Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Thompson Water, Norfolk

With my first tour date just 3 days away, I decided this morning to walk the route at Thompson Water that I intend to take my group along.  The woodlands in this area are quite extensive and it is my hope that my group will have the right light to appreciate the beautiful autumn colours in this area. 
An initial overview of Thompson Water produced my first of 2 calling Water Rails in reeds on the opposite side from where I was standing.  On the water quite a few Mallard were accompanied by lesser numbers of Gadwall.
Water Rail at Thompson Water (photographed Jan. 2015)
The walk along the western fringe of the water comprises a variety of habitats, if walking north, on your right is thick swampy carr, waterside scrub, and dense reedbeds, whilst on the left is mixed woodland, mostly deciduous, with Pingos with fluctuating water levels.  Many fine Oaks and wonderful Holly specimens are seen here.
Whilst walking along this path a Cetti's Warbler sang its explosive song, I was able to more or less pin-point where the bird was, I stood for some time with the bird singing around me, sometimes very close, however, such is the secretive life of this bird, could I see it, no I couldn't.  I couldn't even see any movement of reeds or twigs which would betray the birds presence...what a clever bird.
Thompson Water 31/10/15
Another enigmatic bird of dense reedbed habitat is the Water Rail.  My second bird of the day was in the same area as the aforementioned Cetti's Warbler, and was at times very close, I could hear some splashing but the bird did not show itself to me.
The photograph here shows the dense reed habitat along with Sallow scrub where both Cetti's Warbler and Water Rail were heard today.
Also along the woodland/water periphery was mobile Tit flocks comprising Long-tailed Tits, Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Goldcrest, and TreecreeperNuthatch was also seen.
Whilst in the woodland there was an explosion of Wood Pigeons flying from trees in a hurried and disorganised fashion, shortly after this Corvids gathered in the sky above the water, I suspected Goshawk, however, I was unable to see the cause of this behaviour.

Kimberley, Norfolk
A visit to a good friend in the grounds of Kimberley Hall brought an unexpected surprise.  Whilst in his garden, and in full sunlight, a large Bat species appeared above the woodland canopy.  I regret to say that my Bat identification skills are not as good as I would like.  The Bat would fly in a direct, leisurely flight but would suddenly make a dive for prey.  Flying away from me the Bat appeared to have an occasional 'clipped-like' wing-beat similar to a Turtle Dove, or somewhat similar to the clipped beats performed by a Common Sandpiper close to water.  Being large and over woodland within extensive parkland habitat, could this have been a Noctule Bat?

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