Wednesday, 9 March 2011

After being inspired by Ben's recent blog post and a converstion with someone on the reserve, I decided to head down to the Brecks today for some early spring birding. The plan was to look for lesser spotted woodpeckers at a couple of sites where they had been showing recently.

First stop was Lynford. Not exactly the best conditions as it was rather windy but at least it was dry and bright. No hawfinches in the paddocks so I headed straight to the area where the woodpeckers have been. First bird in the area was a singing marsh tit followed by a drumming great spot. A walk further up the stream produced another marsh tit and a flock of redwings including several singing. As I was watching a great spot, another bird higher up caught my eye - a cracking male lesser spotted woodpecker! As elusive as ever, the bird moved quickly off and despite hearing is calling I didn't see it again. A search for firecrest failed to produce anything so I headed off for goshawks.

On arrival, several other birders had seen a couple of birds but by now the weather had changed for the worse and there was hail and rain about. At least 10 crossbills were in the area and a couple males kept perching in the tall trees giving scope views. Two woodlarks and a buzzard kept us awake but no goshawks. As the weather cleared, 2 buzzards appeared followed shortly after by a male goshawk. He flew across the area and then came back and started to display. We then realised that there was a female moving over higher up. Both birds moved slowly over the area with the male giving a full display flight - awesome birds!

Final stop was Santon Downham to look again for lesser spots. A displaying male had been seen earlier in the day but I was probably a bit too late and didn't see anything of them. Some confiding redpolls (below) were feeding along the path and allowed me to get close enough to get some reasonable shots.

On the way home I managed to bump into 9 buzzards and 4 red kites between Fakenham and Swaffham.

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