Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 14 September 2015

Great Cressingham (Priory Road, Peddars Way, and Watton Road), Norfolk

This afternoon I had a 3 mile walk starting in the beautiful village of Great Cressingham.  The habitat comprises vast expanses of rolling arable with fine, fruit laden hedgerows lining the route.  The large fields in the Great Cressingham area today undoubtedly held migrants, namely Wheatears, but the moderate to fresh southerly wind with occasional showers would probably keep any Warbler species within cover.
As I walked along the Priory Road I could see nor hear evidence of migrants in the thick hedgerows, but a male Sparrowhawk flew at speed from a large Oak, the slaty-grey upperparts and reddish upper-breast seen despite very brief views.
I was very saddened to see the wonderful old barn along Priory Road has been demolished.  As far as I know a residential property is to be built in its place, clearly my written objections was not listened to.  Notable species which bred in this barn included Barn and Little Owl, Stock Dove, and Tree Sparrows.  Bats also used this site as a roost.  Clearly, the greed of humans appears to have had a significant impact upon species which used this formerly beautiful site as home.  I can only hope that provision has been made to safeguard the birds and mammals which inhabited the barn by providing alternative nest/roost sites.
I continued my walk uphill to eventually meet the Peddars Way footpath, along the way Kestrel and Jay were both seen.
Pied Wagtail at Great Cressingham with Cranefly 14/09/15

Walking back along the Watton Road towards Great Cressingham, the wonderful old hedgerows lining the road were heavy in Blackberries, a wonderful larder for both us humans as well as migrant birds.  The occasional fresh southerly wind didn't help with trying to listen for migrants, however, I did hear Blackcap and Chiffchaff calling from within cover of Bramble.
Back in Great Cressingham, I had a walk around the lovely churchyard checking for migrants, I did hear Chiffchaff and Goldcrest, also, a mixed party of Tit species, mostly Blue Tits, passed through the wooded canopy.
Finally, a check of the village football field produced 7+ Pied Wagtails chasing insect prey, including one bird chasing and catching a Cranefly.

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