Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Boughton Fen, Norfolk 0710-0930

This morning I decided to visit for my first time, the wonderful Boughton Fen.  I arrived at about 0710 with low cloud and light rain and drizzle.  Light was poor but improved towards the latter part of my stay.
Boughton Fen 4th March
Boughton Fen is located about 16 miles west of my home in Watton and lies between the villages of Oxborough and Eastmoor.
Boughton Fen is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is maintained by a very dedicated band of volunteers, whose work has clearly benefited wildlife, and it is to them that I give credit to for giving us a site which is highly attractive to a host of bird species.

30+ Lapwing
7+ Water Rail
4 Marsh Harriers (display seen)
50+ Greylag Geese+
Canada Geese
Wood Pigeon
Collared Dove
6+ Cetti's Warblers (singing males)
Great Tit
Marsh Tit
Long-tailed Tit
10+ Song Thrushes (singing males)
House Sparrow
2 Bullfinch (pair)
7+ Reed Buntings (singing males)

Reed Bunting (male) At least 7 singing males at Boughton Fen

Always an obvious bird in spring is the Reed Bunting.  The male bird generally sits in a conspicuous branch from where he delivers his staccato song.
Most birds seen today at Boughton Fen were seen in a bush or small tree within a reed-bed, a typical habitat.  I love to know birds by their local, or colloquial names, and the Reed Bunting is known in Norfolk as 'The Parson of the Marsh', a very apt name for this gorgeous bird.
In line with my recent observations it was pleasing to  hear at least 10 Song Thrushes in song, a healthy population following on from declines a few years ago.
I think it was back in the early 1970's when Cetti's Warblers were first recorded in the UK, since then, this secretive bird has significantly expanded its range and occupies many suitable habitats, this was indeed the case this morning when at least 6 singing Cetti's Warblers gave their explosive song from within cover.  I am sure more are present on Boughton Fen.
My walk around the fen produced at least 7 Water Rails calling from deep within cover.

Hockham 1600-1700
I paid a late afternoon visit to Hockham where at least 12 Grey Herons were seen, also, 2 Little Egrets were present.  2 Water Rails were heard.  Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, several Teal, 1 Buzzard, and a 'drumming' Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard.
Little Egret at Hockham 4th March (One of 2 birds present).

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