Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 17 August 2015

Watton Brook Valley, Norfolk

The morning dawned very autumnal with a cool 7 degrees celsius and some low lying mist in the valley.  Despite the early morning coolness it soon warmed up to a pleasant 21 degrees celsius.
I paid a couple of visits to Watton Brook Valley today, this early morning visit, and a later visit to Threxton mid-late afternoon.
Less than a year ago, I decided to purchase a 'scope, I wanted something lightweight and portable, given the weighty camera kit I carry round with me.  I bought the Nikon ED50 Fieldscope with a x27 eye-piece.  I must admit that until now I have not used the 'scope too much, but in very recent times I have started taking it with me....I hardly know I am carrying it in my bag it is so lightweight.  The 'scope accompanied me today, and it will be a regular part of my inventory in the field from now on. It did prove useful during my afternoon visit to Threxton....a wonderful 'scope with clear, crisp views of the subject.

Little Cressingham
The conditions felt good for migrants at first light and common migrants seen included Whitethroat and a number of calling Chiffchaffs.  A check of the weedy banks of the Brook and the fencing and posts did not reveal any migrants as far as I could see, however, I am sure that probably Reed Warbler would have been a skulker in this prime habitat.
Incessant calling young Buzzards were heard in nearby woodland and a family party of Yellowhammers were seen.
Close to where I was parked, a traditional planting of maize along a field edge brought thoughts of good numbers of Finches and Buntings through the winter months.

Later in the morning I was enjoying a coffee in the garden where I saw good numbers of Starlings visiting, most were young birds which were developing some patchy adult plumage through their mostly mousey-brown juvenile plumage.
Interestingly, whilst sitting in the garden, evidence of passage heard when the "sweeep" call of a migrant Yellow Wagtail passed overhead.

As expected, Chiffchaffs were calling around the sewage treatment works, as was Goldcrest.  Further along the lane I checked the fence-posts, wire, and lush habitat for migrant passerines, initially I could see nothing.  I decided to use the trusty 'scope and scan a distant hedgerow for movement, despite being some 350 yards from me, I detected movement, steadying the 'scope I could see the bird was a probable Lesser Whitethroat, heat haze prevented a crisp image, however, the bird had all the correct identification features for Lesser Whitethroat.
Back at the sewage treatment works, a party of ever-present Long-tailed Tits moved through the conifer screen, and Goldcrests were heard once again.  Grey Wagtails were present, undoubtedly bred nearby, and several Goldfinches were seen.  A single Kestrel was seen, a pair of Stock Doves were present, and a House Martin and a few Swallows were overhead.

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