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Nottinghamshire

Barn Owl Tyto alba ©Steve Blain Website

Birding Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire (abbreviated to Notts) is a county in the East Midlands region of England, bordering South Yorkshire to the north-west, Lincolnshire to the east, Leicestershire to the south, and Derbyshire to the west. The traditional county town is Nottingham.

Nottinghamshire, like Derbyshire, and South Yorkshire, has extensive coal seams up to 900 metres thick occurring largely in the north of the county. These are overlaid by sandstones and limestones in the west, and clay in the east. The north of the county is part of the Humberhead Levels - a plain with lots of lakes. The centre and south west of the county, around Sherwood Forest, features undulating hills with ancient oak woodland. Its principal rivers are the Trent, Idle, Erewash, and Soar. The Trent, fed by the Soar, Erewash, and Idle, composed of many streams from Sherwood Forest, run through wide and flat valleys, merging at Misterton. The highest point in Nottinghamshire is 673 feet above sea-level while Silverhill, a spoil heap left by the former Silverhill colliery, a man-made point often cited as the highest, reaches 669 feet. The lowest is Peat Carr, east of Blaxton, at sea level; the Trent is tidal below Cromwell Lock.

Nottinghamshire has an uncanny knack of turning up the unexpected as witnessed by some UK firsts such as Egyptian Nightjar, Lesser Yellowlegs, Dusky Thrush and, more recently, Redhead. The birding habitats vary from the Trent Valley with its numerous gravel pits to extensive woodland estates, some of which have no access at all! There is remnant heathland running patchily up the spine of the county, a stronghold for Nightjar, Woodlark and other heathland birds. Our nearly highest point is a pit top, whilst equally man-made are the unpleasant prairies of modern farming in the northeast. The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has many reserves, large and small, from Attenborough in the south to Lound in the north.

Special birds include Honey Buzzard breeding in summer and lots of wildfowl over wintering.

Top Sites

Clipstone Forest

Satellite View

is an area of extensive conifer and broad-leaved plantations and heaths and host all the expected species. Good access through a network of trails.

Colwick/Netherfield/Holme Pierrepont

Satellite View

The close proximity of three large sites means that they probably have the longest list of species in thecounty. County additions have included Bufflehead, Yellow-browed Warbler, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper and Long-tailed Skua.

Forest Country

Satellite View

Clumber lies at the centre of a number of sites which include Welbeck, Thoresby and Rufford. At Welbeck, there is a raptor watchpoint (SK580721) and is as good as any in England with Honey Buzzard, Goshawk and Osprey viewable over the private and well protected woodland. Clumber has all the woodland birds, noteably Hawfinch in winter.

Hoveringham

Satellite View

As big as Lound but more water dominated. A good site at any time of year with a large winter gull roost. The UK's first Redhead occurred here on a pit which is part of the complex.

Idle Valley Nature Reserve

Webpage

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The site formerly refered to as Lound used to consist of lots of gravel workings surrounded by arable fields and copses. Things have changed here and after over 50 years of gravel extraction and restoration work mainly by Tarmac quarries Ltd. The whole area is a new SSSI NR. Tarmac in consultation with Notts Wildlife Trust have worked to restore the area as a predominantly wetland reserve. The whole area from the town of Retford, going North up to and beyond Lound village, on the west bank and adjacent to the river Idle has been almost compleetly restored and is the new Idle Valley NR. Most of the old Lound gravel pits complex is now part of an SSSI, which is in turn a large part of the new and enlarged IVNR you see today. The reserve is managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. The work on the reserve is suported by lottery funding. NWT also share a brand new eco friendly visitor centre at the Retford end of the reserve with the North Notts College. The first really notable bird for the new reserve was a Steppe Grey Shrike…

Langford/Besthorpe/Girton

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Langford is the site of a proposed RSPB reserve and is attracting good numbers of waders. Besthorpe had seen better days but is currently (2011) undergoing a facelift with a new hide and scrape, while Girton is still working. All three sites are worth birding and often attract county rarities.

Mission Carr Nature Reserve [The Carrs]

Webpage

Satellite View

consists of lowland farmland, ditches and river. In Winter its good for swans and raptors; on passage Dotterel are a highlight some years, and, in summer there are lots of Corn Buntings.

Contributor

Mark Dennis

Montreal

markdennis@progression.net

County Recorder

Andy Hall

10 Staverton Road, Bilborough, Nottingham NG8 4ET

0115 875 9043

andy.h11@ntlworld.com

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 326

County Bird - Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus

Useful Reading

Where to watch birds in the East Midlands

by Rob Fray | Christopher Helm | 2006 | Paperback | 320 pages, 33 line illus, 62 maps

ISBN: 0713675306

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Organisations

Gedling Conservation Trust

Website

The Trust was set up in 2005 to take over the ownership of the Netherfield Lagoons, Nottinghamshire from UK Coal, after they became redundant with the closure of Gedling Pit. The Trust then applied to English Nature to have the site designated as a Local Nature Reserve, so that its importance as a wildlife conservation site would be acknowledged and by-laws could be set up to protect it.

Lound Bird Club

Website

Striving to record, monitor and conserve birds & wildlife found on the Sutton & Lound GP's SSSI (Idle Valley NR) since 1990.

Nottinghamshire Birdwatchers

Website

The Nottinghamshire Birdwatchers is a registered charity with membership open to all. The society aims to promote an interest in birds in Nottinghamshire. We are a friendly group for anybody interested in wild birds, living in, or visiting, Nottinghamshire, irrespective of their level of knowledge, experience or skill. Also see their Facebook page.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Website

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is the county's leading conservation charity run by local people for the benefit of local wildlife, with 67 nature reserves - part of a UK network of 47 local Wildlife Trusts working to protect wildlife.

RSPB Mansfield Local Group

Webpage

The group's aim is to support actively the work of the RSPB in the local community and to involve RSPB members and the wider public in the Society's conservation, public affairs, education, fundraising and other activities. We have regular monthly indoor meetings, on the first Wednesday of the month, locally throughout the year and have occasional day-trips to local nature reserves.

RSPB Nottinghamshire Members Group

Webpage

The Nottingham group aims to introduce new members to the RSPB to help support its conservation work and to share enthusiasm for wildlife.

Rushcliffe Barn Owl Project

Website

The Rushcliffe Barn Owl Project (RuBOP) was founded in 1996 by Clive James. Its aims are to conserve and increase the population of Barn Owls in Rushcliffe - 400 square kilometres of south Nottinghamshire.

Wollaton Natural History Society

Website

The Society exists to promote the study and appreciation of the natural world by arranging regular illustrated talks, guided walks, recording and publications.

Reserves

Abbreviations Key

LNR King's Mill Reservoir

Webpage

Satellite View

King's Mill Reservoir is a medium-sized reservoir sandwiched between the towns of Sutton in Ashfield & Mansfield in west Nottinghamshire. It covers approximately 70 acres (28ha) and is maintained naturally by the River Maun. Most of the edge of the reservoir is vegetated with trees and scrub, predominantly willow but also ash, birch, popular, oak and sycamore. Patches of Phragmites and reedmace can also be found in several areas. In close proximity to the reservoir are a number of paddocks and areas of arable land, although these have been significantly reduced recently with the construction of the new (unwanted and waste of time) A617 bypass!

NWT Attenborough Nature Reserve

Website

Satellite View

An award winning eco-friendly visitor attraction surrounded by the tranquil waters of the beautiful Attenborough Nature Reserve. Situated within easy reach of Nottingham and Derby. Barton Lane, Attenborough NG9 6DY…

NWT Bunny Old Wood

Webpage

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Bunny Old Wood is one of the oldest natural features of the South Nottinghamshire landscape - the north-facing slope is likely to have been tree-covered for over 10,000 years. A great place to visit, especially in spring and summer when you'll see many colourful ancient woodland flowers such as bluebell, wood anemone and yellow archangel.

NWT Daneshill Lakes

Webpage

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Daneshill Lakes is a former gravel extraction area which has now been carefully restored to benefit wildlife. The gravel pits themselves have been flooded to create an open water habitat surrounded by willow woodland. Many wild flowers also grow here, attracting butterflies such as brimstone, common blue, meadow brown, gatekeeper and ringlet.

NWT Idle Valley

Webpage

Satellite View

This spectacular wetland site covers an area of 450 hectares following the River Idle northwards. The size of 600 football pitches, it is one of the largest sites for nature conservation in the East Midlands. The acquisition of the site is supported by a grant from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

NWT Mission Carr

Webpage

Satellite View

In 2001 the former Misson Training Area in North Nottinghamshire became the Misson Carr SSSI Nature Reserve when the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust purchased it from the Ministry of Defence. This fascinating nature reserve contains a variety of habitats including nationally rare wet woodlands, marsh, and old grazing pastures. It also has the county’s largest remaining fragment of a fenland system that once covered much of the local landscape, but which has been progressively lost to drainage and agriculture over the last three hundred years.

NWT Skylarks Nature Reserve

Webpage

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Skylarks Nature Reserve is an attractive wetland nature reserve owned by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. We created this green space back in 1982, specifically designing it so that wheelchair users can easily access the site - this was the first accessible nature reserve in the UK! In 2014 we successfully purchased a further 36ha of land and water to the south of Adbolton Lane, creating the largest nature reserve in Rushcliffe.

RSPB Langford Lowfields

Webpage

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Langford Lowfields is still, in part, a working quarry. Therefore, there is strictly no access beyond fence boundaries within the reserve. We’re working in partnership with Tarmac to restore a sand and gravel quarry on the River Trent into the biggest reedbed in the East Midlands. The habitats are developing rapidly, with 40 hectares of reedbed now planted, wildflower-rich meadows surrounding the wetland and a three-hectare mature woodland.

Wollaton Park Wildlife

Information

Satellite View

The main attraction in winter is the visiting wildfowl and the flocks of finches and thrushes. Several different ducks may be seen on the lake at this time including wigeon, gadwall, pochard and the odd shoveler. The new year sometimes brings more interesting species such as smew and goosander and in harsher weather goldeneye…

Forums & Mailing Lists

Nottinghamshire Birdwatchers Sightings

Sightings

This page will be updated on a daily basis, to provide a convenient news service to scarce & rare birds found within the County Nottinghamshire.

Nottsbirdsnews

Mailing List

Welcome to everyone with an interest in birdwatching in the county of Nottinghamshire.

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

New Horizons Tours

Tour Operator

Welcome to our Birdwatching courses, tours and tailor made itineraries. Christopher & Alison Hall, New Horizons, Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, NG16 3DD Tel/Fax: 01773 716550.

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Browns B&B

Accommodation

The award winning" Browns," was established in 1990. We are the only 5 Star Gold Award, with Visit England in North Nottinghamshire, and also 5 Gold Star Award with The AA, and have Mobility Level 1 with NAS. Since 2008 we have been included in The Michelin Guide...

Blogs

Nick Crouch - notbirding

BLOG

This site is dedicated to birding around Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire (UK), primarily at the gravel pits to the north of the town - Collingham Pits, Besthorpe Nature Reserve, Langford Lowfields and Girton Pits - and the Cotham Flash area and Kilvington Lakes to the south. It also covers forays elsewhere in Nottinghamshire, and beyond, and other wildlife sightings (especially butterflies)...

The Verdant Wildlife Blog

Blog

Blog of bird tours to Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and beyond…

Tom Shields - The Beardy Birder

BLOG

I mainly do my birding at my local patch, Holme Pierrepont, but still bird around Notts as much as I can, with occasional excursions further afield. See also: https://twitter.com/thebeardybirder

Other Links

Erewash Valley Wildlife

Website

A site to discuss and promote the extensive wildlife rich area of the Erewash Valley on the Derbyshire/Notts Border…

Notts Birdwatchers

Twitter Website

Bird news, events and sightings for Nottinghamshire. The only official Twitter account for Nottinghamshire Birdwatchers.

Species Action Plan - Barn Owl

Article PDF

The barn owl is found in almost every continent and is one of the most widely distributed land birds in the world. It nests and roosts in tree cavities, old and derelict farm buildings and barns, and feeds mainly on small mammals such as voles, shrews and mice. Barn owls hunt mainly at night, and may be seen over areas of rough grassland, field margins, hedgerows and derelict land, as well as along water courses, woodland edges and newly planted woodland. The presence of barn owls is a good indicator of the health of biodiversity in lowland areas, as the range of habitats needed by the species is also vital for a wide variety of other animals and plants.

The Birds of Barton in Fabis and Clifton

Webpage

Since moving to Clifton in 1995 I have been using the grove area as my local birding patch and try to visit the area at least twice a week more if possible. To say that this area is underwatched by birders is a understatment i have only seen a handful of other birders in eight years of birding in this area. Good birds have been found at this site but only with a lot of dedication and time seaching the various woods, fields and ponds…

Photographers & Artists

Artist - Mike Warren

Gallery

Early paintings contained very decorative backgrounds to the bird subject. This emphasis has gradually given way a greater realism while retaining a strong design element. Pictures are painted with acrylics or watercolours on pure rag paper…

Bird Carver - The Bird Whittler

Gallery

Glyn is a professional bird whittler, and has extensively studied birds in their natural habitats. Each individual edition songbird is whittled from a block of lime, using only a knife. They are then hand painted with acrylics…