Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Water Rail at Thompson Water, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Great/Little Cressingham 3 August 2013

With temperatures recently peaking at 31 degrees, birds seen today indicate that summer will soon draw to a close and that autumn is approaching along with the miracle that is bird migration.
Whilst walking along the Peddars Way at Great Cressingham at dawn, a small party of about 6 European Golden Plover with 30+ Northern Lapwings rose from a nearby field.  In the winter months, Golden Plover numbers on farmland can reach four-figure numbers....quite a challenge when looking for something different within them.
Further along the Peddars Way at North bridge, Little Cressingham, a mixed party of Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits, and Chiffchaff were seen moving through the trees whilst in the valley a single Common Buzzard flew from a small Alder wood.
Walking towards Little Cressingham windmill, I caught a brief glimpse of a large raptor species being mobbed by a corvid, I soon relocated the bird, it was a female Western Marsh Harrier and it was flying close to the ground over crops close to the Watton Brook valley.  Occasionally, the Harrier showed reasonably well and although distant, its large 'Buzzard' size was unmistakeable as was the dark plumage and the distinct pale creamy head.  This is a typical date for seeing Marsh Harriers on the move, however, September is when I usually see this beautiful raptor passing through Breckland.
I decided to spend a little time on Fairstead Lane, Little Cressingham, close to the area of the windmill when a single Hobby put in an appearance over the valley. This bird soared for a while before heading into the sun and out of sight.  The Hobby is a superb master of the skies and this area is reliable for sighting this dashing Falcon as it hunts Hirundines and winged insects such as dragonflies.
Hobby - a regular sighting in the Little Cressingham area (Picture taken at Little Cressingham, June 2012).
Other raptor species seen was single Sparrowhawk and a couple of Kestrels hunting along the valley.
A pair of Oystercatchers continue to tend to their single youngster, it appears that worms are its favourite food.
A single Kingfisher was seen darting along the valley, and in fact, single birds continued to be seen on a number of occasions.
A short visit to the windmill area saw good numbers of House Martins and a few Swallows in the area.  House Martins typically gave a number of 'false-alarm calls' indicating a possible threat such as a Hobby.

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