Breckland Birder

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

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Early signs of Spring.

I don't want to get too carried away with the pleasant, although windy conditions today as winter still has time to show itself, however, it is nice to get January, the longest winter month behind us now and February is a fairly short month. 
Birds have for some weeks now been re-affirming their territories for the forthcoming breeding season.  This morning, as I do most weekend mornings, work between 3 and 4 hours delivering newspapers to various Breckland villages, hamlets, and isolated farm and manor houses.  Walking to work through Watton, Norfolk, at 0500 today, I was greeted by a singing Robin in the high street, how lovely it was to hear him before the noise of the day drowns his song.  Once on my round, I heard several Goldcrests in song, also Song Thrushes, and a Treecreeper were in fine voice.

Little/Great Cressingham, Norfolk
Upon returning home from my round I had some breakfast and after a short while the next task of the day was to take my beautiful Border Collie, Toby for his morning walk.
First thing that was evident to me on Fairstead Lane since my last visit was the high water levels in Watton Brook, in places the levels rose to the point where adjoining land was flooded.  The fields are currently saturated and much standing water was seen on some grazing land.  This is a timely moment to remember those poor people in the south-west of England who have endured the worst flooding for more than a century, many homes and livelihoods seriously affected by what is unprecedented conditions for those living in those areas.
Walking along Fairstead Lane, recent harvested fields of sugar beet have attracted large numbers of Fieldfares, Starlings, Pied Wagtails, and some Meadow Pipits.
Red Kite at Great Cressingham, Norfolk 01/02/14.
Continuing along Fairstead Lane, I couls see ahead of me a number of Common Buzzards soaring above woodland, this immediately raised interest as other raptor species may be present.
Walking along a field edge produced this stunning Red Kite, despite the strong wind, this bird demonstrated its mastery of flight and used that beautiful forked tail as a rudder to steer and balance its progress.
Red Kites have yet to enjoy the rapid expansion seen by Common Buzzards, however, I think this will change for the better in the coming years.
Walking back to my starting point I was watching the behaviour of Wood Pigeons, their flight and departures from trees and woodland where they were perched was unhurried......not the panic and disorganised explosion of birds I would expect to see if Goshawk or Peregrine were in the area....the Pigeons were safe......for now!!  

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