Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Little Cressingham and Thompson Water, Norfolk

Little Cressingham Mill (late morning)
A good selection of summer visitors seen and heard this morning around this site with singing Blackcap and Whitethroat back in their typical habitats where seen in previous years.  The Blackcap seemed none the worse for wear despite having what appeared to be a tick on its forecrown.
A Sedge Warbler sang from rank vegetation, however, I have yet to hear Reed Warbler which is generally recorded here.
A few House Martins (3+) were over the mill-pond and surrounding farmland, however, numbers appear a little low at the moment.  High numbers are usually seen with a good nesting colony annually.
3 Mute Swans, a pair of Greylag Geese, and a calling Little Grebe were also present.
As I was preparing to leave I looked up and saw a CUCKOO quite high, it circled a couple of times and then headed off south-west still at height....a passage migrant perhaps.

Thompson Water (1400-1600)
This site always has the potential for producing good birds throughout the whole year, however, it really comes to life here in May with visiting migrants, breeding migrants, and common and scarce resident birds throughout the year.

Hobby (one of 3) at Thompson Water, Norfolk 03/05/14

2 Common Terns
2 Grey Herons
Mute Swan
Great Spotted Woodpecker
2 Cetti's Warbler (singing)
2 Reed Warblers (singing)
2 Garden Warblers
3 Siskins (2 males)
Coal Tit
Great Tit
Reed Bunting (2 territories)

The most visible species today at Thompson Water was 3 Hobby, these superbly agile Falcons made almost continuous sweeps over the water for flying insects which when caught were eaten on the wing.  Hunting took place over reedbeds, woodland, but most of all over the water and surface weeds, where insect prey was taken.
Interestingly, a female Marsh Harrier was again seen over the dense reedbeds.  This raptor did gain height later, to the north-east, and in doing so it attracted the attention of mobbing Corvids.  Was this the same bird as seen previously or another migrant, I suspect it was probably the same bird which may be commuting between Thompson Water and Hockham Fen.
The numbers of birds seen (above list), especially singing Reed Warblers, were heard within a smallish area of the water, this large site will hold further birds in unchecked areas.

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