Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Friday, 8 August 2014

Preparing for departure

Little Cressingham (Fairstead Lane)
A significant feature of local birding during the first week of August has been the sudden departure of Swifts. At the beginning of the month, screaming parties of these long distance migrants were seen over the local area, however, with the exception of odd singleton, Swifts have mostly departed for Africa, some will reach as far as South Africa.  
Early morning, and I set off for a shortish walk along the length of Fairstead Lane, checking the valley and field edges for signs of migrants.  I could not see anything, however, later on my return to the valley and mill area, migrant Warblers were seen.
As I approached 'The Fairstead', a single, Kestrel was seen calling over fields, its flight slow with fast fluttering wing-beats appearing to be held below the level of the body, this was possibly a juvenile bird.  Once at 'The Fairstead' I had very brief views of what appeared to be a large Falcon species flying out of Southwater Plantation and quickly out of view, I could not relocate the bird, however, its appearance very much reminded me of a Peregrine.
Blackcap in Bramble at Little Cressingham 08/08/14
I arrived back to the Watton Brook valley with the intention of finding migrant Warblers
Overhead was several Swallows and House Martins, many of which were probably raised in the local area.
I decided to wait for a while and watch waterside bushes and scrub, with particular emphasis on fruiting plants.
I often heard the familiar "hweet" call of Chiffchaff, however, I had to wait a while until a Whitethroat made an appearance, there was in fact two birds seen in an Elder and one bird was seen to take fruit.
When it was almost time to go I heard the "tak" call of at least two Blackcaps and soon located this juvenile bird in Bramble, it was seen to take a piece of Blackberry.  This behaviour is clearly indicative of fuelling up in readiness for migration.
Also noted in the area was Blackbird and Song Thrush, and high overhead a single Curlew was flying in an easterly direction.

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