I arrived at St Mary's Church at Houghton-on-the-Hill to a fine pre-sunrise dawn and a temperature of 1 degree. Some early morning mist in the valley was soon to burn off following sunrise.
My walk this morning would take me from St Mary's down to Houghton Springs and the paddocks, after this, I headed for Houghton Common and back to my start point.
Common, and expected birds were seen and heard from the outset. Summer visitors included a number of singing Chiffchaffs and at least 6 Blackcap, of these 5 were males on territory.
At Houghton Springs and paddocks I was hoping to see if Ring Ouzel was present given the recent significant passage into Norfolk, however, none seen today. Birds seen and heard here was:
1 Barn Owl
1 Water Rail calling
1 Song Thrush
1 Goldcrest singing
Reed Bunting (pair)
If I was to find Ring Ouzel, then the paddocks was the place to find one, however, a good search did not reveal this stunning migrant.
At least 4 Blackbirds (pair + 2 males), 1 Mistle Thrush, singing Song Thrush, 5+ Blue Tits, and Chaffinch were seen on the big paddock.
As I was leaving the paddocks I stopped and chatted for a while to a lovely couple called Chris and Sue who live nearby. Chris and Sue moved here from Cornwall a year ago and love the area. Chris was telling me about a Great Grey Shrike he found nearby in February this year...a great find.
The lane which leads to Houghton Common rises gently with lovely hedgerows and trees forming a narrow corridor before opening onto arable (Houghton Common). The lane held Chiffchaff at 4 sites, including a pair just above me in Ivy, and singing Blackcap, Linnets, and a pair of Bullfinches over.
The wonderful corridor of thick hedgerows running from Houghton Common back to the church is always worth checking for migrants. As I walked slowly along the path I heard a quiet sub-song of a male Blackcap, the bird appeared in front of me on Bramble. As this bird was not holding territory and was skulking I would say this was a resting passage bird.
Watton (early afternoon)
|Buzzard 'light phase' over Watton 13/04/15|
All Buzzards seen were typically marked dark birds, however, one beautifully marked 'light phase' juvenile Buzzard put in an appearance directly above the garden/estate.
I am sure you will agree this is a very attractive looking Buzzard.