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.
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.
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.
Hirundines are now grouping up and preparing to head south, although some Sand Martins at the Bagworth wall are still on late broods. A male and female/juv Redstart were in the hedge line above Stony Bank on Monday. An adult Reed Warbler was feeding a juvenile at Church Farm and today I trapped and rung a juvenile Reewa at my Thornton ringing site, a site ringing tick. There was also a fly over Red Kite and at the Top End of the reservoir a juvenile Water Rail, perhaps evidence of local breeding. A Hobby was also seen carrying prey.