Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

Common autumn and winter visitor, uncommon to fairly common breeder. Browne described the Tufted Duck as not uncommon in winter in Leicestershire during the 19th century, though it did not appear to remain to breed. Haines agreed, describing it as 'the commonest of our occasional ducks and a regular visitor to the Ponds.' An influx was recorded as early as the winter of 1840 and there were records from the River Soar and other streams during a cold snap in March 1845. Despite the lack of proof,...

Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus

Very rare vagrant from the tropics one record. An adult, first seen at 20 45 by Chris Lythall, Paul Powell and J. Pearson flying over Lagoon II at Rutland Water on June 8th 1984, was tentatively identified as a Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscata. A large crowd had gathered the following morning and with the bird still present its true identity was revealed. It was last seen flying off east This was a truly remarkable record, being the eighth for Britain, only the fourth to be seen alive and the...

Pied WagtailM a yarrellii

Common resident breeder, passage migrant and winter visitor. In the 19th century, Haines described this species as common in the summer but stated that during severe weather only a small remnant remained, with return passage in February. Browne, however, considered it a common resident and noted a roost of 300 in 1906. He also included a record of one with black cheeks and forehead which was recorded on April 10th 1902. There is no information available on the status of the Pied Wagtail during...

Puffin Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica

Very rare vagrant from Europe six records. There have been six records of this popular seabird, a remarkable number for a species which rarely strays inland. The first involved an individual found dead at Peatling Magna in December 1921, the skin of which was deposited at Leicester Museum. There have been five records since, all of which have an element of the extraordinary about them. 1921 found dead, Peatling Magna, December. 1951 one was picked up at Shelthorpe on May 23rd by D. Bishop and...

Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra

Uncommon irruptive visitor, very rare breeder recorded in all months, with the majority in June and July. Browne described the Common Crossbill as an irregular and uncertain visitor in Leicestershire from autumn to early spring which had bred. There were big invasions in 1839-40 and 1854 and a pair bred in a fir plantation at Hallgates in 1839. In Rutland, Haines described it as 'a winter visitor, but not often seen.' The LROS archives refer to a record at Barkby Holt in January 1931. The...

Info

Figure 144 Average total monthly maxima of Great Crested Grebes at the main sites 1995-2005. which coincided with a widespread national influx of other waterbirds, including Red-necked Grebes, following high pressure over Scandinavia and bitterly cold north-easterly winds (Chandler 1981). This total was not bettered until 1983, when 520 on December 18th was an unprecedented number in the counties since then, however, the maximum count has exceeded this total in all but four years. The...

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra

Formerly an uncommon to fairly common migrant breeder, now an uncommon passage migrant. The Whinchat was a fairly common summer visitor to the counties in the 19th century. It was described as 'generally distributed' in Leicestershire by Browne, who said that it nested 'in suitable positions throughout the county and not far from the town of Leicester.' Around the same time, Haines considered it to be a 'common migrant.' The LROS archives, covering the early part of the 20th century, described...

Alpine Swift Apus melba

Very rare vagrant from southern Europe two records. There have been two acceptable records of this spectacular swift, beginning with one seen over the northern end of Swithland Reservoir by H. Wills on April 13th 1942. The second concerned one seen by Tim Appleton and M.J. Pearce over Lagoon III at Rutland Water on August 8th and 10th 1978 this record was originally rejected by the BBRC (BB 72 546), but was reconsidered and accepted based on new evidence some 15 years after the original...

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis

Very rare vagrant from Europe one record. The only county record concerns an adult found by L. Rowley, Mr and Mrs H.V. Higgins and Mr and Mrs D. Charles on the Egleton Reserve at Rutland Water on the evening of April 3rd 1993. After a somewhat extended tour of the western end of the reservoir, it finally settled down in a sheep field near Egleton church, where it remained until April 15th. The bird was seen by many hundreds of observers and was well photographed (Fray 1994, BB 87 511). Cattle...

Whitewinged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus

Rare vagrant from Europe recorded in May to September and November, with the majority in August and September 16 records involving 18 individuals. A recent review of historical and unpublished records found evidence of an adult at Packington on May 8th 1909 this record was also mentioned in the LROS archives. However, further investigation has revealed that the bird was present at the village of Packington in Warwickshire (Leigh 1910) and thus does not form part of the Leicestershire and...

Adult male

Figure 190 Ages and sexes of Marsh Harriers recorded 1941-2005. Figure 190 Ages and sexes of Marsh Harriers recorded 1941-2005. ing the 19th century (in line with the Leicestershire status during this period). It became extinct as a breeding species in Britain in 1899, but recolonisation occurred from 1927 and breeding has been recorded every year since (Holloway 1996). However, another serious decline throughout the 1960s, linked to the use of organochlorine pesticides, resulted in the...

Shorteared Owl Asio flammeus

During the 19th century Browne considered the Short-eared Owl to be a winter migrant to Leicestershire, generally distributed but not common, and noted that it had been recorded at Melton Mowbray, Smeeton Westerby and Leicester amongst others. In Rutland it was described as an autumn migrant by Haines that was not at all plentiful'. The LROS archives, describing the first 40 years of the 20th century, refer to this species as a winter visitor in small...

Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus

Uncommon passage migrant formerly an uncommon to fairly common breeder. During the 19th century the Common Redstart was described by Browne as a summer migrant to Leicestershire, sparingly distributed and breeding, although he thought it was not as common as it once was. He quoted Harley, who wrote in 1841, as saying it had bred within Leicester at the castle and the abbey. It appears that this species was more widespread in Rutland during the 19th century Haines considered it common and...

Month

Figure 527 Monthly occurrence of Great Grey Shrikes 1941 2005. Although most seem to be transient birds, with sightings on single dates only, a few have settled into winter territories and the longest staying birds have been Stanford Reservoir from November 11th 1965 to March 17th 1966 (127 days). Swithland Reservoir from December 2nd 1972 to March 19th 1973 (108 days). Sapcote from February 8th to April 4th 1976 (57 days). Stanford Reservoir from October 6th to November 30th 1974 (56 days)....

Stoughton Newton Harcourt

Figure 539 Number of breeding pairs of Tree Sparrows on two Leicestershire CBC plots 1964 2002. There are still localised areas which hold good breeding numbers, such as at Wanlip North Gravel Pits, where 70 nestlings were ringed in 1999, 15 breeding pairs were present in 2001 and 16 pairs were located in 2002. A project was established at Rutland Water and Eyebrook Reservoir in spring 2000 to investigate the recent population decline and this project is still ongoing. At Rutland Water 229...

Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis

Fairly common to common winter visitor, uncommon breeder. Of all the birds introduced into Britain, the Ruddy Duck has caused most controversy. It also provides a graphic example of how human activity affects avian populations. After being introduced from North America to private collections during the 1930s, birds escaped from 1953 onwards and in 1960 breeding was recorded in the wild at Chew Valley Lake (Somerset). The first published record in Leicestershire involved a bird at...

Willow Tit Poecile montana

The Willow Tit was not distinguished from the Marsh Tit and described in Britain until 1900. It is not mentioned by Browne and Haines stated that the 'supposed sub-species' of Marsh Tit 'the so-called willow-tit' had not been recorded in Rutland. The LROS archives described this species as plentifully distributed during the first part of the 20th century, but records before the 1950s should perhaps be interpreted with some caution and since then there has been a significant decline in numbers....

Marsh Tit Poecile palustris

The Marsh Tit was described by Browne as resident but sparingly distributed in Leicestershire during the 19th century. Haines mentions this species as occurring in Rutland but does not give any details of distribution or abundance. It should be noted that at this time the Willow Tit had not yet been distinguished from the Marsh Tit. The LROS archives described the Marsh Tit as thinly distributed during the first part of the 20th century and this is still the case today. Griffiths (1968) was the...

Collared Dove Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto

The Collared Dove has undergone a remarkable and dramatic range expansion in Europe from its homeland in central Asia since the 1930s. In 1955 a pair bred successfully at Overstrand (Norfolk) but the first British record was probably one at Manton, near Brigg (Lincolnshire) from late July until September 1952. The expansion continued apace resulting in the first Leicestershire record in 1961, when one was disturbed at a newly threshed corn stack at Ratby on May 12th. Three years elapsed before...

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor

During the 19th century it appears that the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was more numerous than today, since Haines described it as resident and fairly common in Rutland and Browne thought it 'probably' rarer than Great Spotted Woodpecker in Leicestershire he would be in no doubt today. The LROS archives described it as 'not uncommon but inclined to be local' during the early part of the 20th century. In the 1940s it appeared to be expanding its range, spreading into new localities, with between...

Black Grouse Tetrao tetrix

Formerly a scarce to uncommon, localised, breeder. Hickling stated that the Black Grouse bred in Charnwood Forest until the middle of the 19th century, being last seen in 1850 but, as with his summary of Red Grouse, this may not be entirely accurate. Browne quotes a Mr Babington, writing in 1842, as saying that the species was present 'near Charnwood Forest, Sharpley etc in tolerable numbers until the last two years. They are now nearly extinct.' Harley, whose diaries covered the...

Rook Rookery Survey Rookeries

In the 19th century the Rook was resident and common, indeed Haines described it as 'undoubtedly too numerous in this district.' He recorded flocks of 400 around Uppingham. Browne recorded breeding at Knighton, Stoneygate and Westcotes within the city of Leicester. Both he and Haines commented on variants with pale plumage tracts, though these are more commonly found in Carrion Crows. The first comprehensive census of the Rook population in Leicestershire was carried out in 1928. Hickling...

Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor

Rare passage and winter visitor recorded in all months between October and April 81 individuals since 1941 and at least 13 previously. It is possible that this species occurred more frequently in the 19th century. Browne cites nine records which, with the exception of an undated bird shot at Anstey, all occurred in a ten-year period between 1882 and 1892 likewise, Haines knew of four Rutland records between 1883 and 1887. A total of 12 or 13 records within ten years is above the recent average...

Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra

Uncommon resident breeder, recent decline. The distribution of the Corn Bunting was fragmented in the 19th century. In Leicestershire, Browne considered it to be a resident, sparingly distributed and more common in winter, especially near farm buildings where it consorted with sparrows and other birds. Haines described it as resident and common in many parts of Rutland, though rare in others. On the east side of Uppingham 20 could be seen in a day, but it was rare near Empingham and Normanton....

N

Figure 316 Monthly occurrence of Little Gulls 1998-2005. Figure 316 Monthly occurrence of Little Gulls 1998-2005. is the next most regular site, followed by the counties' other large reservoirs at Stanford, Swithland, Cropston and Thornton. Away from these areas the Little Gull remains a scarce visitor and the only other sites that have recorded it more than once are the Soar valley gravel pits (nine records involving 13 individuals), Trent Valley Pit (five single birds), Priory Water (four...

Blueheaded WagtailMf flava

A comprehensive review of all records of Blue-headed Wagtail was undertaken in 2004, as on current knowledge it is considered that females are not safely assignable to one particular race and many may be variants or hybrids. This review resulted in 21 previously published records, involving 30 individuals, being considered unacceptable (Fray 2005). The following records of the Blue-headed Wagtail remain acceptable although descriptions do not seem to exist (or have been lost) for a number of...

Osprey Pandion haliaetus

Scarce introduced migrant breeder and scarce to uncommon passage migrant formerly a rare to scarce passage migrant. During the 19th century the Osprey was a rare visitor to the counties. Browne knew of eight records in Leicestershire, including one apparently shot at Edmondthorpe on the very late date of November 13th 1858 the others, most of which were shot, were single birds at Sileby in 1840, Donington Park in October 1841, within the county boundary near Overseal in the autumn of 1841,...

Eider Common Eider Somateria mollissima

Rare vagrant, mainly between October and February 15 records involving 33 individuals. The first record of this maritime duck was a female, seen by many observers, at Eyebrook Reservoir from February 7th to 16th 1976. By the end of 2005 there had been a total of 15 records, involving 33 individuals. Although Eiders have appeared in Leicestershire and Rutland in seven different months, they are essentially very rare winter vagrants, the vast majority having arrived between late October and early...

Goshawk Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentiis

Rare visitor, possibly scarce resident 18 modern records. Browne quotes Harley, writing in 1841, as saying Goshawks 'used to occur not infrequently in our woodlands and forest wilds', but had become exceedingly rare. The species had apparently been captured at Oakley and Gopsall Woods and another was supposedly shot at Allexton in 1881, although Browne was far from convinced by the authenticity of these claims, commenting that he was 'in doubt whether a large female Sparrowhawk has not done...

The Early Years Of The Leicestershire And Rutland Ornithological Society 1940s TO 1960s

Between the work of Browne and Haines at the beginning of the last century and the 1940s, little was published about the birds of Leicestershire and Rutland with the exception of occasional notes in The Zoologist and The Field. During the war years of 1939 1945, however, growing interest in nature conservation led to the foundation of many local societies dedicated to the study of natural history and it was in this context that the Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society was formed....

Longeared Owl Asio otus

Rare resident breeder, scarce winter visitor. The Long-eared Owl is rarely seen due to its nocturnal habits and its preference for coniferous woodland during the breeding season. Its current breeding status is uncertain. During the 19th century both Browne and Haines considered it resident but local and scarce localities where it was recorded included Quorn, Gopsall Wood, Laughton Hills, Ketton and Empingham. The LROS archives mention records from Bradgate Park in 1911, Barkby Holt in February...

Bewicks Swan Tundra Swan

Uncommon to fairly common passage migrant and scarce winter visitor recorded in all months between October and May. Haines noted one shot in April 1870 at Tixover, whilst the only records known to Browne came from Swithland Reservoir, where there were 30 from February 27th to March 7th 1904 and six on December 28th 1906. By 1943, the Bewicks Swan was described as an occasional if somewhat rare visitor' Jolley 1944 this status remained valid throughout the next two decades, evidenced by the fact...

Nightjar European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus

Formerly a scarce to uncommon migrant breeder, now a rare migrant breeder. During the 19 th century Browne knew of several records of Nightjars from the Charnwood Forest area, as well as from Belvoir Woods. Haines considered that this species was a local summer migrant in Rutland which had increased during the late 19th century and bred most commonly at Burley and Ketton. According to the LROS archives it was very local during the first 40 years of the 20th century but used to occur regularly...

Breeding Birds

The Leicestershire and Rutland breeding bird list currently stands at 135, of which 102 could be classed as regular. Over the last 160 years or so 18 species have become extinct as breeding birds in the counties 11 were lost during the 19th or early 20th century, at a time when most of these particular species were contracting their ranges due to a variety of factors mainly human persecution . The Corn Crake ceased to breed in the counties some time around the 1960s, again in line with national...

Waterbirds

Systematic counts of wildfowl have been carried out in one form or another since at least 1950, either as part of official long-term monitoring projects such as the Wetland Bird Survey WeBS organised jointly by the British Trust for Ornithology, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, or as individual studies by local observers with a particular interest in a certain area. Thus there is a wealth of data...

Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus

Scarce winter and passage visitor recorded in all months between September and April, with the majority from October to December 72 modern records involving 73 individuals. Probably a former rare breeding resident. According to Browne, a keeper named Adams reported that this species used to nest in the Charnwood region regularly before the enclosure of the Forest in 1811. Haines thought that it 'no doubt occurred often enough in Rutland in the days of the Raven and Kite', although he had no...

Quail Common Quail Coturnix coturnix

Scarce to uncommon summer migrant in varying numbers recorded between April and September with most from late May to July. Breeding difficult to prove. Occasionally heard, but rarely seen, the Quail is one of Leicestershire and Rutland's most unpredictable and enigmatic visitors. Today it is a scarce to uncommon summer visitor in varying numbers and the story appears to have been similar in the 19th century, although it was perhaps slightly commoner at that time. Browne quotes Harley as saying...

Kestrel Common Kestrel Falco tinnuncuus

The Kestrel is Leicestershire and Rutland's commonest and most widespread raptor, as always appears to have been the case. During the 19th century, Browne described it as 'resident and generally distributed' in Leicestershire, although Haines considered it to be 'much persecuted by gamekeepers' in Rutland he also thought that it was migratory, with comparatively few remaining through December and January. The next comment on this species' status appeared in the first LROS Annual Report, in...

Systematic List Of The Birds Of Leicestershire And Rutland

The Systematic List only includes records up to December 31st 2005. Highlights from 2006, 2007 and 2008 are given in Appendix 10 . Nomenclature, scientific names and the sequence of species follow the official British List, as published by the BOU 1992 and updated in their journal Ibis. Subspecies follow those recognised by the BOURC, with additional information from BWP. English names used are usually the older names given in the sixth edition of the British List, although the new BOU names,...

Geology

Geological Map Leicestershire

The River Soar divides the counties geologically. To the west is an extensive area of Triassic Mercia mudstones with outcrops of pre-Cambrian granite and sedimentary rock on the high ground of Charnwood reaching its highest point at Bardon Hill, 279 metres . In the far north-west there are areas of Triassic sandstone and Carboniferous coal measures close to the county boundary. To the east of the River Soar an area of Lower Lias clays supporting rich farmland extends from north to south. The...

Some Aspects Of Visible Migration

Visible migration is greatly influenced by the weather, especially wind direction and strength but also cloud cover. In Leicestershire and Rutland any significant northerly element in the wind reduces the amount of movement, and wind directions from between west and south-east seem to be the most productive. Anything more than a moderate breeze gives low counts, and clear skies can cause birds to pass over too high to be identified or even seen. Movements can intensify as rain approaches but...

Foreword

The birds of Leicestershire and Rutland were first summarised in 1889 in Montagu Browne's book entitled The Vertebrate Animals of Leicestershire and Rutland. Eighty-nine years later, in 1978, the late Ronald Hickling published his book Birds in Leicestershire and Rutland. In those intervening years, many changes to the status of the counties' avifauna occurred as so-called progress marched across the countryside altering the natural habitats once and for all. Now, 30 years on from Ronald...

Review Of Past Studies

The pioneer of migration studies in the counties was R. Eric Pochin, who looked for evidence of passage in his observations of birds at Croft Hill between 1940 and 1952. He summarised his findings in the LROS Annual Report for 1952 Pochin 1953 , picking out clear movements of Starlings, Greenfinches, Linnets, Tree Pipits autumn flocks of 20 , Meadow Pipits, wagtails, warblers, Song Thrushes, Northern Wheatears, Common Redstarts, Robins, Dunnocks, hirundines and Common Swifts. The predominant...

Acknowledgements

This book has been written on behalf of the Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society LROS and would not have come to fruition without their generous financial support. It would also not have been possible without the contribution of many hundreds of individuals and organisations who have submitted records over the last 65 years for a full list of contributors, see Appendix 3. All royalties from this book will be donated to LROS. Other organisations that have been helpful in the...

The Impact Of Rutland Water

The late James Fisher, a highly respected British ornithologist, was one of the first people to recognise the potential of the new reservoir as a major site for birds ten years before the first water became impounded by the huge dam at Empingham. The Leicestershire and Rutland Trust for Nature Conservation now the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust LRWT , began negotiating with the Welland and Nene River division of Anglian Water Authority now Anglian Water in the early 1970s to develop...

The Impact Of Rutland Water 1970s TO 1990s

The 1970s ushered in a period of rapid change in ornithology, both locally and nationally. First, some of the problems which had beset previous generations rationing, limited transport and communication, scant reference material became a fading memory as developments in technology brought previously unavailable opportunities. Second, the construction and development of the reservoir now known as Rutland Water was to have significant and largely unforeseen consequences for ornithology locally,...

Habitats And Farming

The wetland habitats for which the counties are now best known are actually the most recent. Rutland Water, which is already an outstanding inland site of national and international importance to the extent that it merits its own chapter in this book, has been part of the landscape for just one generation. The oldest reservoirs in the counties are Blackbrook 1791 , Saddington 1830 and Knipton, which was built soon afterwards. The reservoirs at Thornton, Cropston and Swithland were constructed...