Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Friday, 26 August 2016

Watton Brook Valley

A interesting short visit at dawn to a section of the valley near Little Cressingham produced some movements of birds as well as good counts of commoner species.
There had been a little overnight rain but the day dawned bright.  A lovely mist hung over the valley.

1 Hobby
1 Kestrel
2 Buzzards
1 Goshawk (juv)
15+ Duck species - unidentified (very high east)
1 Redshank (heard)
600+ Starlings
4 Swallows west
1 Willow Warbler (passage bird)
300+ Linnets

The visit started with a single Hobby drifting high west, a check through binoculars clearly showed the white cheeks in the early sunlight.
As with most early morning visits recently, good numbers of Starlings (600+) gathered in their post roost tree in the valley where they chattered amongst each other.  After a short while a large part of this gathering left the tree and performed a mini-murmuration by forming a perfect, tight ball shape in the sky before departing north-west to their feeding stations.
A small line of 15+ Duck species passed directly overhead in an easterly heading, these appeared to be a small species, however, I could not properly identify them.   It was about this time that I heard a passage Redshank.
In a nearby patch of Osiers a single migrant Willow Warbler was seen and occasionally sang whilst in a Bramble patch a Whitethroat was seen.
Evidence of passage seen later when 4+ Swallows passed overhead in an westerly heading, I watched them continue their journey until almost lost to view.
An area traditionally set aside for growing maize, along with a wide weedy strip, attracted 300+ Linnets whilst in an adjacent wooded pit a Blackcap and 2+ Chiffchaffs were present.
As almost expected a single Goshawk appeared quite close to me where it appeared to chase one of two Buzzards present.


  1. Glad to hear you are picking up some local migrants Paul. Quite slow here, Greenshank over and resident Hobby regular. Osprey reported locally, that's my target for the next week- that, and enjoying the broads!

  2. Hi Jim, good to get your message. Houghton-on-the-Hill has produced some good numbers of migrants, however, September is probably the best time to visit for passage, especially if the conditions are right. I understand you have work commitments with schools returning soon but if you would like to come over for some vismigging around mid-September on a Saturday or Sunday, then it would be great to see you. I was at Houghton recently on a particularly windy morning, but in the shelter of bushes I had good numbers of Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, and Whitethroats, all sharing the same small patch of Elders. Good luck finding Osprey Jim...and other migrants.

  3. Will certainly bear that in mind Paul, will drop you an email if I can get some time. Happy birding.