Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Sunrise at Little Cressingham and Thompson area (with Tony, Lorna, and Ros Brown).

Threxton/Little Cressingham (at dawn).
What an absolutely beautiful dawn it was on this, the first day of British Summer Time. This was a mild dawn with some high cloud but visibility was good.
When experiencing difficulties in life, it is at such times that it is worth remembering a loving family unit that keeps one together, my dog Toby, friends who are prepared to listen and whose company I enjoy (you know who you are), and finally the beautiful British countryside and its wildlife which is always there and free despite what troubles are thrown our way.
Little Owl at Threxton, Norfolk 30/03/14
My first stop of the morning was at Threxton where I checked out the traditional Little Owl site where this delightful Owl with its permanent look of 'surprise' was sitting.  The Little Owl's home was in a hole in a dead roadside tree.  The tree is in a wide grassy verge beside arable land where it can hunt for prey such as worms, beetles.
Little Owls will also use holes in old buildings for nest sites as well as the traditional hole in a tree.

Having left the Little Owl I made my way to Little Cressingham (The Arms area) in order to take Toby for his walk.  Walking north along the Great Cressingham road, roadside trees held 40+ Redwings, however, as I walked further north towards 'The Fairstead', a very large mixed flock of both Redwings and Fieldfares were in the roadside trees and surrounding hedgerows.  As I approached these Thrushes, the chattering and song of Redwings was awesome.  These beautiful Thrushes will now be on their way back to their Scandinavian breeding grounds.
Also along this route 2 pairs of Common Curlews were present, this included males performing their noisy song-flight. 

At 1000 I had the great pleasure to meet Tony and Lorna Brown and their daughter Ros from Cambridge.  Ros recently contacted me in order to use some of my photographs for a college publication.  A reason for their visit was to hopefully make contact with Goshawk, a species this family have yet to see.  I took them to a traditional local site to see this magnificent raptor, however, the bird failed to appear on this occasion and the only raptor evidence seen was at least 4 Common Buzzards.
Whilst hopefully waiting for a Goshawk to appear, the mournful song of a male Woodlark was heard and we soon saw the bird quite high performing its circular display-flight, a species new to Ros and her parents.  Later, the Woodlark returned, however, it soon became apparent that a second male was present and a short search soon found this additional male singing on high.
Other species seen included singing Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps, Yellowhammer, Coal Tit, and overhead a couple of Cormorants were seen.
Finally, prior to going our separate ways, Tony picked up a large suspect raptor through the tree canopy flying high and east, sadly this remained unidentified.......Osprey perhaps!!!!!

Merton (dusk)
A sheet of grey cloud hung over the area at sunset and as a result light was very poor, despite this I was rewarded by the sight of a few Tree Sparrows in the village which included a pair observed mating within a large Hawthorn.  This was very encouraging given the scarcity nationally of this beautiful Sparrow.

I will end this post by saying it was a great pleasure meeting Tony, Lorna,  and Ros Brown and I hope we meet again at some time...thank you all for joining me.

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