Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Little Cressingham, Norfolk.

A short afternoon walk from 'The Arms' to Hopton Bridge over Watton Brook was quite productive for small bird activity.  Great Cressingham road, which runs north from 'The Arms' is always worth checking as the field edges has always been used for growing maize for game, this in turn attracts Finches and Buntings.  The deep pit on the roadside has plenty of dense habitat of Scots Pine, Ash, and shrubby understorey.  The periphery of this small woodland patch generally holds good numbers of birds in winter, from various bushes, birds drop down to the ground where they feed upon seed spills, a check this afternoon revealed at a minimum, 20+ Yellowhammers.  Although not seen on this visit, check this area for Bramblings in winter.
Peregrine Falcon at Little Cressingham, Norfolk 15/01/14
Continuing north, I then crossed the B1108 road and made for the Watton Brook valley at Hopton Bridge.  A mixture of Alder and Poplar trees are always worth a look in winter and on this visit a flock of 30+ Siskins flew around the trees, on occasions, this flock alighted in the tops of Alders to feed from the cones.  Also seen here was 2 Redpolls which flew south towards 'The Arms'.
Beyond Watton Brook, I stopped by a gate to overview the valley with raptors in mind.  I later heard behind me a number of Pied Wagtails giving agitated calls, this clearly indicated a raptor, I turned and this Peregrine Falcon passed over south and headed towards 'The Arms'. Unfortunately, light was very poor, however, this shot of the Peregrine flying away from me shows this as probably a juvenile bird as the underparts of the bird appears heavily barred whereas adult birds are strongly streaked.
I think there are probably at least 3 Peregrine Falcons on my Breckland patch this winter, it is therefore worthy of note that if you see an explosion of Wood Pigeons and Crows flying aimlessly and hurriedly away, watch for two Breckland species, Goshawk or Peregrine......the behaviour of other species can help towards seeing these powerful raptor species. 

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