17th April 2011
It was a struggle, but I managed to get up at 5:30 so that I could beat the weekend crowds to Whitlingham. Walking along the Little Broad I could hear my first Reed Warbler of the year singing, but I was spared the walk by another one between the two broads, sharing the small area of reeds with a Sedge Warbler. I gave up counting the warblers in the end, but over the C.P. and Whitlingham Marsh there was a minimum of 15 Sedge, 10+ Chiffchaffs and good numbers of Blackcaps and Cetti's Warblers, including a confiding one at the east end of the broad. Several Chiffchaffs were giving interesting calls, one in the woods was giving a constant "tik tak tuk tuk" call whilst flapping its wings, whilst one at the east end of the Great Broad seemed to be imitating a bit of Willow Warbler song.
My main target was a Grasshopper Warbler that had been heard on the WeBS survey on Saturday, but once again I couldn't find it. I have considered the possibility that I can't hear them, but as I have had no problem in previous years I think they are just being annoying. The conservation area bay held 7 Pochard, a female Goldeneye and best of all my first Shelduck of the year, probably my first on the Great Broad as the last couple have been on the Thorpe side.
As it was still early I went for a walk around Whitlingham Marsh (one Swallow over), looked over the sewage works (Oystercatcher and Rooks) and then came back via the woods. I then walked back around the broad in case the Grasshopper Warbler had started up, with similarly negative results. I did see a pair of Marsh Tits, which brought me to a respectable 52 species for the morning.