Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Peddars Way

The Peddars Way Long Distance Path begins in Suffolk but the almost all of the route lies within Norfolk. A good length of this path passes through my patch from East Wretham, Great Hockham, Stow Bedon, Thompson, Merton, Threxton, Little and Great Cressingham, South Pickenham, and finally, North Pickenham, when the path leaves my patch and continues north for the North Norfolk Coast.  The entire route is some 93 miles in length.
This morning I covered a small length of the Peddars Way (approx 2 miles), starting at Little Cressingham and walked north through rolling countryside which for the most part is arable with small areas of grazing land.

5 Snipe including 3 east
6+ Goldcrest
6+ Chiffchaff
35+ Goldfinches

The Watton Brook valley is always productive for common birds given the wealth of habitat and this morning a small party of 6 Goldcrests passed through roadside woodland and dense Bramble/Hawthorn hedgerows.  An adult Grey Heron was seen in the valley.
Continuing north along the path, a noisy gathering of Crows told me that a raptor species was in the area, this was a Common Buzzard, however, an extremely brief glimpse of another raptor was seen rising above a hedge with Crows in pursuit, however, I could not relocate when I found a suitable opening in a hedge.  I suspect the raptor was a falcon species, possibly Peregrine, a species I encounter frequently at this time of the year.
The route held a total of 6+ Chiffchaffs at various localities but I could not find any other Warbler species.  A pair of Marsh Tits called in path-side hedgerows.
Walking back along the path I took a short break at the brow of a hill, whilst there, 3 Snipe overflew to my south and east along the valley, perhaps this was just a local movement as this time of year I would expect to see migrant Snipe flying west.
One of the highlights this morning was back at my start point at Little Cressingham where I spent some time viewing along the Watton Brook valley.  The combination of the brook, the well vegetated banks, weedy fields, and laneside hedgerows, all provide an excellent habitat for common species. 

The well vegetated banks held a charm of 35+ Goldfinches which were attracted to the Wild Teasel heads from which they extract seeds.  This group of birds comprised both adults and juvenile birds, the youngsters are beginning to show some red feathering on their facial areas.
A check of the mill area produced 2 Snipe, a species which will winter in the area within the valley.
Also in this immediate area was a number of House Sparrows, Yellowhammers (including the above photographed female), Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Blue Tits, and Blackbirds.
A single Common Buzzard over woodland attracted the usual mobbing Crow species.  Large numbers of Crow species, especially Jackdaws, frequented sheep grazing, such a gathering of Corvids is a recipe for hunting Goshawk, however, not during my observations.

1 comment:

  1. Few rarities here, Paul; especially for my part of the world on a mountain top in southern Spain. Robin (but should be back from about this month), Blue Tit, especially Dunnock, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer, Marsh Tit and Crow to name buit a few. I have to be content with Red-rumped Swallow, Crested Tit, Thekla Lark, Crag Martin, Glossy Ibis, White Stork, Short-toed Eagle - all depending, of course, on where I am at any given moment! If my friend sticks to his proposed plan I might even be able to make another trip down to Tarifa (raptor migration) and La Janda for ll sorts of "water" birds including both storks, Purple Swamphen, Squacco Heron, etc. Last week there were over 200 Glossy Ibis in residence.

    You continue to produce great photographs.