Moor Green Lakes Group

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Birds you might expect to see

Birds to see Bird recording Bird species list


More than 200 species of birds have been recorded in the area of Moor Green Lakes since 1977. Between 120 and 140 species are recorded annually, around 60 of these breeding in the area. A half day visit can provide more than 60 species at any time of the year. The species list indicates the resident or migratory status of each species. A check of the Berksbirds website will highlight recent sightings. The reporting log in Colebrook Hide should also list the more interesting recent sightings

During winter bird feeders are maintained at the Reserve car park and in the paddock by the path, just before Colebrook Hide. There are 50 nest boxes around the Reserve for Tits, Mandarin Ducks and Owls. These are monitored and reported on in the MGLG Annual Report.

January to March

Wildfowl numbers of are at their maximum with Wigeon being the most numerous duck with up to 500 or more. Also to be found in good numbers are Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Coot. A few Goldeneye can usually be found in this period and lately one or two Smew have spent some of the winter period on the reserve. Grove Lake holds a winter night-time roost of Goosander, for which the site is locally important. It is the signature bird for the Reserve and is the Group logo. Over 50 Goosander may be seen under favourable conditions at dusk as they congregate,. The maximum count ever recorded was 184 on 12th January 1997.


Bittern ©2011 Roger Milligan

Little Egret are now regular during this period. Lapwing can exceed 1000, Common Snipe are present and also a few Jack Snipe, though these are typically skulking and hard to see. A few Water Rails and Green Sandpipers also occur at this time. Having finished off the berries, winter Thrushes will be on the paddocks and open fields. A few Stonechats spend the winter in the area and winter flocks of Linnets, Meadow Pipits and finches are in the open areas and Siskins and Redpolls in the alder trees along the river. Reed Buntings will be visiting the feeders in the paddock and are occasionally joined by a Brambling.

April to June

Canada and Egyptian Geese breed as do Mallard, Tufted Duck and a few Gadwall. Mandarin Ducks occupy several nest boxes along the north of the Reserve to maintain a thriving population in the area. Redshank, Lapwing and Little Ringed Plovers arrive and may attempt to breed and several species of wader may pass through on northbound passage. Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns take up residence on Tern Island to breed in good numbers; the noise of these birds characterises this period. Latterly (2014 -15) a pair of Oystercatchers has also nested successfully on Tern Island

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier ©2013 J O'Brien

Hobbies arrive and small gatherings of this species may be seen catching insects in flight. Other raptors such as Marsh Harrier and Osprey may pass through. Seven species of Warbler arrive to breed in the area and House Martins, Sand Martins, Swallows and Swifts feed over the lakes. Wheatear, Whinchat and other spring migrants may pass through.

July to September

By now most of the breeding will be over, but some Tufted Ducks and Great Crested Grebes may still be on nests. The return passage of waders will be under way and the first Green Sandpipers will arrive. The autumn passage seems less urgent and passage birds may linger for a few days. The numbers of birds that appeared for the summer are swelled by the successful breeding. The noise of the breeding Gulls and Terns is muted as the young disperse with their parents. Gulls gather on the new workings during the afternoon and frequently include a Yellow-legged Gull or two.

Teal, Wigeon and Shoveler start arriving for the winter and overlap with the passage of warblers heading south.

October to December

The number of Grebes increases with the chance of a rare species and Little Egrets return. Goldeneye and Goosander do not generally arrive until November, but the other wintering ducks and geese may be seen by the beginning of this period. Gull numbers start to build up and peak in November with up to 1000 Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the roost.


Male Goosander ©2015 R C Murfitt

An occasional Osprey may pass through on the return leg to Africa.Finches and tits form feeding flocks on the grassland or in trees along the river. Arriving winter thrushes feed on the berries of hawthorns and blackthorns along the path to the river whilst Meadow Pipits can be seen in the more open areas. Goldcrests become more numerous as Continental birds arrive to winter and may be joined by the occasional Firecrest. In some years good sized flocks of Brambling are present.

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