Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Hockham Fen, Norfolk

0700: I met up with my good friend Daniel Watson and we made for the Hockham Forest and Fen area. The morning was bright and mild with a moderate south-easterly wind.

20+ Song Thrush
12+ Crossbills
3 Woodlark
5+ Sparrowhawks

The walk along one of the many forest trails leading to the fen produced the expected calling Goldcrests, Coal Tits, along with a Chiffchaff.  A few Song Thrushes gave their "tik" calls from within both conifer and mixed woodland, their numbers suggesting the arrival overnight of continental migrants. 
Once at the fen, more Song Thrushes were both seen and heard, thus confirming that these were migrants from Europe and by the end of our visit the total numbers of this species seen was 20+.  Daniel picked up Redwing passing over woodland.
2 Common Buzzards were on the fen and a count of 5+ Sparrowhawks was surprising, of these, 3 were soaring together and one was seen perched in a treetop on the edge of the fen.
A small party of 8+ Crossbills passed high north above the fen, later, 4 males were seen distantly perched in a treetop, despite the distance, their brick-red plumage was clearly seen in the early morning sunlight.
Young Red Deer at Hockham 03/10/13 (Mother was nearby)
An interesting record was of 2 Woodlarks passing overhead in a south-easterly direction, later, another individual (unseen) was heard, again heading south-east. These birds were probably leaving a forest clearing in the Brecks and making for fields in which to feed in.  This was an interesting record for me as I have rarely seen movements of Woodlarks outside of the breeding season.
Probable genuine overhead migrants comprised small numbers of Meadow Pipits passing over in a more or less southerly heading whilst local movements seen included small numbers of Siskins and a few Skylarks.
8 Grey Herons seen comprised 3 overhead low in a south-west heading and later, 5 birds arrived from the north to settle on the fen.
Movements of birds within the fen itself included 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a number of Jays, Wood Pigeons, and Crow species, and in the peripheral woodland a mobile flock of Long-tailed Tits also included Marsh Tit.  A couple of nearby Wrens had a liking for juncus/rush habitat.

Insects seen on the fen included Emperor and Ruddy Darter Dragonflies, and Speckled Wood butterfly

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