The Birds of Oakhill & Goole Brick Ponds

Compiled, collated and written by Paul Adams

Welcome to this report detailing the species of bird recorded at the site in 2012. Before going into the list I must make a personal comment. The Oakhill and Goole Brick Ponds area has for many many years been a much loved place to visit. Whether to see the abundance of wildlife. Or to simply take a pleasant ramble and enjoy. Situated on the western outskirts of the town of Goole, this extensive area has a diverse range of habitats. From large freshwater ponds to wetland reedbed. Open meadow to woodland. It is only in recent years, that the area has been given the much needed attention that it richly deserves. The Friends of Oakhill. A group of enthusiastic, hard working and dedicated volunteers have over several years transformed what was a place that had sadly fallen into neglect, into a place that the people Goole and beyond can enjoy and be proud of. No easy task considering the large size of the area. I highly commend their efforts. Conservation work is not easy and is always on going. Volunteers are the unsung heroes.

To my knowledge no year report has been written before, hence this. But it is worth mentioning some species that have been seen in years gone by. Such as, 5 species of Owl. (those being Little. Tawny. Barn. Short-eared and Long-eared). Others include Hawfinch. Snow Bunting, and even a rarity in the form of Melodious Warbler! Some readers may know more? I would be more than interested to hear.

2012 has seen the recording of species that are in serious decline and under real threat on a nationwide scale. These are Grey Partridge. Turtle Dove. Willow Tit. Song Thrush and Yellowhammer. No proof of breeding has been found of any of these. However they have been regularly recorded. Particularly during the breeding season. Our summer visiting Turtle Dove is a delightful sight, as is its pleasant purring song. Given the large size of the area it is possible that there could be 3 pairs of Willow Tit. Three separate areas showed this species present on a regular basis. The female Willow Tit excavates her nest hole in old split or decaying willow. Oakhill and the Brick Ponds have ideal nesting habitat for Willow Tit. Song Thrush and Yellowhammer used to be “two a penny”. Today they are uncommon and increasingly becoming scarce.

I am most grateful to the following who have contributed and informed me of their sightings during 2012.Daniel Challenger. Patricia Challenger. Shealagh Cynfal-Wells. Jamie Evans. Barry Greenacre. Peter Hinks. Peter Kendall. Mike Pilsworth. Brian Smith. Lorainne Smith. Glen Widdowson. I hope you find it an interesting read.

Systematic List

Mute Swan Cygnus olor

A pair present at the Brick Ponds in most months. Has bred at Oakhill in the small stretch of reeds.

Greylag Goose Anser anser
Skeins of up 70 passing over during the winter months. Up to 6 occasionally at Oakhill.

Canada Goose Branta canadensis
1 to 2 on occasions at Oakhill. C50 noted coming into roost on 4th November (DC)

Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
2 flying over on 28th March. (DC. BS. LS)

Wigeon Anas penelope
A calling individual on 4th November (DC)

Teal Anas crecca
Noted in the wetland area with 12 on 4th February and 4 on 19th February (DC)

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
2 pairs at the Brick Ponds.

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Recorded on many dates at Oakhill. A maximum of 32 on 1st March (PH)

Goosander Mergus merganser
2 noted on 17th March (JE). 3 flew over east on 18th March.

Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
2 at the car park on 10th June.

Grey Partridge Perdix perdix
A pair were regularly seen near the Brick Ponds during the summer months (DC, PH)

Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
Present throughout the year.

Cormorant Phalacracorax carbo
1 to 2 occasionally fishing at Oakhil.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Singles noted at various site locations throughout the year.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
A single was heard at Oakhill on 23rd and 25th March (PH. BS), and seen on 9th April (PA)

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
A pair successfully bred at Oakhill. An occupied nest was discovered on 16th June (DC). A brood of4 young “stripeys” on 15th July (PA. DC)

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
1 to 2 seen on many dates during the early and later months of the year.

Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
Regularly recorded throughout the year. Probably breeds.

Buzzard Buteo buteo
Noted on many dates by many observers at Oakhill. 3 on 5th September (PH)

Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Present throughout the year.

Peregrine Falco peregrinus
1 hunting on 21st February.

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus
Heard on many dates (DC. SCW) in the wetland area. Also heard to the east of the Brick Ponds.

Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Present throughout the year.

Coot Fulica atra
Up to 8 at Oakhill throughout the year.

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
Flocks seen in fields near Oakhill. 27 flying over Oakhill Pond on 11th November.

Snipe Gallinago gallinago

Singles flushed from the wetland areas on several dates.

Woodcock Scolopax rusticola
1 on 15th January (DC)

Common Gull Larus canus
Occasional visitor to Oakhill in single figure numbers.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
Occasional visitor to Oakhill in single figure numbers.

Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus
Present throughout the year. Large numbers 200 + during the winter months.

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
1 was in Potter Grange on 18th March.

Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
First noted on 15th May (DC. JE). Present throughout the breeding season near the Brick Ponds with
2 seen on several dates (many observers)

Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
1 on 13th May (PH). 1 on 14th May (SCW)

Tawny Owl Strix aluco
Many records. Noted at Potter Grange (DC) and a close flying one at Oakhill (LS)

Long-eared Owl Asio otus
The surveys conducted by Daniel Challenger and Glen Widdowson proved the presence of this
highly nocturnal species. A female was heard near the level crossings area on 14th July with a pair
being accidentally flushed the day after.

Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
1 was seen on 4th November (DC)

Swift Apus apus
A few sightings of spring passage birds. The first being 3 on 13th May. (PH)

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Many records from the Brick and Oakhill Ponds. One was watched fetching and carrying food at
the Brick Ponds.

Green Woodpecker Picus viridis
Present throughout the year. Proven breeding by Peter Hinks.

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
Present throughout the year.

Magpie Pica pica
Present throughout the year.

Jay Garrulus glandarius
Singles on 28th January. 25th March. 13th August. 3 on 18th November. (PA. DC. PH

Jackdaw Corvus monedula
A few records during winter.

Rook Corvus frugilegus
Seen on the eastern edge of the recording area in good numbers.

Carrion Crow Corvus corone
Present throughout the year.

Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Many records January to March. September to December.

Blue Tit Parus caeruleus
Abundant all areas.

Great Tit Parus major
Abundant all areas.

Coal Tit Parus ater
Many records of individuals January to March. September to December.

Willow Tit Parus montanus
Present throughout the year at three locations.

Skylark Alauda arvensis
A regular singing bird March to June. Southerly autumn passage noted.

Swallow Hirundo rustica
The first was noted on 18th April (DC). Few records for the summer. 10 on 16th June (DC)

House Martin Delichon urbica
The first was seen on 18th May (PH). 20 on 16th June (DC)

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Present throughout the year in good numbers. Several parties numbering 10 to 20.

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
The first was heard on 18th March. Thereafter numbers increased. Maximum of 16 on 9th April.

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
The first was on 16th April (PH)

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
The first heard on 9th April.

Garden Warbler Sylvia borin
The first on 9th April.

Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
The first records was on 5th May during the Dawn Chorus Walk. (PA, DC. MP). With 5 heard.

Whitethroat Sylvia communis
The first heard on 30th April (PH). 6 on 13th May.

Cetti’s Warbler Cettia cetti
One gave a burst of song on 21st February near the wetland area. (PA)

Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia
A somewhat late arrival on 14th July with an individual “reeling” to the east of the car park, (PA,

Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
First heard on 30th April (PH)

Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
First heard on 30th April (PH)

Treecreeper Certhia familaris
Present throughout the year.

Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Present throughout the year.

Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Occasional visitor to Potter Grange in small numbers.

Blackbird Turdus merula
Present throughout the year. Larger numbers in November C100 +)

Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
Flocks of up to 20 January to March. C50+ in November.

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
Noted territorial at Potter Grange and the Brick Ponds. Occasionally heard at Oakhill.

Redwing Turdus iliacus
A few single figure records from January to March. The autumn returnee influx more substantial

Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus
2 were noted on 28th January (DC. BS)

Robin Erithacus rubecula
Present throughout the year.

Dunnock Prunella modularis
Present throughout the year.

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
1 flew north on 8th January (PA)

Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba
Singles on many dates mainly around the wetland area.

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
A single to east of the car park throughout the year.

Chaffinch Fringillla coelebs
Present throughout the year in good numbers.

Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
Few and far between. Records mainly from Potter Grange.

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Present throughout the year. Charms of up 30.

Siskin Carduelis spinus
1 at Potter Grange on 14th January (PA) and 7 at the level crossing on 5th November (PH)

Linnet Carduelis cannabina
A scattering of records throughout the year, individuals to west of the Brick Ponds.

Lesser Redpoll Carduelis cabaret
Several records in November. A maximum of 7 on 8th December (DC)

Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Present throughout the year and breeding at Oakhill.

Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
1 record only! A single on 11th November.

Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus
Present throughout the year in the wetland area.

Download the Birds of Oakhill list here 

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