Gorse Hill Nature Reserve is home to a wide variety of birds, Yellowhammers are one of our star species. These can be regularly seen in Spring and Summer from the public footpaths.
Our diverse habitat attracts and supports these species. Our wetlands and reed beds are home to birds such as Reed Buntings and Sedge Warblers. Moorhens and Mallards breed on our ponds and hunting Grey Herons are regular visitors.
Woodlands, hedgerows and meadows support many other species from the common little Blue Tits
to the magnificent hunting Sparrowhawk
Migrants such as Swallows and Swifts are regular annual spring and summer visitors as are Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Whitethroats. Fieldfare and Redwing arrive in autumn.
Gorse Hill is also close to large wetland Reserves such as Martin Mere (Wildfowl and Wetland Trust) (WWT) and Marshside (The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) (RSPB) which means that in autumn and winter our visitors can watch large skeins of Pink-footed Geese and Whooper Swans fly to and fro between these Reserves and the surrounding farmland feeding grounds, as well as witnessing the annual migration flights; quite a sight to behold.
Our volunteers and visitors record any wildlife they observe whilst out and about and this, together with our annual Dawn Chorus walk and nest box monitoring builds up a picture of the bird life found on the Reserve. These sightings are recorded and this valuable snapshot is entered on the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Bird Track database.
The red list species not only include our iconic Yellowhammers but also Linnets, Tree Sparrows and Willow Tits.
In 2016 a total of 66 species were recorded across the Reserve from 773 individual species recordings by our volunteers and visitors. Of these 66 species 8 are classified as non-resident.
We record our sightings under the Red, Amber and Green list headings. These classifications are taken from the Birds of Conservation Concern 4 report 2015.
Full records for the Reserve since 2009 are available at the Reserve Information Centre.
RED LIST – ENDANGERED SPECIES 2016 TOTAL 17
Grey Wagtail was recorded for the first time in 2016.
AMBER LIST – AT RISK SPECIES 2016 TOTAL 16
|Snipe was recorded for the first time in 2016.|
GREEN LIST or not UK classified* in 2016 TOTAL 33
|A Nuthatch was recorded for the first time in 2016|
Our iconic species such as Yellowhammers, Tree Sparrows and Skylarks were recorded again in 2016 as were Lesser Redpoll. Woodcock, Whitethroat and Willow Warblers continue to be regular visitors. Sadly no Willow Tits or Water Rails were spotted in 2016 whilst our volunteers were out and about.
A Treecreeper was again seen in 2016 (travelling with a flock of Blue and Great Tits) the first sighting since 2013.
Little Owls were seen in 2016 after a gap of one year
Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen at their usual nest site in 2016 but did not breed there again this year.
Our habitat encourages natural nest building but we also provide 180+ nest boxes; you can imagine our housekeeping tasks every year to clean, sterilise and maintain these boxes! Volunteers are always welcome to come and help out!
Of these nest boxes we monitored 24 throughout the 2016 nesting season and reported our findings to the BTO. In the 2016 season 14 nests were complete,71 eggs were laid, 53 of which hatched and 46 young fledged. The species were Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Tree Sparrow and Great Tit. In the one Coal Tit nest monitored 12 eggs were laid, all 12 hatched and all 12 fledged!
Bird ringing is also carried out by a licenced (by BTO) bird ringer. Ringing is carried out during the main nest box surveys as well as on an ad hoc basis throughtout the year.