Birds around Huddersfield (1958) by E. C. J. Swabey & E. W. Aubrook

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Huddersfield Naturalist, Photographic and Antiquarian Society and the Tolson Memorial Museum, Huddersfield 1958

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THE FIRST PUBLICATION dealing exclusively with the birds of the Huddersfield district was written by the late S. L. Mosley in 1915. Changes in the status of many of the birds referred to therein have occurred since that time, and the present list attempts to set out the position of species as far as it is known today. The classification is that of the B.O.U. Check-List of the Birds of Great Britain and Ireland (1952) which is based on the Wetmore arrangement beginning with divers and ending with Passerines. The area under consideration is bounded to the north-west by the River Ryburn, to the north by the River Calder, to the west by the main Pennine range, and to the south by the drainage area of the River Don. Huddersfield lies north of the centre of this area so that the list is compiled from records made within an area whose boundaries vary from approximately four to ten miles from the town. The district possesses a varied topography, resulting from the underlying rock of millstone grit to the west and the lower and middle coal measures to the east. Thus in the former area are found cotton grass moorland, with heather and bilberry in places, and upland pastures and gorse, whilst further east are dry and moist oak woods, coniferous plantations, extensive parkland, orchards and agricultural land, both pasture and arable. Though the polluted rivers of the district sustain little bird life, the reser- voirs of the Pennines are favourite resting and feeding sites for migrating wild fowl and waders.

The following terms are used to describe the status of the species:

1. RESIDENTS Birds which breed in the district and which may be observed here at all times in the year.

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2, SUMMER RESIDENTS Birds which appear in spring, breed during the summer, and leave for southern winter quarters in the autumn.

3. WINTER VISITORS Birds which breed outside the area and in many cases outside the British Isles, and which appear here during the winter months.

4. PASSAGE MIGRANTS Birds which breed further north or beyond our islands and visit us on their way to winter quarters elsewhere.

5. IRREGULAR VISITORS Birds which appear occasionally either as accidental wanderers or as exceptional long distance travellers.

6. SPASMODIC OR IRRUPTIONAL VISITORS Birds which from time to time invade the British Isles in large numbers, apparently travelling west or south from overcrowded breeding quarters.

The number of species recorded within the area is 186. While the great majority of these have been substantiated by recent observations, rarities mentioned by Mosley, where the record was a definite one, have been included from their historical interest. The list can be analysed as follows:

Residents 54 Summer residents 25 Winter visitors 35 Passage migrants 26 Irregular visitors 44 Spasmodic visitors 2 186

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In the preparation of this list we have had the benefit of the observations of many naturalists too numerous to list in full, but we should particularly like to express our indebtedness to Messrs T. D. Bisiker, A. L. Collins, R. Crossley, J. C. S. Ellis, G. Harrison, R. Jones, O. White, and G. Wright, and to those Halifax natural- ists whose observations are recorded annually in the Naturalist. We wish to thank also Mr P. Brawn for the photograph of a lapwing which appears on the cover, and Mr J. Carruthers for much advice on the presentation of the list.

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Family COLUMBIDAE - the Divers Genus Colymbus L.

Black-throated Diver, Colymbus arcticus arcticus L. Irregular visitor. One on Thorpes Reservoir, Slaithwaite, Feb- ruary 1917; one on Brownhill Reservoir between 6 and 25 February 1954.

Great Northern Diver, Co/ymbus immer immer

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Little Grebe, Podiceps ruficollis ruficollis (Pall.) Resident, uncommon. Used to breed on Sheard’s Dam, Kirk-

heaton and occurred there in 1949. Breeding took place in the district in 1950. Two on Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 23 October

1950; Gunthwaite, 1950.


Family PROCELLARIIDAE -— the Petrels Genus Oceanodroma Reichb. Leach’s Petrel, Oceanodroma leucorhoa leucorhoa (Vieill.) Irregular visitor. Occurrences have taken place at Marsden, about 1895, and at Brighouse and Woodsome in October 1952, following storms at sea when the birds have been driven inland. Genus Procellaria L.

Manx Shearwater, Procellaria puffinus puffinus Brinn. Irregular visitor. One caught in Dalton about 1879, and another

on Crosland Moor in 1892.



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Pochard, Aythya ferina (L.) Winter visitor, variable.

White-eyed Pochard, Aythya nyroca nyroca (Guld.) Winter visitor, exceptional. This species, which was formerly known as the ‘Ferruginous Duck’ was recorded by Hobkirk (History and Natural History of the Huddersfield District) from Dalton in 1858, and more recently was seen on Ringstone Edge Reservoir, 1 January 1947 (G. R. Edwards).

Genus Bucephala Baird

Golden-eye, Bucephala clangula clangula (L.) Regular winter visitor. A female on Blackmoorfoot Reservoir on 21 June 1952 was very unusual.

Genus Clangula Leach

Long-tailed Duck, Clangula hyemalis (L.) Winter visitor, exceptional. One duck on Ringstone Edge Reservoir, 20 January 1939; one, Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, November 1956.

Genus Melanitta Boie

Common Scoter, Melanitta nigra nigra (L.) Winter visitor, rare. A pair of males was seen on Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 21 December 1950.

Genus Mergus L.

Red-breasted Merganser, Mergus serrator L. Winter visitor, rare. Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 27 September 1952 (1) and 3 October 1953 (2).

Goosander, Mergus merganser merganser L. Winter visitor, rare. Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 8 November 1953 (3).

Genus Tadorna Boie


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Genus Anser Briss.

Grey Lag-Goose, Anser anser (L.) Winter visitor, rare. Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 18 December 1951 (30).

Pink-footed Goose, Anser arvensis brachyrhynchus Baillon Winter visitor, uncommon.

Genus Branta Scop.

Barnacle Goose, Branta leucopsis (Bechst.) Winter visitor, rare. S. L. Mosley records nine on Wessenden Reservoir in 1891.

Canada Goose, Branta canadensis canadensis (L.) Winter visitor. Frequently pass over the district.

Genus Cygnus Bechst.

Mute Swan, Cygnus olor (Gm.) Resident, not common.

Whooper Swan, Cygnus cygnus (L.) Winter visitor, increasing. A herd of about 100 was seen on Digley Reservoir in January 1955.

Bewick’s Swan, Cygnus bewicki bewicki Yarr. Irregular visitor. One in the Tolson Memorial Museum was taken at Lepton in 1921; Ringstone Edge, January 1949.


Family FALCONIDAE - the Falcons Genus Buteo Lacepede

Buzzard, Buteo buteo (L.) Irregular visitor. Buckstones, 20 August 1955. A probable buzzard was seen in October and December 1953 at Sheepridge and Fartown respectively; Fixby, 2 March 1957.

Rough-legged Buzzard, Buteo lagopus lagopus (Pontop.) Irregular visitor. One record only, on the Holmfirth moors ‘some years ago’ — S. L. Mosley.


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Genus Accipiter Briss.

Sparrow-Hawk, Accipiter nisus nisus (L.) Resident, uncommon.

Genus Haliaetus Sav.

White-tailed Eagle, Haliaetus albicilla albicilla (L.) Irregular visitor. One seen 13 May 1949 at Newsome and pro- bably the same bird at Netherton on 14 and 26 May.

Genus Pernis Cuv.

Honey-Buzzard, Pernis apivorus apivorus (L.) Irregular visitor. S. L. Mosley records two in the Storthes Hall district, in 1859 or 1860 and in 1874.

Genus Circus Lacepede

Hen-Harrier, Circus cyaneus cyaneus (L.) Irregular visitor. A female in the Tolson Memorial Museum was taken at Rastrick in 1920.

Montagu’s Harrier, Circus pyrargus (L.) Irregular visitor. S. L. Mosley records a young male shot on the Meltham Moors in 1882. A female was seen at Longley on 11 and 12 July 1950.

Genus Pandion Sav.

Osprey, Pandion haliaetus haliaetus (L.) Irregular visitor. Bilberry Reservoir, Deerhill Reservoir, and in 1952 or 1953 fishing at Riding Wood Reservoir.

Genus Falco L.

Hobby, Falco subbuteo subbuteo L. Irregular visitor. One near Castle Hill about 1858 and another from Dalton Bank in 1883.

Peregrine, Falco peregrinus peregrinus Tunst. Irregular visitor. One at Elland, 1952; one seen at Brook Woods, Armitage Bridge, 15 March 1953, had a bell attached to a leg.

Merlin, Falco columbarius aesalon Tunst. Resident, moorlands, uncommon.

Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus tinnunculus L. Resident, fairly common.


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Family TETRAONIDAE - the Grouse Genus Lagopus Briss.

Red Grouse, Lagopus scoticus scoticus (Lath.) Resident, moorlands.

Family PHASIANIDAE - the Pheasants Genus Alectoris Kaup. Red-legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa rufa (L.) Resident, rare. Elland, 15 October 1939. Believed to breed in the district at the present time. A bird was picked up in West-

gate, Huddersfield, on 3 April 1956, and transferred to the aviary in Ravensknowle Park.

Genus Perdix Briss.

Partridge, Perdix perdix perdix (L.) Resident, uncommon.

Genus Coturnix Bonn.

Quail, Coturnix coturnix coturnix (L.) Summer resident, rare. A nest with twelve eggs was accidentally destroyed near Holme in 1947; a male was killed by a cat at Rawthorpe Green on

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Genus Porzana Vieill.

Baillon’s Crake, Porzana pusilla intermedia (Hermann) Irregular visitor. One from Kirkheaton, 29 May 1874.

Corncrake, Crex crex (L.) Summer visitor, rare. Formerly bred in the district; nesting appears to have last taken place in the area at Shepley about 1947. A corncrake was heard at Dalton, May 1952, and remained for several weeks; one was killed by wires in the area, 18 August 1952.

Genus Gallinula Briss.

Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus (L.) Resident, locally common.

Genus Fulica L.

Coot, Fulica atra atra L Visitor, rare. Brownhill Reservoir, 2 April 1952; Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, several, December 1957 — March 1958


Genus Haematopus L.

Oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus ostralegus L. Passage migrant. Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 1920; Elland, 15 April and 25 August 1943.

Genus Vanellus Briss.

Lapwing, Vanellus vanellus (L.) Resident, locally common.

Genus Charadrius L.

Ringed Plover, Charadrius hiaticula hiaticula L. Passage migrant. Ringstone Edge, 1939; Elland Sewage Works, 1940; Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, August 1957.

Grey Plover, Charadrius squatarola (L.) Passage migrant, rare. Ringstone Edge, 14 September 1940.


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Golden Plover, Charadrius apricarius apricarius L. Resident, uncommon, breeds fairly frequently. Winter flocks of golden plover have been observed on several occasions in the Kirkheaton district.

Dotterel, Charadrius morinellus L. Irregular visitor, rare. Two in the Tolson Memorial Museum shot on Scholes Moor many years ago; two at Lindley, 21 May 1914.

Genus Arenaria Briss.

Turnstone, Arenaria interpres interpres (L.) Passage migrant, rare. One at Ringstone Edge Reservoir, 5 May 1937.

Family SCOLOPACIDAE - the Waders Genus Capella Frenzel

Snipe, Capella gallinago gallinago (L.) Resident, not common.

Genus Lymnocryptes Boie

Jack Snipe, Lymnocryptes minimus (Briinn.) Winter visitor. Elland, 1949 and subsequent years.

Genus Scopolax L.

Woodcock, Scopolax rusticola L. Resident (rare), and winter visitor.

Genus Numenius Briss.

Curlew, Numenius arquata arquata (L.) Summer resident, moorlands, thinly distributed.

Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus (L.) Passage migrant, rare. Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 8 August 1957 (R. Crossley).

Genus Limosa Briss.

Black-tailed Godwit, Limosa limosa limosa (L.) Passage migrant, rare. Elland Sewage Works, 10 September 1940.


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Bar-tailed Godwit, Limosa lapponica lapponica (L.) Passage migrant, rare. Elland Sewage Works, 10 September 1941. Genus Tringa L.

Green Sandpiper, 7ringa ocropus L. Passage migrant, regular odd birds. Elland Sewage Works, various dates.

Wood Sandpiper,

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Genus Philomachus Merrem

Ruff, Philomachus pugnax (L.) Passage migrant, occasional. Sewage beds at Elland and Cooper Bridge; Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 18 August 1957.

Family BURHINIDAE - the Stone Curlews Genus Burhinus

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Genus Chlidonias Rafin.

Black Tern, Chlidonias niger niger (L.) Passage migrant, rare. One caught on Sheard’s Dam, Kirk- heaton, 7 May 1907; Elland Sewage Works, 24 August 1938; Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, 10 August 1957.

Genus Sterna L.

Common/Arctic Tern, Sterna hirundo hirundo L./S. macrura Nau- mann Passage migrant, odd birds.

Family ALCIDAE - the Auks

Genus Alca L.

Razorbill, Alca torda torda L. Irregular visitor. One, Marsden, 2 August 1907; one, Wessen- den Valley, November 1911.

Genus Plautus Gunn.

Little Auk, Plautus alle alle (L.) Irregular visitor. One near Hague Reservoir, Buckstones Moor, 2 December 1935, one at High Flatts, 10 November 1948.

Genus Fratercula Briss.

Puffin, Fratercula arctica grabae (Brehm) Irregular visitor. A live puffin, taken on 29 October 1921 at Raikes Dike, Holme, was exhibited at a meeting of the Hudders- field Naturalist, Photographic, and Antiquarian Society that day.


Family PTEROCLIDAE - the Sand Grouse Genus Syrrhaptes Illiger

Pallas’s Sand Grouse, Syrrhaptus paradoxus (Pallas) Irruptional migrant. The Huddersfield district was visited by a small flock during the great irruption of 1888 and two were shot near Tinker’s Monument.


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Family COLUMBIDAE - the Doves Genus Columba L.

Stock-Dove, Columba oenas L. Resident, uncommon.

Wood-Pigeon, Columba palumbas palumbas L. Resident, common.

Genus Streptopelia

Turtle-Dove, Streptopelia turtur turtur (L.) Summer resident, breeding in the district each year.


Family CUCULIDAE - the Cuckoos Genus Cuculus L.

Cuckoo, Cuculus canorus canorus L. Summer resident, common.

Order STRIGIFORMES Family STRIGIDAE - the Owls Genus Tyto Billb.

Barn-Owl, 7yto alba alba (Scop.) Resident, not common.

Genus Bubo Dumeril

Eagle-Owl, Bubo bubo (L.) A male in the Tolson Memorial Museum was taken at Fixby, 1 January 1885.

Genus Athene Boie

Little Owl, Athene noctua vidalii Brehm Resident, well distributed.

Genus Strix L.

Tawny Owl, Strix aluco sylvatica Shaw Resident, well distributed.


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Genus Asio Briss. Long-eared Owl, Asio otus otus (L.) Formerly resident, now rare visitor.

Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus flammeus (Pontop.) Resident, moorlands, uncommon.

Order CAPRIMULGIFORMES Family CAPRIMULGIDAE - the Nightjars Genus Caprimulgus L.

Nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus europaeus L. Formerly summer resident, now occasional visitor.


Family APODIDAE - the Swifts Genus Apus Scop.

Swift, Apus apus apus (L.) Summer resident, fairly common. On 4 November 1950 a young swift was found on the floor behind the door of a shop in Huddersfield; it revived after being warmed and fed on bread and milk, and flew away strongly on 6 November.

Alpine Swift, Apus melba melba (L.) Irregular visitor. One picked up in Kirkburton, 2 June 1881.

Order CORACIIFORMES Family ALCEDINIDAE - the Kingfishers Genus Alcedo L.

Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis ispida L. Resident. Frequently seen throughout the district, and occa- sionally breeds as on the Colne, Dalton Bank, 1953.


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Family PICIDAE — the Woodpeckers Genus Picus L.

Green Woodpecker, Picus viridis L. Resident, not uncommon.

Genus Dendrocopos Koch

Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Dendrocopus major major (L.) Resident, well distributed.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Dendrocopus minor (L.) Irregular visitor. One was observed at Bradley from 21 April to 18 July 1954.


Family ALAUDIDAE - the Larks

Genus Alauda L.

Skylark, Alauda arvensis arvensis L. Resident, common

Family HIRUNDINIDAE - the Swallows

Genus Hirundo L.

Swallow, Hirundo rustica rustica L. Summer resident, common.

Genus Delichon Horsfield and More

House-Martin, Delichon urbica urbica (L.) Summer resident, not common; also passage migrant.

Genus Riparia Forster

Sand-Martin, Riparia riparia riparia (L.) Summer resident (one breeding colony) and passage migrant.

Family CORVIDAE - the Crows

Genus Corvus L.

Carrion-Crow, Corvus corone corone L. Formerly resident, now rare visitor. A pair was seen at Cupwith, November 1955.


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Hooded-Crow, Corvus cornix cornix L. Rare winter visitor. A pair in the Tolson Memorial Museum was taken on Grange Moor.

Rook, Corvus frugilegus frugilegus L. Resident, common.

Jackdaw, Corvus monedula spermalogus Vieill. Resident, fairly common.

Genus Pica Briss. Magpie, Pica pica pica (L.) Resident, common; increasing since 1939. Genus Garrulus Briss.

Jay, Garrulus glandarius hibernicus With. and Hart. Resident, increasing; S. L. Mosley refers to the jay in 1915 as ‘extinct locally’.

Family PARIDAE - the Tits

Genus Parus L.

Great-Tit, Parus major newtoni Prazak Resident, common.

Blue-Tit, Parus caeruleus obscurus Prazak Resident, common.

Coal-Tit, Parus ater britannicus Sharpe and Dresser Resident, common.

Willow-Tit, Parus atricapillus kleinschmidti Hellmayr Visitor, occasional. Lepton, 7 June 1942; Woodsome Lees, 31 December 1944 (A. N. Sykes).

Marsh-Tit, Parus palustris dresseri Stejn. Visitor, occasional; a pair at Fixby, 19 October 1957. Genus Aegithalos Herm.

Long-tailed Tit, Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus Mathews Resident, rare, and occasional visitor. Nested at Shepley, 1949, and Farnley, 1957.

Family CERTHIIDAE- the Creepers Genus Certhia L.

Tree-Creeper, Certhia familiaris britannica Ridgw. Resident, widely distributed.


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Family TROGLODYTIDAE-the Wrens Genus Troglodytes Vieill.

Wren, Troglodytes troglodytes troglodytes (L.) Resident, common.

Family CINCLIDAE — the Dippers Genus Cinclus Borkh.

Dipper, Cinclus cinclus hibernicus Hart. Resident, uncommon, upland streams. Bred in the Deanhead Valley, 1915.

Family TURDIDAE - the Thrushes Genus Turdis L.


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Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra rubetra (L.) Summer resident.

Genus Phoenicurus Forst.

Redstart, Phoenicurus phoenicurus phoenicurus (L.) Summer resident, thinly distributed locally.

Genus Erithacus Cuvier

Redbreast, Erithacus rubecula melophilus Hart. Resident, abundant.


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Wood-Warbler, Phylloscopus sibilatrix (Bechst.) Summer visitor, uncommon; nested in Grimscar Wood, May 1952, and reared young.

Family REGULIDAE - the Goldcrests

Genus Regulus Cuvier

Goldcrest, Regulus regulus anglorum Hart. Winter visitor, frequent.

Firecrest, Regulus ignicapillus ignicapillus (Temm.) Irregular visitor. One record only, at Armitage Bridge, 1874.

Family MUSCICAPIDAE - the Flycatchers Genus Muscicapa Briss.

Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata striata (Pall.) Summer resident, locally quite common.

Pied Flycatcher, Muscicapa hypoleuca hypleuca (Pall.) Passage migrant, occasional; one seen near Netherton, July 1950; one, Hirst Wood, 21 May 1956.

Family PRUNELLIDAE - the Accentors Genus Prunella Vieill.

Hedge Sparrow, Prunella modularis occidentalis (Hart.) Resident, common.


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White Wagtail, Motacilla alba alba L. Spring passage migrant, variable.

Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea cinerea Tunst. Autumn and winter visitor, uncommon.

Yellow Wagtail, Motacilla flava flavissima (Blyth) Summer resident and passage migrant. Recorded as rearing young at Lower Hey Green, Marsden, 1919. A late bird seen at Longley, 24 October 1952.


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Family FRINGILLIDAE - the Finches Genus Coccothraustes Briss.

Hawfinch, Coccothraustes coccothraustes coccothraustes (L.) Irregular visitor, rare. A bird of the year was picked up in New Mill in 1948.

Genus Chloris Cuvier

Greenfinch, Chloris chloris (L.) Resident, common; also flocks in winter.

Genus Carduelis Briss.

Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis britannica (Hartt.) Winter visitor, uncommon.

Siskin, Carduelis spinus (L.) Winter visitor, exceptional. Large flocks of siskins visited alder trees about Fenay Bridge in the 1850’s.

Linnet, Carduelis cannabina cannabina (L.) Resident, breeds in small colonies. Also winter visitor in flocks.

Twite, Carduelis flavirostris pipilans (Lath.) Resident, breeding occasionally on the moors. Observed nesting each year from 1947 to 1952.

Lesser Redpoll, Carduelis flammea cabaret

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Genus Emberiza L.

Corn-Bunting, Emberiza calandra calandra L. Resident, small numbers.

Yellow-Hammer, Emberiza citrinella nebulosa Geng. Resident, common.

Reed-Bunting, Emberiza schoeniclus schoeniclus (L.) Resident, small numbers.

Genus Plectrophenax Stejn.

Snow-Bunting, Plectrophenax nivalis nivalis (L.) Rare winter visitor to moorland areas; Stanedge, 8 January 1958, P. Stonehouse; Nont Sarah’s, 16 January 1958, R. Crossley.

Family PASSERIDAE - the Sparrows Genus Passer Briss.

House-Sparrow, Passer domesticus domesticus (L.) Resident, abundant.

Tree-Sparrow, Passer montanus montanus (L.) Occasional winter visitor, usually with flocks of finches.


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Auk Little

Bittern Blackbird Blackcap Brambling Bullfinch Bunting Corn- Reed- Snow- Buzzard

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Martin House- Sand- Merganser Red-breasted Merlin Moorhen


Osprey Ouzel Ring- Owl Barn- Eagle- Little Long-eared Short-eared Tawny Oystercatcher

Partridge Red-legged Peregrine Petrel Leach’s Pheasant Pigeon Wood- Pintail Pipit Meadow-


Rail Water- Razorbill Redbreast Redpoll Lesser Redshank Redstart Redwing

21 21

10 14


Rook Ruff

Sandpiper Common- Curlew- Green Purple Wood Scaup Scoter Common Shearwater Manx Shoveler Shrike Great Grey Red-backe Siskin Skylark Snipe Jack Sparrow Hedge- House- Tree- Starling Rose-coloured Stint Little Temminck’s Stonechat Swallow Swan Bewick’s Mute Whooper Swift Alpine

Teal Tern Black

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Waxwing Wagtail Grey Pied White Yellow Warbler Garden- Grasshopper- Sedge- Willow- Wood-

Wheatear Whimbrel Whinchat Whitethroat Lesser Wigeon Woodcock Woodpecker Greater spotted Green


Lesser spotted

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