Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Water Rail at Thompson Water, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Optimum conditions for Goshawk

Rain in the early hours cleared to give a bright morning with a slight frost initially.  Visibility was very good and some cloud moved in at around 0930.
Woodlarks are now well established back on the patch with at least 5 singing males located so far, and a further 2 singing males were added to that total this morning.  A nice flock of 50+ Redwings were seen.
Goshawk (female) on the patch 21/02/15
Having checked suitable habitat for Woodlark, I then made my way to a long and well-established site for Goshawk on the patch.
The weather conditions today was perfect for this awesome raptor, then after a fairly long wait I saw a female Goshawk appear over a traditional woodland site before flying powerfully off and out of sight.   The very presence of this awesome raptor evokes thoughts of power and majesty, it also deserves much respect from Crow species and Wood Pigeons.  At this locality I have seen Goshawk giving chase to both Magpie and Rook.

Little Cressingham
Brambling (female) Little Cressingham 21/02/15
 At about mid-afternoon I decided to visit an area near 'The Arms' within the Little Cressingham Parish in order to check the Finch and Bunting activity.
The roadside here has for many years been planted with a long, deep area of maize, this in turn has been a reliable site for watching Finches and Buntings.
There appears to have been an increase in the number of birds seen here, I estimated 300-400 birds.  Species comprised Chaffinches, Bramblings, Greenfinches, Reed Buntings, and YellowhammersBramblings were uncounted , however, their numbers appear to have increased since my last visit to this site.  Although I had good views of individual birds, a particularly memorable sight was seeing these birds in a large loose flock flying above me with a dark grey cloud for background, and although quite high, the several Silvery white underparts of Bramblings were conspicuous against the cloud.
The Brambling pictured here is a female bird, she has the pale grey head and pale Orange breast and scapulars.  Some male Bramblings were also seen here, their heads are blackish, however, in a month or so, their heads will turn a solid black in readiness for breeding and the Orange breasts will be much brighter and intense than seen on females.  Finally, Bramblings were heard to call on this visit, the soft "tyup" and nasally "eeeezup" notes were heard. 

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