Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 15 April 2013

Blackcaps arrive and Wheatears on the move

PEDDARS WAY LDP (Little Cressingham and South Pickenham)
I arrived at Little Cressingham windmill at 0530 for an early morning dog walk along the Peddars Way footpath. The day dawned very mild and clear with a moderate, increasing to fresh south-westerly wind.
The first bird of the day was a calling Kingfisher in the Watton Brook valley. It is good to see that this bird has survived the long winter as they are vulnerable during harsh weather.
The section of the Peddars Way between Little Cressingham and north to the Great Cressingham to Saham Toney road, takes in rolling arable land and the lower lying Watton Brook valley. The valley has lots of tree and hedgerow cover and it was here at 0550, I heard and saw my first Blackcap of the spring.  This was a male bird and would be the first of three seen on this walk.
The Watton Brook valley also held singing Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, and Nuthatch.  A Siskin was heard overhead.
Walking north from North Bridge a small flock of about 15 Fieldfare headed low east whilst in the large field to the west at the top of the hill, a single Stone Curlew was seen.

Further north along the Peddars Way at Caudle Hill, South Pickenham, a further 2 singing Blackcaps were seen in the woodland there.  Also, a couple of Chiffchaffs, singing Marsh Tit, singing Mistle Thrush, Goldfinch and Chaffinch, a pair of Bullfinches, noisy Goldcrests, Treecreeper, and a single Kestrel.

Back at Little Cressingham windmill, a single Swallow and single House Martin flew over adjoining fields and mill-pond.  The large rolling field to the west of the Watton Brook valley held at least 6 Lapwings including displaying birds. 

A single Common Buzzard appeared over Shorten's Covert and a singing/displaying Curlew was seen distantly.

ASHILL (Common Road)
I went for a late afternoon dog walk from Ashill Common to Quidney Farm with expectations of migrants in the fields adjoining the road.  Overviewing one of these fields revealed at least 4 Wheatear (3 males one female). These elegant birds typically ran over the land quickly in clockwork-like fashion picking up food matter, also, on a few occasions, one would fly up to take passing insects.

Wheatear 15/04/13 Ashill, Norfolk - one of four together.

Also seen along Common Road was a pair of Grey Partridges whilst in the old rail-line cutting a singing Chiffchaff was heard.
Overhead, passage Meadow Pipits were seen and heard.

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