Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Threxton, Little Cressingham, and Ashill, Norfolk.

The day dawned dry although it was noticeably cooler than of late with an autumnal feel about it.  It was generally bright throughout the day but cloud increased by late afternoon and into the evening. The wind was a moderate westerly.
A good variety of birds seen included evidence of passage, also some reasonably good counts of farmland species seen.

200+ Lapwings
250+ Golden Plover
10+ Stone Curlew (flock)
1 Sparrowhawk (female) North Bridge
80+ Stock Dove (impressive count)
Swallows (Good numbers Threxton)
House Martins
1 Whinchat (Watton Brook valley)
1 Whitethroat
40+ Goldfinch (flock Threxton)
6 Bullfinch

The Threxton area in the morning was particularly productive with good numbers of Swallows and House Martins in the area of Hall Farm.  Several birds perched on overhead wires comprised a number of juveniles.
Further along the lane near Woodcock Hall I checked the long grasses and herbage in the Watton Brook valley for migrants and found a distant Whinchat sitting on wire fencing. Watton Brook valley is always worth looking for migrants which will feed up on insects taken from this valuable habitat.
A little further along the lane in another small 'migrant magnet', a charm of 40+ Goldfinches comprising both adult and juvenile birds was impressive, also here was Blackcap, 3+ Chiffchaffs, and a fresh, smart looking Whitethroat.
Golden Plover (250+) along Peddars Way at Ashill/Great Cressingham

Most of my attention later in the day was given to a large field close to the Peddars Way where a good variety and mix of birds were seen. 
A decent count of 250+ Golden Plovers associated with 200+ Lapwings, however, these were best seen in the evening when both species were wheeling above the field, possibly having been disturbed by a raptor species.  The above photograph shows varying degrees of moult in the male Golden Plovers. Having wheeled over the field on numerous occasions, the Golden Plovers then settled in stubble where they became more difficult to observe.  Also seen in the same field as these waders was 10+ Stone Curlews and a very impressive count of 80+ Stock Doves.  When the angle and light was right, most of these Stock Doves showed their diagnostic black bordered grey wings.....a beautiful compact and well proportioned Dove species.

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