Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 29 September 2014

Probable irruptive Jays

Great Hockham (at dawn)
The fog was quite thick at dawn, therefore this early morning walk around the pine forest at Hockham was to be more of a case of what I could hear rather than see.
The most numerous species heard was Goldcrest with birds calling everywhere as you would expect in this habitat type.
I could see in a clearing some evidence of Thrush species present.  The odd Blackbird was seen flying between cover, but also Song Thrushes were heard giving their "tick" calls.

Watton (from garden)
Greenfinch (female) from Garden 29/09/14
This morning when I got back from my walk I planted a lovely weeping Cotoneaster and Rowan in my new garden, my first 'bird-friendly' trees.
Regular species seen included several Goldfinches, one of which was a juvenile and seen to have the beginning of the red 'facial' area.  Greenfinch was also seen and a Yellowhammer and Skylarks passed overhead.
The peace was shattered by the panic of Collared Doves and Wood Pigeons scattering everywhere, I knew a raptor was present and then a female Sparrowhawk passed directly over the garden.

At 1130 I checked for overhead movements and saw at least 7 Jays flying over at height from the north north-east.  One Jay was particularly high and all were watched heading off more or less south-west.  Jays are irruptive species from Scandinavia in late September and October, their southerly movement into Britain being an indication that acorns within their normal range have not been plentiful enough to sustain their dietary needs, therefore forcing them to seek good feeding elsewhere in Europe.  A good inland record


  1. "an indication that acorns within their normal range have not been plentiful "....
    Didn't know that... thanks...
    we don't ever have a shortage of Jays here...
    and currently a pack of juvenile (delinquents) shatter the peace every half hour or so...
    chasing up and down the tree line by the river.
    Entertaing to watch though, entertaining!!

  2. Hi Tim
    My observations of this movement of Jays ties in with other documented observations on this day of birds arriving in off the sea. I rarely see documented evidence of visible migration of Jays being seen in inland Norfolk, however, to witness this is great as rarely do you see Jays flying so high and so direct....other birders in inland counties must witness this.
    By the way Tim, you remember my comments made about a female North Norfolk TWITcher and her dislike of non-birder types sharing the North Norfolk response to her post was not published...clearly wants only positive things written about her views...the truth hurts.
    Tim, great to get your comments as usual...thank you.