Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 26 January 2015

Little Cressingham (Checking Maize strips)

This morning I decided to walk from 'The Arms' north towards 'The Fairstead' within the Little Cressingham Parish.  My aim was to check the number of maize strips which are grown for game cover and feed.
The species most associated with maize strips at this time of year are Finches and Buntings, these birds are attracted to good feeding as well as cover and shelter.  I have also seen in previous years that Hen Harriers will patrol these habitats in search for prey.
The first belt of maize that I came to is at a traditional locality, as many are, alongside a field edge and abutting a hedgerow.  At this first site, good numbers of Yellowhammers (40+) were seen along with Chaffinches and smaller numbers of Bramblings.  The latter species gave a soft "tup" flight call.
Continuing my walk north I reached Watton Brook where I saw a single Song Thrush, one Robin, and a couple of Buzzards which were calling at Bodney Slip.  A pair of Stock Doves were in the vicinity of the brick barn.
Heading up the hill towards 'The Fairstead' I could see another couple of long belts of maize, again at traditional sites.  There was alot of coming and goings between the hedgerows and the maize, most seen was Yellowhammers and Chaffinches, however, I am sure other species, such as Bramblings, were present.
A couple of Kestrels were seen in this area, one being harrassed by a Crow whilst the other hunted along the edge of the maize strip where I am sure plentiful numbers of rodent prey will occur.  Another Buzzard was seen in hedgerow alongside the maize, possibly waiting for an unsuspecting Rabbit to appear.
My walk back encountered Bramblings at the first belt of maize, one a male, was seen briefly in a small tree whilst another was perched more distantly with its back to me revealing the narrow white rump between its folded wings.  A nice end to this walk.

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