Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Friday, 6 May 2016

Thompson, Norfolk (0630-1015)

The day dawned dry and bright.  It quickly became warm with an eventual high today of 22 degrees Celsius.
This morning I parked in the beautiful village of Thompson and walked towards STANTA, visiting Thompson Water, the Peddars Way LDP and nearby woodland clearings.
This was a productive visit with a good range of species seen and heard, this included birds holding territory, and evidence of successful breeding.
The highlights of the morning was:

Little Grebe + young
2 Tree Pipit - male singing/displaying
1 Marsh Harrier - male
Reed Warbler (pair seen close to)
6+ Garden Warblers holding territory
1 Cuckoo
1 Hobby over Watton late morning

I have provided highlights above, but what really constitutes 'a highlight' when all birds are essentially highlights. 
As soon as I was out of the car a calling, distant Cuckoo was heard.  Walking along the narrow road towards Thompson Water, 3 Garden Warblers were located in song as well as a nearby Willow Warbler.
Reed Warbler habitat at Thompson Water 6th May
A quick check of Thompson Water produced 3 calling Little Grebes.
Walking along the Peddars Way 2 singing Garden Warblers, 1 Whitethroat, and a single Willow Warbler were heard.
My intention of the morning was to check a clearing for evidence of Pipits and Woodlarks.  Upon my arrival it wasn't long before I heard a singing male Tree Pipit in a line of Ash trees, also present was a singing Woodlark, Yellowhammer, and another Garden Warbler.  I spent some time here watching and listening to the Tree Pipit (read on for notes)
Walking back along the Peddars Way a male Marsh Harrier was readily identified from the female by his tri-colour appearance.
At Thompson Water a Little Grebe was seen with the tiniest, single youngster.  This only youngster was black in appearance and clearly recently hatched.  I was unable to see any head stripes due to its silhouetted appearance against the morning sun.
A least 3 Reed Warblers were singing. A pair was watched very close to as they moved about thick reed cover.
Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs are clearly widespread and common in the area now.

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
Tree Pipit (male) Thompson 6th May

I made my way to a location which since being cleared has been a good area for both Woodlark and Tree Pipit, and this was my first check of the site for Tree Pipit this year.
It wasn't too long after my arrival that I could hear the distinctive song of a Tree Pipit.  A search of some Ash trees soon saw this migrant species singing high in trees.  It became evident that a second bird, undoubtedly a female, was seen in and out of rank vegetation and grasses.
I sat and watched the Tree Pipit for some time as he delivered his song from several trees in his territory, also seen was the highly distinctive 'parachute' song-flight.
Also noted within this clearing was a singing Woodlark, Yellowhammer, and another Garden Warbler.

Shortly after arriving back home in Watton I saw my first Hobby of the year pass over the town.


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