A diary of my birding activity covering highlights and photos from my birding adventures. Mainly Norfolk (UK), occasionally beyond. I might mention the odd thing that isn't avian, but for moth and other insect news check out my mothing diary.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Breckland birding

Dave and I headed to the Brecks again yesterday.  We started at dawn at the Great Pingo Trail - a new site for me.  A nice place despite the drizzle but we didn't see much in the way of birds apart from Red Kite, singing Treecreeper and Chiffchaffs.

Longhorn Cattle, Great Pingo Trail, 4th April

Next up was another site-tick - Cranberry Rough.  More Chiffchaffs, a flock of Siskins, Marsh Tit and a couple of Little Egrets was about the lot but it's a site with good potential - the mere is one to watch.

A quick drive by Threxton Hill produced both male Reeves's Pheasant x Pheasant hybrids but the surrounding area failed to deliver any pure Reeves's Pheasants again - is anybody still seeing them?  A Stone-Curlew and a pair of Tree Sparrows were nice to see in the process of looking.

At Santon Downham Keiran had seen a hybrid goose that from his photo looked likely to be Swan Goose x Canada Goose.  We arrived just in time to see it flying over.

presumed Swan Goose x Canada Goose hybrid (with Greylag Goose), Santon Downham, 4th April

The riverside path also produced 2 pairs of Nuthatches, 3 Mandarins, Kingfisher, Water Rail (heard), 8 Siskin, more Chiffchaffs but Green and Great Spotted were the only woodpeckers.

Mandarins, Santon Downham, 4th April

Another hybrid goose flew over the fishing lakes at Wissington, this time a domestic Greylag x Canada.  A wander down the path produced another singing Treecreeper, at least 4 more singing Chiffchaffs and a flock of 40 Fieldfare.  Back at the fishing lakes a Kingfisher called and the domestic Greylag Goose x Canada Goose hybrid was now settled.

domestic Greylag Goose x Canada Goose hybrid, Wissington, 4th April

I was surprised to see 5 Pink-footed Geese at Pentney though Dave tells me they're often seen there.  We decided to head up to Leziate/Bawsey area and on the way discovered a fantastic lake that we didn't realise existed.  It's presumably fairly recently flooded - it's not on the maps and it certainly wasn't there last time I birded this area, though it didn't look very fresh so has presumably been there a while.  It's near Ashwicken - not 100% sure but I'm guessing it's Ashwicken Fen, a site I've heard mentioned in reports a few times. As we headed to a viewing point from the car we flushed a Small Tortoiseshell, only my second butterfly this year, and a Barn Owl paraded up and down giving us some nice views.  

Barn Owl, Ashwicken, 4th April

Looking out across the lake I picked up a female Goldeneye and a dozen Curlew flew over with more on the bank across the lake - at least 26 Curlew in total.  As we scanned through the many large gulls (I imagine they're birds off the tip at Blackborough End - perhaps a good place to watch them from) a pair of adult Mediterranean Gulls flew over, along with a first-year bird.  Round the other side we saw more Treecreepers and Chiffchaffs.

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