Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Houghton-on-the-Hill, Norfolk (Migrants)

Another beautiful morning, cool at 12 degrees with a light to moderate easterly wind.  Eventually a warm day with highs of 25 degrees.
This was another morning for checking up on migrant activity and indeed good numbers and species range seen in a relatively small area, thus indicating passage is well and truly underway.
Species seen and numbers were as follows:

1 Golden Plover over N/E
25+ Blackcaps
20+ Whitethroats
15+ Chiffchaffs
1 Willow Warbler
1 Reed Warbler
1 Greenfinch

A spot count was conducted at a favourite site of mine where thick Elder, Hawthorn, and Sallow fringe a spring.  Several species seen in close association whilst feeding upon Elderberries, these included several Blackcaps (4 or 5 seen in same bush), Whitethroats, and Chiffchaffs.
Whilst watching these migrants I noticed something different from the Phyllosc and Sylvia species, it was a Reed Warbler with beautiful rich brown upperparts, quite different from the other species present.  The Reed Warbler fed upon Elderberries, and once showed aggression towards a female Chaffinch.
Whilst conducting my spot check a single Golden Plover flew over in a north-easterly heading, calling.
Whitethroat at Houghton, Norfolk 17th August
Having conducted my spot count I took a slow walk between a beautiful, long, and well stocked hedgerow.  The first bird noticed here was a single migrant Willow Warbler which often gave a strong "hoo-weet" call, somewhat different from the Chiffchaffs weaker "hweet" call.  The Willow Warbler also occasionally sang.
Whitethroats also featured strongly along this hedge corridor with several seen together at one locality.  Blackcaps were also seen and heard here, including a lovely female feeding upon Elderberries.
The current fine weather and light is good for picking out different species, however, with deteriorating weather predicted for the coming weekend, light may be poor, but migrants could be grounded whilst on passage, so check those lovely patches of Elder and hedgerows for hungry migrants.

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