Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Marsh Harrier breeding success on the patch.

We recently passed St. Swithan's day, and it is said that if it rains on that day, it will continue to do so for 40 days and 40 nights.  Well it did rain on St Swithan's day, and it continues to do with some extreme totals seen in just one night in Norfolk.  In fact it started raining last Friday afternoon at about 1400hrs and in continued to rain heavily until mid-day Saturday.

Great Spotted Woodpecker 28/07/15
Today I visited a local site a few miles from my home town of Watton, Norfolk, and it wasn't too long before I heard a thin "pseee" call above me.  Checking the source of the call I was pleased to see 3 Marsh Harriers together (pair and juvenile), appearing to just enjoy flight with acrobatic tumbles seen.  Often, this raptor is seen flying leisurely over reeds, however, they can show great manouverability and agility with fast twists and turns, and spectacular diving displays.

Water Rails, typically, were heard only in reeds with one bird appearing to be involved in a squabble close to well within the cover of reeds.  A variety of calls were heard including a couple of "kip kip" calls and a half-hearted attempt at squealing.
Reed Warblers were still feeding young with at least one bird being seen in flight carrying food in its bill.
A Great Spotted Woodpecker (male) was seen within the woodland carr habitat along with Nuthatches and lots of Chaffinches.  A number of Chiffchaffs were heard in woodland as was Blackcap.

I have noticed in the hedgerows that many Warblers have now departed their territories where they nested and raised their young.  Young Warblers such as Whitethroats will have dispersed into the wider countryside, and in doing so, may turn up anywhere.  Although hedgerows may seem eerily quiet with the song of Warblers a distant memory, the following 2 to 3 months will see these same habitats beginning to fill with migrant Warblers from other parts of the UK and Northern Europe as they search and feed upon natures fruits as they take their fill prior to making their long migrations to Southern Europe and Africa.
During the breeding season, Warblers held territories and defended them from rival males, however, during the autumn months there is a clear relaxation of defensive behaviour as Warblers readily exhibit gregarious behaviour in their common aim, to feed and fuel up for passage.  An exciting few months to come.

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