Print page

Star species

Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.


Everyone knows the cuckoo's call. From late April, listen and watch out for them, as the adults arrive and start looking for mates. You could see one flying low, similar in shape to a kestrel.

Cuckoo - male

Green woodpecker

Though green woodpeckers nest in trees, they spend a lot of time feeding on the ground - their favourite snack is ants, which they dig for in grassland and on the heath. Their raucous, laughing call is easily recognisable; in flight you may notice their bright yellow rump.

Green woodpecker - male

Water rail

Watch out for water rails emerging to feed on the edge of the reedbed. They may venture out onto exposed mud when the water drops in late summer and autumn or onto ice in winter. But you're most likely to hear their screeching calls.

Water rail


Whitethroats arrive in late April and can be seen in the scrubby areas until early autumn. The best way to locate them is to listen for the males' short, scratchy song in spring.

Whitethroat - male


In spring, listen out for the yellowhammer's song, described as 'a little bit of bread and no cheeeeese', given from the canary-yellow male's perch at the top of bushes.

Yellowhammer - male

Contact us

  • Tel: 01226 273830

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 53.517059,-1.368811
  • Grid reference: SE419024
  • Nearest town: Barnsley, South Yorkshire
  • County: South Yorkshire
  • Country: England

Get directions