Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Houghton-on-the-Hill and Watton Brook Valley

The day dawned with low cloud, mist, and low light conditions. By mid-morning there was cloud of varying height with occasional brighter spells. Temperature at dawn was 15 degrees Celsius rising to a high of 19 degrees.  The wind was a light to moderate NNW.

I arrived at this locality at 0715, remaining until 1045.  I allowed an hour of visible migration between 0935 until 1035 with little evidence of passage.
Migrant habitat at Houghton
Once again my focus was on finding migrants.  I positioned myself close to the habitat pictured here for some time and saw many Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps moving through Elder and Bramble habitat.  The Elder crop appears to have been mostly consumed by migrants now, however, heavy crops of Blackberries will now be the main food source for Warbler species.  Also seen here was a number of Whitethroats.
Following my visit to this staging post, I investigated the nearby hedgerows which are always good for migrant species.  Once again, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, and Whitethroats were present in good numbers.  One Whitethroat was observed eating Blackberries. 3 Meadow Pipits directly above would have been recently arrived migrants, perhaps from upland Britain.
At 0935 I set up for a migrant watch, however, I didn't witness any movement at this time, nevertheless, a nice flock of 70+ Lapwings was seen to the distant NW.  Closer to my position I saw a pale phase Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Stock Dove, and a single Mistle Thrush over.  10+ House Martins passed overhead in a northerly heading.

Watton Brook Valley (Little Cressingham)
I arrived at the WB Valley at about 1530 to the noise and sight of hundreds of Corvids on grassland to the west along the valley, surely, a Goshawk took interest in this gathering.
Stonechat in the Watton Brook Valley 18 Sept
An initial check of the posts along the brook produced a single Stonechat, this is undoubtedly the same bird I have seen here for some time now.  Typically, the Stonechat used posts and fencing to watch the ground below, from here it would launch sallies to the ground to collect invertebrates.
Also, close by, 2 juvenile Blackbirds fed upon blackberries and a mobile Tit flock comprising Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tits, and Chiffchaff, moved through Sallows.
Finally, a single Snipe was seen flying west along the valley. 

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