Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 18 August 2014

Little Cressingham and Bodney, Norfolk.

This morning I decided to check the rolling landscape along the Watton Brook valley for evidence of migrant birds.  Watton Brook is lined with fencing and posts along much of its length in this area and  the dense lush habitat along the banks of the Brook and surrounding ditches has always been attractive to passage migrants, especially Whinchats, Wheatears, and Wagtails.  Although none of these species were found today, one species which was in good numbers was Swallows.  These very familiar migrants were flying low over fields of sheep where they were hunting insect prey, whilst there, I considered how many of these delightful birds were local breeders and how many were passage birds using this area as a staging post for feeding up.
Juvenile Song Thrush at Bodney, Norfolk 18/08/14
Other migrants seen included several Chiffchaffs, and a couple of Whitethroats.  These species were in Hawthorn scrub and woodland edge habitat which they shared with Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Yellowhammers, Goldfinches, and Greenfinches.
The Song Thrush pictured here is a juvenile bird, the age can be determined by the Orange-Brown feather tips on its wings and the pale fleshy gape at the base of the bill.  In the nearby area, the probable parents of this bird were heard giving their soft "tik" call.
On the fields of sheep several Pied Wagtails were seen, these birds are often seen in the presence of livestock where they pick off insects disturbed by the animals.
The only raptor species seen on this visit was 2 Buzzards, one of which was constantly calling, this was probably a juvenile bird.
This coming weekend I actually have a decent break, therefore, with August drawing on and September approaching, things should really be hotting up with migrant birds, I shall be out at the crack of dawn inspecting those lush valleys and other migrant hotspots.

2 comments:

  1. "Buzzards, one of which was constantly calling, this was probably a juvenile bird."...
    tell me about it...
    mew, mew, mew....
    all day long!
    Pauline calls him Morrisey...
    translate mew, mew, mew....
    as "God knows I'm miserable now!!"

    When Mum arrives the call changes totally to one of excitement!!
    And today and yesterday we've had up to nine buzzards in the air above....
    playing in the wind...
    and with each other, diving, rolling, locking feet and spiralling...
    can't capture that with a 300mm Zoom at the height they were...
    but we just sat and watched....
    until our necks couldn't stand the angle.

    We also had a Black Kite around all day....
    the farmer opposite was harrowing a recently harvested field...
    last year, the kite was following the combine...
    looking for fatalities.

    Migration is beginning here, too....
    the Golden Orioles have gone....
    the Bee-eaters are back for their pre-journey feed up...
    up and down the valley....
    the Swifts have gone from town...
    the House Martins and Swallows are gathering...
    the days are visibly drawing in...
    the Lapwings are flocking....
    ho-hum...
    winter visitors soon.

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  2. Hi Tim

    Great to get your message and thank you very much for following the blog.

    Migration is certainly in full swing now and I have recently seen good numbers of Whitethroats and Blackcaps moving through my patch.
    I have a week off mid September, this for me along with October, are my most looked forward to months. September is pivotal with summer migrants meeting with incoming and passage winter species. Late September will hopefully bring that familiar "seeep" call of overhead Redwings at night.....I loved to sit in the garden at night to hear this and the "tik" of passing Song Thrushes.

    I see your Golden Orioles and Bee-eaters have gone....lucky man. I think Golden Orioles are probably extinct as a breeding bird in the UK now. I know that Bee-eaters successfully raised young on the Isle-of-Wight this year.

    I am now working part-time as a carer Tim and my work sees me travelling around the lanes and by-ways of Norfolk. I have noticed sinse doing this that Red Kites are doing better than I previously thought. I have never seen a Black Kite in the UK though.

    We have now moved into our new bungalow Tim. I was very sad to leave the old place, I had created a lovely bird/wildlife garden there, however, our new garden has a few shrubs, not too many, but I have some ideas about creating a bird friendly garden, including a mixed native hedge.

    Tim, as always, great to get your message and look forward to chatting again soon. Thank you very much also for following the blog.

    Paul

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