Breckland Birder

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

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Great Hockham at dawn

The morning fog and very dull conditions gave a very monochrome appearance to the forest and fen at Great Hockham, despite this, there was a very magical feel with everything seen appearing in silhouette.  Although light was not good for photography, I am quite pleased with the image of the Red Deer hind appearing as a distinctive and familiar shape in the mist.  She was later joined by her half-grown calf.

The distinctive form of a Red Deer hind in the mist
The visit to Hockham Forest produced a good variety of bird species, some of which were represented in good numbers.
I became aware of several Bramblings overhead, however, things were to improve when I stood by a single Holly tree and watched a total 70+ Bramblings leaving their communal roost site in varying numbers.  As they climbed away they gave their very familiar and nasally "zweeeeu" flight call.
At the nearby fen, I could see two large tightish flocks of Teal totalling 1000+ birds, flying low around the fen, appearing to settle but then flying around again before finally settling en-masse within the swampy habitat.
Although unseen in the fog, the familiar strong call of Crossbills was heard as they passed overhead.
Mixed roving flocks of birds are a familiar sight within the winter woodland and this morning the expected mobile flock of Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Treecreepers, and Goldcrest were all encountered.  A small flock of about 8 Redwings were seen.
Despite the poor conditions, this visit to Hockham Forest shows that birds and animals can still be seen or heard, even though at times this can be challenging.

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