So a great year comes to a close with my site total for Thornton on a respectable 115. Some surprising species were missed such as Dunlin and Willow tit, but quality in the form of 80 Waxwings, 5 Avocets and a Leicestershire first made it a memorable year. Final sightings today included a very confiding Water Rail, which can be viewed from just between the fishing lodge and the old trout cages. Also in front of the lodge the juv. Scaup was feeding and I hope that it is still there tomorrow as it will be a good addition to my 2010 list. I am hoping to add Red Crested Pochard to my Thornton list as I am fed up with the other Tossers gripping me off! My prediction for 2010 is a Firecrest trapped and rung ,as I think it is my only chance of catching up with one at Thornton. Happy New year when it arrives and a bird filled 2010.
On the 28th a colour ringed Black headed gull was on the ice. It had a white colour ring with the code 2Y74 on the left leg and a metal ring on the right. By looking up www.cr-birding.be I was able to find out that the gull was rung in the Gloucestershire area. I am now waiting to find out when and whether this individual has been sighted elsewhere. Other news is that we managed to put up another Barn Owl box locally, which should help to encourage this species. A total of 7 Tree sparrows were at the feeder at the top end of the res. and the juv. Scaup is still present.
The morning started with a mad dash to try and get film of a possible Y.L.Gull on the ice. We have yet to scrutinise the footage and I have some doubts. At the same time a year tick for the res. was added in the form of a smart male Pintail. Not a duck that we get very often on the res. In total 9 duck species were present including a single Goldeneye and the loyal juv. Scaup. On the walk back from enjoying a splendid pint of Ped. at the Thatched in Stanton, 9 Snow geese x ? in the fields to the north of Stanton lane.
A slight thaw today. The only new arrivals 2 Snow geese and 1 Barnacle, joined later by a Snow x Greylag x who knows what goose. Over 20 B.H. Gulls in the garden created an unusual spectacle. A single Common Gull joined them . The A.G.M. of T.O.S. was held last night at the Bricklayers Arms. High lights of the year were noted, there were 3. The membership could not remember them, so D.W. had to refer to his detailed field notes. The meeting was adjourned and we relocated to D.W.s where we did some serious damage to his Glenfiddich. Thanks Dave.
The reservoir is now about three quarters iced over. Today I had at least 46 Great Crested grebes, also present 40 Wigeon,20 Pochard and 6 Little grebe. A single male Shoveler and the juv. Scaup. Only a scattering of gulls this afternoon in the roost until the fog rolled in. Ringing on the rough was succesful with a total of 31 birds, including 2 Reed buntings and 3 Goldfinch. News for the 22 December included two flocks of Golden plover, about 60 birds in total, all heading S.W. and 12 Teal on the res. 3 Goosander flew over on the 21 December.
Both arms of the res. had areas of ice this morning. No rarities, but 28 Wigeon, 3 Shoveler, 3 Teal, 1 Kingfisher and 2 Lesser Redpoll. Also a group of 9 Little Grebe and 34 Great crested grebes. A disappointing gull roost with 20 Common gull and afew hundred B.H. Gulls.
D.W had a flock of grey geese flying south west over the village at about 9am. I then had a family group of 7 grey geese flying north east over the reservoir at 1 p.m. I did not think they were Greylag and the head seemed large in relation to a short neck. The juv. Scaup was again present this morning, but could not be found when I watched the gull roost at 3.30 pm. 23 Common gulls and 1 L.B.B. amongst the Black headeds.
I thought this photo taken by Jen would bring back memorise of the Rosefinch twitch in September. Everything looks so green and it does make me realise how fortunate I am to look over this bit of habitat. It has also taken me this long to work out how to add a photo to my blog!
Lapwing numbers have increased with 95 resting on the dam at 4pm. A single Scaup is still present and was within photograph range of the main car park. An adult and first winter Herring gull were in the gull roost.
Although there was no sign of the Scaup this a.m. when I went to look at the gull roost at 3.30 , two juvenile Scaup were present, feeding in the central area of the res. Very few Scaup have been rung in the U.K. but those that have demonstrate a strong link to Iceland. (Migration atlas). The flock of Lapwing is also increasing with about 50 birds on the dam and a fly over flock of about 100.
Although no rare gulls appeared in the gull roost at least I did manage to find a juvenile Scaup today, which was still present when I left at 4pm. The bird was viewable from the car park and was feeding in the central area of the res. Some quick phone calls enabled all 3 tossers, ( members of Thornton Ornithological Society ) to see the bird and I think it was a site tick for R.M. Hopefully the bird will stay around for tomorrow and we can grab some photos. Also present today was a Ruddy duck and the usual Wigeon and Gadwall.
As fishing has now stopped for the winter at Thornton I decided to check out the gull roost today. The wind direction made it difficult as all the gulls were facing away from the car park. It then started to rain. Not ideal conditions although this site is easy to watch in normal prevailing westerlies. Totals today were 1500 + B.H. Gulls, 10 + Common, 2 Herring, 1 L.B.B. and 1 G.B.B.Gull. Nothing to compete with other sites, but I am undaunted and shall persevere. I have already had a Med. this autumn and would love to add an Iceland to the list, having had a Glaucous way back in 1992. Other birds of note this weekend were 2 Ruddy duck, a Thornton tick for R.M.,4 Shoveler and 17 Lapwing roosting on the dam. Hopefully the cold northerly winds will encourage the Carsington water Ring-billed gull to pay us a visit!
This shrub is one of the best for attracting Sylvia warblers. Also known as Himalayan honeysuckle or Pheasant bush. It has attractive flowers and most important warblers go mad for the berries when they are stocking up before migration. I planted several and they now seed themselves . This summer I have caught 26 Blackcap and 4 Garden warblers on the land behind my house, and I put it partly down to the presence of this shrub. I once caught 25 Blackcaps all coming to one plant in my garden over a two week period. So if you have influence over any land areas plant this shrub and look forward to more warblers next summer.
No, not at Thornton, but on the last episode of BBC Round the world in 80 days. Film of at least 2 beaked whales, possibly Trues, breaching. The clip can be viewed on BBC Eyeplayer and is about three quarters into the programme. Can anyone ID them for me? Meanwhile at Thornton a smart male Blackcap is enjoying the mild weather.