Breckland Birder

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

Friday, 7 October 2016

Thrush passage

Wall to wall cloud today with the exception of a very brief brighter spell.  Cool at dawn.  Light to moderate east north-easterly wind.

I started my day with a visit at dawn to Thompson Water.  It was great to see work has started with removing of the highly invasive Water Soldier, a spreading plant that has had a detrimental effect upon the life at this site.
Following the short visit to Thompson, I headed for Houghton-on-the-Hill to witness Thrush migration.

Mute Swan
4 Teal
Moorhen
Skylarks - movements seen
3 Chiffchaff
2 Cetti's Warblers
Light to moderate movement of Redwings and Song Thrushes
Blackbirds - female and two 1st winter males watched (poss. migrants)

Thompson Water
I arrived at Thompson at dawn in very poor light due to cloud cover, however, visibility was good.
It is very refreshing to some open water since work has started to clear the Water Soldier, let's hope this is a successful operation.  This picture shows the Water Soldier's impact on the water, just below the treeline it is possible to see the open water following removal of the weed. 
Cetti's Warbler habitat at Thompson Water
On the water was 6 adult Mute Swans and 5 full grown youngsters.  These poor birds must have had some difficulty in moving around the water in the thick Water Soldier.
2 Cetti's Warblers were heard in song, one of which was very close in the sallow in the right of this picture.  I detected some movement, however, the bird was never seen, which is often typical despite being so close to.
Also seen very close was a Chiffchaff which was clambering about the reeds in the foreground of this picture.  If we have another mild winter I suspect Chiffchaffs will remain here.
Common species seen/heard in the woodland surround included Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Blue, Coal, and Great Tits.
Overhead, a few single Thrush species seen and 10+ Siskins south.

Redwing passage Thompson (0840) 3 flocks passed overhead flying south, the first flock numbered 200+, the second 60+, and the third 50+ (310+ in total).

Houghton-on-the-Hill 0910-1030
I arrived at this site to watch for Thrush migration and immediately upon my arrival 60+ Redwings passed overhead south.
For the time I was at Houghton the Thrush movement would be described as light to moderate in numbers.  Both Song Thrushes and Redwings involved in this passage, all being south in direction.  The largest flocks of Redwings numbered 60+, 30+, and 20+, with smaller numbers on the move.
I watched 6 Song Thrushes approach from the north and plummet like stones into the thick hedges close to me.
I also 'scoped a distant Hawthorn which held 3 Blackbirds (female and 2 first winter males).  These birds were preening and feeding upon Hawthorn berries, possibly newly arrived migrants.  Also here a Song Thrush seen feeding upon berries.
Also of interest was the movement of small numbers of Skylarks, again, possible migrants.

Watton
I arrived home from my local birding trip to a further 40+ Redwings overhead south.  Also of interest was 4 Skylarks high south-east.

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