Brief notes on status are given; Because the reserve is only 1 hectare, birds that are regularly in the vicinity, only occasionally use the reserve itself, some, like the gulls, never enter the reserve, preferring the neighbouring fields and others just fly over. Species that are underlined have been present actually in the reserve but the complete list includes birds flying over or seen from Lings Lane and neighbouring fields.
Total Number of Species Recorded as at May 15th 2014 - 94
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo. A scarce flyby, recorded in some years only. There is a large population along the River Trent that venture on to still waters nearby: These are of the race P. carbo sinensis that used to be regarded as the "Continental race" but which has now populated inland Britain. The "British" race P. carbo carbo maintains its coastal affinity.
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea. This species is occasionally disturbed from the brook-side where birds sometimes try a spot of fishing. They are present in small numbers throughout the vicinity, but more likely to try new localities in freezing weather or when they have hungry mouths to feed.There are no heronries nearby - the nearest is at Attenborough.
Mute Swan Cygnus olor Two were present in the field west of the Meadow on 17th March 2013
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus. This wild goose species winters in Britain and favours the marshes of both East Anglia and Lancashire. When the weather changes, skeins of Pinkfeet occasionally pass overhead. These movements are quite spectacular as the skeins often number well over 100 and the movements occur on calm winter days with blue skies, so the migrations are highly visible.
Greylag Goose Anser anser. A wild species in some parts of Britain, Greylags locally are feral and non-migratory, though they do get together in mostly small gaggles and move in skeins of up to several dozen. There are often up to 10 in the area.
Canada Goose Branta canadensis. An introduction from the new world and well established along the River Trent and at large lakes; this species also gathers on smaller lakes such as those off Wolds Lane and their noisy skeins of up to a twenty or so can pass overhead anywhere.
Teal Anas crecca. A little duck that occasionally turns up along the brook in frosty weather and which is readily (but accidentally) disturbed in some years.
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos. Paired birds often enters the meadow in spring when prospecting for nesting sites and it occasionally breeds successfully in some undisturbed corner. At other times, small groups are sometimes seen flying around the area.
Red Kite Milvus milvus. Has been seen in the vicinity on a couple of occasions. These are birds (or descendants of the birds) that have been reintroduced into parts of England and which are now well established in places. The most recent record was of one flying through on 13th March 2013.
Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus. A common raptor that frequently hunts the hedges and fields locally and enters the reserve at times. Sometimes seen soaring overhead too. After almost disappearing in the 1960's they became the commonest raptor but that distinction probably now goes to the buzzard.
Buzzard Buteo buteo. Since the mid 1980s, this species has recolonised much of England where for many years it had been absent and it is now perhaps the most frequently seen (and heard) raptor in the area.
Kestrel Falco tinunculus. Frequently seen along Lings Lane and occasionally hunts in the reserve itself.
Hobby Falco subbuteo. A summer visitor to the area. The species breeds locally in very small numbers and is seen only occasionally and then only in fine weather and most often on summer evenings as it dashes and glides around in search of hirundines, Swifts and dragonflies.
Peregrine Falco peregrinus. This species is now well established locally following its extermination for much of the twentieth century. Breeds famously on some Nottingham city buildings, but also on pylons in the countryside and nowadays a sighting of this wonderful bird is not that notable.
Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa. Very common game bird, raised and released in artificially high numbers but also breeds as a wild species. Most often seen as pairs but coveys of around a dozen are not unusual in summer.
Grey Partridge Perdix perdix. The native British partridge, but much less common now than the introduced species. Grey Partridge are not raised for shooting in the same numbers as Red-legged.
Pheasant Phasianus colchicus. Raised and released in massive numbers for shooting. The species is found everywhere locally and does untold damage to the countryside by eating all manner of invertebrates and small vertebrates including Slow Worms, young Grass Snakes and Harvest Mice.
Water Rail Rallus aquaticus. First definite record on 24th January 2015 (but possibly glimpsed a few days earlier) in the transient pools in the neighbouring Penny Field.
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus. Present at many of the ponds and along the brook in small numbers. Breeds in the reserve occasionally.
Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria. Until the 1980s, this species was present in the wolds of Rushcliffe in flocks of up to several hundred during the winter, often mixing with larger numbers of Lapwings. Improved drainage (subsidised by government during the seventies and eighties) and the switch to autumn-sown cereals, has resulted in their virtual disappearance and it is rare to see even a single bird now.
Lapwing Vanellus vanellus. Lapwings used to breed locally and their wonderful display and accompanying "pee-wit" call was a frequent joy in spring. Now almost lost as a breeding species and absent in winter too, for the same reasons outlined under Golden Plover above. Occasionally, birds are seen displaying in the parish but these never seem to culminate in successful breeding.
Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus. A very occasional winter visitor in harsh winter weather. Only one recent record of a bird foraging at the brook side in 2010.
Snipe Gallinago gallinago. More likely than Jack Snipe but less frequent in the past few decades. Again, the species is most likely in frosty weather when they turn up in less favoured places to find unfrozen ground.
Woodcock Scolopax rusticola. A winter visitor and probably annual in the reserve as the cover there provides excellent shelter for the species, but it is normally only seen when it is accidentally flushed.
Greenshank Tringa nebularia. One at a pond along Lings Lane on September 11th 1985.
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus. The most common of the gulls to visit the area in winter. Present most days in fields around the reserve but, as with the other gulls, the meadow is too sheltered to be used by them.
Common Gull L. canus. Perhaps the second most likely species of gull to be seen locally in autumn and winter but usually in smaller numbers.
Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus. Occasional in fields during winter and flying in small parties to roost or to forage.
Great Black-backed Gull L. marinus. The least likely of the gulls but present in small numbers on occasions or seen flying as with the Lesser Black-backed.
Herring Gull L. argentatus. Occasional in fields but commonly seen flying in small parties.
Stock Dove Present throughout the year and the recording area. Often nests in Barn Owl boxes. The species is easily overlooked.
Feral Rock Dove Columba livia. Patchwork-patterned Town Pigeons, the descendants of Rock Doves are found in small flocks foraging in fields.
Woodpigeon Columba palumbus. The most abundant bird in the area. Flocks of up to several thousand can be found in favoured fields with smaller numbers almost everywhere. How these birds (and Carrion Crows and Rooks) manage to find sufficient food whilst our small, seed-eating finches and buntings struggle, is a mystery to me.
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto. More common around human habitation than in the open countryside, but they can be found all over the area.
Turtle Dove S. turtur. This species has declined dramatically throughout Britain in the past couple of decades but a few breeding pairs have hung on in the Meadow in most recent years. Their distinctive purring song is usually heard whilst the bird hides away in the tall hawthorns, but occasionally they show well as they perch out in the open. None were recorded in 2012, 2013 and 2014 so perhaps we have seen the last Keyworth Turtle Dove? The species is shot in Malta whilst on migration.
Cuckoo Cuculus canorus. Another species in rapid decline both here and elsewhere. Early mornings at the meadow in early May were usually rewarded with the enigmatic call and perhaps a sighting, but this is now much less likely and Cuckoos throughout Rushcliffe are at a very low ebb. Only one (heard briefly) in 2013 and none at all in 2014
Barn Owl Tyto alba. A quiet nocturnal species and most often seen illuminated by car headlights. To see them well, late afternoons in winter are a good bet and since the efforts of the Rushcliffe Barn Owl Project (RUBOP) and in particular, its principal protagonist, Howard Broughton, their numbers have increased significantly. There are two or three nesting boxes locally but often they get used by Jackdaws and Stock Doves rather than the intended occupant.
Little Owl Athene noctua. The Lings Lane area is a good place to see and hear Little Owls. Daytime sightings are not infrequent and early spring evenings are a good time to hear their cat-like calls. They nest in holes in trees.
Tawny Owl Strix aluco. More common in woodland but audible throughout the area especially in late winter. Occasionally roosts in the thickets in the meadow. A nest box has so far failed to tempt them.
Long-eared Owl Asio otus One record of this scarce, resident breeding species. A roosting bird found in the Meadow on 3rd April 2013.
Swift Apus apus. Arriving in early May and gone by mid August, Swifts only ever land at their nests but use the skies over the meadow to hawk for flies.