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 2017 a total of 66 species were recorded across the Reserve from 1005 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 2017 TOTAL 14
AMBER LIST – AT RISK SPECIES 2017 TOTAL 16
GREEN LIST or not UK classified* in 2017 TOTAL 36
Our iconic species such as Yellowhammers, Tree Sparrows and Skylarks were recorded again in 2017 as were Woodcock. Whitethroat and Willow Warblers continue to be regular visitors. Sadly no Willow Tits or were spotted in 2017 whilst our volunteers were out and about. Corn Bunting and Grey Wagtail were species recorded for the first time in 2016 and were seen again in 2017.
Species observed in 2017 after an absence were:
A Treecreeper was seen in 2016 (travelling with a flock of Blue and Great Tits) the first sighting since 2013 so we were pleased to record another sighting in 2017.
Little Owls were seen in 2016 after a gap of one year but we did not record any sightings in 2017
Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen at their usual nest site in 2017 and did produce and fledge 2 young.
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!
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.