This morning I headed off to Hilborough to once again watch Woodlarks. The outgoing journey west along the B1108 road saw 3 Buzzards over Smugglers Road, Bodney, this was followed a short while later by a hunting Barn Owl at Hollow Heath, Hilborough.
I parked alongside the Coldharbour road and once ready walked through the tall compartments of commercial pine crops before reaching the first suitable Woodlark territory. A short wait was then broken by the song of a male Woodlark over a clearing, a female bird then flew in over the trees to join him.
|Singing Woodlark on dead wood within windrow near Hilborough 22/02/15.|
I wanted to position myself so that I could try and photograph Woodlarks, therefore, I walked along one of the rows of 4 year old Scots Pine, sat, and watched a long line of dead wood (windrow) where I know these birds like to rest and sing from.
Not too long I was watching at least 3 Woodlarks (2 singing males and a female) in front of and above me. A prominent dead branch within the windrow was chosen as a song-post, although most of the singing was done on the wing above me. This extremely beautiful song is certainly one of the most evocative sounds in Breckland and is one which I always look forward to hearing when males arrive back on territory around about mid February.
|Woodlark (on windrow) at Hilborough 22/02/15|
It was while I was watching the Woodlarks that I met a very pleasant man called Kevin, this was prove for me to be a very rewarding and educational meeting.
Kevin is involved in forestry work and today he was 'brashing/beating up'. This work sees Kevin walking the lines of 4 year old Scots Pines, he finds dead young trees and replaces them with Saplings. The blocks of pines seen within the forest are known as compartments, Kevin tells me that each compartment is numbered for identification purposes. Once a mature compartment of trees has been felled, the area is then cleared of unused stumps and branches to be laid out in long lines known as 'windrows', as the name suggests these long, sometimes tallish rows break down a strong wind and protects the young trees from damage. I eventually left this site not only happy with my Woodlarks, but also for having gained much knowledge from Kevin regarding the various forestry terminology.
A big contrast in weather this afternoon with bright sunny skies replaced by total cloud cover followed by heavy, persistent rain from about 1430.
I parked in the village and then walked north along the Peddars Way for about 1.5 miles before returning to walk back south to my starting point.
The highlight this afternoon was seeing 7 Buzzards along the route (3 were together). As expected the area around North Bridge held most birds with about 20 Goldfinches and 2 Siskins in the Watton Brook valley where they visited the Alders there. At least 4 Bullfinches were seen and heard, a regular species at this locality.
A small party of about 20 Fieldfare headed east, perhaps these were outgoing passage birds.