Wednesday, 1 February 2017

January sightings.

Highlights of the month were 2 Waxwings in Sharps Close on the 14th and an Antipodean visitor in the form of a Black Swan, 20th-24th. Not sure where the latter had escaped from.
Six Bullfinch were feeding on Himalayan Honeysuckle in the garden and a Little Egret was a fly over.
There were approximately 350 Lapwing on the 17th and a small flock of 18 Golden Plover were accompanying them. A flock of 61 Wigeon was a good count for the reservoir.
Other sightings have included Raven, Siskin, Redpoll, Water Rail, Yellowhammer and a displaying Sparrowhawk. The first frogs have also been seen in the pond and a single Peacock butterfly was an unseasonal sighting.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Little Bittern Bagged!

 I was very happy to eventually tick off the Thornton Little Bittern this week.
 Pity it was 62 years late and just the skin at New Walk Museum.
Thanks to Jan Dawson for giving me the chance to see it.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Dutch Black-headed Gull.

I managed to read the colour ring on a first winter Black-headed Gull at Thornton reservoir. The colour ring is white with a black code, EH9E. Having gone on to the European colour ringing site I was able to find the ringer responsible for this project. I emailed him and he quickly sent me the details on this bird.
The gull was rung as a nestling as part of the Griend project at the Wadden Sea in the Netherlands. Date Lutterop is the ringer and he was able to tell me that this gull had been rung on 30/06/2016. It has travelled 444km to spend the winter at Thornton. Date informed me that they ring hundreds of Black-headed Gulls and many of them winter in England.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Best of the Cape.

 Great views of Table Mountain.
 African Penguin at Boulders Beach.
 Southern Double collared Sunbird.
 Dad with the kids.
 White backed Duck
Southern Red Bishop.
 Southern Right Whale blow foreground, and Brydes in distance.
 Spotted Thick-Knee
 Cape Clawless Otter.
 Blue Crane.

 Robben Island.
 Cape Sugarbird

 Great White Shark
 Under water views of Great Whites was an amazing experience.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Butterfly Distraction!

 While watching Gordon Gannet this morning I was distracted by a dull brown butterfly fluttering along the footpath along the dam.
At first I thought it would be a Gatekeeper or late Meadow Brown. When it eventually settled it was nice to see a Wall Brown.  
The dam wall and increased vegetation along it creates an ideal habitat for this declining species.

Gannet Feeding at Thornton!

 Gordon is still at Thornton for his record breaking fourth day. Apparently no Leicestershire Gannet has stayed for more than two days. He/She was flying around and at one time I was hoping that it would make a break for the coast. Dave Wright reported seeing it plunge dive and Rhys Dandy has seen it eating a fish. I decided to try and get some sea fish out to it. I was surprised that it was so willing to come to hand.
 I rather suspect that this bird has taken fish scraps from a fishing boat in the past. It was happy to come to me and grab a Morrisons Herring. All other wet fish outlets are also to be recommended!

 I am hoping that with some food inside Gordon will decide that he has had enough of a holiday at Thornton and head off to his normal habitat out in the Atlantic.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Gannet wrecked at Thornton.

 Stopping off on the dam after a busy day at the Bird Fair had its rewards. A large gull like bird was flying towards me and at first I thought it was one of the Herring Gulls that have been hanging out at the outflow. As it came closer I realised it was an adult Gannet, for me a county tick, but most importantly a Thornton Patch tick! It landed in the central area of the reservoir.
As we watched the Gannet an Osprey flew over and headed off south down the valley. A nice patch year tick.
The Gannet is still present, resting at the top end of the reservoir. Hopefully it will regain enough strength to fly off to the ocean , where it should be. The low pressure system that has crossed the country in the last few days is no doubt the reason for its appearance.