Breckland Birder

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

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Little/Great Cressingham

Windy days may appear birdless, indeed, many small birds do keep to the cover of dense bushes, however, choosing the right spot, waiting and watching, will pay off. 
I planned to find a suitable location to hopefully look for raptors, therefore, I headed for Little Cressingham and chose a sheltered spot out of the strong wind to overview a large, open area of rolling arable farmland (within the Great Cressingham parish) and hoped for that passing Harrier species.  The habitat overviewed comprised stubble and Sugar Beet crop.  
The large fields and skyline ahead of me appeared quiet although a few Gulls and Crows flew back and forth.  The odd Partridge was seen briefly flying into Sugar Beet and stubble.  Wood Pigeons typically passed over from various directions.
Whilst looking directly ahead low on the skyline a raptor appeared and circled over the field, it appeared quite large and on one occasion I saw the bird had stiff outstretched wings, looking at the bird through binoculars I saw this was a Peregrine Falcon.  I watched the Peregrine fly low and east, increasing its speed and wings angled back for an attack, I then lost the Falcon behind a hedge, however, its presence was evident by an irruption of various bird species.
Peregrine Falcons are scarce passage migrants and winter visitors to my Breckland patch, I usually see this species most winters at one or more sites in the area.


Peregrine Falcon - this bird was photographed at Little Cressingham in January 2012.
Shortly after the Peregrine was seen a flock of 60+ Lapwings passed west over the field, possibly displaced by the raptor.  To the distant east I could see a lot of activity over fields and woodland, a single Buzzard was being mobbed by Crow species, also many other birds were seen, also possibly indicating raptor activity.
There was not too much small bird activity due to the wind, however, a couple of Skylarks were seen and along Green Lane, a party of Long-tailed Tits passed low through cover.   
The wind strength was the most noticable feature of the weather this afternoon, however, the forthcoming night and following morning will see a powerful storm passing through Southern England.........batten down the hatches and stay safe.

4 comments:

  1. Paul, are the Lapwings over your way seemingly directed by committee....
    ours here are...
    they are verrily-merrily flying along as a party when one changes direction, followed by a group...
    followed by the whole flock...
    when, suddenly another vote seems to be taken and a group or individual heads back along the original tack....
    to be followed by the whole group...
    on other occasions....
    they return whence they came...
    or split completely and half go one way and half another...
    it is fun to watch as they flicker this way and that...
    from November to January [sometimes through to March]...
    I blogged about them here [ http://le-moulin-de-la-forge.blogspot.fr/2012/11/more-flocking-lapwings.html ] and the Golden Plover that were with them.
    I managed to get some "group" photos the next day...
    [ http://le-moulin-de-la-forge.blogspot.fr/2012/11/lapwing-update.html ]

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  2. Tim
    Good to get your comments and thoughts again.
    Your comments regarding the purpose for directional heading of Lapwings makes for interesting reading and leads me to think that I will consider what you have written and put it to the test when I see my next flock.
    The flock I saw on 27/10/13 were in a small tight flock and were escaping from the presence of the Peregrine that passed through scattering all birds.
    I have read your excellent blog entry regarding the Lapwing, Golden Plover, and Thrush movements (great series of pictures).
    Your comments regarding Lapwings has inspired me to think more carefully for their motives.....thanks once again Tim....good to get your thoughts once again.
    Paul

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    Replies
    1. I can understand the behaviour with a Perri about...
      ours ignore Buzzard or Kestrel...
      but their behaviour changes totally if there is a Sparrowhawk about...
      its tight flying and get on the ground as quickly as possible...
      if I see them bunch I always start looking now...
      and we get occasional Goshawks through, as I've mentioned before...
      but never spotted one when the Lapwings have gone down.

      One of the really nice things about living in such surroundings is...
      being able to really watch birds....
      but it doesn't half interfere with the work that needs doing!!

      Still no Cranes through yet...

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    2. I have noticed with Lapwings Tim that large loose flocks of birds indicates they are relaxed and more leisurely and yes, the bunching of Lapwings shows a problem exists.....flight is faster and with some urgency. You have cetainly an eye for bird behaviour which I really like, rather than, as in your fantastic reference previously regarding "twit"chers....a reference I have now starting using. Your behavioural observations shows for me what birding is all about.

      Birding does indeed interfere with what needs doing......but what a great interference Tim.

      Chat soon.

      Paul

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