April 6th 2019 – Norfolk Exclusive guided birding day in The Brecks

We met at Lynford and then headed straight to Santon Warren, an early morning search for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was on our minds! We passed a small group who were looking without luck. As we reached a third mature Poplar plantation, I heard a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker call, it then called twice more and eventually started the quieter, longer drumming a vocal character of this Woodpecker species.

A bit of scanning and I realised it was only 20m away, a really smart male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, soon joined by a female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. We were treated to special views as they continued to interact and call, before they flew off and were watched briefly further away and then they were gone!

As we walked along the river we enjoyed a plethora of finches! There must have been hundreds of Brambling, they seemed to be calling constantly overhead and from every other set of trees. These were accompanied by many Lesser Redpolls as well, and we enjoyed great views of both in the willows near the bridge and on the feeders in the gardens.

Brambling there was hundreds in the forest today!
Treecreeper – lots of activity today.

Activity in the early morning sunshine was very high, with Grey Wagtails, Treecreepers, Nuthatch, Marsh Tit, Chiff-chaff and Siskin being heard and seen repeatedly, also several of the Treecreeper and Nuthatch were making or modifying nest sites. There was also a pair of Mandarin Ducks back and forth as we walked along the river.

After 3 hours or so along the river, we headed back to the north of The Brecks. We parked up and I scanned and soon located 2 Stone Curlew, cryptically camouflaged amongst the stoney ground! We then moved to another area to start scanning for raptors, as the thermals were gathering momentum. Several Common Buzzards were first to show, then a Red Kite, it took a little longer but eventually our main quarry species – a male Goshawk came up and gave us a nice ten minute display of languid flying and short vertical climbs and drops, what a bird!

Further searching nearby produced a nice mixed flock of 12 Redwing and 30 Fieldfare feeding on the stubble. Plus a Blackcap singing and showing in the hedge.

Today was rounded off really well, with a visit to Lynford late afternoon, 2 singing male Firecrest, the roosting Tawny Owl was just in view, the Crossbills performed admirably arriving to drink at the pools right on cue rounded off with a single Hawfinch perched in the paddock – a great days birding!