Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 27 February 2017

Little Hockham, Norfolk 0725-0900

Signs of Spring and the forthcoming breeding season seen this morning.  A variety of habitats visited including mature, mixed woodland, open woodland, gorse, relic fen, and swampy carr.
Passerine species featured most commonly with a fine concentration of at least 5 singing Yellowhammers seen within Gorse habitat, also nearby in open woodland/fen, a pair of Reed Buntings seen together low down in a Willow with the male giving occasional song.  It was at this time when it was possible to appreciate the plumage differences between the male and female bird.  The male has now developed his breeding plumage, Black head and bib interrupted by the white moustachial stripe, whilst the female has a more browner, patterned head.
The surrounding mixed woodland held 6+ singing Song Thrushes, singing Mistle Thrush, singing Blackbird, Redwings, singing Goldcrest (3+ males), 5+ Treecreepers (4 males singing), Nuthatch, Blue, Great, and Coal Tits. Long-tailed Tits also seen.
The pools around this site produced a pair of Mallards, pair of Gadwall, and a single Grey Heron.
Relic fen habitat holding singing Yellowhammer and a pair of Reed Buntings 27/02/17
Deopham, Norfolk
The site visited this afternoon is very sparsely vegetated, the open, arable habitat here was the site of the former WW2 base, home of the 452nd bomb group which flew B17 Flying Fortresses.
Although appearing barren, there are pockets of valuable habitat (including some wonderful Sallow) which provide shelter for wintering birds as well as good breeding sites for Warblers.  The open habitat here has produced Merlin and passing Harrier species in the past. 
Few species seen on this visit.  Several Skylarks sang against the low, grey cloud, also a single male Yellowhammer seen in flight.  A pair of Linnets passed over.  An isolated patch of field-side scrub held a singing Dunnock.


  1. Have you visited Boughton Fen?
    I discovered it by accidents after stopping to watch a Marsh Harrier that I kept seeing in the area on my way to work.

  2. Thanks for your post. No I haven't visited this location, is it close to Foulden Common?

  3. Not too far. The site is along Stoke Road and Oxborough Road. Lode Dyke is the Eastern Boundary,0.5317932,945m/data=!3m1!1e3

  4. That is very helpful, thank you. I will visit very soon.