Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 24 November 2014

Houghton-on-the-Hill and Little Cressingham, Norfolk

The morning dawned clear and bright with a slight to moderate frost, a complete contrast to the persistent rain of the weekend which has left lots of standing water of fields, especially along the valleys.
A walk on Houghton Common was particularly productive for Thrush species. The corridor of well stocked hedgerows east of St Mary's Church saw some very good numbers of Blackbirds (30+), Fieldfares, Redwings, and Bullfinches. It was clear that the hedgerows were particularly well-stocked with Hawthorn, an undoubted attraction to the Thrushes. The question is, were these Blackbirds grounded by the poor conditions of the previous weekend, or did they take advantage of the clear night for passage, whichever was the case, these birds were clearly overnight arrivals given their urgency to feed.

Little Cressingham (Watton Brook Valley) at dawn 24/11/14

Lapwings taking advantage of the flooded fields along the Watton Brook Valley at Little Cressingham 24/11/14

'The Arms' to Watton brook Valley near Hopton Farm, Little Cressingham
Following the heavy persistent rain of the previous weekend, Watton Brook was running very high and the adjoining flood plains all along the valley was extensively flooded.
the standing water along the valley attracted hundreds of Gulls, mostly Black-headed Gulls, with much larger Lesser Black-backed Gulls within.  At least 50+ Lapwings visited the flood along with small flocks of Starlings.
A few Pied Wagtails alined the fence alongside the brook, also, 4 Blue Tits passed along the brook-side vegetation searching for grubs and other small invertebrates to feed upon.  A Fieldfare was heard as was an overhead calling Redpoll.
The walk back to 'The Arms' continued as the day started with several Blackbirds in the roadside hedges.  Bullfinches continued to be seen darting between cover and showing their bright white rumps.  Two Bullfinches flew in front of me, one was a beautiful bright male showing his scarlet red underparts...surely one of our most beautiful birds.


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