Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Watton Brook Valley

Another dawn check of a section of the valley near Bodney for migrants revealed nothing other than an alarm calling Blackcap.  However, good numbers of commoner species seen included 400+ Starlings arriving from the south, 30+ Mistle Thrushes, 4 Song Thrushes, 5 Blackbirds, 3 Yellowhammers, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Kingfishers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, and Goldfinch.
Close to 'The Arms' a single Marsh Harrier flew west.

NOTES: Initially quiet upon my arrival with little movement, but at 0520, 400+ Starlings flew in from the south and all alighted in a single dead Oak.  Most of these birds were juveniles, and many were beginning to acquire patches of adult plumage.  After some preening, many flew off north to presumably feed on pig fields whilst smaller numbers settled on the grassland adjoining the brook to feed.
Great Spotted Woodpecker (juvenile) Watton Brook Valley 10th August.  Note red crown which ages this bird.
30+ Mistle Thrushes arrived in the same tree as the Starlings, again, most were juveniles, these birds later were seen on posts and wire along the brook, often dropping to the ground to feed.  Many of these young Mistle Thrushes had pale heads which contrasted with the brown-grey upperparts, also, some juveniles appeared slightly older with unmarked brown-grey mantles and rumps whilst others were heavily mottled birds.
2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers also joined the Starlings and Mistle Thrushes in the same dead tree, one of the Woodpeckers was confirmed a juvenile bird with its all red cap.
Despite the slow start, this turned out to be a productive visit with an exciting range of commoner species all in a gregarious mix.

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