Breckland Birder

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

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Hirundines and Cranes

Church Farm at Threxton lies within rolling farmland in the Watton brook valley, farming here comprises both arable and grazing livestock.  A visit to this locality early morning produced a flock of 300+ House Martins with smaller numbers of Swallows gathering above Church Farm and the nearby sewage works.  As with recent observations, this gathering of Hirundines probably comprised mostly migrants using the site as a staging post as well as some local birds.

At 1120 whilst checking the skies from my garden in Watton I noticed 2 very distant specks very high to the north-west.  Intially, I thought they were aircraft but it became apparent they were indeed birds, as I continued to watch these birds it was clear they were very large, these were Common Cranes, a species I have encountered rarely in the Breckland area.
2 Common Cranes Watton, Norfolk 18/09/13 (Very distant and very high)
A small population of Common Cranes breeds in the Norfolk Broads and at Lakenheath Fen on the Norfolk/Suffolk border.  The question is are these birds from either of these populations on a wander around Norfolk or are they passage birds from Europe.  I have seen Common Cranes on my patch on two previous occasions, both of these previous sighting were of birds flying quite low, given that these Cranes today were at a great height could they have been migrants from Europe?

                                                    Water Vole (One of 2) at Little Cressingham.
A late afternoon visit to Little Cressingham Mill was fairly quiet birdwsie, however, 2 Water Voles were great to see considering their scarcity. 

2 comments:

  1. A nice regular sight in Norfolk now, some Cranes.
    I remember an early visit in the Broads...
    late 70s...
    out walking the dawg to find the path alongside Hickling Broad chock full of "twit"chers...
    the visiting Crane they were looking for was a wading bird...
    wasn't it?
    All the 'scopes were trained over the broad...

    I mentioned to the person who told me it was "The Crane", that it would most likely be in a field, not the open water!

    I carried on walking and a little later, there it was...
    in a field, the other side of the path...
    hunting frogs along a ditch!

    Got a couple of reasonable shots in...
    these days there would be many more taken...
    but a roll of 36 then was expensive.
    Carried on with the walk!

    Nice pic...
    they overfly here on migration...
    lovely sight...
    but the bugling is something else...
    we often hear other squadrons passing, out of our line of sight...
    and during the night, too!
    But need to drive the twenty or so kilometres to the Brenne to see them striding around...
    if you are interested, you can follow their migration on the LPO's Champagne-Ardenne local groups Grus Grus site...
    http://champagne-ardenne.lpo.fr/grus-grus/index.htm#
    just click on the Season 2013/2014 to get the current status...
    they are beginning to mass in the North!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tim
      Some great comments here my friend. I love your description of "twit"chers by the way....not my kind of birding. I find watching your own patch is far more exciting as you have seen.
      Many thanks for the Grus Grus site, I will look forward to looking at that.
      How lucky are you with Crane migration. Of my three local records, only on one occasion did I hear that fantastic call....just wonderful.
      Thanks again Tim.
      Paul

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