Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Hethel Old Thorn, Norfolk

This is Hethel Old Thorn in Norfolk, it is the smallest nature reserve in the Great Britain.  This beautiful specimen is said to be at least 700 years of age with some estimates putting it at 1000 years of age.  In 1841, the Hawthorn's measurements were made, then, it had a 12 feet 1 inches circumference around the trunk with a spread of 30 yards.  This magnificent Hawthorn remains a very healthy specimen.
Hethel Old Thorn, Norfolk 14/10/14
Thrush Passage
With a deep area of low pressure and moderate North-Easterly winds, I was eager to get outside at first light to see if there was any Thrush passage in evidence and straight away there was several waves of calling Redwings and Song Thrushes passing high overhead from the north-east.
During my afternoon break from work, I visited Hethel where the churchyard and nearby woodlands held a few Redwings and Song Thrushes.  With similar winds overnight and into Wednesday morning, I expect further movements of Thrush species. 


  1. "This magnificent Hawthorn remains a very healthy specimen."...
    Yes Paul....
    but were there any birds in it??
    Had to ask!!!
    The Cranes are getting closer...
    80,000 plus at Lac du Der [northern France]...
    and already some flights have gone over lower down over Indre and Vienne.
    No major movements here yet, apart from the assorted warblers....
    but saw a lot of White Wagtails all over a very, very long, thin field that had just been drilled.
    Our first Grive Draine [Mistle Thrush] was in the walnut tree yesterday...
    I prefer the French name it describes the song perfectly.
    We don't get them, Dunnocks or Robins in the summer... but all three are back... so Autumn is hard upon us...
    that said, the runner beans are still flowering like mad...
    and the Yellow Flag in the millstream is sending up new green leaves...
    so they must have decided that August was the winter...
    we all thought so!!

  2. Hi Tim
    Once again I thank you for your lovely comments.
    No birds seen in Hethel Old Thorn on this occasion, however, my mind did wander (as it often does) as to how many Redwings this fine old specimen has supported over the autumns in centuries past.
    80,000 that is a serious number of Cranes...what an incredible sight.
    All my Warblers have left now with the exception of Chiffchaff, however, recent conditions have seen many rarer Warblers turn up along the coast.
    We had very heavy rain Monday, this coupled with easterlies saw a massive fall of migrants along the North Norfolk Coast...I read that an incredible 105 Ring Ouzels turned up at Blakeney Point.
    The Yellow Flags sound wonderful.....a wonderful display.
    Tim, as always, thank you once again for your lovely comments.