Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Friday, 11 September 2015

Little Cressingham and Bodney (Watton Brook Valley)

The day dawned beautiful with cloudless skies and some thick mist hanging low over low lying areas of the Watton Brook Valley, this however, was soon burnt away by the warming sun.
I started my walk this morning close to 'The Arms' and headed north to check various parts of the valley for migrant activity.

1 Hobby
1 Sparrowhawk (male)
1 Kestrel (female)
2 Meadow Pipits (first of autumn)
4 Robin (seen during spot count)
5 Pied Wagtails (spot count)
7+ Blue Tits (spot count)
3+ Whitehroats
3+ Blackcaps
2 Chiffchaff

Walking north from 'The Arms' the hedgerows either side of the road held Whitethroat, Blackcap, and Chiffchaff,were heard only.

Bodney (spot check/count)
Walking west along the B1108 road, I encountered another calling Chiffchaff, this bird was moving through thick bracken habitat, a probable overnight arrival finding somewhere to settle for the day.
I arrived at my intended destination at Bodney, an area of scrub and dense weedy growth close to the Brook, and which for years has been a favourite locality of mine for watching migrants.  Recently, I found a Redstart at this site.  I spent about an hour watching and listening for migrants, and it was indeed, quite productive.
A female Kestrel came very close and alighted in a tree, it moved off before I could ready the camera.
Whitethroat - a common autumn migrant on the patch
The first migrant seen was a single Whitethroat in Elder, a typical habitat for this species as it will feed upon the soft fruits.  A single Swallow was on fencing and Dunnock and Wren was also seen.
A familiar "tak" call was heard from two different birds, I located one visually, a male Blackcap, again, in an Elder bush.
Overhead, a single Hobby passed over in a leisurely flight, circled a couple of times, and headed east.
Moments later, 2 Meadow Pipits passed over west to east, my first of this species for autumn.  Later in the month, if the conditions are favourable, significant numbers of Meadow Pipits will pass through the patch as they move from their northern breeding grounds to wintering grounds either in southern Britain or Europe.
The most numerous species see during this check was 7+ Blue Tits, although, just prior to leaving, a party of 5 Pied Wagtails dropped in.

My walk back south along the Great Cressingham road to 'The Arms' once again produced 2 Chiffchaffs, a calling Blackcap, and a smart looking female/1st winter Whitethroat having a preen in a patch of Ivy.  Seconds later, a male Sparrowhawk turned up, initially to sit on a post before entering the Ivy where there was no apparent hole, he forced himself through and emerged from a hole further along the Ivy, he was probably looking for a small passerine which may have taken shelter upon his earlier arrival.  Seen in bright sunlight, the Sparrowhawk showed off his lovely reddish tones on his breast.
A Coal Tit was seen in the canopy of a tall Scots Pine, this bird was searching the upper branches for spiders and tiny insect prey.


  1. Hope all went well with the dentist today....
    though, judging by the length of the post, the answer to thet question is probably yes!

  2. Hi Tim
    Thank you so much for your comments regarding my dentist visit. Sadly, the dentist would not remove the tooth due to infection, also, I have another which needs to be pulled due to infection. I do however have a new batch of pills which are keeping the pain at bay for now...I have to go back to the dentist on 13th October to have 2 pulled now. Once again Tim, thank you for your comments here.
    Chat soon