Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Deopham Green, Norfolk, 16 December 2104

During my lunchtime break on 16/12/14, I visited the wide open expanses of farmland at the former Deopham Airfield.  There is still much evidence of the former WW11 airfield here at Deopham including several hardstands and buildings, also, a road connecting local villages is dead straight for 0.7 miles, running parallel which lengths of the former main runway which took the weight of heavy laden B17 Flying Fortress bombers.
On this visit I walked the road/runway and it appeared fairly quiet with Pied Wagtails around muck heaps and overhead Meadow Pipits
This wide open vast expanse of arable appears a good habitat for wintering Hen Harrier and Merlin, and I did predict that I might see one of these raptors today.
Meadow Pipit at Deopham 17/12/14.  
I saw a distant Buzzard being mobbed by a Crow species but otherwise it remained fairly quiet.
Turning back to walk along the road I saw a small flock of about 20 Golden Plover distantly and briefly in flight before settling back in crops.
Back at the car, I watched a couple of Meadow Pipits scurrying through crops and field verges in search of midges, also, on the hardstand, a couple of Pied Wagtails fed around some standing rainwater.
Picture the scene.  The time had come for me to pack up and return to work.  I changed into my work shoes, took off my coat, packed the camera away, and checked that I was ready to go, just then, as I earlier predicted, a Merlin shot by my car to my right, away over farmland, and perched in a distant tree.  Given the good light, this raptor would have made a good shot had I still had the camera ready.  Never mind, the observation of this stunning Falcon was a pleasant and not an entirely unexpected bird.  
I was lucky enough to see and photograph a juvenile Merlin at this locality on 30/09/14, perhaps this is the same bird wintering in the area.

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