Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Friday, 28 February 2020

Hingham, Norfolk

Whilst on a short early morning break, I stopped off at a site known for Barn Owls, and was pleased to see two hunting birds together.  These stunning birds were hunting over a field of long grass/weeds/winter bird feed.
Also seen here was 2 Little Egrets, 20+ Fieldfare, a 'drumming' Great Spotted Woodpecker, and a singing Song Thrush.
Barn Owl near Hingham, Norfolk 28/02 (One of a pair seen)

Monday, 24 February 2020

The majesty of trees

Here in England, we are rightly very proud of our woodlands and the magnificent trees that live within them.  Who can not be moved by the mighty Oak, its size, its strength, and its close association with folklore in our land.
The impressive Oak is home to a vast number of life forms, and many have supported life for many centuries, and of course produced many offspring through natural means or by caching of acorns by birds, most notably, the Jay.
Of course it is sad when mighty trees die, however, even after life, their beautiful forms, will continue to provide a home for many invertebrates, hopefully, for decades, or centuries to come.
The photographs here are of a Scots Pine at Thompson, and the beautiful form of a dead Oak at Kimberley, both in Norfolk.  Both remain beautiful aesthetically, and are very important homes to invertebrate species, as well as a number of bird and bat species also.
Scots Pine at Thompson, Norfolk
A magnificent Oak at Kimberley, Norfolk 

Friday, 21 February 2020

Displaying Goshawk

This morning I visited the patch (undisclosed location) hoping for displaying Goshawk, but not feeling too hopeful due to the wind and low light.
This was a productive morning for common species, including at least 6 singing Song Thrushes, Mistle Thrush, and Marsh Tit.
Stonechat (female) One of a pair seen 21/02/20.
I located a pair of Stonechats, an expected species this morning, with the male developing his black head for the breeding season.
At 0830, whilst looking for raptors, I eventually found a displaying Goshawk.  This bird was circling and performing slow and exaggerated high and low wingbeats.
Hunting Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, and Sparrowhawk seen.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Pingo's

The creation of Pingo's began some 20,000 years ago during the last Ice Age.  In the UK these are a rare feature in the landscape, but here in the Breckland area of Norfolk, we boast the greatest density with some 700+ Pingo's.
These special and ancient features appeared as you see this one here about 11,500 years ago.  Len's of Ice formed some 20,000 years ago by pressing into the earth, soil covered these formations to create a small hillock.  When the Ice from the Ice Age retreated the lens of ice melted and the hillock collapsed, thus forming the Pingo as you see here.
It is indeed wonderful to see these ancient features survive the onslaught of the human race, it is also wondrous to see these features in the Breckland landscape remain unchanged for 11,500 years.
A Pingo near Thompson, Norfolk
Pingo - unchanged in 11,500 years

Monday, 27 January 2020

Little Cressingham, Norfolk

An hour long visit this afternoon to a location traditionally productive for winter Finches and Buntings didn't disappoint today.
400+ Linnets, 150+ Yellowhammers, 200+ Chaffinches, 10+ Bramblings, and 100+ Skylarks were seen, despite the very poor light.
10+ Bramblings was undoubtedly a low estimate, these included some very handsome males beginning to moult into breeding plumage, and the paler, but still beautiful female birds.
Brambling (female) 27th January
Despite the very poor light, I managed this shot of a female Brambling.  The pale head, pale orange breast and scapulars, separates this species from the more familiar Chaffinch.

Marlingford, Norfolk, 26th January

A short stop whilst at work produced a Great White Egret in the Yare Valley, stealthily hunting along the fringes of a small lake.

Thompson Water, Norfolk

Recent visits to the Thompson Water has been productive for common species, notably, the declining Marsh Tit, a species I regularly record here.  Numbers of wildfowl have been quite low with small numbers of Teal, Pochard, Gadwall, Shoveler and Mallard being seen.
Around the weedy fringes of the water, Cetti's Warbler occasionally sings, and at the current time, Reed Buntings are showing nicely, often on the tops of reeds nipping at seeds.
Reed Bunting (male) slowly developing breeding plumage 24th Jan

Reed Bunting (female) 24th Jan.