Thursday, 18 May 2017

Colour Ringed Common Tern.

 Four Common Terns have been frequenting the reservoir. One pair have shown interest in the tern raft and are now regularly perched on it. Both have metal rings on their right legs and one has a colour ring on the right.
The code is U26. This is a bird that I rung at Watermead CP on 23rd June 2014, so it is a bit like meeting an old friend!

The male feeding the colour ringed female. Pair bonding.
Common Terns winter in West Africa in the Gulf of Guinea. Very few return in their first year and over summer in their winter quarters. The colour ringed female will have made the trip probably four times.
I am hoping that they find the raft to their liking and breed, although it is likely to be the first attempt for this three year old female.

Monday, 1 May 2017

April Highlights.

 On the 11th April I had two Osprey encounters and managed to get photos. I sent these to John Wright of the Rutland Osprey project. He was able to confirm that the first bird was a female,(broader wings and more barrel chested), and the second was a male, on which you can just make out a ring on the left leg. He thought it almost certain that both were Scottish migrants.

 Grey Lag Geese on Wagtail field.
 Male Grey Wagtail.
 Lesser Black backed Gulls checking out the tern raft!

 Dave Wright found this smart drake Garganey at the Outflow on April 30th.
 Seemed tired after no doubt battling against the stiff easterly wind.

 A pair of Grey Wagtails were busy feeding three recently fledged juveniles on April 30th.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

White Naped Wren-New Species!!

 I don't normally photograph Wrens when I catch them, but this one  had a rather neat white feather patch on its nape. No doubt a valiant attempt to become a new species!
I managed to get a photo of this Osprey as it circled over Thornton. I think it has what look like rings on its left leg. It might be a Rutland bird, but I await confirmation.
Other sighting of Spring migrants have included House Martin and Yellow Wagtail on the 10th April and Willow Warbler on the 13th.
Large numbers of hirundines were feeding in the cold northerly over the fields above Stony Bank. There were 18 Pied Wagtails, one a candidate for a White Wagtail and also 2 Meadow Pipits.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

March and recent highlights.

 An adult Whooper Swan on the 24th March was a brief visitor as was
 this smart Bar-Headed Goose on April 4th. Perhaps this individual had decided to take the easy option and head for Thornton, rather than fly north over the Himalayas from wintering grounds in the Ganges valley! More likely an escapee from a collection. We have now had Black Swan and Bar-Headed Goose this spring, both popular exotics in the county.
Other species seen in March included Grey Partridge, 3 Shelduck on the 7th, and Red Kite on the 10th. On the 17th Redshank, Sand Martin and Meadow Pipit were recorded. A single Wheatear was seen on the 27th and the first Swallow on the 30th.
After seeing a fly through Common Tern on the 1st April, highlight later that day was an Osprey carrying a fish and flying north over the lodge. My first Common Sandpiper was on the 2nd feeding on the dam.

Monday, 6 March 2017

February Highlights.

Two juvenile Greater Black backed Gulls were present on the 6th. One has been in the company of Cormorants all month, with the aim of stealing a trout. On the 8th 40 Golden Plover was a good count and a single Red Kite was a fly through. During the snow flurries of the 11th a male Blackcap was in the garden and 26 Cormorants were on the reservoir.
The February Webs count on the 12th produced 143 Mallard, 27 Tufted Duck and 11 Great crested Grebes. Peregrines were seen on the 13th and 23rd, the latter date having two birds chasing each other as storm Doris struck.
During the unsettled and stormy weather of the 27th strange Mamma clouds were seen in the afternoon.

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.