Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Water Rail at Thompson Water, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Early morning walk before the heat of the day......

Threxton and Little Cressingham (Dawn)
With another very warm day in prospect I decided to take Toby, my Collie, out for an early morning walk whilst it was still reasonably comfortable, although towards the latter part of the walk it was starting to get quite warm.
Having parked at Threxton Church I was immediately greeted by a visit from my gamekeeper friend Andrew, during our chat he told me that a pair of Red Kites had successfully bred on his beat.
About half-way around this mornings walk I stopped to sit for a while at the Ashill/Great Cressingham road junction just east of the Peddars Way where I could hear a Lesser Whitethroat singing, the bird was located visually in a small tree, however, it was quite mobile.  Also here was a Whitethroat clambering about the grasses and umbellifers on the roadside verge where it would have been searching for small insect prey.  Slightly surprising was a singing Reed Warbler somewhere in a dense hedge of Elder and Hawthorn, usually associated with reedbeds close to water, this particular bird may have been a very early autumn migrant or an un-paired male.  Also noted here was a mobile family party of Long-tailed Tits with a couple of Blue Tits as well.
Back on my feet again, I continued to walk east along the road towards Saham Hall where a second Lesser Whitethroat sang close by.
Once at Saham Hall I turned south along the Threxton road and towards the Church and Sewage plant. The small wooded pit between Woodcock Hall and Church Farm is always worth a check as this habitat has some fine specimens of Hawthorn, Elder, Ash, and Oak trees.  With the sun behind me, the strong light revealed plenty of birds in this area including at least 2 Whitethroats, one female Blackcap in a large Hawthorn with a preening juvenile Reed Bunting close by, several Blue Tits, and a pair of Marsh Tits.
As I approached the bridge over Watton Brook at Church Farm, several birds were seen darting in and out of hedges and bushes ahead of me.  2 Blackcaps in song here included on male being seen in flight, he was typically mousey brown-grey with the distinctive black cap being a diagnostic feature.  In an Elder close to the bank alongside Watton Brook a Whitethroat was carrying a small caterpillar in its bill and giving its 'churring' alarm call - clear evidence of nearby young.  
A final look at the Elder bushes around the sewage treatment works showed these were heavily in flower, clearly a good sign for the forthcoming autumn when this area will play host to resting migrant Warblers feeding up on the fruits which will follow.

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