Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Lynford Water, and Hockham Fen/Cranberry Rough, Norfolk

The day dawned very mild again, but with low light due to low, thick cloud cover.  Cloud remained all day and it did threaten brightness at one time, only for low cloud to once again bring very low light.  The wind was a strong southerly.  At least it remained dry throughout the day.
Lynford Water, Norfolk 06/02/16 (Site of largest ever haul in Britain of Mammoth, Rhino, and Hyena remains)
Lynford Water (early morning)
I wanted to check Lynford Water for Wildfowl, I had 'Sawbills' in mind, however, I didn't really think I would have too much success as these birds generally turn up in cold weather conditions.  Birds seen on the lakes were as follows:
1 Little Egret
9 Mute Swans
60+ Tufted Duck
3 Cormorant
A walk through, or close to the edge of forested areas produced mobile flocks of Long-tailed Tits, Marsh Tit, Blue, and Great Tits, Treecreeper, and Goldcrests.
Siskins typically featured with a mobile flock of around 50 or so birds.

Hockham Fen/Cranberry Rough
The wind didn't help on this visit with little movement of birds seen, however, it was apparent that good numbers of Teal, some Gadwall, Mallard, and Canada Geese were on the flooded areas of this large, superb site.
Hockham Fen 06/02/16 (One of my most favourite local birding sites)
Hockham Fen adjoins Cranberry Rough, this is where I headed next.  This dense, thick, swampy site was sheltered from the strong wind, and as such Tit species featured as the most abundant species with mixed mobile flocks moving generally low through the woodland.
Cranberry Rough 06/02/16
Cranberry Rough is a wonderful site with just a path (course of old rail-line) passing through it.  The reserve, as shown in my picture, is virtually inaccessible due to its swampy nature.  This is one of the only local sites which supports the now rare Willow Tit.
The sheltered path was a welcome break from the wind and it was here that plenty of passerine activity was both seen and heard, especially low down.
A party of Long-tailed Tits moving through the woodland was accompanied by Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, and Marsh Tit.  Goldcrests also moved with the flock.
Always a welcome bird to see is Woodcock, and a single bird was seen on this visit twisting and turning through trees before alighting within the swampy habitat at Cranberry Rough.  The Woodcock for me is one of most enigmatic species, a bird whose habits on the ground are rarely observed.
Being a swampy habitat, Cranberry Rough has tree species which are associated with such environments, this includes many Alders.  This tree, along with Birch, attracts small Finches to feed in, particularly Siskins, and today a flock of 30+ were seen, however, they were quite flight and mobile and rarely settled to feed where I was watching.

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