Breckland Birder

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

Monday, 23 March 2015

Thompson Water and Cockley Cley Warren, Norfolk

Following a clear night the day dawned frosty with a temperature of 0 degrees.  The morning was sunny with a high of 11 degrees, however, from early afternoon cloud began to increase.

Thompson Water 0615-0800
Chiffchaff at Thompson Water 23/03/15
An early morning walk through woodland carr habitat leading onto Thompson Common produced a good range of common species in song.
Several Nuthatches (4+) were heard as well as a number of singing Marsh Tits.  Small numbers of Redwings were seen and heard passing through the tree-tops.  2 or 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were 'drumming'.
Around the peripheral habitat at Thompson Water, 3 Chiffchaffs were in full song.  Nearby to where I was watching the Chiffchaff pictured here a Reed Bunting sang.
On the water, 2 Little Grebes gave their 'whinnying' like call.  Walking back through carr habitat a Water Rail gave a call from cover.

Cockley Cley Warren (midday - early afternoon)
Cockley Cley Warren lies on the western limit of my patch and this afternoon I decided to visit the following a report yesterday (22/03) of a probable Booted Eagle passing over.  A walk along the road did not produce this Buzzard-sized Eagle, however, several Buzzards (10+) were seen and a single Red Kite passed overhead.
At least 20+ Bramblings were seen along the roadside, these beautiful Finches were probably attracted to a cut maize strip and field edges for food.  Chaffinches and Yellowhammers were also present.  On a stony field alongside the road a few Fieldfare and 10+ Lapwings were seen.
Several Skylarks sang overhead, also, 2 Woodlarks were seen with one a singing male.
Mass dispersals of Wood Pigeons and calling Crows always immediately grab my attention, this happened on 2 occasions whilst I was overlooking the Warren, the first did not reveal anything as far as I could see, however, a second such dispersal was shortly followed by a Goshawk passing leisurely overhead.
I have only seen Booted Eagle on one occasion and that was on a mountain trail in Majorca, therefore, a Breckland bird would be nice, however, it was almost at this location in 2000 when I saw a long-staying White-tailed Eagle.  With the recent White-tailed Eagle over nearby Great Cressingham, and the Breckland Short-toed Eagle last summer, other Eagle species are a distinct possibility.

4 comments:

  1. Paul...
    "3 Chiffchaffs were in full song"....
    I can hear the one you photographed!!
    Nice shot...

    Shame you didn't get a sight of the Booted Eagle...
    but from the reports it was "on passage"...
    even if off course!
    That Sea Eagle seems to be a better bet...
    seems to like Norfolk and... as you say... has been seen inland...
    that'll have shook up a few households!

    We are fortunate enough to get both Booted and Short-toed here quite frequently...
    they breed in the large patches of forest hereabouts and have large territories...
    they really upset our buzzards when they glide overhead...
    it was thanks to a Short-toed that we realized that we had two pairs of buzzards...
    one to a patch of woodland on each side of the valley.
    One pair got up to harrass the eagle...
    then the other pair came to join in from the other wood...
    the eagle just ignored them!!
    It was "Osprey"... the white and chocolate buzzard that pressed the attack hardest...
    I have a feeling that "Osprey" is a she...
    biggest of the four and seems to have most to defend!

    Fascinating to watch...
    it is not surprising work takes so long here...
    we "lost" an hour this afternoon watching the bees on a mirabelle bush that has burst into blossom...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Tim
    I have never heard of Mirabelle bush, therefore I googled it...a plum bush I believe. I suppose there are many varieties but the one I looked at had yellow Plums and looked absolutely gorgeous. And I know how easy it is to lose time watching bees and other insects...a fascinating sight and sound.

    How lucky you are Tim to get both Short-toed and Booted Eagles where you are. I have seen only one Booted Eagle, that was on Majorca, and I have seen Short-toed Eagle in Turkey and as a passage bird on Cyprus. I understand the White-tailed Eagle which was first seen over Great Cressingham remains in the Broads area. I can't start to imagine what was going through the head of the birder who saw the Eagle pass over Great Cressingham.

    Thank you Tim for your kind comments about the Chiffchaff photograph. I am off this week and I am hoping to beat my earliest record for Willow Warbler which was previously 31st of March.....I always try for a March Willow but just can't get earlier than 31st.

    Enjoy those Bees Tim...I can sit with my eyes shut listening to them all day.....very relaxing and theraputic.

    Paul

    ReplyDelete
  3. " I can't start to imagine what was going through the head of the birder who saw the Eagle pass over Great Cressingham."....
    Probably...
    "Oh my gawd!".... said very, very slowly...
    followed by....
    "Thas'a rummun!" all said in a broad, Swaffham area, Norfolk accent...
    followed by "dam'n'blarst" as they found they had the wrong lens on the camera...
    that happens every time!!

    Summer is officially here... we saw a pair of Swallows today!!
    Earliest we've ever seen them....
    so you might be in luck with the Willow....
    good luck anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Funny you should say that Tim. When I saw the Goshawk today, I readied the camera but I needed to add some Exposure Compensation due to the bright background...but it wouldn't work.....until I realised the Goshawk had gone and I had locked the camera settings from a previous shot.....oh well.....another lesson learnt.

    Well done with the Swallows, I occasionally see them before the end of March, but more often in the early days of April. I expect with Easter being early lots of birders will be having a long weekend and some early migrants will undoubtedly be found.

    Take care Tim and chat soon

    Paul

    ReplyDelete