Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Thompson, Norfolk

For a sheer habitat variety, I think Thompson excels. This is a heavily wooded parish broken by arable farmland, typical Breckland heathland, commons, a large lake surrounded by thick reedbed and waterside Sallow and Willow scrub.  Thompson Common is home to the world renowned  Pingos.  These features were originally low hillocks that formed 20,000 years ago during the last ice age when water beneath the surface froze to form lenses of ice pushing soil upwards. During the summer thaw, the soil on the surface would sludge off and accumulate around the periphery of the hillocks.  These pools are now vital habitats for a variety of rare plants and animal species.
Nuthatch - a common species around Thompson
My walk today produced a good variety of common species in song with Nuthatches being heard at at least 6 locations, also a couple of male Treecreepers gave their distinctive thin song.
The 'visual' prize today went to a pair of Goldcrests which I watched for some time around me in open woodland.  The male was singing (a number were in song today), however, on one occasion I caught a glimpse of him displaying his beautiful flared Orangey crest to the I would love to photograph this one day.
A male Siskin was watched overhead performing his display-flight, an encouraging sign of breeding behaviour considering that the vast majority of these small Finches are winter visitors only.
Song Thrushes were also in song and many Blackbirds were seen.  Marsh Tits were seen and heard as well as both Blue and Great Tits.
The only raptor seen was a very brief view of a Goshawk just above woodland canopy, this bird was being mobbed by a Crow species.
Within the next week or two I expect to see and hear the first summer migrants in the area with Chiffchaff likely to be the first to be encountered.


  1. That is the neatest, most concise description of pingos that I've read...
    I wish I'd thought of it when I ran evening classes on Norfolk's Wildlife!!
    And I love today's Treecreeper...
    given my comment about seeing the Short-toed spiraling downwards...
    and seeing the hind toe visible in this picture on the "normal" Treecreeper...
    I now wonder if only the Short-toed can spiral down...
    this fella looks as though he'd probably have his work cut out trying...?

  2. Once again Tim, what can I say other than 'thank you' for your lovely comments re 'The Pingo's'. I try to keep descriptions as brief as possible although I admit that I was assisted by various references and then made as concise note as possible.
    I do love the Pingo trail at Thompson, I would say that these habitats are as close to 'wilderness' as you can get in Norfolk....undisturbed due to the nature of the terrain in 20,000 years.
    Thank you for your kind comments Tim about the Treecreeper, often overlooked by 'TWITchers' (using your wonderful terminology there), as they go in search of scarcer species. I have seen Short-toed Treecreeper whilst on a holiday to Bruge back in unmistable...wish I had my camera then.