Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Hockham, Norfolk

A blustery day but very mild in the current south-westerly airflow.  Such winds have for the time being put Thrush migration from Northern Europe on hold.
I paid a fairly short visit to a wonderful location in Hockham Forest where a real diverse range of species can, and have, been seen.
Initially, overviewing the site was quiet, however, after a short wait I heard a number of calling Crow species which were out of view to the distant right.  These calls clearly told me they were not happy and that a raptor was in the area.  Not the usual call from these birds but far more strained as if really screaming at something.  This is a call I have become familiar with, such a call tells me to be ready for a raptor to appear.  Along with these calls, several Wood Pigeons flew rapidly away from right to left and assorted small birds scattered.  Moments later, the culprit appeared from right to left, an adult Goshawk slowly drifting past and then turning north in a relatively leisurely flight. 
Goshawk at Hockham 18/10/14 - Feared and respected by Crow species
I was hoping for Harrier species on this visit, however, none were seen.  A hunting Kestrel and calling Buzzards were the only other raptors present.
At least 3 Grey Herons were seen as well as a few Teal being seen and heard.
I was surprised not to hear or see any Crossbills on this short visit, however, a smaller Finch species, the Siskin was heard on occasion.
A few Redwings were heard and a Mistle Thrush appeared alarmed by giving its harsh rattle-like call.
Other than this, typical species for this habitat were seen and heard, these included Long-tailed Tits, Coal TitsGoldcrests, and Treecreepers in roving flocks.
To conclude, begin to learn the signs given by various species, both visual and audible, of raptors being in the area, this will give you some preparation for when a hunter appears.

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