Breckland Birder

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

Monday, 1 September 2014

Houghton-on-the-Hill and Merton, Norfolk

Houghton-on-the-Hill
Most effort was given to the corridor formed by thick hedges east of St Mary’s Church.  Good light initially, however, duller conditions moved in with cloud.
A slow walk west along the corridor saw some movement, mostly Buntings, however, it was not until light rain that Whitethroats (10+) were seen at the western end of the corridor, most were seen crossing the gap in the hedge, or flitting between cover of Elder and Hawthorn.  Chiffchaffs were also noted as were a few Yellowhammers and a ♀ Reed Bunting.  One unlucky bird fell prey to a hunting Sparrowhawk.
As with my previous visit to this locality, the most vocal bird was an incessantly calling juvenile Buzzard.

Merton
A mid-afternoon visit to Merton was in order to check a traditional migrant locality.  As soon as I arrived it was clear that there was plenty of activity in this area of thick Elder, Hawthorn, and Bramble scrub.
Blackcap and Chiffchaff were both present and 10+ Tree Sparrows, an expected species here, were flying around the locality.
Lesser Whitethroat at Merton 01/09/14 (An expected bird here)
A single Lesser Whitethroat was seen in Hawthorn, in fact, it was quite mobile as it flew in various bushes of Elder and Hawthorn.  This bird frequently called its "stit" call, somewhat different to the Blackcaps "tak" note.
This is a species of tree-lined hedgerows during the breeding season but now in autumn it joins other Warblers in thick scrub habitat to feed and rest.
Also seen and heard in Merton was Blackbird, calling Nuthatch, Blue and Great Tits, 10+ Swallows overhead and 2 calling Little Owls.

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