Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Hockham and Thompson, Norfolk

Another day of low cloud and a cold northerly wind will undoubtedly put any early passage by summer migrants on hold.  This time last year good numbers of Chiffchaffs were in song, however, this morning I could only manage the one bird at Thompson.

I arrived along one of the many minor roads which passes through the forest, just prior to 0700.  A walk along a number of forest rides produced several singing Song Thrushes, Goldcrests, and Treecreeper.  The Fen held the following:

3 Mute Swans
Greylag Geese
Canada Geese (pair)
Wigeon (pair)
Shoveler (pair)
1 Grey Heron
1 Water Rail (calling)
3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers (all 'drumming' birds)
1 Reed Bunting - singing male

Thompson Common
A short but productive visit to this beautiful, ancient site brought my first presumed  migrant Chiffchaff of the year.  Of the species seen on this visit a noisy Marsh Tit was particularly entertaining as he flew around his territory singing his loud song.
A calling Little Grebe was on one of the largest Pingo's on the common.
The common is a mixture of wonderful habitats from dry gorse to very damp woodland, scrub, and Pingo's.  A patch of dry gorse habitat held a singing Yellowhammer whilst damp scrub held a singing Reed Bunting.
Marsh Tit (singing male) Thompson Common 19/03/16
A Marsh Tit was singing out of sight, however, I found a place to sit and wait, and in time, a pair of Marsh Tits visited woodland and scrub habitat around me with the male of alighting in a Hawthorn in front of me.  The noisy song is a repeated "chip-chip-chip-chip-chip-chip-chip-chip-chip", quite different from any other Tit species song.  This song is a very useful identification feature of Marsh Tit, especially when needing to separate from the much rarer Willow Tit, a species I have also seen in the area.
Also present on the common was a single Chiffchaff giving its "hweet" call. 
A single Great Spotted Woodpecker was 'drumming' and a couple of Green Woodpeckers were seen and heard.
A flock of 40+ Redwings was a reminder that winter is not over yet.

1 comment:

  1. Good to read that your Chiffchaffs are starting to arrive but we still have a good number down in the far south of Spain. All being well, the last will have departed withing the next couple of weeks or so and we can look forward to welcoming our Iberian Chiffchaffs which will be more easily identified come June.