Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Water Rail at Thompson Water, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

East Wretham Heath, Norfolk

This morning I visited East Wretham Heath to check for signs of Wader passage.  On my way to this wonderful Breckland site I stopped off to meet a very good friend, Leigh Gallant, who has been watching a pair of Spotted Flycatchers throughout their breeding process.
Spotted Flycatcher 21st June

I met up with Leigh at 0600 and straight away was rewarded by 2 Spotted Flycatchers collecting food for their young in a nest located in a climbing Rose.  I remained for a couple of hours  and was entertained throughout by these delightful birds as they tended to their young.
Food items collected by the Spotted Flycatchers was a variety of winged insects, these included Moth species, Craneflies, Hoverflies, and other unidentified species.  Often several insects were held in the bill for each visit to the nest.  Insects were hunted with the Flycatchers performing a highly agile, acrobatic flight, food was caught and the bird returned to the same or nearby perch.
Although initially wary of my presence, these birds soon appeared to accept me and carry on with feeding their young.  Alarm calls were given as a sharp "zee-tzuc-tzuc"
Thanks go to my friend Leigh for sharing these Spotted Flycatchers with me.



East Wretham Heath
A check of Langmere for passage Wader species produced 2 Green Sandpipers wading in the shallows of these highly fluctuating bodies of water.  One bird seen quite well was up to its belly in water as it searched for prey items, whilst a more distant bird was best seen when being chased in flight by a Lapwing, the highly distinctive upperparts was seen as the bird twisted and turned in flight, revealing a dark, unmarked upperwing, dark tail, and stunning snow-white rump.
Also present was a pair of Ringed Plovers, about 30 Lapwings, a pair of Egyptian Geese, Mallard, and Coot with small black young.
The woodland and fine stands of old Hawthorn held several singing Blackcaps, 2 Garden Warblers, and Chiffchaff.
Juvenile Woodlark at East Wretham Heath 21st June (Note the pale fringed brown feathers gives a scaly appearance)
Heathland habitat held 2 Woodlarks, at least one of these birds was a juvenile, thus indicating local breeding success.  These birds were quite flighty, however, I eventually was able to track down a juvenile bird.  This Woodlark was easily aged by its somewhat scalloped, or scaly appearance, this feature highlighted by pale fringing to the brown upper feathers, these appear more streaked in the adult birds.  Other typical features of these Woodlarks was the obvious short-tailed appearance in flight, and on the ground, the bold pale supercillium, and the black and white marking on the closed wing.

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