Breckland Birder

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

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Little Cressingham and Threxton

At dawn today I took Toby for a circular 4 mile walk starting at Threxton Church, taking in Little Cressingham, north along the Peddars Way, east along the Watton road, and finally south along the lane from Saham Hall back to Threxton. This undulating walk crosses the Watton Brook valley at two points along the walk and it was at, or near to these localities, where I thought I would have the best chance of finding some migrant species.  The habitat at these sites provide both good feeding and resting for birds on the move.
Firstly, I stopped at North Bridge on the Peddars Way north of Little Cressingham.  Watton Brook meanders more or less east to west at this locality, the immediate area alongside the Brook provides good grazing for cattle and the roadsides have a mixture of small patches of woodland including Alder, Birch, and Rowan.  The hedgerows comprise mostly of Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Sallow, Guelder Rose, and tall Ash trees.
As expected, North Bridge held most bird activity with a party of Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits, Chiffchaffs, and Goldcrest passing through a dense section of Blackthorn and Ash habitat.  North of the valley at the crossroads, further migrants were both seen and heard including Whitethroat, Blackcap, and Chiffchaff, and wheeling overhead was a small party of Golden Plovers.
Walking east from Little Cressingham towards Saham Hall I could hear a Spotted Flycatcher calling in roadside Oaks, however, I could not locate the bird visually.
Whitethroat (juvenile) at Threxton 18/08/13
Making my way to Threxton I stopped off at an extremely valuable little habitat which has always been a migrant magnet, this visit was as expected full of migrant warblers.
At least 6 Whitethroats were seen in Hawthorn and Elder, this may have been a family party of birds which bred close to the Watton Brook.  The above juvenile Whitethroat was watched for some time moving around an Elder, although it took some time out for preening.
Whilst watching these migrants, I heard the familiar "sweeep" call of a Yellow Wagtail, I then saw it fly overhead in a southerly heading...further evidence of migration picking up.
Also plentiful at this site was several Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap, a family party of about 12 Goldfinches, and Blue Tits.

At the time of writing butterflies appear to be present in the Breckland area in good numbers and species variety, this includes the Painted Lady, this particular butterfly was seen on farmland alongside the Great Cressingham road at Little Cressingham.  The Painted Lady is a migratory species and comes to us from North Africa. 

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