Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Friday, 27 February 2015

Hilborough and Little Cressingham, Norfolk

The day dawned with a moderate frost and bright sunny conditions.  The day remained dry with a temperature high in the afternoon of 8 degrees celsius.

Hilborough 0730-0930
I started the day by taking Toby for a walk through woodland adjacent to Coldharbour Road.
Woodlark at Hilborough 27/02/15
The plan was to visit the newly planted clearings to watch Woodlarks.  I eventually found 5 birds (2 pairs at one site and a single singing male at another site), however, compared to recent visits, the birds were more flighty and there seemed to be a lot of chasing going on between all 4 birds, although any differences were put a side when both pairs seemed to feed within close proximity of each other along the periphery of the clearing.  The beautiful song-flight was also seen overhead.  Also of note was 3 singing Song Thrushes and Yellowhammers.

Little Cressingham (early afternoon)
A bright, early spring afternoon made for a pleasant walk and thoughts were with returning summer migrants to the area perhaps within the next 2 weeks or so.
The cut maize strip close to 'The Arms' once again held a good count of Finches and Buntings, this included many Bramblings.
Buzzards were making good use of the conditions with soaring and calling individuals seen. A single Sparrowhawk was seen soaring and then diving at speed until lost to sight.
At 1355hrs, my attention was drawn to 5 birds very high overhead, checking through binoculars I saw a Goshawk being mobbed by 4 Crows. Without binoculars these birds were virtually specks in the sky. Having assessed the picture and the size comparison with the mobbing Crows, I think it is fair to say that the Goshawk is a male bird, a female Goshawk would appear somewhat larger than the Crows.

Goshawk mobbed by Crows high overhead at Little Cressingham 27/02/15
Goshawk (right) and Crows high over Little Cressingham 27/02/15
The shots above of the very high Goshawk would be a useful indicator for anyone who has doubts about what they are watching.  Both the Crows and Goshawk shown here clearly rules out Sparrowhawk, a much smaller species.  Also the Goshawk has more bulk to its structure and the wing-beats are slower, more powerful than its smaller cousin.

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