Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Little Cressingham Mill, Norfolk

The day dawned with frost and fog but this was burnt off by the warming sun to give another beautiful day.
This morning I paid a visit to Little Cressingham combined wind and watermill. This small, beautiful, and tranquil site provides a haven for many species of birds, animals, and insect (especially Dragonflies) life, it also offers me a place to sit, think, and observe what this place has to offer.

Little Cressingham mill
Watton Brook runs immediately to the west of the mill whilst the beautiful mill-pond eventually feeds water through the pump-house.
Over the years, this locality has provided me with some superb birding in all seasons.  Spring and summer provides opportunities for observing a number of Warbler species including breeding Reed and Sedge Warbler, Blackcaps, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, and Willow Warbler.  This is also a reliable site for watching breeding Spotted Flycatcher, a declining species sadly.
The mill itself has held breeding Tree Sparrows and Swifts, and the nearby mill house attracts a good sized colony of breeding House Martins.  And of course, where you get good numbers of Hirundines and Swifts, you can expect to see Hobby, again, this is a reliable species at this locality, especially late summer.
The river valley and mill-pond attracts a variety of duck species including Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, and Pintail. Kingfisher is also regular here.
Autumn is also a good time to visit Little Cressingham Mill, as this locality, and the nearby river valley, attracts migrant Chat species. I have seen both Whinchat and Stonechat in the area in Autumn.
In the winter months, Finch species includes Siskins and Redpolls, these small birds are attracted to the Alders to feed.  The dense vegetation along the Watton Brook valley and around the mill-pond also attracts Water Rail in winter.
This offers a small insight into some of the birdlife which occurs at Little Cressingham mill. 

Reed Bunting at Little Cressingham mill 21/04/13


TODAY: This morning I arrived at Little Cressingham mill following the lifting of fog and was immediately greeted upon my arrival by a singing male Whitethroat. This Warbler was singing from a variety of trees and bushes and was inspecting some of the denser vegetation - I wonder if he arrived in the fog.
Also seen was a singing Blackcap in trees and bushes along the valley.
At least 4 Swallows flew around the adjoining fields and mill-pond, however, no House Martins seen as yet. 
This male Reed Bunting was photographed in Bramble alongside the brook and was one of a pair seen.
On or near the mill-pond a Canada Goose was on its nest, Greylag Geese were present, and Moorhen was on the water.
Close to this locality in nearby fields, Lapwings were displaying and Stone Curlew was heard giving  its mournful wailing call.



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