Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Water Rail at Thompson Water, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Thompson, Norfolk (with Leigh Gallant) 0600-1145

It was a mild, calm, and foggy morning when I met my very good friend Leigh Gallant for a walk around the Thompson area.  We arrived at our destination in darkness, however, light improved quickly and we set off along the Peddars Way. 
Fog was initially quite thick, although it did lift a little allowing slightly better visibility.  The general trend for the whole day was persistent fog.
The first bird of note was a close, calling female Tawny Owl.
Coal Tit Thompson 30th October
Despite poor visibility this was to be a good gentle wander around taking in some wonderful habitats which allowed some good views of common species including winter Thrushes.  Some fine old Hawthorns held several Redwings, some of which were seen reasonably well and offering great views of the striking head pattern.  A number of Blackbirds were seen in association with the Redwings.  Both Thrush species were enjoying their feed upon Hawthorn berries.  Also along the Peddars Way a few Goldcrests moved through the Sycamores and Hawthorn, often hovering under leaves whilst searching for insect/spider prey.  Also noted in this area was a few Yellowhammers, a female Reed Bunting, whilst overhead in the mist Bramblings were heard.  A party of Long-tailed Tits were typically mobile.
A check of dense woodland habitat revealed a mixed flock of 40+ Redpolls and Siskins feeding mostly in Silver Birch canopy.
Marsh Tit Thompson 30th October

A walk around damp woodland habitat produced good numbers of Tit species, most being Blue and Great Tits, but also a single Marsh and Coal Tit seen.  Also present although unseen was calling Bramblings, mostly in Silver Birch woodland.  A striking male Great Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch were seen frequently, and a single Treecreeper was seen.   Above the woodland canopy Fieldfares were heard passing over.  Several Chaffinches, both male and females were seen, mostly feeding on the woodland floor, sadly some birds were suffering from viral papilloma, a rather unsightly encrustation of the legs and feet on the bird.  It would appear from what I read that although unsightly, the condition is not fatal to Chaffinches.
Around the periphery of the water, Cetti's Warbler occasionally sang, also at least 3 Water Rails gave their highly distinctive squealing call, one of which was very close to us, but as the case with this species, was elusive visually.
I really don't know where the time went this morning, Leigh and myself spent 6 hours together, we had a great time chatting and birding.  Thanks very much Leigh for your great company as always.


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