Species List
The Sanctuary offers a quiet refuge for many important species of birds.
Some are in decline, either locally or nationally. All those shown here can be seen from the perimeter fencing. Many have even been seen from inside a parked car!
For a full species list see bottom of page

The skylark is a small brown songbird with white underparts and a short crest on its head and white outer tail feathers. It is best known for its magical song, which is heard whilst the males fly high in the sky in spring and summer. Numbers have declined by over 50% in the last 30 years, as well as declining in many parts of Europe too. It is on the 'Red List' of 'Birds of Conservation Concern' and a UK Species Action Plan has been produced. The rough grassland nearest to the football stadium is an ideal breeding area, and they can be easily seen and heard here. The protection of this species was the main reason why The Sanctuary was originally established.

photo M.Hamblin
Lapwing is a resident breeding species whose numbers increase in winter due to an influx of birds from northern Europe. This distinctive bird nests on bare ground or where vegetation is short. This familiar farmland bird has suffered significant declines in the last 25 years and is an 'Amber List' species because of the importance of its UK wintering population.

photo M. Muddiman
Little Ringed Plover
This small plover with its distinctive black and white head pattern, is similar to the slightly larger ringed plover, but has a distinctive yellow eye-ring and pale legs. A ground-nesting bird, it first bred in the UK in 1938 and has since then successfully spread to large part of England and Wales. They like shingle banks near freshwater, and so gravel pits have become a favourite man-made habitat for them. The Sanctuary will eventually include large areas of open, bare gravel in the hope that they may be encouraged to breed here as many other suitable sites in Derby are destined to be lost to development.

photo M. Roome
Common Tern
These attractive silvery-grey and white birds have long tails which have earned them the nickname 'sea-swallow'. They have a graceful, buoyant flight and frequently hover over water before plunging down for a fish. They are often noisy in company and breed in colonies, preferring bare open areas. We have created gravel-topped islands in the hope that they may be encouraged to breed at The Sanctuary, and we also aim to install a floating tern raft at a future date.

photo M. Muddiman
Sand Martin
Sand martins are the smallest of the European martins and swallows. They have brown upper parts and under-wings, contrasting with otherwise pale under-parts divided by a distinctive dark chest bar. They are similar in shape to the much darker house martin which also visits The Sanctuary. They feed mainly over water, but will perch on fencing or overhead wires. They nest in natural sandy cliffs of river banks, but will also use sand stockpiles in gravel quarries. Melbourne Developments generously built an artificial sand martin bank for us during winter 2003, and in 2004 had our first major success at The Sanctuary when over a dozen pairs successfully raising young in sand-filled plastic pipes between May and July. Over the past 50 years the European population has crashed on two occasions as a result of drought in the birds' African wintering grounds, so any efforts to help them breed successfully in the UK should help their numbers recover.

photo M. Muddiman
Reed Bunting
The reed bunting occurs throughout Britain, living amongst reedbeds other wetland habitats, as well as drier farmland sites, with ditches and hedgerows. Numbers fell by more than 50% by the 1980s, so this species is on the 'Red List' of 'Birds of Conservation Concern'. It is occasionally seen perched in trees or bushes at The Sanctuary.

photo M. Muddiman

The linnet has long been common and widespread across the UK countryside where it likes weedy fields, hedgerows, gorse thickets, heathland and scrub. However populations declined by over 50% on farmland between 1968 and 1991,and it is now has its own UK Species Action Plan which aims to reverse its decline.

Grey Partridge
They breed amongst short grass with longer grass and nearby hedgerows, as well as in farmland with thick hedges and wide field margins. In winter they also like uncultivated areas, and were occasionally seen at The Sanctuary during the development phase in winter 2003. The UK population of
grey partridge declined by over 50% between 1969-1990 to a current estimate of only 150,000 pairs, so a UK Action Plan has been devised to encourage its survival.

House Martin
The house martin is a small bird with glossy blue-black upper parts, pure white under parts and a white rump and short, forked tail. It spends much of its time on the wing collecting insect prey. They are often to be seen flying over the lake at The Sanctuary, sometimes in the company of their cousin, the sand martin. They will drop down to the water's edge to collect mud to build their nests which are often sited below the eaves of buildings. We have installed artificial nests to encourage them to breed on the nearby water treatment works. They are summer migrants and spend their winters in
Africa, and are included on the "Amber List" of Species of Conservation Concern.

Meadow Pipit
Meadow pipit is a small, brown, streaked bird, quite hard for the non-expert to distinguish from skylark when its not in flight. It is the commonest songbird in upland areas and its high, piping call is a familiar sound, as is its fluttering 'parachute' display flight. In winter they are quite gregarious and gather in small flocks, often invisible among the vegetation, before suddenly flying up with typical jerky flight. Both meadow pipit and skylark breed in the grassland areas at The Sanctuary.

Click here to view full species list

For more information on anything related to the Sanctuary including Species and Volunteer teams
please contact: nick.moyes@derby.gov.uk