Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 25 August 2014

Little Cressingham (Watton Brook valley)

Poor weather at this time of year, especially rain as we are having today, can produce unexpected migrants.  This occurs when passage birds are forced down by rain, this is known as a 'fall'.
With such conditions in mind I decided to take a walk mid-afternoon down to the Watton brook valley near Bodney.  I carefully searched the fence, posts, and vegetation, for signs of migrants, however, on this occasion I saw none.  A visit earlier in the day, at dawn for example, may have been more productive.
The only migrants seen was a couple of Swallows flying east along the valley.
On the walk back to 'The Arms' I could see a large number of Swallows (70+), stopping to watch for a while I could see that many of these Swallows often alighted on field of stubble.  Clearly the rain forced these Swallows to hunt low, but how many were locally breeding/raised birds, and how many were passage birds??
In nearby hedgerows and wooded habitat, at least 3 Chiffchaffs were heard and a bit further along in a dense patch of Bramble, a hidden Whitethroat gave a "chit" call, perhaps this was a passage migrant forced down to rest and refuel.


  1. Very interesting, Paul. On quick morning tea break in Rocklands yesterday, with rain clouds rolling in, I noticed a flock dancing in the air above a stubble field just below the clouds. They turned out to be Swallows too. I counted 42 but there were doubtless more, all heading slowly southwards. And a Chiffchaff sang from a clump of willows in the middle of the field.

  2. I thank you very much for your observations regarding your Swallows. These sort of observations are just what I like to see as such contributions all evidence significant movements of birds through our county and beyond. With your contribution I am going to keep a keen eye on the BTO migration blog to see what they have to say about these movements on a more nationwide scale. Thank you very much fot this.