Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Hockham Fen, Norfolk (at dusk)

What a wonderful early evening visit this was to Hockham Fen.  I arrived sometime following sunset, it was calm, fog was forming low over the fen, it was getting dark quickly, and I had the fen to myself.  The only thing spoiling this wonderful visit was the sound of distant traffic.
Hockham Fen at dusk 01/11/15
Despite the quickly fading light this short visit produced memorable birding.  The first bird seen was a large Goshawk which appeared directly above me and then overflew the fen, above the bank of fog and into distant trees.  Shortly afterwards a few Redwings departed woodland scrub and flew off over the fen.
A flock of Starlings appeared over the fen, these joined other birds to form a murmuration numbering several hundred birds.  The Starlings then proceeded to perform their simply wonderful pre-roost flights which saw them passing over the fen back and forth in a single tight flock which sometimes appeared almost perfectly circular in shape.  This wonderful gathering of Starlings for me is one the the most beautiful sights in nature.  I shall certainly be visiting this locality as winter progresses to see if numbers of Starlings grow to spectacular proportions.
A single large bat species flew over the fen, very similar to the one I saw at Kimberley yesterday, a Noctule Bat possibly.
With fog almost completely blanketing the fen I decided to leave, but not before listening to the squealing call of a Water Rail somewhere in the fog.
Walking back through the almost pitch black woodland a female Tawny Owl called, this was soon followed by a male bird responding.  A second female Tawny Owl was calling near the car.
Finally, a few Pipistrelle Bats flew up and down the forest rides.....a great ending to this short but wonderful visit to Hockham.


  1. Love the evening shot....
    woke up to that this morning!

    But no Water Rail.... yet...
    weather too benign to drive them to the rivers...
    in fact, yesterday, we had September weather!!

    All the best for tomorrow and the next two days!

  2. Hi Tim
    Thank you very much.
    I am currently in the process of writing up my blog account on the tours. I am back at work today so will hopefully get this completed in a few days.
    Had a very good 3 days birding with a lovely group of people. A number of species seen were new birds for my group. Weather mostly murky but that added atmosphere.
    On the subject of weather, some unbelievable temperatures seen around the UK...22 degrees in parts.
    Chat soon Tim and thanks once again.