Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Cressinghams, Bodney, and notes from the garden.

With October now well and truly established, focus turns to incoming migrant Thrushes and Finches either visiting us for the winter, or, passing through to winter in France or the Iberian Peninsula.   With the shortening days and very autumnal feel to the weather, it shouldn’t be forgotten that some summer migrants will still be on passage through the area.
This morning I started off with a 3 mile dog walk around the Great Cressingham area and it was evident from the occasional “tick” call that migrant Song Thrushes were passing through.  A single Tawny Owl was heard calling near the village and a couple of Bullfinches were heard.  A single Blackcap was heard in a hedge giving its “tak” call.
As I was driving back through Saham Toney a male Sparrowhawk was seen in the car lights sitting in the middle of the road, it then powered off over the hedge.

The River Wissey at Bodney meanders through lush grazing meadows which frequently floods in the winter months.  Mature deciduous woodland and some fine, very old Oaks are found along the valley.  Nearby is some typical examples of ancient Breckland heathland, some fine old stands of Scots Pines, and regimented stands of commercial conifer plantations. 
This mornings visit produced common bird species associated with woodland habitats, this included at least 3 Nuthatches, one of which was seen on a number of occasions carrying nuts/seeds possibly to store for leaner times.  Also present was Marsh Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Treecreepers, and Goldcrests.  The thicker woodland held a few Song Thrushes, these were undoubtedly recently arrived migrants from Europe.

Little Cressingham (The Arms/Hopton Farm area)
A late afternoon walk produced 7+ Yellowhammer along the Watton Brook valley. It appeared that these Buntings may have been watched as one of the Yellowhammers made for the cover of the river valley, this was shortly followed by a female Sparrowhawk whcih attempted a surprise attack by flying low and then between the banks hoping to take prey, however, she was unsuccessful on this occasion.
A woodland strip at 'The Arms' held a roving flock of Long-tailed and Blue Tits, also here, although not seen, was a male Blackcap which gave a protracted sub-song.


Chiffchaff in garden 05/10/13
At least one Chiffchaff spent the day moving between my, and adjoining gardens, this migrant probably arrived the night before to spend the day feeding and resting before continuing its southerly passage during the next clear night.
Blackbirds were ever-present and were feeding upon various fruits including Hawthorn berries and Whitebeam berries.  Greenfinches and Goldfinches were present throughout the day.

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