Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Friday, 6 February 2015

Santon Downham (with Richard Farrow) and Lynford Water, Norfolk

Santon Downham, Norfolk 0800-1200
At 0800 I met my very good friend Richard Farrow at Santon Downham for a lovely walk along the Little Ouse river valley which borders the county with Suffolk.  A wide range of habitats were explored including typical Breckland habitat comprising Pine forest, damp riverside reedbeds, the Little Ouse valley, and open grassland with fine belts of Beech trees.
I have not been to Santon Downham for some time so Richard led the way and what an excellent morning it was too.
One of 3 Water Rails seen along the river valley
The highlight of this trip was undoubtedly seeing 3 Water Rails along the bank of the Little Ouse river.  These birds typically moved through rank vegetation, although they often appeared to give us good views.  They also demonstrated their ability for swimming along the rivers edge.
Our walk through the variety of habitats at Santon Downham would eventually yield 28 species, most of these were common birds, yet beautiful nevertheless. 
Another highlight for me was watching a male and female Brambling feeding in a garden with Chaffinches, one of these was certainly a male with his darker head and brighter Orange breast.
Nuthatch at Santon Downham.  One of many seen and heard.
Birds seen and heard at Santon Downham as follows.
Mute Swan, Mallard, Moorhen, Water Rail (3), Little Grebe (2+) on river, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Nuthatch (many, including the bird photographed here), Treecreeper, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare (1), Robin (very common), Wren, Dunnock, Blackbird, Marsh Tit, Coal Tit (numerous including birds feeding on woodland floor amongst Beech trees), Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Brambling (male and female) feeding with Chaffinches, Siskin (many heard), Reed Bunting, Rook and Jay.
The walk around this special site also took us around a very poignant area of beautiful Hawthorn and Blackthorn scrub for it was here where Norfolk's last pair of Red-backed Shrikes bred in 1988.
I wish to thank my good friend Richard Farrow for showing me around this lovely area. Thank you Richard.

Lynford Water (1545 to sunset)
There was a significant change to the landscape to my recent previous visit to this locality.  The rolling southern flank of Lynford Water was covered for the most part by Gorse amd Broom, a habitat I was expecting to see Stonechat at, however, for some reason, the whole area was cleared, why, I don't know.
Goosander (male and female) Lynford Water 06/02/15
A lovely gathering of 25+ Tufted Duck kept me entertained for some time with their frequent diving for food, often, their beautiful laughing-like chuckle call was heard.  Also seen was a few Gadwall, Mallard, and Teal.
On the far side of the water, a bright white object close to the shore was a male Goosander with a female 'redhead' close by. The presemce of this beautiful 'sawbill' clearly indicates a hard weather movement from presumably Europe or Northern Britain where much snow has fallen in recent weeks.
Also seen on the water was Mute Swan (pair), Moorhen, and a single Little Egret slowly and stealthily moving along the reed edged water.  Passerine species included Robin and a number of pre-roost Blackbirds in darkening woodland.  I left Lynford with the sun setting and clear skies heralding another frosty night to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment