ASHILL (Common Lane to Quidney Farm) 0540-0700
Dawn was quite misty, however, it was relatively mild at about 5 degrees. The morning sun eventually began to burn off mist from about 0700 although pockets of thicker mist was encountered on the drive back to Watton.
The morning started well with my first ever observation of a pair of Common Buzzards mating in a tree to the north of the lane.
At least 4 singing Chiffchaffs were heard along the route with 2 of these at Quidney Farm, also, notable counts of Linnets were seen with two groups numbering 10+ and 20+ in either hedgerows or in trees where several males sang.
The fields east of the old rail cutting held displaying Lapwing, occasionally the male bird came close enough for me to hear the humming of the wings as he passed by.
THOMPSON COMMON 0845-1000
This wonderful site this morning was bathed in fairly warm sunshine as I arrived and straight away following my arrival several species were encountered in the damp woodland. Treecreeper was singing as was Nuthatch, and a pair of Long-tailed Tits foraged close by in low branches. Higher up a Song Thrush was in Ivy feeding upon berries and just above this bird was a stunning Redwing with a very strongly detailed head pattern. A beautiful male Coal Tit passed through singing.
Most notable on the common this morning was the finding of at least 10 Chiffchaffs in song, however, only a single Blackcap was heard in song.
By the time I had left this wonderful site I had encountered 3 Nuthatches, Goldcrest, 2 Coal Tits, 2 Song Thrush, Wrens, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker (one 'drumming'), and 2 singing Stock Doves.
THOMPSON WATER 1020-1145
|Chiffchaff at Thompson Water 29/03/14|
Chiffchaffs were once again present in good numbers at Thompson Water. It is generally typical for this species to be well established on territory before other Warbler species arrive from the south. A single Blackcap was in song, again, it is typical for this species to be encountered in late March, however, the vast majority of Blackcaps will arrive in early to mid April.
An overview of the water to check for early Hirundines was fruitless.
On the water a few Tufted Duck were seen and a Great Crested Grebe nearly went un-noticed within surface weed. 2 Cormorants were perched at the usual site.
One, possibly 2 Cetti's Warblers delivered their explosive song from dense cover along the eastern fringes of the water.
|Siskin at Thompson Water 29/03/14|
A number of Siskins were both seen and heard above the woodland around Thompson Water. The flight call is quite easy to identify and remember, it is a rather mournful "tsu".
This is a male Siskin, he can be identified by his black crown and bib, and brighter greens and yellows.
Most Siskins seen in the woodlands at this time of year will be winter visitors from Scandinavia, however, smaller numbers will remain in the brecks to breed.
|Reeve's Pheasant Little Cressingham 29/03/14|
An afternoon walk along Fairstead Lane and Green Lane produced this single male Reeve's Pheasant. This is a larger bird than the more familiar Common Pheasant.
Note from this photograph the size difference between the species, the Reeve's is a much stockier bird with a world-beating tail which appears in the Guinness book of records as having the longest tail feather of any bird....an astonishing 8 feet.
A couple of Chiffchaffs were singing along the route.
Finally, it was encouraging to see a number of Lapwings on arable land adjacent to Fairstead Lane.