Breckland Birder

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

Friday, 26 December 2014

Hockham Fen and Little Cressingham, Norfolk

Overnight the skies were clear allowing temperatures to fall at dawn to 0 degrees celsius.  A slight mist and frost gave a seasonal feel to the start of the day.
I arrived at Hockham Fen in very still conditions, mist, a slight frost, and poor light remained throughout my visit to this wonderful location.
As soon as I arrived 4 Red Deer hinds stood watching me before moving off.
Close to me in thick scrub, a number of Redwings and Blackbirds were emerging from their roost in Bramble thickets and Holly.
Overlooking the fen, at least 10 Pied Wagtails were seen by the recently created dyke.
Marsh Harrier (female) Hockham Fen 26/12/14
Some quieter moments allowed me to enjoy the ambiance, one of stillness, and thoughts of what is living within the fen, and what has, and indeed will occur there.
The silence was then broken by 4 Egyptian Geese which did a few low circuits of the fen before flying off.
A few minutes later a female Marsh Harrier appeared low over the fen and soon dropped to the ground on potential prey, however, the raptor soon reappeared and resumed hunting before flying out of site, probably to an area of scrub.
Soon after this 4 Snipe appeared over the fen, I didn't see if they alighted on the ground, they probably did given the perfect habitat for this species.
I then departed the fen as I found it, very still, however, life will certainly abound within.

Little Cressingham (Peddars Way to North Bridge)

Robin at Little Cressingham 26/12/14
I arrived at School Road, Little Cressingham at about 1430 and walked north for about half a mile to North Bridge on the Peddars Way footpath.
Despite being a while to sunset, light was very poor but visibilty had improved with the lifting of the misty conditions.  It was about 2 degrees celsius at this time.
Arriving at North Bridge/Watton Brook on the Peddars Way, I decided to check the meadow and brook for birds, but I saw little.  Given the good habitat in the area, mixed woodland, thick hedgerows, and weedy ditches, I spent some time seeing what I could find.  A single Goldcrest was seen silently passing through the inner tangle of the hedge.  Whilst positioned there, the above Robin visited me by passing from post to post and hedgerow.  The light at this time was slipping away quickly by now.  I returned to the car to change and go home and although not seen, a Goldcrest gave a few calls from within a small patch of Bramble. 

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