Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Water Rail at Thompson Water, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Merton, Norfolk (Good news for the village, its inhabitants, and its birds)

I reported last year about a local developer who submitted plans to build two houses on a site in Merton which holds superb habitat for a range of birds from visiting Warblers to the nationally rare Tree Sparrow.  I of course submitted my objections to this plan, however, I must commend the good people of Merton who through their commitment to fight this plan were rewarded with the news that the plan to build was refused.
It defies belief that those who are prepared to destroy important habitats are so short-sighted that they are not aware of the wildlife which occur within these habitats, or perhaps they are so ignorant and dismissive that they do not want to know.

Once again, the weather today resembled mid-winter with a fresh northerly wind bringing snow, hail, and heavy rain showers.
I decided today to completely circumnavigate Merton Park with a view to finding summer visitors.  As expected in such conditions, few birds were noted, however, sheltered parts of woodland held singing Blackcap, Chiffchaff, and a single Willow Warbler.
Tree Sparrow at Merton 26/04/16
In Exposed areas the north wind was bitter, what must summer migrants feel and think having battled through on their long journeys, enduring natural and man-made obstacles  only to arrive in what is basically wintry conditions.
Only a single Whitethroat gave a brief burst of song from a roadside hedgerow.
Tree Sparrows have long been associated with the Merton area of Breckland.  This morning I found several at a traditional location, this included one bird carrying nesting material, a large white feather.  This bird temporarily lost the feather in the strong wind and attempted to fly-catch in order to retrieve it, which it did eventually.  This left me laughing at this comical behaviour.

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