Wednesday, 24 December 2014

German Visitor for Christmas.

 I managed to read the metal ring on this first winter Black Headed Gull in the car park at Thornton.
The number was 5426233, below which were the words HELGOLAND, GERMANA. I have informed the German bird ringing scheme and await further information.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Gulls at Thornton.

 An Adult Winter Med. Gull was a brief visitor to the res. on Thursday 27th.
 Not great images, but an example of  my weak effort at Digiscoping in poor light.
The Mediterranean Gull flew off with the rest towards the north west. I think they must drop in to Thornton for a quick wash up and then carry on to Sence Valley or maybe even Albert Village.
More interesting was a probable 4th winter Yellow Legged Gull last Sunday. It was fortunate that an adult Herring Gull and several Lesser black backed were with it to help us make our comparisons. I am hoping it might drop in again this week end so I can grab a photo.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Okavango Highlights.

 Just back from a fantastic Okavango trip that delivered everything I could have wished for.
 Paula had never been to Africa. It is pretty good when you get Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Honey Badger and Wild Dog all on the same day.
 We watched a large herd of Buffalo being harried by three Lions.
 My first Spotted Hyena sighting was at 1am with one at the entrance to the tent!
 Over 240 bird species were enjoyed.
 On our drive back south to Maun a pack of Hunting Dogs accompanied us for part of the journey.
 Along with Hyena probably one of my favourite animals.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Creating Willow Tit nesting sites.

 We are coppicing areas of Sallow and Willow at Brown's Wood, Thornton. The area above was done last spring(2014). Already the ground layer shows more growth thanks to the increased light levels.
 An area that we have started coppicing this autumn. Looks a mess, but there is method in this madness!
 An experiment to create more standing deadwood in this new woodland. We have left one standing stump and ring barked it to help it rot. A potential future nest site for a Willow Tit. Willow Tit excavate a new nest hole each spring. New woodlands lack standing deadwood.

 A 14 year old Silver Birch that has grown at an angle. We cut off the trunk at about 7' and ring barked it. Hopefully it will become a rotten stump for Wilti. to excavate in the spring.

 With the top part of the felled Birch, we cut off a 7-8' length and buried it , to create another stump.

We plan to add 2-3 such nesting opportunities for Willow Tit in each of the areas we coppice.

The finished scene. Just need to add a pair of Willow Tit!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Eastern Redstart?????

 I took a rare trip to Norfolk yesterday. At Stiffkey Woods I got a shot of this presumably first winter  Redstart.The primaries have plenty of white edging , which forms a panel. Is this samamiscius? Over all the bird does not seem pale enough. It might be ok if it was a female , but I think this is a first winter male, where I presume the white panel would be bigger. Any suggestions? 
 Another eastern species!
Great Grey Shrike of the eastern race pallidirostris.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Water Rails.

There were two Water Rails at the Markfield inflow end of the reservoir this afternoon. I think it is the first time that I have seen two together at Thornton. There were also two Kingfishers at the same spot.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Mixed Seasonal flavours!

 There are good numbers of Mistle Thrush around the village. The most I have counted is 15. Perhaps they have had 2 or even 3 broods.
 Plenty of insects are still enjoying the warm weather. Several Hornets were seen today as well as this Southern Hawker.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Stonechat Bagworth Heath.

It was nice to find a probable first winter Stonechat at Bagworth Heath today.(25/9/14)

 Hopefully after this excellent breeding season this species might be making a recovery.
 It had selected a typical area of habitat for this species, scrub thorn bushes over an area of rough grassland.
 Also at Thornton recently there has been a flock of up to 15 Mistle thrush, 54 Meadow Pipit and 2 Kingfishers.

Monday, 15 September 2014


 A probable juvenile Pintail was off the dam today.
 It was feeding with Mallard and up-ending close  to the dam.
 Not a species that we get very often at Thornton. September and October are the peak months for Pintail in Leicestershire and Rutland.
Also today 2 Raven, a Hobby and 2 Spotted Flycatchers.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Spotted Flycatchers.

 I caught two Spotted Flycatchers today. Both were juveniles, indicated by fresh plumage and buff tipped greater coverts.
 An adult would have very worn plumage.
 Spotted Flycatchers have bred in Thornton Wood this summer. An adult was seen feeding a recently fledged juvenile, so these two might be local birds.
A group of 4 Spotted Flycatchers was seen below the dam recently. They seem to have had a successful breeding season. They are now feeding up in readiness for the long migration south to Africa. Hopefully, my two juveniles will make the trip and return here next spring to breed.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Migration in full flow.

 A very confiding Common Sandpiper was in the outflow. There have also been up to  5 Grey Wagtails and 4 Yellow Wagtails recently.

 Fly over Curlew.
 Two Swifts were over the res today 29th August along with all 3 hirundines.
 Little Egret in the top pool today.
A probable first winter male Redstart was a good find by John today, again in the popular location of Redstart Hedge! There were good numbers of other warblers including Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. There were also 4 Spotted Flycatchers in the fields below the dam. A Hobby was also watched chasing hirundines.
A Spitfire was also migrating!!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Common Scoter.

I managed to locate a female or possibly juvenile Common Scoter yesterday afternoon. It was frequenting the central area of the reservoir. It was constantly raising its head and seemed to be rather nervous. I tried to look for it this am ,but weather conditions made this difficult. There are still plenty of Tufted duck to sieve through!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Rough Butterflies today.

Butterflies tend to be easier to ID and these 3 posed nicely. There were several Holly Blues on the wing.
  I love Small Coppers. Little gems.
A wonderful Comma. Just wish I had a shot of the Clouded Yellow that was an all too brief visitor.

Clouded Yellow in Garden.

Another garden butterfly tick today in the form of a Clouded Yellow. First seen on a Buddleia in the garden and then on a Geranium at 1045. Annoyingly I did not have a chance to grab a photo before it flew up and away over the house. Perhaps we are in for an invasion this summer. There is also a SWF still frequenting the rough.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Brown Hairstreak at last.

 A second trip to Grafton Flyford, just east of Worcester, was successful.
A total of 3 females were seen egg laying.
Well worth the wait and now one of my favourite butterflies, and definitely the top hairstreak. Nice that the females are so photogenic and happy to pose. Approx. 8 SW Fritillaries were also seen.