Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Friday, 11 March 2016

Hockham and Merton, Norfolk

Finally, something now resembling Spring greeted us both yesterday and this morning.  Gone has the torrential overnight rains from a couple of nights ago which has left much of the garden saturated to more settled conditions, although still rather cool.

A walk through forest habitat early morning produced many singing Song Thrushes, Goldcrests, and Treecreepers.  Concerns were seen in recent years regarding Song Thrush numbers, however, I think they are recovering and doing well.  A small flock of 20+ Siskins seen feeding in Alders.
Greylag Geese at Hockham 11/03/16

A good selection of Wildfowl seen with several pairs of Greylag Geese, also Canada Geese present. Duck species were represented by many Teal, some were calling whilst some pairs seen roosting on land.  2 pairs of Shovelers seen, their distinctive spatulate bill a diagnostic feature.  The male Shoveler looked particularly stunning with their bottle green heads and necks (small golden eye) contrasting with the white breast.  The lovely looking chestnut flank patch is also a distinctive feature with the male of this species.  One pair of Wigeon also seen.
As expected, many Snipe (10+) seen within a small area of fen-habitat.
The woodland periphery held 150+ Redwings, many of these were singing males.  These would have been resting/feeding passage birds en-route to their breeding grounds in Scandinavia.
A Reed Bunting was singing and eventually located and 'scoped in the top of a young Sallow within reeds. A stunning looking bird with its Black head and chin relieved by a white moustachial stripe and white collar. The upperparts appearing brown and streaked and somewhat resembled its reedbed surroundings.
The surrounding woodland habitat held at least 3 'drumming' Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 2 calling Green Woodpeckers.  A Mistle Thrush sang nearby.

Tree Sparrows at Merton 11/03/16

An afternoon walk to the lovely little village of Merton was productive with 20+ Tree Sparrows watched in traditional habitat.  House Sparrows also seen with one bird carrying nesting material.
A few Siskins watched in Alders.  A Robin was seen carrying nesting material.

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