Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Hockham and Little Cressingham, Norfolk

Hockham (early morning)
The night was very wet with a fresh north-westerly.  Rain continued early morning, however, this eventually cleared to give bright conditions, although the wind remained a fresh NW.  A high of 8 degrees Celsius.
The dominant species early morning was Redwing with many birds seen feeding upon Hawthorn berries along with a number of Blackbird too.  Smaller numbers of Fieldfares also seen.
Redwings are stunning birds if studied closely.  A small flock seen in conifers included one well seen bird briefly in the top of a pine, the striking facial pattern was seen well along with the red flanks.
Other early morning movements of birds included a few Crossbills, although only one was seen through trees.

Little Cressingham (mid-afternoon)
A check of a maize strip on the Great Cressingham Road held 50+ Greenfinches, an encouraging count given recent concerns regarding this lovely bird.  Chaffinches were also seen in smaller numbers.

Lynford Water, Norfolk, 6th December

Goldeneye (male) on Lynford Water 6th December
An early morning walk around the water produced 50+ Tufted Duck, a few Gadwall, and this beautiful male Goldeneye. At least 4 Great Crested Grebes also seen.  A Water Rail called in dense reed habitat and along the waters edge was a single Woodcock.
Early morning overhead movements of birds included several Crossbills, Redpoll, and Siskins.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Lynford Water, Norfolk

An early morning visit to these wonderful site hoping to find Crossbills.  An initial walk to the lakes produced small numbers of Wildfowl including a pair of Mandarin.  I finished off with a short visit to the mainly Larch trees in the Arboretum where good numbers of Crossbills fed high in the trees.

21+ Cormorant
Grey Heron
2 Great Crested Grebes
Mute Swan
2 Egyptian Geese (pair)
Tufted Duck
3 Teal
2 Mandarin (pair)
Wood Pigeon (100's on the move at dawn)
Stock Dove (song heard)
Goldcrest
Marsh Tit
Nuthatch
Long-tailed Tit
40+ Siskins
30+ Crossbills
15+ Brambling
Lynford Water 25th November
Just after dawn (sunrise 0734) whilst walking around the lake, the familiar loud "chip chip" calls of Crossbills was heard, this was followed by 7+ birds directly overhead.  Later, further small numbers seen over Pine trees.
I finished with a visit to the tall Larches just inside the Arboretum where Crossbills were soon found feeding upon cones in the treetops along with Siskins and several Bramblings.  The true number of Crossbills was revealed when they were spooked and flew a circuit before flying back into trees, at this time 30+ birds were seen.
Male Crossbills were easily identified in flight by their distinctive reddish plumage.  Female Crossbills were seen well high in Larches, showing their greenish tones.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Where did this happen.

Further to my last post on this matter, it is likely that those poor Deer seen here were shot on land owned by a conservation charity, or possibly on a private estate whose income may need supporting from the public i.e. summer opening etc.

I belong to a few conservation charities, it is therefore my aim to establish where this unnecessary act occurred, if indeed it did occur on land dependant on support by public/members of trusts etc., then I shall leave that respective charity, making my feelings well known, and would urge others to boycott the estate/trust, if indeed this happened on such land.

I apologise for attaching this sickening photo on my blog, but this must stop.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Last light birding on the patch.

With a typical leaden day (the sort I love in November), it was actually quite dark before 1500hrs. I decided on a check of Finch species at a traditional maize strip habitat, where I witnessed a number of species departing for their roost sites.  The majority species was Chaffinch with smaller number of Greenfinches, Bramblings, and Yellowhammers flying more or less south to their roost.
A mostly Larch wood held a few Redwings, Song Thrushes, Blackbirds, and a late mobile Long-tailed Tit flock.  Higher in the trees feeding amongst fine Larch needles was Coal and Blue Tits.
A very close Goshawk passed directly over me at 1505 at just above treetop height, a lovely silhouetted view of the raptor heading low west.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Deopham, Norfolk, 20th November

A very raw day.  Full cloud with a fresh to strong east wind.  Frequent showers of drizzle and rain.  Remained grey all day.  Close to freezing with wind chill.
During a mid-morning work break I visited vast, open expanses of arable farmland with specific interest on a headland, a habitat lacking in the area.
My reasons for choosing this location as it is ideal for Stonechat, isolated bushes and tall weeds to feed within, and of course to take shelter in.

40+ Golden Plover
Carrion Crow
Meadow Pipits
30+ Fieldfare
1 Mistle Thrush
1 Stonechat (male)
Stonechat (male) at Deopham 20th November.  A typical scene in a bleak landscape of a Stonechat on top of a bush. 
Despite the very cold and windy conditions, a single Stonechat was seen in typical open habitat, and perched on occasions on top of one of the few Hawthorns along the headland, it also perched lower down on tall weeds, such as umbellifer species.  The bird flew to the ground and returned to a perch, however, it did remain quite elusive at times, probably sheltering.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Ducks brighten a dull November day (Sunrise 0720)

A very typical November day with conditions I love, dank, grey, drizzle, calm, and misty.
I set off for a walk on the patch in Thetford Forest at 0640, the woodland and clearings was shrouded in grey with trees silhouetted against the dull sky.
Although early, Redwings were heard in woodland along with a close calling Tawny Owl which attracted angry, chattering Blackbirds.  A couple of Bullfinches gave their 'piping' calls in the dark woodland.
Suddenly, I stopped, movement ahead on the trail, a small heard of Red Deer hinds froze to look in my direction, they then continued slowly into a clearing.
A second Red Deer herd seen a short time later, a magnificent stag, a couple of young stags, and hinds slowly moved through a clearing occasionally stopping and looking my way.
With increasing light I visited a local mere where many wildfowl were present including Greylag and Canada Geese, Mute Swans, lots of Mallard, a male Wigeon, 3 Gadwall, and later, 7 Mandarins (4 males) flew in and offered reasonable views despite the poor light and conditions.
1 Grey Heron, 1 Cormorant, and at least 5 Little Grebes seen.
In dense reeds and Sallow habitat Water Rails called and singing Cetti's Warbler heard.
Mandarins should be easily picked out in this picture 16th November.
Gorgeous Mandarins 16th November
Note the bespectacled appearance of the grey looking female Mandarins
7 Mandarins (4 males) present.