With a couple of nice early mornings recently I set out to get a better idea of the number of whitethroats and usually scarcer lesser whitethroats are calling from breeding territories between Hethersett and Great Melton. I followed the Hethersett West loop and noted several pairs in the rough area and hedges marked at point 2 on the map but no lessers which had been singing a few weeks ago. The songs in the woods have changed over the last couple of weeks with resident breeding birds such as great tits and blue tits now very quiet feeding families of growing and fledgling chicks.
The local singers where outdone by the summer warblers including whitethroats chiffchaffs and blackcaps. As I got to the Fishing lake or Great Melton Reservoir to give it its grander title I could hear two acoustically sparring male lesser whitethroats. After a bit of patience they both put in an appearance one with a female. They are a bit of a skulking bird so I was pleased to finally get a clear photo rather than a blur with leaves.
Over the last few years the whitethroat has been much more common locally however it is now on the amber list suggesting a UK decline with the lesser whitethroat on the green list and increasing locally. If you want to get out and find them the secret is to know the calls which you can check out using the links on the Birds of Hethersett page.
The following chart shows the reporting rates of lesser whitethroat which shows a steep decline soon so get out and see them before they go quiet.
The chart is courtesy of the BTO and If you are interested in checking out other species then use the following link: