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South Yorkshire

Bittern Botaurus stellaris ©David Mason Website

Birding South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire is a metropolitan county in England. It is the southernmost county in the Yorkshire and the Humber region and had a population of 1.34 million in 2011. It has an area of 1,552 square kilometres (599 sq mi) and consists of four metropolitan boroughs, Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. South Yorkshire was created on 1 April 1974 as a result of the Local Government Act 1972.

Lying on the east side of the Pennines, South Yorkshire is landlocked, and borders Derbyshire to the west and south-west, West Yorkshire to the north-west, North Yorkshire to the north, the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north-east, Lincolnshire to the east and Nottinghamshire to the south-east. The Sheffield Urban Area is the tenth most populous conurbation in the UK, and dominates the western half of South Yorkshire with over half of the county's population living within it. South Yorkshire lies within the Sheffield City Region.

The metropolitan county lies largely on the carboniferous rocks of the Yorkshire coalfield which have produced a rolling landscape with hills, escarpments and broad valleys. In this landscape there is widespread evidence of both current and former industrial activity. There are numerous mine buildings, former spoil heaps and iron and steel plants. The scenery is a mixture of built up areas, industrial land with some dereliction, and farmed open country. Ribbon developments along transport routes including canal, road and rail are prominent features of the area although some remnants of the pre industrial landscape and semi-natural vegetation still survive.

The west of the county is fringed by the Pennines and its foothills, most of which lie inside the Peak District National Park and also contain carboniferous rocks, with the underlying geology primarily being millstone grit sandstones rising from the Yorkshire coalfield.

The Pennine range within the county is distinguished by the moorlands and plateaus of the Dark Peak while the Pennine fringes are distinguished by many steep valleys, and a transition from uplands and rural landscape to lowlands and urban landscape towards the east of the county.

Major rivers which cross the area are the Dearne, Rother and Don. To the east, in the Doncaster area the landscape becomes flatter as the eastward dipping carboniferous rocks of the coalfield are overlain by the lacustrine deposits of the Humberhead Levels.

Despite the urban and industrial areas there are a number of very important reserves in the area and wildlife areas formed from restoration of former industrial or mineral extraction areas.

Top Sites

Potteric Carr

Satellite View

A Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve, 2 miles from Doncaster, with areas of reed, open water and marshy woodland. Birds include Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Water Rail and Bittern.

County Recorder

Rarities - County Recorder or YNURC Chris Robinson

01302 788304


County Recorder: Martin Wells

715 Manchester Road, Stockbridge, Sheffield S36 1DQ

0114 288 4211


Useful Reading

Best Birdwatching Sites Yorkshire

By Neil Glenn, with John Miles | Buckingham Press | 2017 | Paperback | 340 Pages | 120 Two-tone Maps |

ISBN: 9780956987679

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of the Sheffield Area, including the NE Peak District

Edited by David Wood & Richard Hill | Sheffield Bird Study Group | 2013 | Hardback

ISBN: 9780907575382

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to Watch Birds in Yorkshire

by John Mather | Christopher Helm | 2008 | Paperback | 320 pages, line drawings, maps |

ISBN: 9780713687828

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Yorkshire Bird Report 2011

Edited by Craig Thomas | Yorkshire Naturalists Union| 2013 | Paperback | 248 pages, colour photos, colour & b/w illustrations, colour maps, colour tables |

ISBN: #206948

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

Chair of the YNU Rarities Committee

Garry Taylor 07970 714178

Yorkshire Ornithological Committee

Chairman: Craig Thomas 16 Scarborough Road, Filey, North Yorkshire, YO14 9EF, Tel: 01723 513055 e-mail craigcthomas@yahoo.co.uk Secretary: Jim Pewtress, 31 Piercy End, Kirkbymoorside, York, YO62 6DQ, Tel: 01751 431001 e-mail trivialis@operamail.com Elected members: Mike Pilsworth, Hillcrest, Whitgift, Goole, DN14 8HL, Tel: 01405 704082 e-mail: mikepilsworth@hotmail.com Protection Liaison Officer: D. J. Simpson, 51 Heather Way, Harrogate, HG3 2SH, Tel: 01423 538645 e-mail: doug@milvus.me.uk Representative on Humber Wildfowl Refuge Committee: Miss A Gowland


RSPB Airedale & Bradford Local Group


This is the website of the Airedale & Bradford Local Group. RSPB local groups are a great way to meet friendly, like-minded people in your area while learning more about birds and wildlife.

RSPB Doncaster Local Group


The local group is composed of local RSPB members who want to learn more about birds and conservation, go on visits and support the valuable work of the RSPB in various ways.

RSPB Sheffield Members Group


This web site provides information for members and anyone who is interested in the work of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Sheffield Members Group…

Sheffield Bird Study Group


Sheffield Bird Study Group was formed in December 1972 as a forum for birdwatchers in and around the city with an active interest in ornithology. The group's recording area, covering twelve 10km squares with the city roughly in the middle, is hugely diverse, stretching north to the outskirts of Barnsley, south to Chesterfield, east to the lowlands beyond Rotherham and Bolsover, and west to the highest tops of the Peak District National Park….

Sorby Natural History Society


The Sorby Recorders who are responsible for organising surveys and collecting information on the local fauna. A list of interesting birds appears in each Newsletter, whilst reports on other groups appear in the Record…

Yorkshire Naturalists Union


The YNU has four basic aims: To study the wildlife of Yorkshire. To record the results of these studies. To present these studies. To use the information for wildlife conservation…

Yorkshire Red Kites


The Yorkshire Red Kite Project was the fifth in this sequence and began at Harewood Estate in West Yorkshire in 1999. By this time, the newly established Chilterns population had been so successful that, up to 2003, it was able to supply a total of 68 young birds for release in Yorkshire…


Abbreviations Key

Rother Valley Country Park


Satellite View

Rother Valley Country Park lies on the South Yorkshire / Derbyshire border. The site features regular updates of birds seen within the Country Park boundary, we also include a large selection of photos, all taken within the Park. Conservation has always played a part in the valley, with areas of open water and marshland alongside the Rother prior to open-casting. These attracted migrating birds which use the river for navigation as they travel north and south during the spring and autumn migrations…

RSPB Dearne Valley - Old Moor


Satellite View

Situated right at the heart of the Dearne Valley, Old Moor is a wonderful place to come and watch wildlife. The skies, fields and open water are teeming with birds throughout the year…

YWT Potteric Carr Reserve


Satellite View

Potteric Carr is one of over sixty reserves owned or leased by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. It is situated about 2 miles from the centre of Doncaster, close to the M18 and A6182. Its wide range of habitats from open water and marsh to woodland, covering an area of about 130 ha., give it an interesting diversity of wildlife. In addition, its paths through attractive scenery make it an ideal venue for all kinds of visitor ranging from those who simply enjoy the quiet of the countryside to the dedicated wildlife expert…

Forums & Mailing Lists


Mailing List

Discussion Group - This list is for Yorkshire birders, birdwatchers, birdspotters, and related subjects in the Counties of North, East, South, and West Yorkshire England. The list is a forum for news of rare bird sightings in the four Counties. You may also make requests for bird-related information and information on local birdwatching sites. This is a public forum do not post details of species or sites that could help egg collectors identify nest sites. Do not send file attachments.

Trip Reports


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.


Barnsley Bird Sightings


Bird & wildlife sightings from the Barnsley recording area…

Doncaster Birding


Daily update of birds reported in the Doncaster District…

Hatfield Moors Birding BLOG


Bird and other wildlife information service for Hatfield Moors, South Yorkshire

Of Birds and Pies


The definitive site to Pie gobbling when birding…

Paul Cooper - Little Brown Job


Paul had not been birding for a few years now but has been bitten by the bug again. This is his diary of the the journey back into the world of the little brown job…

Sheffield Wildlife


My name is Pete Mella. I’m an amateur nature-watcher who lives in Sheffield, and this is my blog where I’ll jot down my thoughts, observations and anally-retentive lists based on my wildlife-spotting activities. Posts from 2006-2007 can be found in the old blog at http://sheffieldwildlife.blogspot.com

Other Links

Jon Hornbuckle


Welcome to my personal website. As you can see, I have been hooked by the desire to travel and find new birds, a victim of an obsession for birding. Like most addictions it has its dangers, some of which I have fallen foul of, but it has given me much pleasure and purpose to life. I have had two principles in my travels, firstly to ensure reports are written to help others benefit from my experience, and until recently not to participate in trips run by tour companies (except for the few I’ve led myself). Not that I have anything against tour companies – they do an excellent job and are the best option for many people, but I prefer to have more control over what I do…

Sheffield Photographic Centre


The premier independent dealer in Sheffield for Canon, Pentax, Minolta, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, Kodak, Tamron, Mamiya, Fujicolor, Ilford, Ricoh, Lowepro, Samsung, Kowa, Opticron, Gossen, Meopta, Minox, Swarovski, Agfa, Fotospeed, Tetenal, Forte, Cobra, Metz, Courtenay, Paterson, Kentmere, Manfrotto, Polaroid, Digital Imaging, Used cameras and darkroom equipment, Monochrome products, Chemicals, optics, the list is endless…



SK58 Birders were formed in December 1992, when several local birders met and decided to pool their resources time and experience to build up and share information on local birds and bird-related issues. Members are people who live in and around SK58, i.e. Dinnington, North and South Anston and the outlying villages who are interested in birds, especially local birds. Members range from people who enjoy watching and feeding birds from their homes to the ardent birder, who enjoys finding and watching birds at the highest level. Membership is open to anyone who has an interest in local birds at whatever level. Membership is £5 per year. SK58 Birders are unique. No other group concentrates on just a single 10km square.

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - John Hobson


Some excellent shots from tthis Doncaster photographer…