Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Bodney, Norfolk (at sunset)

What an incredibly mild start to November with temperatures today reaching 18 degrees Celsius.  The day was sunny following some early cloud and light rain.  Skies were clear at sunset and the temperatures did then start to fall, although it was still mild for the time of year.
1600 Bodney: I walked along Smugglers Road which leads to one of the gates which accesses the Stanford Training Area.  Although not too far from the main B1108 road, the wide open spaces here does give a feel of bleakness and isolation, my kind of country.
The first bird seen along the route was a single Kestrel sitting rather Shrike-like on the top of one of the few Hawthorns which break this otherwise open country.  A bit further along I saw a larger raptor flying distantly against the tree-line, this was a pale looking Buzzard.  Meadow Pipits and a few Skylarks were passing overhead.
Looking ahead to the mature woodland belt which runs along the boundary of the army training, I was hoping that there would be some pre-roost movement of passerine species.  Upon reaching this habitat, the first bird heard was a calling Chiffchaff, clearly, the mild weather has given this migrant species no reason to move south at this time, and indeed, if it remains mild, the bird may over-winter in the area.  Mild winters will see migrant species over-winter, this was seen at Threxton sewage treatment works in February of this year when I found 3, possibly 4 Chiffchaffs wintering.
Also seen and heard within the mature woodland belt were Redwings and Song Thrushes, these wintering Thrushes probably spent the day feeding on nearby heaths and pastures.  Coal Tits, Goldcrest, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were also heard here.
Light was fading fast as I walked back towards the car, and thoughts of a Hen Harrier gently passing over farmland to its roost crossed my mind….and that is as far as it went…just thoughts.

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