Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 1 September 2013

BODNEY, Norfolk. A good start to September but a big prize missed.

Today dawned very autumnal with cloud and much cooler conditions. 
Wind: Moderate westerly occasionally increasing fresh.

I parked at 'The Arms' at Little Cressingham and walked west along the B1108 towards Bodney with the intention of checking the area for migrant birds.  As expected, some good migrants were found, however, it was clear that something special had passed through.
I paid two visits to the same locality with the following results:

Beetle 01/09/13 Impaled on barbed wire at Bodney

1 Hobby
1 Kestrel (female)
Common Buzzard
House Martin (light westerly passage)
4 Pied Wagtail
3 Whinchat
2+ Wheatear
60+ Mistle Thrush (flock)
6 Goldfinch (largest flock)

Whinchat 01/09/13 Bodney (One of 3 in the area)
Walking along the B1108 at Bodney and whilst checking fencing I found this beetle species impaled upon barbed wire, this was very good evidence of a Shrike species recently being in the area, most likely the species was Red-backed Shrike, although Lesser Grey or Woodchat Shrike should not be ruled out.
The finding of this impaled beetle clearly prompted a careful search of suitable habitats for a Shrike and both the morning and mid to late afternoon visits did not reveal the bird.  A careful look at the beetle showed the insect to be in fresh condition, therefore the Shrike may have been here either earlier this morning or no earlier than the previous evening.

As far as migrants are concerned the afternoon visit provided the best observations.
At least 3 Whinchats were seen distantly early morning although 2 birds gave the best views in the afternoon when they frequented fence-posts and fencing wire from where to observe and collect food from.
An afternoon check revealed 2 Wheatears typically inhabiting open grassland.  These birds were mostly seen on the ground where they ran fast to catch insect prey. Interestingly, both Wheatears were also seen close to an old Rabbit burrow which is a favoured breeding site, however, these were probably passage migrants stopping here to rest and feed.

Finally, although a relatively common species, the presence of a flock of 60+ Mistle Thrushes on the heath was a very good count indeed.


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