Breckland Birder

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

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Plenty heard, little seen.

HOCKHAM FEN (Dawn until 1000hrs)
Setting off from home at about 0730, fog was beginning to form and indeed, thick fog remained all day.  The walk to Hockham Fen was very wet with standing water on the forest floor, some of which came over my walking boots - thank god for gortex.
With visibility down to about 50 meters or less, Hockham Fen was completely shrouded in fog, despite this it was evident that waterfowl were present in good numbers. 
As with the previous evening, large numbers of Teal were present and it was going to be a challenge estimating their numbers.  Smallish flocks of Teal occasionally relocated on the fen, it was at these times when they came close enough to be seen reasonably well, however, one flock of Teal numbered 100+ birds with many more out of sight calling within the dense rushy cover.  Teal were the most vocal species as well with their incessant but lovely "kleep" call being heard.
Other wildfowl seen included 7 Shoveler and several calling Mallard.  One Grey Heron briefly alightd before flying off again.
The only passerine species seen was a male Great Spotted Woodpecker, singing Song Thrush, and Treecreeper.

The walk back along the forest trail brought me a close encounter with several Highland Cattle which graze the woodland and fen as part of the management plan.  These magnificent beasts vary in colours from Blacks, White, and the typical Reds, and some have fantastic sets of horns.  These Highland Cattle are very docile beasts and allow close approach and rarely move for you even if you have a dog with you.  It is probably good advice to wait for the animal to move for you if you have a dog, as a lunging dog could possibly spook the animal. 

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