Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


A beautiful start to the day with very good light and visibility, however, the strong westerly wind was quite cold.
At this time of year, incoming summer migrants meet with outgoing wintering species, and this was indeed the case this morning.
I took my Toby for an early morning walk near Bodney.  This beautiful part of Breckland has wide open expanses of arable, often with little cover from the elements.  This mornings walk took us along a very exposed part of Bodney where there was no relief from the strong wind, despite this, I could just make out the song of a single Chiffchaff in a sheltered woodland.
At about 0705 I heard the simple call of a Meadow Pipit passing by to my right.  I quickly located it visually, it was clear that this bird was on passage as I stopped to watch it through binoculars as it continued its northbound journey until I lost it to view.  Despite being buffeted by the wind, this small bird had purpose as it made its way, presumably to its breeding grounds in upland Britain.  
I then moved onto Little Cressingham to check for signs of singing/displaying Curlews, and indeed, a bird was seen giving its beautiful bubbling song.
The highlight here was the seeing large numbers of Fieldfares (250+) on the ground with 200+ Starlings and just a few Redwings.  The ground was wet making the extraction of juicy earthworms quite easy for these beautiful Thrushes.  The food source of all these species was not confined to the ground, often they were watched in hedges and wooded tree-lined hedgerows where Ivy berries were taken.
Fieldfare in Ivy at Little Cressingham 21st March.  This bird fed upon Ivy berries.
Also in this area, a pair of Red Kites soared close to the ground in search of carrion, often coming quite close and revealing their large size and distinctive forked tail.
A few Finches and Reed Bunting were typically seen close to a large maize strip.
Despite the wind, this was a productive morning with wonderful birds to be seen, however, I have always been interested in migration and seeing the single Meadow Pipit heading purposefully north reminded me of the enigma that is bird migration.   

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