After a fiery dawn, It looked like it was going to another fine, still day so it
was off to the Brecks after breakfast on an interesting route that started
cross country towards Dereham (via Bernard Matthews pad!) before dropping down
I veered into Cockley Cley in the hope of some Goshawk
action and encountered a line of cars and a few familiar faces. It was a little too calm but after a while I found
up a fine male powering along the treeline which was my cue to leave
and head down the road to Lynford Arboretum.
A short walk later and I was watching four each of Brambling
and Yellowhammer feeding on the ally alongside the house along with the usual
assortment of tits, Nuthatches and other finches.
Down at the paddock there were already Hawfinches feeding and they would periodically fly up into the lone Hornbeam and sit
unobtrusively for a while before dropping back down to feed. This was the best time to count them and I
reckoned on a minimum of 26 but there could have been a few more. The sun was out and they shone and sparkled.
|The Hawfinch Hornbeam|
Little Grebes were trilling on the lake and it actually felt
springlike and for the first time all week I had shed a coat and was without
hat and gloves. The Snowdrop display was superb.
Back at the car for the lunch with the sound of a distant singing
Woodlark off towards the gravel pits. I
ambled that way and found two males up in the blue singing mournfully in ever
decreasing circles until they both chose to plummet to the ground and invisibility.
Great Crested Grebes engaged in some pre-nuptials and the
Tufted Duck flotilla was dazzling in the sunshine and were also making squeezy toy noises. It took a while to find the Goosanders but
two male and a female were found on the westerly pit where Bullfinches called
from the Birchy margins.
Santon Downham next for a riverside walk. I was after Lesser
Spotted Woodpecker and although I may well have heard them tapping, I could not
find the little buggers. There was ample
recompense with six pair of Marsh Tits and two calling Willow Tits on the
Suffolk side of the river back in the alders.
I have previously heard no reports from there this year.
Four Little Grebes were along the margins and I was really hoping
for Otter and the light in my eyes precluded my spotting one up on the bank but
not hearing the plop and following the bubble stream. It emerged in some
grasses and looked to my right where the only person I had seen all walk was approaching
with a dog. I waved at him and pointed
and was delighted at his considered response. He stopped and put the lead on
his dog and only approached when I waved again.
The Otter watched the hound the whole way before silently slipping under
and out of view. We stood quietly and waited but it did not reappear in view
but a wondrous encounter none the less.
A Reed Bunting called from the damp plot towards the railway
and a big bushy Fox bounced through the field with the Highland Cattle in.
|Reed Bunting |
The day was waning but I still fancied another walk and so
wiggled through to RSPB Lakenheath for dusk.
In retrospect this was not the greatest of ideas as I completely underestimated
how long the walk is down to the Joist Fen viewpoint and by the time I got there
the sun only had about thirty minutes left in the tank. It was however, a most enjoyable time on a
calm and increasingly cold evening. Water Rails called all around and Reed
Buntings fed quietly in small groups in the top of the Phragmites. Bearded Tits pinged and Cetti’s Warblers
called and I could hear groaning Great Crested Grebes, whirring Shoveler wings
and the plop of diving Coots.
Marsh Harriers incessantly quartered and a Barn Owl drifted
along the river wall where three single Great White Egrets and a single Little
were seen all heading east towards Hockwold but of a Bittern and the Cranes
there was no sign.
Hundreds of Greylag Geese were flighting from hidden pools
out onto the surrounding farmland and a flock of 33 Fieldfare circled before
dropping into some bushes to roost. Just
after Sol set I could hear the Cranes but they were not flying and there were definitely
several birds involved somewhere way off beyond the railway. I pictured them in
a field dancing and prancing to their own inner music.
It brought a smile to my face as I headed
back in the company of friendly Suffolk birder.
We exchanged tales and shared birding acquaintances from the last thirty-odd
years with the sound of conversationalist corvids in the last of the remaining
poplars and a late Kingfisher dashing home for the night. It was almost fully
dark and the moon was glowing for the journey back to the Pod.
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