Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Great Hockham and Little Cressingham

Hockham Fen
An early start with a pre-sunrise arrival in the forest at Great Hockham.  Walking along the trails to the fen, I encountered 3 calling Tawny Owls (2 males/1 female) in pine woodland.
At the fen, several bird species were stiring from their roost sites, these included Crossbill, Siskins, and Redpoll.  A lone Common Buzzard was sitting high in one of the trees on the fen.
With the rising sun, the mixed woodland along the edge of the fen came alive with a largish mixed flock of Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Treecreeper, and a number of Goldcrests moving through thick scrubby habitat and mature woodland in their collective search for food.  Whilst watching these birds, a single Crossbill (male) passed over low enough for me to see its reddish plumage.
A welcome record for the fen was a calling Water Rail, this bird was hidden away somewhere within the boggy, rushy habitat where it will eke out a living winding its way through dense grasses and reeds in search for food.  The call of this bird is a strange pig-like squeal.

Little Cressingham
Greenfinch 26/10/13 Watton
Setting off mid-afternoon from the bridge over Watton Brook on Fairstead Lane, a single Grey Wagtail passed above me calling.  This dainty bird breeds in the area, although numbers may increase in winter with visiting birds which wander in from the continent or upland Britain to suitable freshwater habitats.
Continuing along Fairstead Lane, a male Sparrowhawk flew low over the lane in the hope of surprising unsuspecting prey.
Just beyond 'The Fairstead' at the top of Green Lane, a flock of 60+ Fieldfares flew into treetops, these large Thrushes were accompanied by a few Redwings.
Along Green Lane, I stopped for a while to overview the large area of rolling farmland in the hope of seeing a passing Harrier species, it was in fact fairly quiet until a large female Sparrowhawk circled above stubble where it had moments before disturbed some Partridges.
Finally, back at Little Cressingham Mill, a small flock of 6 Redwings rose from Alders alongside Watton Brook.

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