Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Little Cressingham (Great Cressingham road), Norfolk

A cold day with virtually full cloud cover and frequent light showers driven along on a fresh northerly wind.
0700-0845 I parked at the STANTA access road just north of 'The Arms' and walked north along the Great Cressingham road to just south of 'The Fairstead'.
Despite the poor conditions there was good numbers of birds seen with Thrushes and Finches dominating.

1 Curlew male displaying
4 Cormorant (2 + 2 singles) east
3 Mistle Thrushes
6 Blackbirds (all males) together
90+ Fieldfares
9+ Redwings
1 Wheatear (possible only)
300+ Starlings

From my start point I saw 2 Mistle Thrushes (pair) in the field west of the road, this was followed by a singing male bird at Hopton Farm drying barns.
Walking north along the hill towards 'The Fairstead' a singing Blackbird was heard in roadside hedgerow, this was shortly followed by an interesting sighting of at least 6 male Blackbirds together moving north along the hedge ahead of me.  Perhaps these were wintering migrants from Northern Europe joining other Thrush species for their journey north.
70+ Fieldfares were seen over the MOD grassland pasture along with 300+ Starlings, undoubtedly these birds were on the grassland taking worms and other food items.
Also here, in the roadside trees and the hedgerow along the track leading to STANTA was a number of Bramblings, Chaffinches, and Greenfinches.
Back at the bottom of the hill, I made a check of the grassland south of Watton Brook, here I saw 20+ Fieldfare, whilst on the other side of the Brook, a distant lone female Blackbird on grassland/grazing initially gave thoughts of an early Ring Ouzel, worth checking as I have seen Ring Ouzel at this locality previously.
As I was about to leave I did a final overview of a large field west of the Great Cressingham road, a shower once again passed through at this time, when I saw a distant Corvid chasing a small bird erratically low over the field, the smaller bird appeared to have a patch of white on its back suggesting Wheatear, however, conditions were too poor to confirm this.


  1. Evening Paul....
    nice list... a goodly sized parcel of Starlings... and a Curlew... I love that call!
    The Stone Curlews get close with their "Wikileak" call...
    but nothing makes a call like a curlew...
    the Whimbrel has an evocative call...
    but not with the "power" of the curlew.

    We now have good video of the Tawnys at their nest box...
    we will keep monitoring to see when the male increases the number of voles...
    and then when both start feeding.

    About an hour ago... just as it was getting too dark to see easily...
    we were overflown by some 400+ Jackdaws, accompanied by some Crows...
    never had such a number before... the noise was tremendous!
    Lovely sight.
    Keep well, keep recording...

  2. Good evening Tim
    We are lucky to have Curlew breeding here in the Brecks, because they are essentially a bird of upland Britain. Outside of the Brecks they are a bird of passage, or a winterer.
    I am still yet to see Stone Curlew Tim, however, I am sure they are out there somewhere, and as for Whimbrel, I usually see them as a passage bird in May, or in Autumn...heard first usually giving their call which gives them colloquial name of "Seven Whistler"

    I am very pleased to read of your Tawny Owls Tim, a wonderful bird usually heard and not seen, and you have them on film...a superb record to treasure of a stunning Owl.

    I have heard today that the Norwich Cathedral Peregrines have laid their first egg, something I think that Norwich, and Norfolk folk are proud of.
    You also keep well Tim

    1. Thanks for the Norwich Cathedral Perries tip off...
      I'll link to the webcam so that I can keep up to date.
      I'll let you know when I am posting about the Tawnies.