Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Friday, 13 September 2013

Little and Great Cressingham, Norfolk. (A good day for Raptors)

The wide open expanses of arable farmland within the Little and Great Cressingham parishes have always been attractive for breeding, passage, and wintering raptor species.  This area can appear quite bleak in winter, the large fields, hedgerows, and pockets of woodland hold wintering flocks of Waders, Finches, and Larks, this in turn brings scarce raptors like Peregrine and Merlin.
Wintering specialities will probably appear later in November, today however, brought some interesting raptor species as follows:

Tawny Owl 13/09/13 Little Cressingham
3 Common Buzzards
3 Sparrowhawks (singles)
1 Red Kite
1 Marsh Harrier (female)
1 Hobby
1 Tawny Owl

The first raptor of the morning was an expected Common Buzzard which was seen from Fairstead Lane approaching from the west, also a single Sparrowhawk seen near the village.
As I entered Green Lane, thoughts were with a Harrier species over the adjacent vast areas of farmland, then, whilst walking down the lane, a look over to my left revealed a female Marsh Harrier drifting low over stubble.  This bird was watched flying over a wide area of both stubble and Sugar Beet crops as well as close to the boundary hedgerows.  This is not an unexpected bird in this area of Breckland at this time of year, however, it is quite scarce nevertheless.
Green Lane, Little Cressingham has always been reliable for Tawny Owl and this morning a single bird was seen flying between trees until it was located for the attached photograph. The presence of this Owl attracted the attention of a scolding Chiffchaff
Later, whilst walking west along the Watton road towards Great Cressingham, a Sparrowhawk flew out of the roadside hedge, it was clear that it had just eaten due to the full crop.  A little further long the road closer to Great Cressingham a single Red Kite flying south was being mobbed by a single Crow species.
Priory Road, Great Cressingham is a lovely walk with good Oak-lined hedgerows with very large rolling arable fields adjacent to the south and mixed arable and grazing land to the north.  The walk east produced my third Sparrowhawk, flying from a hedge, and 2 Common Buzzards over arable and pine woodland.  Finally, a single Hobby was seen flying high and leisurely north, a migrant bird possibly.   

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