Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Little Cressingham and Bodney, Norfolk

A beautiful day today with bright sunshine throughout and the temperature at the dizzy height of 8 degrees celsius.
My plan this afternoon was to visit the flood meadows at Bodney to check for Lapwings and possible raptor species, but first, I stopped to have a chat with my friend Dave Capps who was near Watton Brook.  Amongst other things we discussed a Peregrine which is wintering in the area.
I then headed to 'The Arms' and parked up by the STANTA access road, once ready, I walked north to the B1108.  I noticed that a maize strip had recently been cut, despite this, it still provided a great attraction to a mixed flock of 200+ Finches and BuntingsYellowhammers and Reed Buntings formed the majority species with smaller numbers of Bramblings and Chaffinches present.
Brambling (male) Little Cressingham 08/02/15
A little further along the road, 2 Buzzards were seen, one of which soared to a good height, clearly this bird was making use of the good flying conditions.  A single male Kestrel also circled.
I continued along the road to the B1108 and then walked west to the flood meadow at Bodney.  This area always floods in winter, and ususally there is enough water here by early spring to attract migrant Yellow Wagtails.
100+ Black-headed Gulls, a single Lesser Black-backed Gull, one Cormorant, two Pied Wagtails, and 25+ Lapwings were seen.  Large numbers of Wood Pigeons were seen, and a pair of Stock Doves overflew with a further singing male heard in nearby woodland.
I then retraced my steps back to 'The Arms' area where I once again spent some time watching the Finches and Buntings where I had encountered them earlier.
Whilst watching a few Bramblings, I met a lovely couple, Ted and Janet Hoggett, and had a nice chat with them about this area which Ted knew during the war years.  Whilst talking to Ted and Janet I heard a loud "whoosh", I immediately looked behind me and saw a Peregrine pulling out of a steep dive, the bird went out of sight behind the roadside hedge but soon re-emerged further down the road flying leisurely nortth carrying prey in its talons.  Clearly, given the noise, the Peregrine had stooped from height to take its prey.  A fantastic end to this productive walk.

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