Breckland Birder

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

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Manure Magic

The day dawned bright and sunny with a cool, moderate to fresh westerly wind. An approaching weather front visible in the distant western sky brought total cloud cover and rain by early afternoon.
An afternoon walk around the Stow Bedon area saw grey conditions with low cloud and occasional rain, despite this, it was a productive visit.
Along Stowlay Lane and Mere Road, Stow Bedon, the low cloud and rain forced very good numbers of Swallows and House Martins to feed at times down to just a few inches above the ground with many birds passing just a few feet from me.  The skill of these Hirundines as they fly at speed weaving through trees and hedgerows is incredible to watch.
A largish mixed flock of Chaffinches and Linnets (100+) were seen along Stowlay Lane frequenting hedgerows and stubble where they will feed upon weed seeds and spilt grain etc.
An intention of mine this afternoon was to visit a large muck/manure heap which over the years has attracted passage wader species.  Almost immediately upon my arrival I found 2 Green Sandpipers, a species which is often found at such habitats.
Green Sandpipers at Stow Bedon, Norfolk 17/09/13 (Seen in low light and rain).
Muck heaps are great habitats for locating wader species, especially Green Sandpipers, these habitats are rich sources of food for passage birds and as seen in this picture, they are often seen around the stagnant pools of water where they feed upon midges and other insect prey which thrive there.  Although muck heaps are not to everyones taste, they are valuable habitats which have their own mini micro-climate which allows insects to thrive.  Green Sandpipers are being recorded more and more throughout the winter months and muck heaps are worth checking for this beautiful wader species. 
Finally, further along Mere Road a field was being turned, this in turn attracted large numbers of Gulls, many of which were the large Lesser Black-backed Gull (60+). 

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