Breckland Birder

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

Monday, 8 September 2014

Houghton-on-the-Hill, Norfolk.

A real feel of autumn at dawn today with temperatures at 7 degrees, however, with the rising sun, it gradually became warmer, reaching a maximum of about 21 degrees with a gentle north-westerly wind.

1 Redstart (1st winter male or adult male in moult) in Oaks just east of the track to the church at Houghton.
Light southerly passage of Meadow Pipits over Houghton-on-the-Hill
Light southerly passage of Swallows over Houghton-on-the-Hill

Despite being a cool start to the day, it had the feel of migrants being about.  Having parked at the church, I headed down the track to walk east along the road and back to Houghton Common.
1st winter male Redstart at Houghton-on-the-Hill 08/09/14
As I started my walk east, something different flew between Oaks, it appeared Orangey in colour, my first thoughts of this brief sighting was Nuthatch, however, the bird flew into an Oak directly above me, I saw an Orangey tail.  I soon located the bird high in the tree and saw it was a Redstart, close to it was a cousin of this bird, a Robin.  The Redstart flew strongly west in a more distant Oak where it sat for a couple of minutes close to the crown of the tree.  The bird then flew strongly south-west, presumably to trees along the track to the church.  As it flew away, I occasionally caught a glimpse of the beautiful Orangey tail.

Visible migration was evident today with a light but continuous southerly passage of Meadow Pipits at varying heights.  Also, a small gathering of Swallows came into view in front of me to briefly sweep over the fields before heading off south.  A further 3+ Swallows were seen passing over south a little later.

Chiffchaffs appeared plentiful along todays route.  Walking west along the hedgerows towards the church, a few Whitethroats were again seen, however, the most numerous species seen today was Yellowhammer.  Many of these birds gathered at the west end of the track where they appeared to be attracted to an area of stubble where, presumably, they fed upon spilt grain.  Also here was Reed Bunting, Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Blue, Great, and 1 Coal Tit.
The morning ended with thoughts of the passage Redstart, a lovely find on the patch.

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