Photo of Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting

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

Skein of pinkfeet

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.

Image of Sparrowhawk

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.

Photo of Red-legged Partridge

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.

Photo of Lapwing

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.

Photo of woodpigeon

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.

Photo of cuckoo

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.

Photo of swift

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.

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis. Kingfishers were seen regularly up and down the brook by the meadow until about 2009 but then there were no records until 2013. They have been known to nest in the reserve.

Photo of green woodpecker

Green Woodpecker Picus viridis. This species is more widespread than it was a couple of decades ago and though it is more often heard than seen, they are around almost permanently.

Skylark Alauda arvensis. Small numbers overwinter and parties of up to twenty are not uncommon. Some nest in headlands and set-aside.

Photo of swallow

Swallow Hirundo rustica. A common summer visitor that has no special affinity with the meadow but hunts anywhere overhead. Ledges have been installed in some of the barns and lean-to buildings along Lings Lane in the hope of providing acceptable nest sites.

House Martin Delichon urbica. Nests in the village and hunts along the fields especially in the late summer.

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis. 1 on 6th April 2014. It seems this species does not generally favour the Lings Lane area though it is more frequent in other parts of the village especially around the sewage works.

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava. A male on 21st April 2013 was the first record. Another on 16th April 2014.

Photo of grey wagtail

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea. A very occasional visitor to the shallow babbling sections of the brook. Last recorded on 4th October 2012.

Pied Wagtail Motacila alba yarrellii. Frequent in the horse-grazed fields along the lane but the meadow is not to their liking and they do not need water like the Grey Wagtail.

White Wagtail Motacila alba alba. 1 on 18th April 2014 and probably annual on spring passage but overlooked.

Wren Troglodytes troglodytes. A widespread, common species which nests in the meadow and is more easily noticed by its song.

Photo of dunnock

Dunnock Prunella modularis. Widespread and common. Nests in the meadow.

Robin Erithacus rubecula. Widespread and common. On mild winter days its song can be heard every 50 metres or so along Lings Lane.

Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus. One record of this scarce passage migrant. Brief views of a single bird on 15th May 2014.

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra. One on 21st April 2013, accompanying 34 Wheatears in a horse pasture off Lings Lane. Two there on 25th

Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe. At least 11 on the 20th April 2013 were followed next day by 34 in the same field as the Whinchat. As a regular Notts migrant, more must have passed through unrecorded.

Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus. One on 25th April 2013 with 24 Wheatears and two Whinchats.

Blackbird Turdus merula. Widespread and common. Nests in the meadow.

Fieldfare Turdus pilaris. A winter visitor from Scandinavia, arriving in October along with the Redwings and foraging the hedgerows for berries until they are depleted then resorting to the open fields. Large numbers often gather in the meadow where the tall hawthorns supply plenty of food.

Photo of song thrush

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos. A resident thrush at home in gardens and the countryside in reasonable numbers but fewer than formerly.

Redwing Turdus iliacus. A winter visitor often associating with Fieldfares and following the same feeding patterns.

Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus. Much less numerous than the other thrushes. A pair occasionally breeds in the area, but one pair is probably the maximum for the whole Lings Lane area.

Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia. One was singing from the sedge bed in the old meander in 2002.

Lesser Whitethroat S. curruca. Once one recognises the song this is found to be a fairly common summer visitor but the species often remains hidden in the hedges even as visitors pass close by.

Whitethroat Sylvia communis. More noticeable than the Lesser Whitethroat because its song is often accompanied by a towering flight that advertise its presence. Otherwise it is ever vocal with a variety of croaks and wheezes.

Garden Warbler S. borin. Very much a bird of thickets in woodlands and its song is so similar to Blackcap it may get overlooked. It was recorded in the meadow in 2006.

Blackcap S. atricapilla. Two or three pairs of this summer visitor regularly breed in the meadow. A few stay and brave the local winter when garden bird tables are often a saviour.

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita. One or two can be expected to be singing in the meadow in late April or early May.

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus. Several pairs of this summer visitor breed in the meadow every year. Their beautiful cascading song is intermittently delivered as they search the willow catkins in April.

Goldcrest Regulus regulus. An occasional winter visitor to the meadow shrubs but more at home in the woodlands.

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalus caudatus.In winter, roaming parties regularly pass through and they have bred in the dense thickets of bramble.

Marsh Tit Parus palustris. Occasional in winter, but perhaps becoming scarcer.

Willow Tit P. montanus. Has declined greatly in many parts of the country but until recently this little bird could still be seen quite regularly in winter. It remains to be seen if this status is maintained.

Coal Tit P. ater. Prefers conifers to brambles and only occasionally seen in the meadow and lane.

Blue Tit P. caeruleus. Ubiquitous and numerous in the fields and lanes including the meadow.

Photo of great tit

Great Tit P. major. Not quite as abundant as the Blue Tit perhaps but a common bird all the same.

Treecreeper Certhia familiaris. A woodland species that roams, often in the loose company of tits and finches outside the breeding season and has been seen in or near the meadow just three times in the last decade.

Jay Garrulus glandarius. A noisy (garrulous!) charming crow that is seduced from its dense woodlands by the field acorns which it gathers and stores in October. Normally only ever in singles but on 7th October 2012 a flock of seven were present in a year when there was a large immigration from Europe. A unique spring record of one on 21st April 2013.

Magpie Pica pica. One for sorrow is an unusual experience nowadays, whilst seven for a secret is nothing to write home about. Once scattered in small numbers, now widespread and often numerous.

Jackdaw Corvus monedula. Numerous and usually in the company of Rooks, this little crow nests in holes and often takes over the nesting boxes provided by RUBOP for Barn Owls (much to the annoyance of Howard as they fill the space with sticks.

Photo of rook

Rook Corvus frugilegus. There are no rookeries in the immediate vicinity but the species is common all around the lanes and fields especially at the head of Lings Lane.

Raven C.corax. Now recolonising its former haunts and nesting in the borough but around the meadow only seen as a fly-by so far.

Carrion Crow C. corone. Nests singly but gathers in substantial flocks at other times.

Starling Sturnus vulgaris. Much reduced in numbers but still considered common in the area. It is perhaps their wintering numbers that have reduced most noticeably.

Photo of housesparrow

House Sparrow Passer domesticus. Their widely reported reduction in numbers is not apparent locally. Prefers human habitation and a healthy population exists at the top of the lane though they sometimes venture down to the meadow.

Tree Sparrow Passer montanus. Much declined, but present locally and now helped by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust's "Bed & Breakfast scheme". A feeding hopper and nest boxes have been provided near the dutch barn (courtesy of Marjorie and Tim Flint) and this benefits other seed-eating species by providing a food source through the late winter.

Photo of chaffinch

Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs. Very common along the hedges and in the meadow. It seems to be less common at garden feeders nowadays but remains numerous in the countryside.

Brambling F. montifringilla. There is only one record of this bird locally. One was present for several weeks amongst a mixed finch flock near the meadow in 2007/8.

Greenfinch Carduelis chloris. Fairly common and widespread. Most obvious when their wheezy song and display flights are prevalent in the spring.

Photo of goldfinch

Goldfinch C. carduelis. More common than formerly; perhaps their numbers are maintained by the garden bird feeders stocked with niger seed. Widespread and numerous but secretive as a breeder

Redpoll C. flammea. First recorded in 2009 but only because the area is not watched (and reported) thoroughly. Nevertheless, this is an uncommon species locally and only found in small numbers in winter.

Photo of linnet

Linnet Carduelis cannabina. Fairly common but quite secretive. In summer they are often present along Lings Lane but their breeding status is unclear. Less common in the winter as many leave the country.

Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula. Favours the meadow to other areas locally. Perhaps three of four pairs are present throughout the year.

Photo of yellowhammer

Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella. Another species that does well locally because of the tall hedges and rough grazing in the fields adjacent to the meadow. Yellowhammers like old standard trees for surveillance and song along irregularly maintained hedges where they nest low down.

Photo of reedbunting

Reed Bunting E. schoeniclus. The wet hollows of the old meanders in the meadow are popular with Reed Buntings and they may breed. Once their territories are established they become very secretive and may be raising a brood unnoticed.

Corn Bunting Milaria calandra. Almost extinct in the immediate neighbourhood, having formerly been a quite common species in some favoured areas. Only one local record in the past decade.