter This sea duck occasionally migrates across Nottinghamshire and the large A52 lake at Holme Pierrepont sometimes attracts them down.

Goldeneye Holme Pierrepont is the best site in the county for this duck. Very occasionally seen here during the summer.

Smew Up to 6 have been present in winter at Holme Pierrepont in recent years. Formerly much scarcer. The sheltered lake to the north of the rowing course is favoured.

Red-breasted Merganser A very scarce winter visitor, most likely during harsh weather. Holme Pierrepont and the River Trent may host ones and twos in some years.

Goosander Rushcliffe is decidedly unpopular with Goosanders; although there are several tens of the species at other open water sites in Nottinghamshire, even Holme Pierrepont struggles to attract more than one or two in some winters. The River Trent may also host a few.

Ruddy Duck This American species is being eliminated from Europe and its numbers in Notts are now much reduced. It used to be numerous at Holme Pierrepont. Breeds or has bred.