Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 2 January 2017

Lynford Water and Hockham, Norfolk

Following the gloomy conditions of new years day, today dawned bright with a slight frost.  It remained bright throughout the day.
I decided to visit Lynford Water this morning in the knowledge that cold, bright conditions may produce winter duck species. 
Lynford Water at dawn on 2nd January 2017
This site, a former gravel extraction pit, is along with Thompson Water, probably on of the most important wetland sites on my patch for wildfowl and scarce and rare species.  A wide range of habitats seen here will serve to bring forth a delightful visit to birders of all levels.
An initial walk of woodland and woodland clearings produced not only a lovely wintry scene but also a lone singing Song Thrush, a wonderful sound to break the early morning silence.
My aim this morning was to check the large areas of water for winter duck species.  An initial scan produced lots of Tufted Duck with lesser numbers of Gadwall, about 10 Teal, a pair of Shoveler, and 5 Mute Swans.  A further 5 Mute Swans passed overhead.
Great White Egret at Lynford Water 2nd January
A single Great White Egret was seen on a distant shoreline, sometimes close to a Grey Heron which offered a good size comparison.  This tall, elegant Heron species is a very scarce bird, although it is being seen with increasing frequency throughout the country.  A  single Little Egret was seen, again offering an opportunity to appreciate the size and structural differences between these two closely related species.
Whilst watching the Great White Egret, 2 male Goosanders flew in and settled on the water.  A total of 3 of these sawbills would be seen here today.
Checking the larger of the two lakes, a raft of Tufted Duck included within their numbers 5 Goldeneye (3 males).  What a stunning duck the Goldeneye is, especially the male with his large dark head with conspicuous 'golden-eye' and white patch close to the base of the bill.
5 Goldeneye on Lynford Water with Tufted Duck
Goldeneye and Tufted Duck at Lynford Water 2nd Jan.
Also on the water was a single Great Crested Grebe whilst the woodland periphery held calling Egyptian Geese (3) and a few Cormorants.  A single Kingfisher typically shot low over the water and alighted in overhanging branches on the lake-side.
A few small numbers of Siskins overflew in variable directions. 2 Fieldfare passed over also.
A noisily calling Marsh Tit was heard along with Great and Blue Tits.  A mobile flock of Long-tailed Tits moved through waterside habitat.
This was my first field trip of the new year with a final total of 43 species present at this site.
Finally, as I approached home, my first Red Kite of the year was seen soaring overhead.

Hockham (approaching sunset)
A flock of 100+ Redwings was seen in mixed woodland habitat close to the Peddars Way footpath.

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