Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Friday, 31 May 2013

Little Cressingham (early morning) Thompson Water (early afternoon)

An early morning dog walk started at 'The Arms', I walked along School Road, Fairstead/Green Lane, and then south along the Great Cressingham road back to my starting point.  The day dawned misty, murky, and grey.
The first bird I encountered was a singing Lesser Whitethroat, this male was in typical habitat of  roadside hedgerows broken by mature trees, mostly Oak, between the STANTA access road-fork and the Great Cressingham road leading down to 'The Arms'.  This stretch of road has always been a reliable location for watching and listening to Lesser Whitethroat.
The commonest Warbler species heard this morning was Blackcap with many males singing at various hedgerow and woodland sites along the 4 mile route.
As I left the road to walk along Green Lane, a Garden Warbler was singing, it was briefly seen darting between cover as I approached.

Garden Warbler - picture taken May 2012 Thompson Water, Norfolk.
Also noted along Green Lane was a single singing Whitethroat and Blackcap.
The walk back along the Great Cressingham road produced a Curlew on grazing land adjacent to the road, other than a few more Blackcaps along the route, this appeared to be a relatively quiet morning.

Notes on Blackcap and Garden Warbler songs.
Several bird species can look and sound very similar to other species and may therefore offer a challenge for a birder to separate them in the field.  This is indeed the case with the songs of the Blackcap and Garden Warbler, however, with practice, these confusion species can be separated. Identifying Blackcap and Garden Warbler visually does not generally present a problem, the following notes will hopefully assist those who want to separate these species' song.
The Blackcap, often known as 'poor mans Nightingale', has a pleasant, excited, and hurried song which can often be heard at range.  During the song delivery the Blackcap song includes some 'fluty peaks', therefore the song appears to move up and down the scale.  The song of the Garden Warbler however has a lesser scale range, is not generally heard at range, and always lack the 'fluty peaks' of the Blackcap.

Early afternoon, and cloud began to break to allow some warm sunshine through.  I decided to take Toby for a walk to Thompson Water, this included a break in the hide overlooking the water where I met some new friends, John and Thea, who coincidently, live just a matter of a few houses along the road where I live in Watton, Norfolk.
The hide certainly proved its worth today when some excellent close views of a pair of Reed Warblers were had as they either skulked low down in reeds, or as on a few occasions, sidle up a stem where some good views were briefly had before they returned to cover.  There appeared to be at least 3 singing Reed Warblers near to the hide.  With large areas of inaccessable habitat it is likely that many other Reed Warblers will be present.
Other Warbler species heard included Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, and Cetti's Warbler.
A Mute Swan was incubating on its nest close to the hide and as far as I could see there appeared to be at least 3 eggs in the nest.
Also on the water was a Mallard and 4 ducklings, an incubating Great Crested Grebe, and Cormorant.
Above the water, a pair of Common Terns noisily called whilst a pair of Hobbies were hunting winged insects. One Hobby appeared to have prey in its talons which was delicately passed to its bill.

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