Breckland Birder

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

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Fieldfare

Fieldfares are one of the larger British Thrush species which visits us between October and early May from their summering grounds in Scandinavia.  Although many stay with us, others will pass through the UK to winter in France and the Iberian Peninsula.
When on passage, Fieldfares migrate in large loose flocks and can be identified by their "shack shack" flight call.  When seen on the ground, it is worth studying these spectacular Thrushes, their plumage is simply stunning, their grey heads and nape contrasts strongly with the brown mantle and pearl-grey rump and dark tail.  The breast is a beautiful ochre and spotted black along with the flanks.
Although sometimes seen singly, Fieldfares are generally seen in varying sized flocks numbering in double figures and occasionally three or four figure numbers.

9th and 10th November.
The night of the 8th/9th November was starlit and at dawn it was very bright with a slight frost in sheltered spots.
It was evident at dawn that there had been an overnight arrival of Fieldfares on my patch with some decent sized flocks seen, however, as I was walking along the Watton road east of Great Cressingham, many Fieldfares were gathered in hedgerows and trees and once on the move towards the village it was evident that 500+ Fieldfares were present, a very impressive gathering.  These birds stopped in a variety of habitats including the well-stocked hedgerows immediately east of Great Cressingham.
Mid to late afternoon on the 10th, I walked from the church at South Pickenham to Cockley Cley Warren. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon.  Settingout from South Pickenham, I walked west along the footpath which passes a 'Stanton-type' world war 2 air-raid shelter, a reminder of the former bomber base at North Pickenham airfield.
At Cockley Cley warren, I was surprised to see that the former heath was now being used to cultivate arable crops.  On the fields was 300+ Fieldfare wandering over the field in their search for food.  Also seen here was a couple of Mistle Thrushes and in the roadside Scots Pines, Coal Tits were present.
The walk back to South Pickenham was better with the sun behind me.  Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits, Linnets, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, and Chaffinches were encountered along the path.  With the setting sun, flocks of Chaffinches began arriving at their roost sites.
Sparrowhawk Watton, Norfolk 10/11/13.  A common Breckland species.


 

4 comments:

  1. Nice shot of the hawk Paul. How is the sale on the house coming along. PLUS you must be retired now, lucky boy.

    Paul ( birdforum)

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    1. Firstly, I must apologise for the delayed reply. The house sale is progressing well...we have sold and have found a nice bungalow with a large, mainly laid to lawn garden, which I already have plans for birds for inlcuding a mixed native hedgerow and some scrub habitat. I am retired now from full time work although I do make guest appearances at 16 hours weekly just to top up the old pension you know!! I have just purchased a new Canon 7d so I am looking forward to the results with this camera which is regarded as the best birding camera. Many thanks for the comments on the Sparrowhawk...it appears a bit misty...it was taken through glass...I could not risk opening the window for fear of spooking the bird.

      Hope you are keeping very well and thank you for your comment.

      Paul

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  2. I would have timed any walk involving Cockley Cley...
    to arrive in good time at t'Churchwardens for an interim pint or two....
    before walking back...

    We've had more large flocks of Lapwings around us this week...
    along with a flock of around 30 Golden Plover.
    A Peregrine came across the field in front of us as we went to get in the car to go to Chatellerault on Monday...
    same day as we saw a Great White Egret working the floodplain...
    which the neighbouring farmer has ploughed up for...
    arable!!
    It flooded a few weeks back for the first time this winter, and...
    despite the millstream outside the back door being nice and clear again....
    his field is still flooded.
    But the Heron, Egret and assorted Plovers [both Green and Gold] love it!!

    And as I can stand in the warmth with a cup of coffee and observe them thro' the 'scope...
    an Opticron ES100 with a 30 > 100x Zoom...
    I thank him for creating a nice, short-turfed wetland!!
    On t'other side of the river itself today they were harvesting maize...
    yes, I know it is almost December...
    but that has been a pond too!
    The combine had a pair of tracks instead of wheels at the front...
    it WAS that boggy...
    hey ho! 'Tis only the start of winter...

    Dropped my little Pentax Optio pocket camera a week ago...
    t'wife has treated me to a WG2 as an early Christmas present...
    it has a digital microscope function... and a built in LED ring-light...
    oh, and it is shock proof to 2 metres!!

    According to my brother, he posted it on on Wednesday.
    It had to be bought in the UK for 252 very good reasons...
    each page of the manual!!
    I keep looking out for t'postie!!
    Keep well, and keep blogging!

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    Replies
    1. Just had this view of a Sparra-Hawk...
      it came in and landed on the ivy covering the parapet of our bridge...
      not much more than four metres away...
      needless to say, the camera was more than an arms length away...
      six bleedin' inches to far to reach without moving...
      binos were beside me, so I had a real close look as it hopped from foot to foot...
      [it is minus three Centipedes out there!!]
      But wonderfully sunny... I'm off out with the chainsaw.

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