Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 29 August 2016

Watton Brook Valley (Little Cressingham/Bodney)

2 Kingfishers
6+ Blackbirds (inc. juveniles taking elderberries)
1 Redstart (female)
1 Whinchat

Arrived in the valley at sunrise with a beautiful mist hanging over the course of the brook.  A nice temperature to start the day at 12 degrees Celsius with little or no wind.
My walk this morning took in a number of fenced off grassland habitats where I have previously found evidence of a Shrike species in previous years, however, no sign this morning.
I positioned myself in an area of scrub, including Elder, which has always been good for migrant passerine species.  A few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were present, also juvenile Blackbirds feasted on elderberries. 
Whitethroat 29th August.  Managed this shot through a gap in the Bramble.
A beautiful female Redstart was seen in a Hawthorn from which, it often made sallies to the ground for food. Without optics this bird was noticeably pale against the ground and hawthorn, viewed through optics she was mostly seen front on, her crown, ear coverts and nape were very pale brown-grey, and her fore-crown was paler, as was the chin.  The dark eye stood out on the pale surrounds, and the lack of markings gave the bird a somewhat gentle expression.  The upper-breast had a pale peachy wash to it and the belly was paler.  The beautiful orange tail was typically and habitually quivering.
A check along a ditch which was thickly lined with Rosebay Willowherb produced a single Whinchat on the fence.  This species is a frequent late summer/autumn migrant in the valley.
A check of a patch of Bramble produced a single male Whitethroat. This beautiful Warbler often gave a quiet sub-song, often within cover.   Occasional views were had of this skulking Warbler as it moved through cover.  I managed the above shot when it appeared through a small gap in the Bramble.

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