With winters icy grip still dominating spring seems a long way off. The recent bird sightings have also had a winter feel, with two Lesser Redpoll, Raven and a flock of 25 Wigeon. A smart male Yellowhammer in the garden was also admired against the snow. When temperatures do start to rise spring will burst out and we are promised a spectacular display. I think we shall all enjoy it after the hardest winter for thirty years. I remember last easter being in Finland , where they go from two metres of snow and temperatures of -20, to long warm sunny days, sometimes within a week or two. The Finnish birders we spoke to wanted a long drawn out spring so that migrants would linger on their journey north and give them more chance of adding them to their year lists. At Thornton it is always worth birding when the weather is bad as migrants are attracted to the insect hatches off the reservoir. Lets hope for a good spring migration to dispell those winter blues.
With the increasing daylight at last there is a hint of spring. A fine male Mistle thrush was singing from the church yard today. Three new species were added to the year list , taking me to 76. Two Great black backed gulls flew over in the company of a a mob of Herring gulls. A yomp up Brown,s wood produced a smart Marsh tit and two hours ringing on the rough resulted in a Lesser Redpoll trapped and rung. A group of 75+ Lapwing wheeled over the res. this morning and 2 Common Buzzards and a Kingfisher were also seen.
As the cold weather persists there has been little to report . The only tick has been a group of 4 Greylag geese flying over on the 7th. Feb. Other species have included Water Rail near the wooden bridge, Teal and Green Woodpecker. The colour ringed Black headed gull has been frequenting the car park. It has a white ring with the code 2Y74 and is the same bird that was seen earlier in the year.
There has been very little to report at Thornton for the last ten days. However, to relieve the tedium I have treated myself to the new Collins guide. It is amazing how our growing knowledge demands that bird guides are constantly having to keep up to date. The very useful page of Caspian Gull images is a case in point. Others include American Herring Gull, Brown and Taiga Flycatcher and soemmerringii Jackdaw to name but afew. It is all so useful as a reference and so informative. Meanwhile at the res. I have only added one site year tick, a Tawny Owl. Other species have included Kingfisher, Teal and now 7 dodgy Snow x greylag with the Barnacle goose. Three Snipe were at Browns Wood and a large tit flock in Thornton wood included over 15 Long Tailed tits, two Treecreepers and the more common tit species ,but no sign of the hoped for Marsh or Willow. I have recently added up my ringing totals for Thornton for 2009. I managed to ring 490 new birds of 31 species. This is only just short of my best year, 2005 when I did 531. It gives me a target for this year. I have also been busy putting up three Barn Owl boxes and one Tawny box, both at Thornton and at Charnwood lodge. My next project is to make some Little Owl boxes , using the new design from the latest edition of BTO News.