Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Water Rail at Thompson Water, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Hockham, Norfolk 0710-0900

I arrived at Hockham at 0710 in good light although cloud was set to increase bringing rain at around 0900, I therefore thought I would take this early window of opportunity to get some birding in.
A good selection of species were seen or heard this morning (static watch), both resident species, some local movements, and Gull passage.  Midway through my visit I was joined by my good birding friend Peter Dolton.

12+  Grey Heron
Water Rail
Mallard
Greylag Geese
Canada Geese
1 Goshawk (female)
Lesser Black-backed Gull - a light westerly passage
2 Common Gull > west
Great Spotted Woodpecker 2 'drumming'
Green Woodpecker
Nuthatch
Treecreeper singing male
Woodlark singing male
Carrion Crow
3+ Goldcrest
1 Brambling over east
1 Redpoll over east
Siskin
Chaffinch
1 Reed Bunting singing male

Good numbers of Grey Herons (12+) were seen, often these elegant birds perched in the topmost branches of trees where the early light made them somewhat conspicuous.  Despite the large size of the Grey Heron, one bird was clearly alarmed when at 0755, a female Goshawk appeared low over the tree canopy in a long glide, remaining in sight for about ten seconds before going out of sight in woodland.  The Goshawk was clearly hunting and intent on spooking an unsuspecting Pigeon or Crow.  I think the Goshawk was sitting somewhere within woodland as passing Carrion Crows were stooping towards the canopy, surely where the Goshawk was sitting, waiting.
Overhead, a light westerly passage of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a couple of Common Gulls was seen.
Other local movements included a single Brambling and a single Redpoll overhead in an easterly heading.
I could hear a distant male Reed Bunting singing his staccato song, he was soon located on the top of a young Alder where he continued to sing.  Despite the distance, the Reed Buntings salient plumage features were seen including the black head and bib, this strongly contrasted with the white underparts in the strong early morning light.  Occasionally he turned position to reveal his brownish mantle, again, contrasting with the black head.

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