Breckland Birder

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

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Peddars Way (Little Cressingham/Great Cressingham) late afternoon

After a foggy morning the day was very grey with plenty of cloud and poor light.  Light never improved when I walked along a short length of the Peddars Way between Little and Great Cressingham from about mid-afternoon.
A check of a recently harvested field of sugar beet which is now grazed by sheep produced 5 Grey Partridges.  One of these birds was watched closely and photographed as it nipped at edges of leaves and weeds.  Grey Partridges are now scarce and declining birds in the UK. 

Grey Partridge (one of 5) at Little Cressingham 10/12/13

 
The Grey Partridge is a clearly more distinctive then the very numerous Red-legged Partridge, a species which is raised in their thousands for the shoot.  The brick-red head area and throat lacks stripes which straight away separates this species from the Red-legged Partridge.  As seen in the above photograph the breast is very neatly vermiculated, this leads into the solid dark brown patches on the belly.
Walking for a short distance north along the Peddars Way, I noticed that the hedgerows had recently been cut, here, several Bullfinches were encountered giving their piping call as they flew ahead of me.
A flock of 60+ Goldfinches flew overhead and a short while later, a small flock of about 20+ Linnets were seen.    
Back at the car, I was preparing to leave when I looked up and saw 2 large groups of Lapwings (total of 1000+ birds) flying in mostly long drawn out lines across the sky in a westerly heading. 

3 comments:

  1. That is a wonderful Grey...
    a lovely sight, no matter how many you see...
    and how many times you see them.

    We get both Grey [in dribs and drabs] and French [Red-legged] here...
    the latter being more common....
    but, usually wearing leg-irons...
    sorry, identification rings.
    They are bred locally for shooting and marked by the breeder.

    Wonderfully, for the next three years in the first instance, there is a moratorium on shooting any partridge of pheasant...
    La Chasse is very strict on what can be hunted and when...
    and regularly do major counts.

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  2. Morning Tim
    As with you, Red-legged Partridges are far more common with the vast majority see being raised for the shoot. I suppose the only true wild Red-legs are those that are seen in pairs rather than huge coveys.
    I had a good morning recently, although foggy, when I found at a locality I love (Hockham Fen) where 1000+ Teal were seen wheeling around in tight flocks.
    Also, up 70+ Bramblings seen leaving their communal roost site in a single small Holly tree. I do think Bramblings are beautiful Finches...I love their flight call too. Do you get Bramblings Tim where you are?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Paul...
      Bramblings are regulars over winter...
      but in dribs and drabs... max of ten or thereabouts...
      none yet, but we tend to get them more in the first two months of the year.
      They feed under the feeders outside the lounge window.
      Up close, you can see the similarities between the females of the Brambling and the Chaffinch... notably the head-stripes.
      The orange on the males, however, can be spotted on the far side of our meadow, with the naked eye...
      there are few LBJs around at the moment, the harvest was very, very late...
      in fact continues... using combines with half-tracks at the front!!
      That has resulted in fields of sunflower that are not yet cut...
      and may not be, the maize is more valuable now...
      the sunflowers having lost a lot of seed from their heads...
      and that is where the finches and buntings all are...
      clouds of them!! All stuffing themselves with the sunflower bounty!

      If you look at this post:
      http://le-moulin-de-la-forge.blogspot.fr/2010/12/im-partridge-ha.html
      you will see some of our "tame" released "French" Partridge...
      I'm sure that if we'd had some chicken feed to hand we could have hand fed them...
      the reason the pix are so clear is that humans hadn't become a threat... yet!

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