Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Thursday, 18 April 2013

ASHILL and BODNEY: Good birds despite very windy conditions

The day dawned very bright with almost cloudless skies, however, the main feature of the weather today was the very strong WSW wind. By mid-day cloud and showers moved in but the wind started to abate slowly.
At dawn, I walked east along Common Road, Ashill, to as far as Quidney Farm, and returned again via the same route whilst keeping a close eye on the fields for migrant species.  The most productive area on this route is generally the well-wooded disused rail cutting where both single Chiffchaff and Blackcap were is song, it is likely that more were present, however, the wind was too strong to hear properly.
A single Meadow Pipit was watched for some time overflying north until lost to view, clearly a passage bird possibly making for upland Britain to breed.
A check of a field for migrants produced a single White Wagtail, a scarce passage bird in inland Norfolk.
A short sit down break and some soup in the shelter of an old hedgerow brought welcome relief from the wind.  Following this break, I then made my way back west along Common Road when I saw some Wood Pigeons fly up from the rail cutting, seconds later, a Peregrine Falcon appeared low over fields from the east, passed over some trees and then folded its wings back for a stoop towards the Pigeons, I then lost sight of the raptor.
Also seen in the area between the rail cutting and Quidney Farm was a small flock of 15+ Golden Plover whilst further along the road a pair of Grey Partridges was seen.
Red Fox 18/04/13 Ashill, Norfolk
With the wind slowly abating, I visited the flood plain adjacent to the B1108 and Watton Brook valley hoping to find more migrant Wagtail species.  Whilst walking alongside the road, I sadly found a dead Woodcock. On this visit to the flood plain there was no Yellow Wagtails, however, a small count of 15+ Pied Wagtails and 14+ Meadow Pipits were present along with my second White Wagtail of the day.  Also on the flood plain, 3 Oystercatchers seen included a pair displaying, and about 6 Lapwings.  A pair of Common Curlews flew from the nearby Bodney Army Camp where display/song flight was seen earlier.
Small numbers of Passerine species seen on the flooded meadow included Linnet (6), Starling (8), and a single Fieldfare.
Over a nearby conifer a pair of Common Buzzards was seen.

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