Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Saturday, 30 March 2013

'Mountain Blackbird' on the patch.

Little Cressingham
Winter continue to hold its grip with no sign of a let-up and throughout the whole day, frequent sleet and snow showers were driven along on a fresh easterly wind.
An early morning walk with my collie Toby around Little Cressingham produced Barn Owls at 2 localities.
On School Road, Little Cressingham, a single male Reeve's Pheasant was seen close to the Clermont estate.  This spectacular Pheasant was introduced into the UK in the early 19th century for sport.  Reeve's Pheasant normal range is in the forested mountains of China, however, they appear to have adapted to their surroundings in this area of Breckland where a small population survives.  My best count of this species was of 6 male birds near Little Cressingham in March 2012.  Reeve's Pheasant is a large bird and has been noted for being aggressive towards humans.  The species holds a record for having the longest tail feather of any bird in the world.

Ring Ouzel in Breckles, Norfolk 30/03/13
A previously written in recent posts, summer migrants are very thin on the ground at the current time due to the persistent easterly wind which is blocking migration into the UK from Europe, however, a superb male Ring Ouzel was in a paddock alongside the A1075 road at Breckles just south of Watton in Norfolk.  This bird will be feeding and building reserves before continuing its passage to the uplands and mountains of Britain or Europe where it will breed.  This attractive Thrush is often known as the 'Mountain Blackbird' as it replaces the more familiar Blackbird at altitude.  The distinctive features of this Ring Ouzel makes it an unmistable species with its White breast cresent and silvery edges to the primary feathers.

An afternoon walk along Drove Lane, Thompson, produced a mixed flock of Fieldfare (30+), Goldfinches (50+), and small numbers of Starlings, feeding on grazing land adjacent to the path.  It is worthy of note at this point to highlight that Ring Ouzels will travel within flocks of Fieldfares whilst they on their northerly passage.


  1. I enjoy reading your blog about Breckland birds.

    On only my second visit to the Brecks I get my second Brecks lifer of 2013, ring ouzel. Left A11 and took Shropham turn. Drove down Low Road unsure if I needed to turn right at the end. I looked straight on, across the A1075, and there was the ring ouzel. Showing and feeding well, snow permitting.

    First Brecks lifer of 2013 was dipper. Good views of a third Brecks tick in afternoon, Thetford otter.

  2. Another fascinating report Paul. I feel quite envious of your Ring Ouzel as we only see occasional birds in winter and they tend to be on the dull side.


  3. Hi Paul, great that you got to catch up with the Rouzel, though I'm suprised you didn't find one at the usual spots. Lovely images as always, hope to see you soon. Daniel