Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 1 April 2013

'Norfolk Plover' returns

One of the most eagerly awaited summer visitors to the Norfolk Brecks is the Stone Curlew, or as it is locally known, the Norfolk Plover.  This Breckland speciality generally arrives mid-March from its Southern Europe and African wintering grounds and I consider it a real privilege to have this enigmatic species breeding on my patch.

Following yesterdays (31/03/13) single Stone Curlew at Bodney, I decided to do an early morning recce of suitable areas for more of these birds whilst walking Toby, my Collie.  My walk took in a circuit around Little and Great Cressingham, and whilst walking south along the Peddars Way back to Little Cressingham, 3 Stone Curlews were seen quite close to on the leeward side of a hedge where they were sheltering from the bitter east wind, they flew off into the open field where they stood motionless.
Early afternoon, I visited Bodney again and soon located a further 3 Stone Curlews, again, these birds took shelter along the field margins, by this time, the easterly wind was freshening and in exposed areas was quite bitter - you have to suffer for your pleasures, and it was worth it.  One of these Stone Curlews gave its eerie wailing call.
Although sometimes difficult to locate in fields due to their cryptic plumage and motionless behaviour, these Stone Curlews showed off their spectacular Black and White wing pattern when in flight.

Stone Curlews (distant) at Bodney, Norfolk, 01/04/13
Also seen in the area was an impressive 500+ Lapwings, a Common Buzzard, and a Sparrowhawk which was flying into the wind to gain height, descend, and gain height again - perhaps a hunting technique and using the wind to its advantage.

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