Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Little Cressingham, Norfolk

As soon as I arrived at the Watton Brook valley along Fairstead Lane it was evident that there was much activity here, this being due to the beautiful wide ranging lush plantlife which adorn the valley.  The insect life here in turn attracts birds, and indeed, this morning numerous Hirundines, mostly House Martins, and smaller numbers of Swallows, flew over the water and lush herbage in their hunt for insect food.

Watton Brook valley at Little Cressingham 27/06/15
The above photograph shows Watton Brook valley from Fairstead Lane.  Most of my birding this morning was centred at this location and the immediate surrounds.  
Swallows and House Martins formed the majority species as they hunted for insect life along the valley.  A Kestrel hunted over the valley in this picture, and indeed, a further 2+ birds were seen further along the lane where they bred.  A Little Owl was seen flying in its typical undulating flight along fence lines.
Blackcap (male) Little Cressingham 27/06/15
It is always great to report on a formerly common species doing well, this is the case with House Sparrows in the Watton Brook valley.  I always encountered House Sparrows in the valley and this morning good numbers of both adults and juvenile birds were seen, in addition to this, a couple of adults were seen carrying nesting materials.
Also in the immediate area here was Whitethroat skulking in a hedgerow, 2 singing Lesser Whitethroats, Chiffchaff, and singing Blackcap.  The pictured Blackcap was heard on a few occasions singing, here it was seen in an Elder.  A number of pairs of Goldfinches were seen along the lane along with juvenile Blue Tits.
House Sparrow (female) at Little Cressingham 27/06/15
I love House Sparrows, sadly however, this beautiful bird is generally overlooked due to its relative abundance.  Will this delightful bird one way go the same way as Tree Sparrow and become a sought after species by the twitching fraternity.  In my opinion, this lovely species should be appreciated as much as any scarce species.
With breeding and feeding being a priority for birds at this time, some may consider it too early to think of autumn migrants, I did however find today a useful to predict where migrant Warblers may occur, to this end, I noticed today that Elder bushes are heavily in flower, such habitats will of course provide good feeding for migrants in Autumn, when they will use these food sources to fuel up for their southbound migration.

2 comments:

  1. Paul,
    you write...
    "I love House Sparrows, sadly however, this beautiful bird is generally overlooked due to its relative abundance...."
    We often make the same comment about the Spadger...
    it is their "lack" of voice that lets them down as well, I think.
    The incessant "cheeping" can, at times, irritate...
    but look beyond...
    at the patterning and at the antics...
    and you have quite a charming bird.
    Saw a pair of males having a fight on the barn wall...
    what about I know not...
    but they were having a right old barny...
    just as much fun to watch as other birds!

    Ours have done well this year, too.
    At least three broods around the house so far...
    encountered the latest just outside the back door...
    and second broods are on their way.

    Pauline and I have noticed that ours seem to use insecticides in their nest...
    we have two large Absinthe bushes...
    Wormwood to you and I.
    Them Spadgers, both sexes, go through spells of breaking off the leaf tips...
    and taking them into the nest...
    then, after a few days, and only in still weather.....
    we find little piles of dried leaftips on the window sills.
    So they don't seem to be leaving all of the herbage in their nests...
    we've observed the activity now for three years...
    ever since we planted the bushes...
    it is an enigma and begs further study.
    Oh for the time!!
    Keep well and enjoy the birding on your patch...
    Tim

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  2. Hi Tim
    Once again, many thanks for your comment...always makes for good reading...thank you.
    In addition to what I wrote in this post, I know that some 'twitcher' types who are only interested in hunting rarities, may overlook the commoner species....it is important to know common birds first in order to use them as a 'yardstick' for when something more unusual is seen, for comparisons etc.
    Paul

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