Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Friday, 21 October 2016

Houghton-on-the-Hill (Migration watch) and Little Cressingham, Norfolk

A day of frequent showers, some heavy, being driven along on a moderate, occasionally fresh north-easterly wind.  Quite cool.
My day started at Houghton-on-the-Hill where a number of species seen on passage, or indeed, as overnight arrivals.  Later in the day at Little Cressingham,  a very impressive count of Goldfinches seen. Also, single Chiffchaffs noted at two localities.

Houghton-on-the-Hill 0715-0900
This morning I did my usual circular walk at Houghton.  As soon as I arrived 2 Kestrels were calling to each other in the half-light of dawn.  It was evident that there had been recent Thrush arrivals with both Redwings and Blackbirds calling in the woodland.
A single Chiffchaff was heard in a mature hedgerow.  Many Song Thrushes and Redwings (probable overnight arrivals) were seen in the hedgerows close to the church.

2 Kestrel
Starling (c. 50+ c.35 west)
Wood Pigeon - (3+11) probable migrants at Houghton
Redwing  (max flock 200+ birds south)
Song Thrush
40+ Fieldfare
1 Chiffchaff
6 Bramblings (2+4) west

Spot Check at Houghton(Visible Migration)
For some 45 minutes I carried out a spot check of bird movements with some interesting results.
Redwings were clearly on the move with several flocks totalling double figures heading mostly west or south-west, however, the largest movement occurred at about 0820 when 200+ birds were seen high overhead flying south.
A flock of 40+ Fieldfares passed over in a westerly heading, this flock also contained a few Redwings.
Of interest was a small passage of Wood Pigeons when a total of 14 birds (3+11) were seen flying high and very purposefully in a southerly heading.
6 Bramblings were seen flying west (2+4), also, single, or small numbers of Linnets were moving through.

Little Cressingham (mid-afternoon)
A short but productive visit close to 'The Arms'.  This area has always been good for winter flocks of Finch and Buntings and this afternoon a very respectable count of 250+ Goldfinches wandered around weedy margins of fields.
30+ Redwings and a number of Blackbirds were present in the hedgerows and trees.  Also in a hedge a single Chiffchaff was calling. 

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