Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 14 March 2016

Thompson and Little Cressingham, Norfolk

Thompson (Dawn)
A early morning visit to Thompson Water and the surrounding woodland car did not produce any early migrants.  Chiffchaffs will be one of the first summer migrants to arrive with males singing their monotonous song.  My earliest singing bird last year was on 13th March.
The woodland did produce a fine looking male Golden Pheasant in typical Holly understorey. A check of Thompson Water produced a few species of Duck and several Coot.
Golden Pheasant at Thompson 13/03/16
Parking at the village of Thompson at dawn, I then made my way towards the Peddars Way where I caught sight of a Barn Owl flying over scrub before entering woodland edge.
The mature woodland habitat here held several 'drumming' Great Spotted Woodpeckers, at least 6 Nuthatches at various localities.
I decided to check a known locality for Golden Pheasant and I soon found a fine looking male pecking and scratching at the ground.  As I have often found with this species, this birds chosen habitat was Holly understorey within mature, mostly Oak woodland. Despite their bright plumage, Golden Pheasants can easily be lost within dense woodland habitat and indeed, as I stood and watched this bird, it temporarily entered Holly and was very difficult to see.
An overview of Thompson Water produced 10+ Shoveler, 4 Wigeon (2 pairs), a few Teal, and several pairs of Gadwall.  A single Great Crested Grebe was seen {often giving its growl-like call), and a Little Grebe was heard.
A Cettis's Warbler  gave its explosive song close to me in waterside Sallows, but as is typical with this species, it was notoriously difficult to locate visually.  A second Cetti's Warbler was later heard at a second locality.

Little Cressingham
The weather remained dry and bright, although the east wind was noticeably cool, although in sheltered parts there was some warmth felt.
Upon my arrival at Watton Brook I immediately heard the familiar call of a Kingfisher, I soon located the bird flying along the Brook.
Close by a male Sparrowhawk flew low over farmland before alighting in a small tree.  The grey upperparts and slightly red tinged breast sexed this bird.
A small flock of 20+ Fieldfares were seen in farmland trees and a number of agitated Crows hinted a raptor present and a Buzzard appeared to fly leisurely low over farmland.
I am working the next three days, I will therefore be checking suitable habitat for early summer migrants, notably Chiffchaff, or possibly Wheatear

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