Breckland Birder

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

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Little Cressingham at dawn followed by a cracking visit to Hockham Fen at dusk.

LITTLE CRESSINGHAM (Dawn)
An early hours walk around the Clermont Estate produced 3 calling Tawny Owls.  This is a common species throughout the Brecks and Norfolk and the mature woodlands on my patch will provide a good supply of breeding habitat.
At Saham Hall a singing Mistle Thrush was heard whilst further along the lane at Threxton sewage plant, many Goldcrests were heard in the leylandii which form a screen around the site.  Sewage treatment works are always worth checking out for small passerine species as these places form a micro-climate where small insect/midge species provide good feeding, whilst the conifer screen provides cover and warmth to roost within.

HOCKHAM FEN (Late afternoon/sunset)
Walking along one of the forest trails which lead to Hockham Fen, typical species associated with conifer woodland were heard including Goldcrests, Treecreeper, and Coal Tit.
Approaching Hockham Fen, it was evident that lots of Teal were on the site, once there, large numbers of Teal were clearly present and although only spring of 30+ Teal were seen, I would estimate that the true numbers of birds would have been in three-figures.
Also present on the fen was at least 5 Grey Herons, a Mute Swan and Mallard.
Brambling was heard overhead, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, and single Fieldfare passed over.
At about 1530, I saw a large bird passing over woodland at tree-top height, looking at it through binoculars, it was a large Goshawk (probably female), this raptor was seen for a few seconds before descending into the woodland habitat at Cranberry Rough.  This Goshawk was just awesome, it was effortless and steady in its glide over the trees, very large, and deep-chested, and if not well-fed, any Crow or Pigeon would do well to show this immensely powerful hawk the greatest respect.
Just prior to leaving Hockham Fen, a small party of 6 Pied Wagtails passed over in a westerly heading to their roost site.   

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