Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Little Hockham and Foulden Common, Norfolk

8 Snipe
3 Woodcock
2 Water Rail (singles 2 sites)
High Finch/Bunting count (Foulden)

Little Hockham
This morning I visited a very ancient site, which topographically has remained unchanged since the end of the Ice age.  A great variety of habitats exist here, however, this morning my main effort was given to the swampy periphery in search of Woodcock.
As with recent field trips I have noticed that Song Thrushes are present in what I would regard as very healthy numbers, this mornings visit to this site produced at least 8 singing males.
A careful walk through swampy habitat around the periphery produced 3 Woodcock, an expected species to see.  I am sure given the habitat here this number is just a fraction of Woodcock actually present.  In similar habitat a calling Water Rail was heard.
The woodland around the site produced several Bullfinches with a pair of these beauties seen in the above habitat.  A male Reed Bunting was heard in song.

On route to Foulden Common I stopped to watch along a hedgerow corridor at the edge of the village where I noticed a lot of small bird activity.  What a great experience to witness what must have been probably 150 to 200 birds of varying species feeding spilt grain on a track between hedgerows.  The most numerous species was Chaffinch with Greenfinches, smaller numbers of Yellowhammers, Reed Buntings, and a few Bullfinches.  The mass of birds seen here was quite special.  

Foulden Common
This afternoon I visited the large, unspoilt Foulden Common.  Most effort was given to the drier edges of the common and the fine boundary hedgerows here.
Tit species were well represented here, however, a pair of well-watched Coal Tits reminded me that the numbers of these diminutive Tits will be less here away from the large Pine compartments in the Brecks.  These Coal Tits spent some time in a small Sycamore where they visited many of the hanging bunches of dried seed cases in their search for invertebrate prey.
Bullfinches appeared as a common species in hedgerows and thickets.
Overhead, a small flock of 8 Snipe circled and called, presumably these birds were disturbed from nearby fen habitat.  Also here a Water Rail called.

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