Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Thompson, Norfolk

0545-0800: Poor visibility was the order of this mornings visit to the Thompson area with fog and frost and a temperature range whilst out between  freezing and +2 degrees
Despite this mornings conditions, it was a productive visit for migrant species, including my first calling Cuckoo of the year.
My walk included a small part of the Peddars Way footpath and the Thompson Water area.

Mute Swan
Greylag Geese
Coot (nesting)
Great Crested Grebe (pair)
Little Grebe
1 Cuckoo (my first of year)
1 Tree Pipit (singing male)
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker (male)
1 Kingfisher
1+ Cetti's Warbler
Reed Warbler
1 Garden Warbler
Blackcap (widespread) 3 together seen
3 Whitethroat (Redbrick Road)
5+ Willow Warblers (seen/heard in open woodland, common, and waterside woodland)
7+ Goldcrests (all singing males)
Marsh Tit
Coal Tit
Great Tit
Blue Tit
6+ Siskin (including singing/displaying male)
Reed Bunting
With grey conditions at dawn, I set off along Redbrick Road and despite freezing conditions, 3 Whitethroats (all males) were in song in roadside hedgerow habitat.
Turning south along the Peddars Way, Goldcrests, Willow Warbler, and a single singing Tree Pipit were all heard.  It was whilst walking along the path that I heard my first Cuckoo calling to my south in the Thompson Water area.  A single Redpoll passed over in a north heading.

Thompson Water
Freezing conditions with fog persisted throughout my visit, despite this, a good range of species were present.  The bank/woodland edge produced a single singing Garden Warbler, 1 Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap (2 males and one female together), Reed Warbler, and singing Cetti's Warbler.  The Cuckoo continued to call on and off.
On the water a pair of Great Crested Grebes were seen as well as frequently calling Little Grebe. Mute Swans chased and angrily slapped their wings on the water as they attempted to see off Greylag GeeseCoot were present along with one with a floating nest in reeds.
Encouragingly, Siskins were seen overhead back and forth and a male bird was singing.  A good record for what is for the most part, a winter visitor. 
The damp woodland habitat produced a fine looking male Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, and Tit species.
Gt. Spotted Woodpecker at Thompson 28/04/16 
Siskin (male) at Thompson 28/04/16
Siskin (female) at Thompson 28/04/16

Garden Warbler at Thompson Water
I always look forward to the return of this Sylvia Warbler to the woodland around Thompson Water.
Although there is no problem with the visual identification of this migrant, the song can for some be difficult to separate from the similar sounding Blackcap, and indeed, as soon as I heard this bird this morning I knew it was Garden Warbler, one of our latest returning summer migrants.
To assist with separation from the similar sounding Blackcap I find the following points helpful.
Blackcap generally gives shortish bursts of its rich song with many fluty peaks during song, whereas Garden Warbler produces a song which is far more prolonged without a break and lacks fluty peaks of the Blackcap.  The tonal quality of Garden Warbler maybe slightly deeper with some notes resembling Blackbird quality.
The Garden Warbler seen here today occupied woodland edge habitat and moved through Sallows, mature trees, and scrubby understorey.  As well singing, I also observed the Garden Warbler investigating Ivy around a tree and ground covering scrub, this indicates to me that a suitable nest site was being searched for

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