Moors

MoorsThis overhead image shows clearly the location of the Thorne and Hatfield Moors, both showing up as dark brown surrounded by large fields. Please click on the image to enlarge.

Thorne Moors are to the north of the M180, Hatfield Moors to the south. The A18, the Doncaster to Scunthorpe railway and the Stainforth Keadby canal also pass through the arable area between the two moors, together forming a fairly effective barrier for all but the most determined wildlife.

Since this image (courtesy of Google Maps) was taken peat milling has almost ceased and there has been rewetting of the bare peat and some recolonisation by sedges.

The regeneration of both Moors is the responsibility of Natural England.

Click below to read in more detail

Humberhead

The Humberhead Peatlands is the official name of the National Nature Reserve, and comprises of both Thorne and Hatfield Moors.

A nationally and internationally important area for wildlife, containing 5% of the lowland raised mire in Britain; one of this country’s rarest and most threatened habitats. They are the two largest lowland raised mires in Britain. In total they cover an area of approx 3000 hectares. The Moors are notified as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Special Protection Areas (SPAs) under the European Birds Directive, Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) under European Habitats Directive and qualify as Wetlands of International Importance under the terms of the Ramsar Convention).

The Humberhead Peatlands are a meeting place of northern and southern species; a remarkably large number of plants and animals attain their distributional range limit at this point, resulting in a unique species mix. These raised mires are rather different from other lowland raised mires in Britain and unique as an ecosystem type: The two Moors can be considered the only true Continental raised Mires in Britain with stronger affinities with the Baltic lowlands.

Thorne Moors

thorne moors

Hatfield Moors

hatfield moor

Peat


What is peat?

All peatlands, including bogs, develop in waterlogged conditions where dead plants decay slowly because of a lack of oxygen. The result of this in-situ accumulation of organic matter is peat. The rate of decay is so slow that the dead plant remains can resemble the living material even after several thousand years.

The term peatland refers to any wetland which contains peat, whether or not the natural vegetation and hence the processes of a peat-forming system still survive on the site. A mire is a wetland which supports at least some vegetation that is normally peat-forming. In some cases, the terms mire and peatland are synonymous, but when all trace of peat-forming vegetation has been lost, a peatland is no longer a mire. Equally, there are some mires where, despite the presence of species which are normally peat-forming, special circumstances have prevented the accumulation of peat.

In their natural state, peatlands, or more accurately mires, support distinctive assemblages of plants and other wildlife, including many species which depend on mire ecosystems for the major part of their natural distribution. Much of the natural heritage interest is derived from systems which are capable of accumulating peat. Peat accumulates largely because the decay of plant material is inhibited by waterlogging. Conditions which favour the development of a vegetation which is normally peat-forming vary widely in Britain, thereby giving rise to different kinds of mire. Here, a distinction between fens and bogs is important.

Fen systems are fed by direct precipitation and by water passing through the underlying mineral subsoil, sediments and rock, or by water which drains from the surrounding catchment as surface runoff or as lateral seepage. Thus, for example, fens may occur at the margins of lakes, on river flood plains and where there are springs or see pages. Fen systems may vary from base-rich to base-poor depending upon the soluble cations available from the surrounding and underlying geology, particularly calcium and magnesium. They may also vary from nutrient-rich to nutrient-poor depending on the levels of phosphorus and nitrogen available in solution. Not all fens are peat-forming, particularly where rates of water flow and/or high solute concentrations result in rapid breakdown of organic matter. Some fens may also be the ecological precursors of bog systems. Under appropriate management, usually involving intensive drainage, fen soils can support productive agricultural systems. Extensive tracts of fenland in Britain, indeed throughout Europe, have been drained for this purpose.

Bogs are found where there is no contact with the groundwater and the only source of water is rainfall. Only a few plants, such as the Sphagnum bog mosses, can cope with the extreme sterile and highly acidic conditions.


Types of bog


Raised bogs form in the lowlands as single isolated domes of peat in an otherwise non- peat landscape. As peat accumulates, the bog rises from the surrounding land. The range of species found in bogs throughout the UK and Europe differ. The easy access to these bogs and their highly prized, deep moss peat make them prime targets for commercial exploitation for horticulture.

bogForm

Bog systems are peat-forming mires which are fed by atmospheric precipitation – rainfall, snow, mist and dust alone. During otherwise dry periods (i.e. no rainfall), occult precipitation from mist, cloud or low-lying fog may influence the surface water-balance or, alternatively, prevent drought-stress in the main peat-forming species. Analyses of bog-pool waters show solute concentrations reflecting closely the inputs derived from rainfall. Bogs are, by definition, nutrient-poor and acidic, but are differentiated from fens with similar ion balances on the basis of their solute and water sources.

Two main types of bog have been described in Britain – blanket bog and raised bog. Their geographical distribution reflects regional differences in climate. Lindsay (1995) provided a summary of these two types, and two more restricted forms, together with a synthesis of their ecological characteristics.

nicPic

In Britain, lowland raised bogs typically occur as isolated and slightly elevated features in the landscape, sometimes forming complexes of several “raised” domes of peat, which are hydrologically distinct. They are typically surrounded by highly managed farmed or forested areas.

Scientists from many disciplines recognise the importance of raised bogs. Climatologists, archaeologists and biologists value the peat archives in the living bogs as essential to research; and naturalists cherish the living carpet that covers the peat. Raised bogs help to maintain reliable supplies of clean water to rivers. They also have a cultural importance as some of the last true wilderness areas in the lowlands, and are enjoyed by thousands of people. We are only just beginning to understand the ecology of peat bogs and their importance to the global environment. We must safeguard this natural treasure for future generations and not destroy it for short-term gain.

A Living Archive


Peat bogs contain an unparalleled record of our past. A rich archive of information lies preserved in bogs. Much of this is organic, and has a capacity to expand our understanding of people, culture, economy and climate far back into prehistory.

Pollen, plants, evidence for the use of wood and woodland management, boats, weapons, lines of communication and indications of human impact on surrounding landscape and ecology all contribute to modern knowledge in ways which are seldom approached on dry land. Peat bogs have produced some of the most spectacular finds of British archaeology, including remarkably well-preserved bodies of some of our ancestors. Peat extraction on an industrial scale -as opposed to more modest, non-mechanical methods ot former times -is a crude and destructive method of discovering theses treasures.

HatfieldTrackway1
Natural England are now actively engaged in the regeneration of both Thorne and Hatfield Moors, and have already been rewarded with the first regrowth of cotton grass and spagnum. However it will take decades, if not centuries, for the full community of flora and fauna to take shape – if indeed the conditions will ever again be favourable for such a development. But whatever the outcome of the attempt at regeneration the archaeological evidence does not regenerate.

Carbon Store

Peat is rich in fossil carbon, removed from the atmosphere by plants and accumulated over thousands of years. Peatlands are an important carbon store. They can lock up carbon for thousands of years. It is estimated that peatlands contain an average of the order of 5,000 tonnes of carbon per hectare. Drainage and destruction of raised bogs results in the rapid loss of the stored carbon in the form of greenhouse gases, a substatial part as methane, as the peat decomposes.

The wildlife importance of many raised bogs is recognised in their notification as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) or as Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) in Northern Ireland under the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (NI) Order 1985. More recently EC Council Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds (79/409/EEC) allows important sites fulfilling specific criteria to be designated as Special Protection Areas (SPA), the EC Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (92/43/EEC) frequently referred to as the Habitat Regulations similarly allows designations as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).

The thin living layer that carpets the bog consists largely of Sphagnum mosses, ranging from brilliant green to ochre red. Unusual plants, such as the sundews, butterworts and bladderworts, supplement their diet in their nutrient-poor environment by catching and digesting insects. This very sterility prevents other, less specialised species from colonising peat bogs, but it is also one of the reasons why bog peat is valued so highly by horticulturists as a growing medium.

Raised bogs are important for the conservation of several rare plants and animals. Some of our rarest insects, including the large heath butterfly, mire pill beetle and several species of dragonflies, thrive in the wet conditions. Plants such as bog rosemary are found nowhere else in the UK. The mossy hummocks and pools provide vital nesting and feeding grounds for wading birds. These birds depend on Europe’s disappearing wetlands.

The overall mixture of plants and animals make raised bogs unique and valuable places. They become islands of typically upland species in lowland areas. Breeding birds such as the teal, golden plover and dunlin are usually found only in the far north, but on some raised bogs they can be found alongside more southerly species such as the nightjar.

As with much legislation chronology plays an important role, and in the case of the extant mineral extraction planning consents granted in the 1950’s on Thorne and Hatfield Moors they pre-date wildlife legislation and for local authorities or government to intervene and revoke consents incurs considerable cost in terms of compensation payments.

Invertebrates


Large Heath Butterfly
Coenonympha tullia
on Crowle Moors

The recorded insect fauna of both Moors exceeds 5500 species (c.25% of the British fauna) with over 30 Red Data Book Species and over 250 nationally scarce species, including six known from no other sites in Britain (Eversham, 1997). Three of the latter were new to Britain in 1992 (Skidmore, 1992; Eversham, 1997).

Thorne Moors, in terms of its invertebrate fauna, has been recorded as the richest peatland site in Britain, containing the fourth largest assemblage of rare species of any site (Ball, 1992).

Hatfield Moor is in the top ten of such sites (Heaver and Eversham, 1991; Key, 1991) and is acknowledged as being under-recorded (Skidmore, 1997).

The Moors are notable as the only British localities for the RDB1 ground beetle Bembidion humerale and the RDB1 pill beetle Curimopsis nigrita, both of which are rare throughout Europe. Phaonia jaroschewskii, a RDB2 Muscid has only been recorded in the UK from the Moors.

dragonfly
Southern Hawker
on Hatfield Moors
Generic isolation of several thousands of years has produced forms of the Large Heath Butterfly Coenonympha tullia which differs from populations elsewhere in Britain (ibid).

A considerable amount of work has been carried out on the Moors’ palaeoentomological (fossil insect) invertebrate interest. This was initiated by Prof. Paul Buckland with his seminal work on the fossil insects from the Bronze Age track way on Thorne Moors, followed by MSc research by Tessa Roper and Nicki Whitehouse. Subsequently, Nicki undertook her doctoral thesis concentrating on the fossil insects (Coleoptera) from Hatfield Moors.

Please click here for a checklist of Orthopteroid Orders on Thorne Moors

Vertebrates

Mammals, herptiles and fish of Thorne Moors

adderAberrant female Adder Vipera berus,
captured by William Bunting
on Thorne Moors in the
late 1940s or 1950.
© Devisee of W.S. Pitt

1. OVERVIEW OF RECORDING

1.1 GENERAL RECORDING

This comprises the general day-to-day recording of Thorne Moors mammals, herptiles (= reptiles and amphibians) and fish. Such recording began in 1966, and the baseline reference is a split paper published in The Sorby Record in 1979-80. In 2003, work began which led to a desktop review of the herptiles and fish, and this then developed into a review of all vertebrates and vertebrates recording.

The completed result was the production of four THMCF Technical Reports, two ornithological and two relevant here. No. 13, The Fish and Herptiles of Thorne Moors, by Martin Limbert, Steve Hiner and B.P. Wainwright, was first published in 2004, with a second edition in 2008. No. 15, ‘The Mammals of Thorne Moors, by Martin Limbert, was first published in 2005, with a second edition also in 2008. Both of these are available for sale.

The elements of general recording comprise:

  1. Blog page for managing data input and informing naturalists
  2. Online annual reports, primarily summarizing assessed/vetted records as classified lists of species
  3. Periodic broader summary of species status and changes
  4. Encouraging of personal/student studies
  5. Maintenance of cumulative – Annotated Checklist

The essential elements of general reporting currently comprise:

  1. Blog page
  2. Online annual reports
  3. Two THMCF Technical Reports for background and comparative information
  4. Published papers and notes for specific detail
Further details of General Recording are given in section 2.

Records of all species can be submitted in several ways. In addition to the Thorne Moors blog, they can be emailed to Bryan Wainwright or furnished as paper-based records (Bryan Wainwright, Silverthorn, St Michael’s Drive, Thorne, Doncaster, DN8 5QF). Reptile records are forwarded to Steve Hiner.

Author's image

1.2 POPULATION SURVEYS AND SPECIES MONITORING

1.2.1 The purpose of surveying

Population surveys on the NNR involve full surveys or (preferably replicable) sampling. Both allow the evaluation of actions undertaken to maintain or enhance populations. However, these may have to be calibrated with wider individual species fortune, occasioned for example by climate change. Species monitoring mainly focuses on the occurrence and encouragement of rare or declining species, but may involve other targeted species. Surveys and monitoring may also be tools in assessing broader habitat management or change on the NNR.

1.2.2 Population surveys

Structured population surveys comprise the following as specialist/contract work undertaken under Natural England’s survey and management programmes for the NNR:

  1. Water Vole
  2. Deer
  3. Reptiles
Other surveys may be undertaken as deemed necessary e.g. bats Vespertilionidae

1.2.3 Species monitoring

A number of species are monitored more generally, including those outlined under 1.2.2. Detailed records of the species listed under 1.2.3 are therefore especially requested.

Target species – the following are currently monitored:

  1. Water Shrew
  2. Bats
  3. Brown Hare
  4. Water Vole
  5. Badger
  6. Common Frog
  7. Common Toad
  8. Smooth or Common Newt
  9. Common Lizard
  10. Adder or Viper
  11. Grass or Ringed Snake

Pests and other species of concern. The following are currently monitored, the deer in conjunction with the NNR’s Deer Management Group:

  1. Mink
  2. Red Deer
  3. Roe Deer
  4. Muntjac

Fish. Because of the difficulty of recording fish, all records are of value, but two species are of especial interest:

  1. European Eel
  2. Nine-spined or Ten-spined Stickleback


1.3 STUDIES

General recording, surveys and monitoring work have been paralleled by several studies, as cited in section 1.4. These have mostly comprised population- and diet-based studies, some undertaken privately. See also Limbert (2008) for documentation of Harvest Mouse nests, mammalian remains in pellets of presumed Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus, and results of  ‘Longworth’ trapping. Wider reviews merely including Thorne Moors data are excluded here (but given in Limbert, Hiner and Wainwright 2008, Limbert 2008).

1.4 BIBLIOGRAPHY OF SURVEYS AND STUDIES

Bull, K. [1997] A Survey of Roe Deer Numbers on Thorne Moors National Nature Reserve. Unpublished report to English Nature.

Davis, J. (2003a) The Distribution and Habitat Preferences of the Water Vole (Arvicola terrestris) on the Humberhead Peatlands. Unpublished MSc. dissertation, University of Leeds.

Davis, J. (2003b) The Distribution and Habitat Preferences of the Water Vole (Arvicola terrestris) on the Humberhead Peatlands. Summary Report for English Nature. Unpublished report to English Nature.

[Hiner, S.] (2008) Appendix 7.2 Adder basking data 2006-08. In: M. Limbert, S. Hiner and B.P. Wainwright, The Fish and Herptiles of Thorne Moors. THMCF Technical Report No. 13. Second edition.

Holliday, S.T. (1978) Barn Owl Pellets from the Goole Area. The Lapwing 11: [40]-42.

Holliday, S.T. (1980) Variation in Mammal Content of Barn Owl Pellets Collected During Winter and Summer. The Lapwing 12: 19-23.

Howes, C.A. (1975) Notes on a collection of Barn Owl pellets from Thorne Moors. The Lapwing 8: 7-12.

[Howes, C.A.] (2005) Appendix 1: References to Fox scat analysis on Thorne Moors. In: M. Limbert, The Mammals of Thorne Moors. THMCF Technical Report 15: 41-42.
[Second edition pp.46-47].

Lane, T. (2000) A study of bat (Chiroptera) usage of Thorne Moors NNR during 1999/2000 by East Yorkshire Bat Group. Unpublished report to English Nature.

Lane, T. (2008) A Study of Bat (Chiroptera) usage of Thorne Moors NNR during 1999/2000 by the East Yorkshire Bat Group. Thorne & Hatfield Moors Papers 7: 62-67.

Limbert, M. (1998) The Natural Harvest of Thorne Moors. Thorne & Hatfield Moors Papers 5: 1-68.

Stentiford, N. (2006) Habitat surveys on a lowland raised mire to assess the impacts of changing management on adder and common lizard populations. MSc. Dissertation, University of Leeds.

Thorpe, S. (1998) Water Vole Survey of Selected Area of Thorne Moors May to October 1998. Unpublished report to English Nature.

2. GENERAL RECORDING ON THORNE MOORS

2.1 RECORDING AREA

Thorne Moors is a major component of the Humberhead Peatlands NNR. The recording area for Thorne Moors has been deliberately interpreted somewhat loosely. In addition to the moorland itself, it embraces peripheral farmland and drains, plus the whole of the area influenced by Thorne Colliery. This wide definition is largely because vertebrates can be very mobile, using a range of habitats. For vertebrate recording, Thorne Waste is defined as the part of Thorne Moors within Thorne parish, but early allusions to Thorne Waste are probably synonymous with the whole of Thorne Moors. The remaining parish divisions are Snaith & Cowick Moor, Rawcliffe Moor, Goole Moor and Crowle Moor. Most of Thorne Moors is situated in Yorkshire, the exceptions being Crowle Moor and since 1993 the Yorkshire Triangle, which lie in Lincolnshire. A map of place-names used by naturalists is available.

2.2 HISTORICAL OUTLINE OF GENERAL RECORDING

The earliest comment on non-avian vertebrates involves Red Deer c.1532 (Limbert 2008). With this exception, documentation emerges in the eighteenth century. George Stovin wrote in mid-century of Brown Hare and Fox (Jackson 1882, Collier 1905-07, Limbert 1998), and RD (1785) referred to Adder. There are then no certain dated records or accounts until the 1820s (Casson 1829, Clarkson 1889). They are more continuous from that decade (Limbert, Hiner and Wainwright 2008, Limbert 2008). Historically, excursions by the Yorkshire Naturalists Union have provided records. Local societies have also been significant, furnishing useful information. The first such excursion, by the Sheffield Field Naturalists Society, took place in 1865. Of special significance was the Goole Scientific Society, whose recorder for vertebrate zoology, Thomas Bunker, furnished useful records in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. It was at the instigation of the Goole society that the YNU made its first visit in 1877. On Thorne Moors, the formation of both these organizations in the 1870s provided a great stimulus to both corporate and freelance fieldwork and associated documentation. At a slightly later period, the Doncaster Scientific (later Naturalists) Society undertook excursions from 1904 (D. Allen unpublished).

Organized modern recording had two independent origins in the 1960s. The first of these was linked with the production of Part One of An Outline Study of the Hatfield Chase (Bunting et al. 1969). This was associated with the first major conservation campaign for Thorne Moors, and was led by the Thorne naturalist William Bunting. It had the active participation of a number of naturalists, including staff from Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery. An account of the campaign was compiled by Skidmore (1970), and the relevant published outcome is outlined by Limbert, Hiner and Wainwright (2008) and Limbert (2008). Separately, in 1966, bird recording was initiated by two members of the Doncaster & District Ornithological Society, R.J. Rhodes and R.D. Mitchell MBE, and they were subsequently joined by a third member, Martin Limbert. Although this was an ornithological study, records of other vertebrates were also kept, and a more formal recording project was initiated by ML in 1970. This was maintained until 1984 (amphibians to 1990). Records of all cold-blooded vertebrates and the scarcer mammals continued to be gathered by ML, though in a less proactive way. The main result of this activity was the publication of The Mammals and Cold-blooded Vertebrates of Thorne Moors (Limbert 1979-80). This summarized available historical records, and the more frequent records of 1966-78 for mammals and 1966-79 for the cold-blooded vertebrates. Bibliographies were also given. That paper formed the baseline for the documentation of Thorne Moors mammals, herptiles and fish, though Limbert (1985, 1987) and Limbert and Wainwright (2003) extended the coverage to a limited extent, especially for amphibians. Also relevant are Limbert (1990, 1991, 1998).

Under the auspices of the Nature Conservancy Council, annual Thorne Moors reports were produced by T.J. Wells for 1980-83, primarily featuring birds and other vertebrates. In 1992, the earlier recording project was reactivated, by Steve Hiner (reptiles, mammals) and B.P. Wainwright (amphibians), with the latter also taking on mammals from 1995. Unpublished annual reports were compiled by SH and BPW for NCC/English Nature, and this recording largely merged with the activity by ML. Other annual summaries were also undertaken during the period 1989-2000. The reports by BPW ended in 2003, but SH reptile reports continue to the present. In 2003, ML initiated the annual Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report, including reptile records provided by SH. The first Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report covered 2004, with successors annually to 2008. This was then succeeded by taxonomically devolved online annual reports. However, although the bird reports were produced, the non-avian component amounted only to a mammal report for 2009 by Keith Heywood. As a result, the Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report was reinstated, compiled by ML and BPW, beginning with 2012. This latter includes, as supplements, all non-avian records except for reptiles for 2009-12 (repeating the 2009 mammal report). The Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report 2013 will include reptile records for 2009-13. The Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report is now re-established, primarily as an annual summary, and all such Reports can be freely accessed on the website of the Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum. The Reports to that for 2007 were originally issued in paper form. The Report for 2008 was issued simultaneously in paper form and electronically via the THMCF website. The subsequent Reports have only been issued on the website, although print-outs are available on request.

2.3 THE DESKTOP REVIEW OF VERTIBRATES

The desktop review of all Thorne Moors vertebrates, from both general and more specialist fieldwork as outlined, resulted in two Technical Reports covering the non-avian classes (Limbert, Hiner and Wainwright 2004, 2008; Limbert 2005, 2008). These catalogue all known records, or give detailed summaries, to 2007 (reptiles to 2008). Fifty-seven species are involved (four square-bracketed as erroneous or unconfirmed). This includes those only known as subfossils, or as escapes from captivity, etc. Details of 21 species of herptile and fish are given, but two of these, both of them lizards, are square-bracketed as erroneously ascribed to the area. Of the 12 species of fish, one has merely appeared as a vagrant (Atlantic Salmon), and five or six are only present due to artificial stocking. Thirty-six mammals are listed, including species domesticated, naturalized or alien in Britain, or represented only by subfossil remains. Two are square-bracketed as unconfirmed. The Technical Reports also contain appendices, including a case of Adder-bite in June 1970, Adder basking data 2006-08, Temporal distribution of Adder by 1km square 1966-2008, References to Fox scat analysis on Thorne Moors. Barn Owl pellet analyses in the Thorne Moors area and Reports of Red Deer in the Thorne Moors area 1994-2004. All appear in at least the relevant 2008 edition except Red Deer, only included in the 2005 edition. Also in the latter edition of  The Mammals of Thorne Moors, the account of Badger was limited in its detail as a security precaution. However, the full species account was made accessible as a separately paginated unpublished supplement, for restricted distribution. This was also available alongside the similarly limited species account in the 2008 edition.

2.4 BIBLIOGRAPHY

Limbert (1979-80) has two lists of references, giving 46 citations directly appropriate to Thorne Moors. The non-avian Technical Reports have extensive bibliographies, with a combined total of over 180 relevant entries.

2.5 REFERENCES

Bunting, W., M.J. D[o]lby, C. Howes and P. Skidmore (1969) An Outline Study of the Hatfield Chase the Central Electricity Generating Board Propose to Foul. [Part One]. Unpublished report.

[Casson, W.] (1829) The History and Antiquities of Thorne, with Some Account of the Drainage of Hatfield Chase. S. Whaley, Thorne.

Clarkson, H. (1889) Memories of Merry Wakefield. Second edition. W.H. Milnes, Wakefield.

Collier, C.V. (1905-07) Stovin’s Manuscript. Transactions of the East Riding Antiquarian Society 12: 23-60; 13: 197-245.

D[————-], R. (1785) A short Account of the ancient and present State of the Morasses or Moors East and North-east of Thorne. The Gentleman’s Magazine 55: 589-90.

Jackson, C. (1882) The Stovin Manuscript. Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Journal 7: 194-238.

Limbert, M. (1979-80) The Mammals and Cold-blooded Vertebrates of Thorne Moors. Parts 1 and 2. The Sorby Record 17: 44-54; 18: 77-82.

Limbert, M. (1985) Some Additional Notes on the Birds and other Vertebrates of Thorne Moors. The Lapwing 16: 5-16.

Limbert, M. (1987) Further Records of Birds and Amphibians from Thorne Moors. The Lapwing 18: 40-43.

Limbert, M. (1991) The Importance of Thorne and Hatfield Moors for Vertebrate Fauna. Thorne & Hatfield Moors Papers 2: 39-45.

Limbert, M. (1998) The Natural Harvest of Thorne Moors. Thorne & Hatfield Moors Papers 5: 1-65.

Limbert, M. (2008) The Mammals of Thorne Moors. THMCF Technical Report No.15. Second edition.
[First edition 2005].

Limbert, M., S. Hiner and B.P. Wainwright (2008) The Fish and Herptiles of Thorne Moors. THMCF Technical Report No.13. Second edition.
[First edition 2004].

Limbert, M. and B.P. Wainwright (2003) Further records of newts Triturus from Thorne Moors. Thorne & Hatfield Moors Papers 6: 89-90.

Skidmore, P. (1970) Fifty Years later.  Another Look at Thorne Waste. The Naturalist 95: 81-87.

3. ANNOTATED CHECKLIST

The annotated checklist includes all species recorded on Thorne Moors from the eighteenth century to 2012, including as subfossils. Four species are square-bracketed. For each of the species listed below, the span of years quoted before its statement of status (except Brown Long-eared Bat, Fallow Deer and Elk) gives the range for which records exist. denotes the first evidence for that species is from pellets of Barn Owl Tyto alba collected in that year. A bracketed year indicates the date of publication of a record, not a dated occurrence.

The sources of nomenclature are:

H.R. Arnold (1993) Atlas of mammals in Britain. Institute of Terrestrial Ecology research publication No. 6. HMSO, London.

H.R. Arnold (1995) Atlas of amphibians and reptiles in Britain. Institute of Terrestrial Ecology research publication No. 10. HMSO, London.

C.E. Davies, J. Shelley, P.T. Harding, I.F.G. McLean, R. Gardiner and G. Peirson (compilers and editors) (2004) Freshwater fishes in Britain the species and their distribution. Harley Books, Colchester.

Downloadable version here

Amphibians

Common Frog

Rana temporaria

1895-2007

Widely reported on Thorne Moors, and also associated with peripheral waters and drains.

Common Toad

Bufo bufo

1895-2005

Widely reported on Thorne Moors, and also associated with peripheral waters and drains.

Great Crested or Warty Newt

Triturus cristatus

Early 1950s-1990

Formerly occurred in some drains surrounding Thorne Moors. Now apparently extirpated.

Smooth or Common Newt

T. vulgaris

(1898)-2004

Widely reported on Thorne Moors, and also associated with peripheral waters and drains.

Mammals

Hedgehog

Erinaceus europaeus

1972-2002

Occurs peripherally and synanthropically, but with a recorded penetration of Thorne Moors along Shoulder o’ Mutton Tram.

Mole

Talpa europaea

1877-2007

Widespread and relatively frequent on and about Thorne Moors, but does not occur in the peat, being associated with routeways.

Common Shrew

Sorex araneus

1969-2007

The commonest shrew on Thorne Moors, living in a range of habitats.

Pygmy Shrew

S. minutes

1969-2003

Apparently widespread on Thorne Moors, and possibly favouring wetter peat areas more than Common Shrew.

Water Shrew

Neomys fodiens

<1972>-2007

Encountered widely on Thorne Moors, but very infrequently.

Whiskered Bat /Brandt’s Bat

Myotis mystacinus
/M. brandtii

1999-2000

Visits Thorne Moors to feed.

Daubenton’s Bat

 M. daubentoni

2000

Visits Thorne Moors to feed.

Noctule

Nyctalus noctula

2000

Apparently visits Thorne Moors to feed, and may have summer roosts.

Pipistrelle

Pipistrellus pipistrellus

1999-2000

Visits Thorne Moors to feed.

[Brown Long-eared Bat

Plecotus auritus

Unconfirmed].

Rabbit

Oryctolagus cuniculus

1877-2007

Widely present on and around Thorne Moors, though less frequent on peat areas.  Population fluctuations are at least partly due to disease, with current numbers being the highest on record.

Brown Hare

Lepus europaeus

Mid-18th century-2007

Widely present on and around Thorne Moors, except in woodland and in the wettest, thickly vegetated parts of the peat.

Red Squirrel

Sciurus vulgaris

1930s-40s

A former denizen of marginal woodland on Thorne Moors.

Grey Squirrel

S. carolinensis

Early 1960s-2007

An infrequent but increasing visitor to Thorne Moors, seen almost invariably in wooded or scrubby areas.  Breeding was reported in 1977 from Whitaker’s Plantation.

Bank Vole

Clethrionomys glareolus

1972-2004

A little-known species on Thorne Moors.  Occasionally encountered on uncultivated warpland and at the interface with the peat, but with little evidence of the vole inhabiting more interior areas.

Field Vole

Microtus agrestis

1973-94

Apparently widespread on Thorne Moors, but probably only occurring on the peat areas along routeways.

Water Vole

Arvicola terrestris

1877-2007

Widely reported along watercourses on and around Thorne Moors, but numbers are in decline.

Wood Mouse

Apodemus sylvaticus

<1972>-2003

 Widespread on Thorne Moors, including the wetter vegetated peat.

Harvest Mouse

 Micromys minutus

1930s-89

Apparently mostly associated with peripheral parts of Thorne Moors, but with occasional records from the peat.

House Mouse

Mus domesticus

First half of 20th century

Evidence suggests that this species has been a denizen of habitations surrounding Thorne Moors, and may still persist.

Brown Rat

Rattus norvegicus

1877-2007.

On Thorne Moors, recorded peripherally and synanthropically, but with at least marginal penetration on to the edge of the peat.

Fox

Vulpes vulpes

Mid-18th century-2007

Widespread and frequent on Thorne Moors.

Stoat

Mustela erminea

(1895)-2007

Apparently present in all parts of Thorne Moors, except possibly the wetter vegetated peat.

Weasel

M. nivalis

1877-2007

Apparently present in all parts of Thorne Moors, except possibly the wetter vegetated peat.  Records have declined since modern documentation began.

Mink

M. vison

1994-2007

A recent arrival on Thorne Moors, with breeding proved in 2003.

Badger

Meles meles

(1907)-2007

Resident in several parts of Thorne Moors, both peripherally and in man-made banks in surrounding agricultural land.

Otter

Lutra lutra

1906-72

There were occasional records from Thorne Moors up to 1972.

Red Deer

Cervus elaphus

Subfossil and mid-1960s-2007

Has increased on Thorne Moors during the period of modern documentation (probably based on animals from deer farms), and breeding has been proved.

Fallow Deer

Dama dama

Subfossil

Roe Deer

Capreolus capreolus

1959-2007

Has increased greatly on Thorne Moors during the period of modern documentation, with a significant breeding population.

Muntjac

Muntiacus reevesi

2000-04

A recent arrival on Thorne Moors, apparently centred at Will Pits.

[Elk

Alces alces

Unconfirmed subfossil].

Mongolian Gerbil

Meriones unguiculatus

1971

Escape.

Muskrat

Ondatra zibethicus

Early 1930s

Escape, reported from Swinefleet Warping Drain.

Feral Ferret

 M. furo

1952-2000

Escape, occasionally seen on the edges of Thorne Moors.

Domestic Cat

Felis catus

c.1969-98

Occurs on the edges of Thorne Moors.

Reptiles

[Slow-worm

Anguis fragilis

Reported in error].

Common Lizard

Lacerta vivipara

1865-2008

Frequent on Thorne Moors, and marginally present off the peat.

[Sand Lizard

L. agilis

Reported in error].

Adder or Viper

Vipera berus

(1785)-2008

Frequent on Thorne Moors, and marginally present off the peat.

Grass or Ringed Snake

Natrix natrix

1821-2008

Widely present, but generally infrequent on Thorne Moors away from the edges.

Freshwater Fish

European Eel

Anguilla anguilla

(1895)-2002

Occurs in drains and waters surrounding Thorne Moors, and has been stocked on Inkle Moor.

Common Bream

Abramis brama

c.1930-1980s

Stocked in waters on Inkle Moor, and also formerly reported from the Thorne Waste peat canals. Current status uncertain.

Goldfish

Carassius auratus

Mid-late 1960s

Introduced into the Thorne Colliery cooling ponds, but did not persist.

Common Carp

Cyprinus carpio

1970s-2003

Stocked in waters on Inkle Moor.

Roach

Rutilus rutilus

Late 1920s-2004

Occurs in drains and waters surrounding Thorne Moors. Also some stocking of fishing ponds, and formerly reported from the Thorne Waste peat canals.

Rudd

Scardinius erythrophthalmus

1970s-2003

Stocked in waters on Inkle Moor. May include hybrids.

Tench

Tinca tinca

Early 1940s-2004

Stocked in Bell’s Pond and in waters on Inkle Moor. Has included ‘Golden’ Tench.

Pike

Esox lucius

(1895)-2003

Occurs in drains and waters surrounding Thorne Moors, and has been encountered on the moorland.

Atlantic Salmon

Salmo salar

1912

A vagrant, the only record being of one stranded at New Zealand during warping operations.

Three-spined Stickleback

Gasterosteus aculeatus

1971-2006

Occurs in drains and waters surrounding Thorne Moors, and has exceptionally penetrated on to the margins of the moorland, with one record from nearer the interior. Said to have been introduced into waters on Inkle Moor to augment existing populations.

Nine-spined or Ten-spined Stickleback

Pungitius pungitius

1972-87

Has occurred in some drains and waters surrounding Thorne Moors. Current status uncertain.

Perch

Perca fluviatilis

1920s?-2004

Stocked in Bell’s Pond, in waters on Inkle Moor, and in the Thorne Waste peat canals. Also reported from Swinefleet Warping Drain.

4. SITE GUIDE

amphibiansAberrant female Adder
Vipera berus,
William Bunting with
seven Adders Vipera berus
from Thorne Moors c.1953.
Photographer unknown

For Site Guide see Birds of Thorne Moors webpage.

5. DOWNLOADS

The Thorne Moors Vertebrates Reports are available as downloads for
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008.

 

 

Birds

THORNE MOORS ORNITHOLOGICAL RECORDING


1. OVERVIEW OF RECORDING



1.1 GENERAL RECORDING
This comprises the general documentation of Thorne Moors ornithology. Modern recording began in 1966, and the baseline references are Thorne Moors: Birds and Man (1986) and the subsequent Supplement (1990). These are now updated by The Birds of Thorne Moors. A Guide to Literature Sources (2009) and The Birds of Thorne Moors. An Annotated Checklist (2010), published as THMCF Technical Reports Nos 18 and 19 respectively. Both of these latter areavailable for sale.

The elements of general recording comprise:

  1. Blog page for managing data input and informing birders
  2. Online annual reports summarising assessed/vetted records as a classified list of species
  3. Periodic broader summary of species status and changes
  4. Documentation of major occurrences and events
  5. Encouragement of personal/student studies
  6. Maintenance of cumulative ‘Annotated Checklist’
  7. Entry of records on to the British Trust for Ornithology’s Birdtrack

The essential elements of general reporting currently comprise:

  1. Blog page
  2. Online annual reports
  3. Two THMCF Technical Reports for background and comparative information
  4. Published papers and notes for specific detail

1.2 POPULATION SURVEYS AND SPECIES MONITORING

1.2.1 The purpose of surveillance

Population surveys on the NNR involve full surveys or replicable sampling (e.g. line transects). Both allow the evaluation of actions undertaken to maintain or enhance the breeding and other bird assemblages. However, these often have to be calibrated with wider individual species fortune. Species monitoring focuses on the occurrence and encouragement of rare or declining breeding species, but may involve other targeted species. Bird surveys and monitoring are also tools in assessing broader habitat management or change on the NNR.

1.2.2 Population surveys

Structured population surveys comprise the following as specialist/contract work undertaken under Natural England’s survey programme for the NNR:

  1. Surveys of breeding birds
  2. Year-round counts of wetland birds as part of the national Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS)
  3. [WeBS is a partnership between the BTO, the RSPB and the JNCC, in association with the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust]
  4. Population monitoring through ringing via a Constant Effort Site (Will Pits)
  5. [Ringing is administered by the BTO]
1.2.3 Species monitoring

The Natural England Management Plan for the whole of the NNR covering 2012-16 embraces bird monitoring at three levels. This includes both nationally important species, and others covering a range of bird types/requirements and habitat usage. Monitoring is particularly relevant to visiting birders, who can contribute useful records of the species concerned. The monitored species are listed below, although others may be added as appropriate.  For example, the return of Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos would be monitored closely.

1.2.3.1 Nationally important species

  1. Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
  2. Common Crane Grus grus
  3. European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus
  4. [Thorne Moors is a Special Protection Area (European Union Birds Directive, 1979), because of the large breeding population of European Nightjars]

1.2.3.2 Other priority species

  1. Eurasian Teal Anas crecca
  2. Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
  3. Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
  4. Green Woodpecker Picus viridis
  5. Woodlark Lullula arborea
  6. Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia
  7. Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
  8. Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
  9. Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
  10. Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus

1.2.3.3 Additional species for which all records are requested

  1. Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
  2. Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus
  3. Willow Tit Poecile montana
  4. Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
  5. European Stonechat Saxicola rubicola

1.2.3.4 Record requirements for monitoring

For all the species listed under 1.2.3.1-3, every record is requested, with details of age/sex as appropriate, and locational data where possible.  These records can be submitted with others via the blog or as paper records to Bryan Wainwright.

2. GENERAL RECORDING ON THORNE MOORS

2.1 RECORDING AREA

Thorne Moors is a major component of the Humberhead Peatlands National Nature Reserve. The recording area for Thorne Moors has been deliberately interpreted somewhat loosely. In addition to the moorland itself, it embraces peripheral farmland and drains, plus the whole of the area influenced by Thorne Colliery. This wide definition is largely because birds are very mobile, using a range of habitats. For bird recording, Thorne Waste is defined as the part of Thorne Moors within Thorne parish, but early allusions to Thorne Waste are probably synonymous with the whole of Thorne Moors. The remaining parish divisions are Snaith & Cowick Moor, Rawcliffe Moor, Goole Moor and Crowle Moor. Most of Thorne Moors is situated in Yorkshire, the exceptions being Crowle Moor and  since 1993 the Yorkshire Triangle, which lie in Lincolnshire. A map of place-names used by naturalists is available.

2.2 HISTORICAL OUTLINE OF RECORDING

The earliest comment on birds dates from 1586, involving Ruffs from Crowle, probably a reference to Crowle Moor or the wet pastures further east (Limbert 2008). With this exception, documentation emerges in the eighteenth century. George Stovin wrote in mid-century of …partridge, black moor-game, ducks, geese, curliews, snipes,… (Jackson 1882, Collier 1905-07, Limbert 1998), and D——-(1785) mentioned …ducks, geese, and other game,…. The first deliberate notification of a bird involves an unspecified eagle shot on Crowle Moor in 1805 (Anon. 1805). Records and accounts are more continuous from the 1820s onwards (Limbert 1988). Historically, excursions by the Yorkshire Naturalists Union have provided records. Local societies have also been significant, furnishing useful information. The first such excursion, by the Sheffield Field Naturalists Society, took place in 1865. Of special significance was the Goole Scientific Society, whose recorder for vertebrate zoology, Thomas Bunker, furnished useful records in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. It was at the instigation of the Goole society that the YNU made its first visit in 1877. On Thorne Moors, the formation of both these organizations in the 1870s provided a great stimulus to both corporate and freelance fieldwork and associated documentation.

At a slightly later period, the Doncaster Scientific (later Naturalists) Society undertook excursions from 1904 (D. Allen unpublished). Also relevant are the breeding records derived from the egg collection of J.H. Verhees and Geo. Bostock of Thorne. Known as the Verhees Collection, these egg sets are a major source of local data, especially Thorne Moors, in the first half of the twentieth century (Limbert 2005, 2009, 2012).

Organized modern bird recording had two independent origins in the 1960s. The first of these was linked with the production of Part One of An Outline Study of the Hatfield Chase (Bunting et al. 1969). This was associated with the first major conservation campaign for Thorne Moors, and was led by the Thorne naturalist William Bunting. It had the active participation of a number of naturalists, including J.H. and J.F. Verhees and staff from Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery. An account of the campaign was compiled by Skidmore (1970). Separately, in 1966, bird recording was initiated by two members of the Doncaster & District Ornithological Society, R.J. Rhodes and R.D. Mitchell MBE, and they were subsequently joined by a third member, Martin Limbert. The outcome of this latter activity was centred on the publication of Limbert, Mitchell and Rhodes (1986) and Limbert (1990).

Under the auspices of the Nature Conservancy Council, annual reports had been produced for 1980-83 by the Warden, T.J. Wells. However, from 1990, annual bird reports were compiled under the NCC/English Nature by P.C. Roworth as Warden/Site Manager, together with Janet Roworth, and later by a volunteer, B.P. Wainwright. Also relevant here is an account of bird recording given by Roworth (1997). The annual reports ended in 2003. Martin Limbert then initiated the Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report (2004-08),which is succeeded ornithologically by an online bird report for 2009 onwards. All the reports are treated as published, although the earliest were not regarded as such at the time. The reports from 1980 onwards can be freely accessed on the websites of B.P. Wainwright www.birdingsiteguide.com (1980-2003) and the Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum (www.thmcf.org) (2004 onwards). All reports to that for 2007 were issued in paper form. The Thorne Moors Vertebrates Report 2008 was issued simultaneously in paper form and electronically, the latter via the THMCF website. The subsequent reports have only been issued on the THMCF website, although print-outs are available on request.

Traditional methods of recording applied until 2010, when record capture was transferred to a blog site, although records by other means are still welcomed. However, online reporting is now important as a way of managing data input and informing birders. The pre-existing vetting procedures remain in place, especially through the Reports Committee of the Yorkshire Naturalists™ Union Birds Section.

2.3 NON-ANNUAL SUMMARIES

The baseline for the documentation of the Thorne Moors avifauna is Limbert, Mitchell and Rhodes (1986). This provides a detailed account of all taxa 1966-82, together with an appendix of records covering 1 January-10 July 1983. All available historical records were also included. A Supplement later extended the coverage to the end of 1989 (Limbert 1990). Limbert (1985) includes a detailed summary of records for 1983-84. Most recently, a partly codified and partly written annotated checklist (Wainwright 2010) summarises all known bird records 1586-2009, concentrating on the years 1990-2009. In total, 229 species were detailed (four square-bracketed as pending or vaguely reported), together with perhaps nine additional races. There are also appendices, including escaped birds in the period from 1966, and notable but unchecked reports January-August 2010. Additional records discovered retrospectively, of all dates, are also sometimes published separately (e.g. Limbert 2005, 2009). Mention should also be made of a handlist of the birds of Thorne Moors written by P.C.Roworth in the mid-1990s. Although never published, the script was kindly made available by its author as a source of data for Wainwright (2010).

Taken together, Limbert (1985), Limbert, Mitchell and Rhodes (1986), Limbert (1990), Wainwright (2010), and the annual reports outlined below, represent the primary sources of data arising from general bird recording on Thorne Moors since 1966.

2.4 ANNUAL REPORTS

In general, records have appeared in site, district and county bird reports. Of these, the site reports are obviously the most useful in this context. A significant volume of Thorne Moors records was included in the bird reports of the Goole & District Natural History Society (1973-76). These were followed by a similarly short series of bird reports, but specifically for Thorne Moors, from the Nature Conservancy Council. They spanned the years 1980-83. However, from 1990, Thorne Moors recording has led to an unbroken series of bird reports to the present day. Summaries of the site reports for 1990-2001 appeared in the former Doncaster Bird Report.

2.5 BIBLIOGRAPHY

There have been several attempts at a bibliography of Thorne Moors ornithology. The first was the References section of Thorne Moors: Birds and Man (Limbert, Mitchell and Rhodes 1986). The Supplement to this study (Limbert 1990) added 18 references to the 75 already garnered in print, virtually all the latter being of direct local relevance. The gathering of such references continued, and a list of 107 items appeared later in the decade (Limbert and Roworth 1997). At the turn of the century, THMCF Technical Report No. 2 provided a Thorne Moors bibliography comprising 147 main items (Limbert and Roworth 2000). Based on this source, a further Technical Report (No. 18) was issued at the end of the decade (Limbert and Roworth 2009). Entitled The Birds of Thorne Moors. A Guide to Literature Sources, it is a companion report to the Annotated Checklist (Wainwright 2010). The 2009 bibliography is divided into two sections. The first, comprising 30 items, is titled Chronological list of primary data sources. The second, titled Additional references, cites 244 items, only three of which are common to both sections.

2.6 REFERENCES

3. CURRENT PROJECTS

3.1 LIST OF PROJECTS

Five Thorne Moors projects are highlighted and referred to below. A supporting bibliography is also given, excluding European Nightjar, for which see section 4.2.1.

3.1.1 Black-necked Grebe

All records are sought of Black-necked Grebe, for any year from the first occurrence in 1998.

3.1.2 Common Crane

A project is underway to document the occurrence of Common Crane from 1970 onwards. Again, all records are of value.

3.1.3 Black Grouse

Historical records of Black Grouse Tetrao tetrix are being sought for both Thorne and Hatfield Moors.

3.1.4 Black-headed Gull

Ringing data for Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus. are being collected.

3.1.5 European Nightjar

Breeding European Nightjars are monitored annually, under contract from Natural England.

3.2 REFERENCES

4. STUDIES AND SURVEYS

4.1 INTRODUCTION

From the beginning of modern recording in 1966, general recording has been summarised both periodically and annually, augmented by the documentation of specific events, occurrences etc. This includes both avian events, like the occurrence of a rarity or a notable breeding record, but also non-avian events like the results of organized excursions. In addition, surveys and studies have been undertaken and written up, as given in section 4.2. These have generally comprised population studies, species-based work and ringing activity. They include contract work and other activity on behalf of the Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum and Natural England (and predecessors). When sought, ornithological information has been contributed to NNR enhancement/management projects. Other endeavour has been taken on individual initiative. Contributions have also been made to national surveys/atlases and action plans. There are two generic exclusions to section 4.2:

  1. The successive management plans for the Humberhead Peatlands NNR and its predecessors
  2. Documentation for wind farm proposals

For convenience here, all reports and other items are listed on/including European Nightjar (except when part of wider summaries), in a separate section. They are presented in chronological order. All other surveys and studies are listed within a second section, and in conventional author/editor order.

4.2 LIST OF STUDIES AND SURVEYS

4.2.1 European Nightjar

4.2.2 Other species

RNGrebe pp2
RN Grebe

5. CHECKLIST

The checklist includes all species reliably recorded on Thorne Moors 1586-2011 that appear in Categories A-C of the British List maintained by the British OrnithologistsUnion.

English and scientific names, and sequence of species, follow The British Birds list of Western Palearctic Birds, British Birds Ltd (accessed 11th February 2012).

The Thorne Moors checklist can be downloaded to form a convenient leaflet or viewed by clicking here


6. SITE GUIDE

6.1 SITE GUIDE

A map of the site, showing the recording areas, can be viewed from the maps page of this website.

The following external links (which will open in a new page/tab) are recommended.

A general overview of the site –THE HUMBERHEAD PEATLANDS NNR

An illustrated description of routes on the moors can be found on
PHOTO TOUR OF THORNE MOORS PART 1, PART 2, and PART 3.

6.2 BIRD-FINDING SOURCES

Catley, G.P. (1996) Where to watch birds in the East Midlands, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. Christopher Helm (Publishers), London.

Catley, G. (2000) Heathland Heaven. Bird Watching August: 53.
[Crowle Moor].

Dickens, R.F. (1971) Birds. In: W.A. Sledge (editor) The Naturalists™ Yorkshire. Dalesman Publishing Co., Clapham.

Dickens, R.F. and W.R. Mitchell (1977) Birdwatching in Yorkshire. The Dalesman Publishing Co., Clapham.

Elliott, S.C. (1989) Bird Watching in East Yorkshire, The Humber and Teesmouth. Hutton Press, Beverley.

Flowers, M. (2009) Walk 03. Thorne Moors NNR. In: Go Birding. Bird Watching June: 54.

Limbert, M. (1980) Thorne Moors. In: M. Limbert (editor) Ornithological Sites Around Doncaster. Lapwing Special Series 1: 23-25.

Limbert, M. (1991) The Importance of Thorne and Hatfield Moors for Vertebrate Fauna. Thorne & Hatfield Moors Papers 2: 39-45.

Limbert, M. (2007) Where to see Nightingales in Yorkshire. Yorkshire Birding 16: 30-33.

Mather, J.R. (1998) Where to watch birds in Yorkshire (including the former North Humberside). Second edition. Christopher Helm (Publishers), London.
[The first edition (1994) did not include Thorne Moors].

Sprakes, R. (1995) Thorne Moors Site Guide. Yorkshire Birding 4: 90-96.

6.3 GENERAL ACCOUNTS OF THORNE MOORS

Green, K. (1987) Crowle Waste Nature Reserve. Lapwings 67: 10-11.
[Published by the Lincolnshire & South Humberside Trust for Nature Conservation].

Johnson, B.R. and P.C. Roworth (1995) The revival of Thorne Moors, a unique lowland wilderness in Yorkshire. Yorkshire Philosophical Society Annual Report for the year 1994: 66-74.

Lunn, J., P. Middleton and K. Bull (2011) The restoration of Thorne and Hatfield Moors. British Wildlife 22: 322-332.

Marren, P. (1994) England’s National Nature Reserves. T. & A.D. Poyser, London.

Roworth, P.C. (1991) Thorne Moors National Nature Reserve, South Yorkshire. British Wildlife 2: 164-166.

7. DOWNLOADS

7.1 DOWNLOADS OF ANNUAL REPORTS

The Thorne Moors Vertebrates Reports for 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 2008 and 2012 are available, comprising annual classified lists covering fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. From 2009 to 2011 separate reports were compiled for birds, mammals and cold-blooded vertebrates. The Thorne Moors Bird Reports for 2009, 2010 and 2011 have been published. The annual Thorne Moors Bird Reports from 1980 to 2003 are available at Birding Site Guide.

7.2 DOWNLOADABLE CHECKLIST

The Thorne Moors checklist in leaflet form can also be downloaded.

8. BIRDING BLOGS

8.1 THORNE MOORS

When accessing birding blogs please remember that the information they contain is not necessarily complete and accurate. Records of rarer species may be omitted to protect the interests of the birds, particularly in the breeding season. Not all recorders confine themselves to reporting only sightings which they are 100% certain of. Nevertheless blogs do provide a very useful service in informing birders and other visitors what birds it may be possible to see. However it is prudent to obtain corroboration of records before travelling, particularly if the journey is long.

The Thorne Moors Birding Blog is updated most days and is an excellent source of information on birds which have been recently observed.

8.2 OTHER BLOGS

There are several blogs which detail bird sightings in nearby areas. These include :

The Hatfield Moors Birding Blog

The Doncaster Birding Blog

RSPB Blacktoft Sands Blog


Botany

Botany

RIMG0005Sheep-Laurel
Kalmia angustifolia

The diverse habitats of the two moors give rise to an impressive species-rich flora, over 800 flowering plants and ferns having been recorded on or in the immediate vicinity of the moors. Additionally there are records of over 100 mosses and liverworts, 300 fungi and 100 lichens.

Human activity has had an impact on the flora of the moors, starting with Bronze Age farmers whose activities probably accelerated the loss of the primeval forests which grew before the formation of the raised mires. Extensive drainage by Vermuyden and others, followed by warping of parts of the peatlands will have had an effect too. A horticultural enterprise by William Casson in the 19th century has left a troublesome legacy of Rhododendron ponticum, and there also remains a small population of North American Sheep-Laurel Kalmia angustifolia together with another North American plant, Springbeauty Claytonia perfoliata. Limestone ballast was deposited to make a solid base for the tramways used to remove peat earlier in the 20th century, and these have been colonised by calcifers. The more aggressive drainage needed for peat milling placed severe stresses on the more ecologically demanding species.

80% of the area of both moors is peat, supporting a range of acidic, nutrient-poor, habitats. One of the first documented losses came from the deep peat pools – the famous Rannoch-Rush Scheuchzeria palustris – some time between 1870 and the 1940s. Both the Great Sundew Drosera Longiflora and Oblong-leaved Sundew D. intermedia have also disappeared, but the Round-leaved Sundew D. rotundifolia still thrives among the Spagnum. Flooded peat workings contain Bulbous Rush Juncus bulbosus and the carniverous bladderworts Utricolaria. Heather Calluna vulgaris prefers the drier peat banks but the Cross-leaved Heath Erica tetralix likes damp places, often among tussocks of Hare’s-tail Cotton Grass Eriophorum vaginatum.

flyagaricFly Agaric Amanita muscaria

The heaths are dominated by Heather, Bracken Pteridium aquilinum and Purple Moor-grass Molinia caerulea. A rich variety of lichens grow in these areas, including the rare Cladonia sulphurina, found on Hatfield Moors – normally it grows at high altitudes. The vascular flora of these heaths is usually very limited, except in the sandy grass-heath at Lindholme, where Red Fescue Festuca rubra, Heath Speedwell Veronica officinalis and Harebell Campanula rotundifolia are to be found.

The lagg zones around the mires have been severely reduced by drainage and encroachment by agriculture. What remains is dominated by Common Reed, although the reedbed and meadow at Inkle Moor contain Ragged Robin Lychnis flos-cuculi, Common Meadow-rue Thalictrum flavum and Marsh Pea Lathyrus palustris.

Trackways and paths reveal some unuaual species, such as Greater Yellow-rattle Rhinanthus augustifolius which grows on stretches of paths on Crowle Moor. Ominously Himalayan Balsam Impatiens glandulifera is spreading rapidly along the Lincolnshire side of the Thorne Warping drain. Lindholme supports Corn Spurrey Spergula arvensis and Common Stork’s Bill Erodium cicutarium on sandy disturbed areas.

himalayanbalsamHimalayan Balsam
Impatiens glandulifera

Birch scrub thrives on the drier areas and few plants can thrive among it, exceptions being Cross-leaved Heath, Cranberry and Common Cottongrass. Bog Rosemary Andromeda polifolia also still competes in Poor Piece on Hatfield Moors. Birch does have the advantage of being a host plant to a wide range of fungi, typical species are Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria and bracket fungi such as Piptoporus betulinus. Where the birch has matured to woodlands little survives on the woodland floor apart from grasses – Wavy Hair Grass Deschampsia flexuosa and Sweet Vernal Grass Anthoxanthum odoratum. The willow carr at Will Pits on Thorne Moors provides a good environment for several ferns. Broad Buckler-fern Dryopteris dilatata and Male-fern D. Filix-mas are common here.

Please click here to download A checklist of Fern-allies and Ferns on Thorne Moors

Thorne Moors Botanical Survey

2012 was the third season of this enormous undertaking initiated by Ian McDonald. Thorne Moors is around 1900 hectares, much of it like the Southern Canals and the Paraffin Ponds are potentially dangerous, so the project was an incredibly ambitious challenge. New data from Thorne have already superseded the recently published South Yorkshire Plant Atlas entries, most notably in the rediscovery of Lathyrus palustris. The colony is at serious risk, and like much of Thorne Moors, the compartment is assessed as unfavourable and declining.

When the survey was first mooted it was not initially envisaged that Crowle Moors would be included. However as the survey progressed it seemed desirable that if possible the land to the east of Swinefleet Warping Drain and out-with “The Yorkshire Triangle” be surveyed, particularly the recent acquisitions by Natural England and North Lincolnshire Council as these sites were new and now accessible to naturalists. Crowle Moors (LWT Reserves) were already considered to be well documented. 2012 was the third season covering Thorne Moors and saw a single season of field work on Crowle Moors to at least provide a baseline for new areas acquired and entering conservation management.

Palaeo

The acidic peat creates an environment where few bacteria survive and there is no oxygen.

This inhibits the process of decay and thus preserves a veritable Doomsday archive of three millennia.  Charred tree stumps yield rare clues to its use by Bronze Age human communities.  Fossil insects provide a wealth of information about the bog and local environment, thousands of years ago. As the bog dries, and most of the peat is extracted this record is lost forever.

mapThe Inkle Moor map