Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Southburgh, Norfolk

Southburgh in Norfolk lies about 8 miles north-east of Watton.  This is a very small settlement close to the larger Cranworth, and will possibly appear remote and isolated to some.
I parked at St Andrews Church, a lovely 19th century building with a spire, a good focal point for the walker.  The walk today took me east of the church along Church Lane, through rolling countryside to as far as the River Blackwater on the Southburgh Road, and back again along the same lane.
A variety of habitats were seen, and although mostly arable, good thick hedgerows with mature standard deciduous lined the roadside.  Pockets of woodland were seen in fields with two good sized woods which are adjacent to the lane.  The meandering River Blackwater on the Southburgh Road flows gently through rush meadow, woodland, and damp grassland, and has mature Alders growing along its banks.
The dominant birds seen on this walk was Thrush species and it was straight away evident that lots of Blackbirds were present with birds flying in and out of the roadside Hawthorn hedging.  Redwings gave themselves away by their "chuk" and "seeeep" calls and many were seen, again in Hawthorn hedging.  In woodland habitat and close to the river, several Thrush species were seen in mixed company, these comprised Fieldfares, Redwings, Song Thrushes, Blackbirds, and Mistle Thrush.
My first raptor of this visit was a single Common Buzzard sitting in a tree on woodland edge, this bird sat upright with its left wing held slightly from its body, it called then flew off.
Walking through more wooded areas I heard the explosive call of Marsh Tit, also heard was Treecreeper.  A number of Bullfinches were heard.
Upon my approach to the River Blackwater, a number of Fieldfares and Redwings were in the tops of Alders, the Fieldfares flew off giving their harsh "shack shack" calls.  Next, a pair of Goldcrests called in trees close to me by the bridge and a male Kestrel hunted above marshy grassland habitat immediately west of the river.  A Moorhen called in the valley and a Grey Wagtail passed overhead calling.
Walking west back along Southburgh Road and once again Fieldfares and Redwings kept almost constant company as they flew ahead of me and frequently alighting in trees before flying off ahead of me again.  A single Redpoll was seen above the lane giving its "djit djit" call.
As I was getting ready to depart, an unseen Bullfinch gave its 'piping' call somewhere very close to me.  Finally, the peace was shattered at the church by numerous alarm calling Tit species, undoubtedly alarmed by the presence of a hunting Sparrowhawk which I did not see.

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