Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Birds brighten the dullest of days

It is dull, dreary, and damp today, and I have every sympathy with those who find such weather depressing, some of whom may suffer with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  If anybody following my blog is a sufferer then I hope that by reading this post may help you.
I am fortunate in that I can see beauty in the countryside whatever the conditions, be it bright or very bleak.

Little Cressingham (Great Cressingham Road)
I arrived at about 1330 just north-west of 'The Arms' for a walk to the Watton Brook valley and back. Conditions were grey with low light and poor visibility.  It was raining for the whole walk.
Despite the conditions, as soon as I got out of the car I could see lots of birds in the hedgerow and hedgerow trees to the north of me.  The habitat here is arable with patches of mature woodland habitat.  The immediate area visited has roadside hedgerows with a traditional stand of maize close to the hedge and field boundary, next to the maize is a wide weedy strip.
Brambling (female) at Little Cressingham
As I approached the area where I could see lots of Finches and Buntings, it became apparent that some 300+ birds of mixed species were present.  Studying the birds through binoculars I could see that the vast majority were Greenfinches, however, looking through the flock I could see several Chaffinches.  Redpolls were heard and one put in an appearance within its larger cousins.  A couple of Bramblings were seen here, however, a little further on a small tree held several Bramblings, these comprised a mixture of mostly females and one male at least.  A few Linnets were also seen along with numerous Yellowhammers
Bramblings breed in the Birch forests of Northern Europe.  In winter these breeding sites are abandoned and Bramblings move south into Europe and Britain.  Bramblings are regular winter visitors on my Breckland patch, and they are often encountered where seen today in Little Cressingham.  Search for these delightful Finch where maize belts attract these birds to feed on seeds and other weed-seeds.
Despite the poor conditions as seen today there is always something to see to lift the spirit and raise a smile.

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