Breckland Birder

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

Friday, 21 November 2014

Little and Great Cressingham, Norfolk

A very typical November day with murky conditions although temperatures remained above average peaking at about 10 degrees.  Some short lived brighter spells soon gave way to rain by mid-afternoon.

Peddars Way Footpath (Little and Great Cressingham)
My first walk of the day took me from the village of Little Cressingham north along the Peddars Way to the Priory Road junction at Great Cressingham, and back again, a distance of about 3.5 miles.
Initially appearing quiet, fortunes changed about a mile north of Little Cressingham with a flock of about 50 Fieldfares on the fields and in hedgerows alongside the road.  A few Starlings mixed with the Thrushes.  The hedges here are rich in fruits, mostly Hawthorn and Blackthorn, which the Fieldfares will eat, but also, the birds flocked on the wet fields where various invertebrates will be taken.
1st winter male Blackbird
Between the Peddars Way crossroads and Priory Road, the path is lined both sides with well stocked hedgerows, the most noticeable species here was multiple numbers of Bullfinches and Blackbirds.  The number of 'piping' Bullfinches indicated several birds present in the hedgerows.  Equally, several Blackbirds seen would show that many of these are continental birds.
Walking back south along the path, Blackbirds continued to show themselves and flashes of white rumps between cover gave the delightful Bullfinch away.
North Bridge, Little Cressingham is always worth a prolonged watch as so much habitat exists here in the valley.  On this occasion, Blackbirds, Song Thrush, a few Goldfinches, and Redpoll (3) were seen.  The latter two species will probably be attracted to the abundance of Alder, a favoured food source for these Finches.

Little Cressingham (Hopton Farm to The Fairstead)
This afternoon I walked the Great Cressingham road from the Watton Brook Valley north to The Fairstead and back, a distance of about 2 miles.
Immediately, I was greeted by another small flock of about 40 Fieldfares in the meadow north of the brook.  Typically wary, these Thrushes often took to the wing, however, they were seen on the grassy paddock where they will take various invertebrates.  A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen chisseling away at dead bark in an Oak.
Walking north up the hill, a number of Blackbirds were seen as well as the odd flash of white rump of a Bullfinch darting between cover.   
Back by the brook I checked a large area of grazing where a single Buzzard was on Rabbit prey.  A further Buzzard was over Princes Covert.  A single Grey Wagtail passed over calling.
I headed home with conditions turning increasingly murky, once home, rain set in.

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