Breckland Birder

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

Monday, 6 April 2015

Hockham Fen, Thompson Common, and Ashill, Norfolk

A clear starlit night was followed by a bright dawn, however, low cloud moved in giving a complete coverage of grey.  By the afternoon high cloud broke to give long sunny spells with a high of about 12 degrees celsius.

Hockham Forest and Fen (early morning)
Firstly, I will open this account by trying to put you in the picture.  I am sitting in my conservatory with the sound of families enjoying themselves on what is a beautiful afternoon, whilst above a number of calling Buzzards are soaring.
This morning at dawn I arrived at the Hockham Picnic site with the intention of walking a number of the forest trails to Hockham Fen. A target species was Willow Warbler, however, I failed in this quest.
My walk to the fen was very productive for common species with 18+ Chiffchaffs in song, also, and very encouragingly, 15+ male Song Thrushes were holding territory by singing.  3 male Blackcaps were singing, also 1 Mistle Thrush sang, and I located at least 6 Treecreeper territories, 4 Goldcrest territories, 6 Blackbird sites including 2 singing birds
Red Deer (young stag) at Hockham Fen 06/04/15
The following species were seen/heard at the Fen.

8+ Greylag Geese
2 Canada Geese (pair)
Mallard
Shoveler
Teal
2+ Water Rail (calling)
6+ Snipe
Lapwing (including 2 pairs)
2 Grey Heron
Carrion Crow
1 Fieldfare
Chiffchaff
1 Blackcap
1 Bullfinch over


Thompson Common
Having left Hockham I made my way just up the road for a short visit to Thompson Common where plenty of suitable habitat exists for Willow Warbler, once again, no luck.
At least 6 or 7 Chiffchaff were in song along with a single singing male Blackcap.

Ashill
An early afternoon walk along Common Road failed to produce Willow Warbler in suitable woodland scrub habitat. 
3+ Chiffchaff were singing, also, 2 Kestrels, Yellowhammer, and 3+ Linnets were seen.

With settled conditions forecast for the coming week along with a south-easterly airflow, the floodgates will surely open with masses of migrants entering the country, including my so far elusive Willow Warbler.

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