Clayworth & Hayton Commons (Private)

Whooper Swan in the snow

Clayworth Common is found to the north of Chainbridge Lane track and Hayton Common to the south of here. These two hugely important habitats are areas of private farmland with limited access via existing rights of way only. Birding can be distant but the whole area is open and is viewable from the riverbank track and from the Clayworth to Hayton Road on its eastern boundary.

Barn Owl in Flight Each year, dependent of how crops are sown, the site can produce different birds in different locations. Spring can be very productive with migrant Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail and Whinchat notable amongst local resident breeding species including Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Reed Bunting. Migrant waders can drop in amongst the gathering Lapwings with Ruff Whimbrel and Grey Plover notable species. Summer sees lots of breeding activity with Barn Owl, Hobby, Buzzard and Kestrel noted hunting here with Marsh Harrier and Little Egret also noted frequently.

Yellow Wagtail

Autumn sees more migrating birds including good movements of Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Wheatear, as well as wintering thrushes from late September onwards. Winter is often the best months with several raptors noted including Peregrine, Merlin, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Hen Harrier and even Marsh Harrier. Winter can often produce a few wintering Stonechat and finch flocks can sometimes be impressive. Passerine numbers are generally limited depending on weather at the time, but Linnet, Goldfinch and Skylark can sometimes be numerous. For many years, a huge gathering of Mute Swan has grazed this area with counts of 200+ not out of the ordinary. Both Whooper Swan (common) and Bewick’s Swan (now very scarce) can be found amongst the Mute Swan herds and with other wintering wildfowl though these birds often move onto the reserve in the evening to night roost.

Skylark in flight


Rarities have included :

  • Rough-legged Buzzard (2007)
  • Regular sightings of Great White Egret (past few years)


Scare birds have included:

  • Honey Buzzard
  • Common Crane
  • Gannet
  • Brent Goose
  • Twite
  • Lapland Bunting
  • Snow Bunting