Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Houghton-on-the-Hill, Norfolk.

From a birders perspective, this morning had a feel of 'migrants' about it with low cloud a poor visibility initially.  I could see the blades of the massive wind turbines on North Pickenham airfield were partially concealed in the cloud.
This was a relatively short circular walk from St Mary's Church, down the track to the road, east along the road to Common Lane, along the lane to Houghton Common and through the hedgerow corridor back to the church.
What was particularly evident this morning was the number of Song Thrush arrivals in the hedges along the route with the familiar "tic" call being frequently encountered.
Long-tailed Tits flocks are always worth watching, not only are these dainty little beauties very entertaining, they also may include in autumn something a little more unusal.  On Houghton Common a mobile flock of Long-tailed Tits was watched and followed for some time, included within this flock was a single diminutive Goldcrest, however, I did see a Long-tailed Tit with what I thought was an all-White head, this immediately raised suspicions as the only thing that this could have been was the Northern European race Caudatus.  This bird was seen so briefly as it moved along the hedge that I put my observation down as a possible 'trick of the light' as Caudatus is a very rare bird in the UK...I did not relocate this individual. 
Walking long the hedgerow corridor west towards the church, further calling Song Thrushes were heard and high above a few individuals passed over in a southerly heading.
I then decided to spend an hour or so sitting in the churchyard to see what passes through.  Straight away, a few Redwing arrivals were in the thicker cover in the yard along with Blackbirds
Marsh Tit at Houghton 15 October 2013
Whilst sitting in the churchyard and with thick low cloud still dominant a noticeable movement of Redwings was seen overhead during a 20 minute period.  Several flocks passed over in a southerly heading, these totalled 300+ birds with some flocks seen descending rapidly into nearby woodland.  This movement seemed to end with the onset of a very brief spell of slightly brighter conditions...were these Redwings forced down by the thick low cloud?
Other species moving overhead included a number of Skylarks (possible migrants) and a small party of Siskins.

Back within the immediate vicinity of the churchyard, several smaller species were seen passing through at various times, this included at least 4 Goldcrests, 2+ Marsh Tits, Blue Tits, Robin, Wren, and Dunnocks.

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