Breckland Birder

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

Sunday, 28 October 2012

First Birding Week-end with cousin Bob

Sunday, 20 June 2010


The arrival of cousin Bob from Stamford, Lincs (but who spends most of his time at his Spanish home in the mountains above Velez Malage in Andulcia) resulted in our first, short, birding expedition to East Wretham. After a dull start the weather soon perked up and we eventually recorded over 20 species before returning home for a great trout supper.

Perhaps the best bird of the afternoon was a singing male Tree Pipit which gave both of us some great photo opportunities. Even better, a few minutes later, when we saw a second specimen. However, the visit started with an unsuccessful visit to the Wellington Plantation in the hope of seeing the breeding Redstarts. Plenty of corvids about, mainly Crows and Jackdaws plus a smattering of Rooks, Wood Pigeons, the odd Collared Dove but none of these gorgeous summer visitors. So, "Plan B" and off to the hide overlooking the shallow waters of Langmere.

Whilst there were a few Swallows feeding over the water, most of the bird life was either on or resting at the water's edge. A family party of Little Grebe, good numbers of Coots and Moorhens plus plenty of Mallards immediately in view and then the sighting of a pair of Oystercatchers, at least 5 Lapwing including a brooding female and 3 newly-fledged chicks. The occasional Crow came seeking a feeding opportunity and on the far bank the Egytian Geese had 7 goslings whilst, resting within a few metres were a
handful of Shelduck. At least 4 Gadwall moved up and down the water. Not surprisingly, a pair of Mute Swans had also taken up residence on the far side of the mere. Before moving off to explore the heath, a fleet of Canada Geese appeared from under the bank.

A walk along the track p
roduced little in the way of small birds other than a Robin, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and a pair of Goldfinch although both Willow Warbler and Whitethroat were heard. However, as above, the delight was to see 2 singing Tree Pipits. Returning on the same path we then headed off to Ringmere, passing Tim Burton from the nearby BTO on the way, and were greeted by more Canada Geese and Little Grebe plus a small party of Greylag Geese. Another pair of Oystercatchers and yet more Shelduck and then the arrival of 7 Gadwall to add to the 3 Tufted Duck on the water.

Leaving the water for the return walk to the car we then had a very clear view of a Muntjac Deer (
Muntiacus reevesi) followed by a Magpie that refused to depart until he had had his photograph taken. Green Woodpecker was heard and then a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over the warden's house where there were also at least 7 House Martins.

For a late afternoon visit, a very pleasing range of birds, totalling at least 30, which promises well for our (very) early morning departure to visit the RSPB's Lakentheath reserve.

Birds for the day:
Little Grebe, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Swallow, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Tree Pipit, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Magpie, Jackdaw, Crow and Rook.

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