Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 5 January 2015

Hockham and Threxton, Norfolk

The day dawned markedly milder than yesterday with a temperature at dawn of 4 degrees celsius, however, the light was poor with grey cloud and a thin veil of mist.
I noticed in the EDP (local paper) that yesterday there was many accidents throughout Norfolk due to the icy conditions.  I am a firm believer that the majority of accidents are due to drivers not driving properly to the given conditions, however, I will add that when doing my calls yesterday I felt the B class roads had not been gritted.

I arrived at the Hockham Picnic site on the main Watton to Thetford road with the intention of walking forest trails and visiting the fen.
The mixed Oak and Pine woodland held lots of Tit species, the most verbal being Marsh Tit, of which several were heard giving what I consider to be their sneeze like "pitchou" call.  A number of Long-tailed Tit flocks were found, these typically comprised other Tit species and Goldcrests.
A good count of 5+ Nuthatches were heard as well as 4+ Treecreepers.  Other species seen and heard associated with this type of habitat was Jay, Green Woodpecker, Jay, and Wood Pigeons.
I saw no sign of Harrier species at the fen.  Several Teal were giving their "kleep" call from within the cover of the marshy fen habitat and a drake Mallard was seen.  4 Canada Geese were standing together on the fen and a single Grey Heron was briefly seen alighting on the ground and into cover.

I arrived at the church in Threxton about mid-afternoon.  High cloud covered the skies although an occasional bright spell threatened.  The afternoon maxima was a dizzy 6 degrees celsius.
I walked the lane to just south of Woodcock Hall with the highlight being a spring of 4 Teal rising from Watton Brook.  I always check the fence-posts and wires in this locality for possible Stonechat but none seen today.
Most effort was given to the Sewage Treatment Works (STW) at Threxton where there is a guarantee of small passerine species making use of this valuable micro climate.  A target species for me today was Chiffchaff, however, no sign today of this Warbler species.  Sewage Treatment works are a favoured wintering site for Chiffchaff due to the food availability and warmth from tree cover within this mico-climate habitat.

Goldcrest. A common species associated with STW in winter.
The first bird was a single Goldcrest in a Guelder Rose by the brook, however, as I continued along the boundary of the STW it was evident that many birds were present.  I could see ahead of me more Goldcrests flying between the cover of Ivy, Hawthorn, and Elder habitat.  I positioned myself on the road with an Elder in front of me, here, a couple of Goldcrests foraged amongst the branches and twigs, but also, further Goldcrests were seen in another Elder next to the tall pine STW shelter-belt.  In total there must have been 6+ Goldcrests in this small area, clearly, with abundant habitat here the numbers should be quite high.  A flock of Long-tailed Tits also foraged along with Blue Tits, Coal Tits, and Wren.  1 Redwing passed overhead.
Within the STW, Pied Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail were present.
Sewage Treatment Works may not be the most endearing of habitats to spend time at, however, they have a very valuable role to play during the winter months in order to ensure bird survival.

No comments:

Post a Comment