Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 8 July 2019

Grasshopper Warbler at Lynford Water, Norfolk

A mornings walk around areas of Hawthorn and Oak scrub produced a 'reeling' Grasshopper Warbler, a bird I don't encounter too often on the patch.  This fantastic un-birdlike song was heard from a number of bushes and I think I did catch a glimpse of the bird as it moved between cover.
Also in this habitat was a family party of Whitethroats (adult feeding young), a singing Garden Warbler, and Bullfinch.
I couldn't upload the song of the Grasshopper Warbler, however, here is a picture of the habitat which the bird occupied.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Best views ever of Goshawk today

It was a last moment thing, do I take the 'scope, or don't I, well, I did, and what a great decision this was.
I visited a local site to my home this morning and was immediately greeted by flocks of juvenile and adult Blue and Coal Tits.  A Buzzard was perched in a nearby treetop and was investigated by a male Marsh Harrier, the Harrier then alighted in a treetop and then commenced to preen was running its bill along the feather shaft.  Moments later, the Marsh Harrier adopted an alert posture and had clearly fixed its gaze on something, that something was a juvenile Goshawk, the Harrier launched itself towards the more powerful raptor, however, the table was very quickly turned and the Goshawk gave chase for the Harrier before alighting in the crown of a tree where it remained for about 30 minutes, offering superb 'scoped views.  Despite excellent 'scoped views of the Goshawk, it was too distant for close shots with the camera.
Goshawk (juvenile) 6th July
Juvenile Goshawk 6th July
Juvenile Goshawk showing the pale feather fringes to the upperparts
A dual of Raptors (Note the powerfully built Goshawk)
The Goshawk remained in the tree for about 30 minutes, it was always alert, constantly turning its head, and watched intently as a Wood Pigeon flew by.  This was a very large, powerful bird appearing sometimes upright and alert in the tree, but also standing horizontally on a branch with feathers fluffed up giving it a less sleek appearance from when bolt upright.
The upperparts were brown with pale buff fringing to the feathers, this in flight gave a scaly appearance to the upperparts.  The underparts were pale buff with heavy dark droplets forming streaks to the breast, although lower down towards the legs these markings became narrower and finer.

Deopham, Norfolk, 5th July

The 5th was a day of work for me in the Deopham area of Norfolk.  I had an extended break during the morning and visited a quiet track just outside of the village.  High in an Oak I found 3 juvenile Swallows sitting quietly with the parent birds around close by collecting insects which were delivered to the waiting youngsters.
Juvenile Swallow waiting to be fed, Deopham 5th July
One of three young Swallows waiting to be fed high in an Oak at Deopham
Also at this location was a couple of singing Whitethroats and a male Reed Bunting singing within a crop of Oilseed Rape.
Following my break I attended a clients house in Deopham village and was pleased to see a juvenile Black Redstart on and around the outbuildings of the house.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Hockham, Norfolk 21st May

A morning walk around a clearing in the forest this morning produced a pair of Spotted Flycatchers in mature Oak woodland close to the clearing.  A rare bird now sadly.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Hockham, Norfolk

At last, a pleasant day of weather to look forward to.  The day dawned misty at 2 degrees Celsius, later in the day a high of 17 degrees Celsius was reached.
The site visited this morning is very much undisturbed and probably as natural habitat that you can get.
The morning dawned with patchy mist, and a lasting memory of this visit was seeing Red Deer silhouetted against a pale golden mist.  With this tranquil scene was the irrepressible sound of bird song, most notable was that of Blackcap, of which I eventually counted at least 20 singing males in a variety of habitats from mature woodland to Gorse and Birch scrub.  But for me this morning, it was Garden Warbler which held my attention most, I located at least 4 pairs, and on one occasion whilst standing within scrub habitat, I had 3 Garden Warblers singing around me, it was magical.  The Garden Warblers were always present in mostly low cover, although when singing, they had an affinity for tall Silver Birch.
Red Deer in dawn mist at Hockham, 12th May
Located within Pingo's with reeds and Hawthorn and Sallow habitat was 3 Reed Warblers in song, whilst other typical migrants seen included 7+ Chiffchaffs, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Whitethroats, and 1 Cuckoo singing.
Grey Heron at Hockham 12th May
Resident species included Grey Heron (1), Little Grebe (2), Treecreeper (2 singing), Goldcrest
A pair of Siskins were seen in Scots Pines, an indication of probable local breeding.  Also, a pair of Bullfinches, 10+ Song Thrushes, two Reed Bunting territories, and Yellowhammer, several Linnets in Gorse habitat, Coal Tits carrying food for young (2).

Tuesday, 30 April 2019


The Starling is such an underrated species, however, I love their beauty, their comical behaviour, and of course for their spectacular murmurations.  This afternoon (30th April) I was watching this pair in my garden collecting Leatherjackets for young in the nest.

Monday, 29 April 2019


I made a short mid-afternoon visit to the Watton Brook Valley, hopefully with the intention of finding Whinchat, and other migrants, although none were seen I did locate both Blackcap and Whitethroat at a traditional site in the valley.
The Whitethroat, a male, occasionally sang and gave its alarm call which was probably directed at me.  In the same Briar patch, a male Blackcap briefly visited and gave its repeated "tek" agitation call.   The following are pictures of that Blackcap.
Blackcap (male at Little Cressingham 29th April