Breckland Birder

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

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Thompson Water, Norfolk

The day was a mixture of light snow, sleet, and rain showers.  The wall to wall grey cloud gave a dull feel and the light was therefore very poor.  A maximum temperature of just 2 degrees celsius.
I was working the morning, finishing at about 1330 hours.  Once home I immediately changed and took Toby for a walk along Redbrick Road, south along the Peddars Way for a stop at Thompson Water, and then back towards the village of Thompson, and home.
Reed Bunting at Thompson Water 21/01/15
Typically, the surface of Thompson Water was mostly covered in a layer of thin ice with patched of open water being occupied by just 3 Mute Swans.
I decided to stop at the hide for a while and observe the comings and goings of various species to the feeders provided there.
Blue Tits by far was the most abundant species with Great Tits following a close second.  Smaller numbers of Marsh and Coal Tits were also present.  A single Nuthatch, one Treecreeper, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were all seen in the area.  A bright male Siskin put in an appearance, also, at least 3 Reed Buntings and a number of Chaffinches were seen.
Treecreeper at Thompson Water 21/01/15
Thompson Water is fringed with mature woodland with an abundant understorey of waterside Willow scrub, Holly, and Sallow habitat.  The water is surrounded by thick, deep reed-beds which provide a wonderful habitat for birds and other wildlife throughout the year.  A species which occurs here at Thompson Water is the enigmatic Water Rail. 
Very close to the hide this afternoon was a calling Water Rail, it gave its familiar piercing 'pig-like' squealing call, and that is often all that an observer will know of this birds presence due to its very secretive life within thick reed-beds.  I knew the Water Rail was close, however, they will call and then move quickly, leaving the observer searching where the call was heard.  I noticed close to the edge of the water, and within reeds, a movement, and then all too briefly I saw the Water Rail break cover, only to return and melt away into thicker cover.
The abundance of suitable habitat around Thompson Water will undoubtedly hold several Water Rails, and as I wrote earlier, it is most likely to be heard than seen. 

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