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September skies over Brampton

September 11, 2016

Buzzards have moved from rare to commonplace in Norfolk over the last twenty years or so. However common they are, I still thrill to the site of the family groups that soar on the village thermals. This morning (Sunday) we watch as a group of four – presumably tow adults and two young – slowly circle over the Common. We immediately assume, probably wrongly, that the individual which soars at a higher level, conveniently away from the others, is the male. The other three circle one another, calling constantly and occasionally making contact in some form of aerial game of tag. A feint and a roll, one of the pair turning upside down as they touch talons in mid air – some form of pretend exchange of food or some such. All through this their mewing calls drift down from a sky of almost Italianate blue.

There are newly fledged birds throughout the parish. Young Swallows hawk in family groups over the ripening barley alongside the railway line. They occasionally perch precariously on a wire fence whilst their parents fly around in escort duty. This must be their first foray – their short tails give away their relative youth and their approach has an air of easily distracted youth about it.
Down at Oxnead Mill the Kingfishers call constantly as their progeny explore the immediate territory for the first time. They are still being fed and the parents run a shuttle service up and down stream calling as they approach with newly caught fish. 
As I approach the Town Field a young Buzzard rises from its perch in a scrubby oak. A few falls of its wings before it gathers the rising air and sails higher in a spiralling vortex. I watch it scanning the ground as it circles higher.  

Village Buzzard

September 30, 2012

In the clear afternoon sky we watch a Buzzard as it effortlessly soared over the Town Field. It’s markings etched and visible in the crystal air under a blue sky. Buzzards are spreading rapidly in the area now and this year seems to have been a good breeding year for them. Many copses and spinneys carry their resident pair and the keeow calls drift down – a sound that, in my youth, I connected with visits to moors and hills of the west rather than the arable lands of Norfolk.

Clear mornings following a night of rain are the best conditions for Brampton. That is, if you want to spot Barn Owls or other birds of prey in or around the village; this morning, the middle Saturday of October, being a good example. Rain pelted down on and off until around eight o’clock. Soon afterwards the skies cleared again and a gentle easterly breeze settled down under blue skies – the clouds were the benign cumulus that drifted by without the threat of further rain.

At this time birds which have been hunkered down suddenly feel the need to move. Woodpigeon fly purposefully in all different directions and certainly without a group plan. But the Barn Owls and other predators hunt with purpose.

At Brampton Church the normally playful Jackdaws were in serious mood. They, who mostly see to be intent on joy riding and acrobatics rather than any serious purpose, were escorting a Buzzard away from their territory with the same intent that the aircraft from Coltishall used to escort Russian spy planes. Common Buzzards are becoming increasingly regular sightings in this part of Norfolk – their territory gradually expanding for the midlands. This one did not seem to worried by the attention and circled away to the north. It is possible that it will adopt the river valley temporarily.