D.W. had a Swallow on the 26th, and today there were 2 Swallows and 3 Sand Martins. They tended to drop in when rain threatened and soon disappeared. There are also several Chiffchaff around the reservoir and they are now calling. Seven Buzzards were joined by a Peregrine this morning. There was also a report of a male Blackcap singing in Thornton wood. A walk over to Bagworth heath produced 2 more site ticks, a brace of Red Legged Partridge and a small flock of Meadow pipit mixed in with Skylarks.
I have seen Buzzards talon grappling before, but today two birds were seen to fall for what must have been at least one hundred feet, before they released. No sign of any hirundines at Thornton yet. Three Chiffchaffs were seen feeding , but not calling. A Water Rail is showing well at the Markfield inflow end.
As the first migrants start to trickle into the county there is always excitement and expectation. On the 16th nine Song Thrush were feeding in the fields near to the church , no doubt passage birds, heading north. A Song Thrush was also seen carrying nesting material. A walk to Bagworth heath on the 17th, resulted in a close encounter with a Woodcock that was flushed. I have also managed to put up a home made Little Owl box in a known territory. Today I finally managed to tick my first warbler of the year, a Chiffchaff. It was busily feeding along a hedge and not calling ,despite the warm weather. It was also quite pale and I did wonder whether it was the northern race abietinus. Other signs of spring today included two Brimstone butterflies and a wonderful chorus of croaking from a frog filled pond.
There have been very few large flocks of passerines around locally ,so it was nice to find a flock of approximately 200 Lesser Redpolls and Goldfinches feeding on the Alders at Bagworth heath on 13th March. Three Curlews were over the reservoir on 12th. A Willow Tit was my 81 species on my Thornton year list and the colour ringed Black headed gull , 2Y74, is still loyal to the ressy car park. With the milder weather now in command the excitement is rising as we await the Spring migration.
Dispite the weather still being on the cool side there are at last some signs that spring is ready to burst out. On the 26th Feb. the first frogs were seen in the pond and Great crested Grebes were displaying. Pairs of birds were in evidence and this included a pair of Peregrine over the reservoir on the 26th, two Shelduck on the 2nd March, a pair of Little Owls on the 3rd and 2 Curlew today. At Bagworth heath a pair of Stonechat were brief visitors.