This turned out to be an excellent days local birding for typical Breckland species, a scarce Falcon, and a now rare Tit species.
The following highlights were seen:
2 Barn Owls
1 Red Kite
My drive to Hilborough this morning took me along some wonderful frost covered rolling countryside close to the Watton brook Valley. The first of 2 Barn Owls seen today was sitting on a fence post close to Bodney Camp.
|Woodlark at Hilborough. 3 singing males today|
|Barn Owl at Hilborough 12/02/16|
Having reached an open area of newly planted pines (about 5 years old), I settled down to watch 2 male Woodlarks singing above me. Occasionally a bird descended into one of the 'windrows' where he continued to sing. I noticed plenty of short-cropped grass and bare patches for Woodlarks to feed within the rows of young pines. This Within the next two years or so this habitat will become unsuitable for breeding Woodlarks as the trees would have grown to cover the ground and reduce light, new areas of clearfell will then be found to set up new territories.
Whilst watching the Woodlarks I could see a small wandering flock of about 50+ Linnets to my left, I though to myself "this may attract a raptor species", before too long a Merlin passed almost right through the flock and continued off north-east in a leisurely flight.
A recently arrived pair of Shelduck circled overhead.
The minor road away from this site produced a beautiful Barn Owl close to Hollow Heath, it was using fence posts to watch the ground below.
Little Cressingham (The Arms to the Watton brook valley)
This turned out to be a productive visit. My walk started alongside mostly Larch woodland close to 'The Arms' where I located a pair of Willow Tits feeding from cones and often calling. Willow Tits are now rare birds in Britain and I must say I get quite excited at such a find. Also noted in the woodland was Treecreeper and Blue Tit.
On the way to the Watton Brook valley a couple of Buzzards were seen, and once by the Brook a fine looking Red Kite circled directly above me.
|Fieldfare high in an Ash at Little Cressingham 12/02/16|
As I approached 'The Arms' a few Fieldfare alighted in a large Ash tree, however, something disturbed birds in an adjoining field and 200+ Fieldfares were 'put up'.
The drive home between 'The Arms' and Watton produced 2 Kestrels on roadside posts.