Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Foulden Common and Thompson, Norfolk

An overcast start to the day with light drizzle and poor light. One or two brighter spells later but it remained cloudy all day with a high of 8 degrees celsius and a light NW wind.

1st Swallows (2) at Thompson
16+ Chiffchaffs

Foulden Common 0650-0830.  I visited this large, beautiful, and ancient common, with a view to seeing/hearing my first Willow Warbler of the year, however, none seen today.
My walk here took me over a good part of the common and well as visit to the periphery of a lovely, swampy fen habitat.

Barn Owl at Foulden Common 04/04/15
Although my target species was not found today, I was very pleased to gather a count of 10+ Chiffchaffs singing around the common, I was equally pleased to find at least 8 Song Thrushes in song, a species which in recent years has seen cause for concern.
A single male Blackcap was singing, although a second may have been present.
Foulden Common is an ancient site comprising a large area of grazing for sheep, however, there is scrub in abundance and patches of mature mixed woodland, also a largish area of damp, swampy, fen-like habitat gives this wonderful location a very varied habitat.
It was in the area of the fen where a single Snipe flew up and zig-zagged away.  Many more Snipe will be present in this suitable habitat.  A pair of Goldcrests were seen in scrub along the fen periphery and a Robin was seen with nesting material.  As would be expected in the fen area a pair of Reed Buntings were seen with a further male Reed Bunting in song.
Also seen and heard around Foulden Common this morning was single Common Buzzard, Wood Pigeons, a singing male Stock Dove, calling Green Woodpecker, Wren, Dunnocks, Blackbirds, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, displaying male Greenfinch, Bullfinch (heard), Yellowhammer (4+ territories), Linnet, Jay, and Magpie.

The drive back to Watton produced another Barn Owl at Hollow Heath, Hilborough, and a single Kestrel at Threxton.

Thompson 1350-1500.  I parked at the church and walked the footpath to the Griston Road, then took the Drove Lane to Stow Bedon Road, and back to the church.
A walk along this route produced a further 6+ Chiffchaffs (bringing a total to 16+ from 2 sites), 5+ Nuthatches, and a pair of Egyptian Geese.
I was certain whilst walking along the path that I heard a Swallow, a brief watch soon produced a single Swallow passing left to right, when a second Swallow came into view over the church area.  These constitute my first Swallows for the year.


  1. This picture of the barn owl is fantastic Paul. We live in the middle of a city so never see them! Wonder which bird you would vote for as national bird? Its the blackbird for me because of their song and even on our city streets they wake us up and sing
    Mandy ( Jill's daughter)

    1. Hi Mandy, many thanks for your comments. I am glad you like the Barn Owl shot. I am with you regarding our national bird being the Blackbird. Often overlooked by birders because of their abundance, they are beautiful and have a wonderful song. And adult male Blackbirds with their jet black plumage and contrasting yellow bill and eye ring....stunning. Females are equally beautiful because of the variation in their plumages, especially the breast/throat area which can be streaked, come in various shades of brown, including sometimes ones with a warm ochre colour...stunning again.

  2. Love reading your blogs Paul. Keep them coming.regards David

    1. David, many thanks to you for reading my blog, very kind of you.