Wednesday 15 February 2023

Birding in the Brecks

It's been a while, but today we managed a day's birding in the brecks. We began the day at Lakenheath hoping to connect with the recently reported Tundra Geese. We walked along the grass bank, stopping briefly to scan the washland. Four Whooper Swans were present on the water and a Great Egret was seen at the edge of the reeds. As we rounded the bend an Otter was spotted ahead of us. It was a brief view and the only view we got despite scanning up and down the river several times.

A frosty and misty start at the Lakenheath washland

We walked the length of the river bank scanning each group of Canada and Greylag Geese for any sign of the Tundra geese. There was no sign of the geese, but we did see another two Great Egrets. We walked the return route back to the New Fen Viewpoint and managed to add Bearded Tit and Water Rail to the year list. Returning to the river bank we noted much higher numbers of geese present, but a dredger flushed them all before we could scan through them. Luckily several groups soon returned and I managed to spot the three Bean Geese flying towards the washland. 

Tundra Bean Geese

Whooper Swans

The main target today was Goshawk and after leaving Lakenheath we headed for Cockley Cley. The news from the guys present wasn't very encouraging, and they soon decided to head off. We stuck it out and were rewarded with several sightings. First, a single bird flew into view, and then a pair showed some display interaction before perching up in the taller pines. Although distant for the camera the scope views were fantastic! As well as the Goshawks there were Peregrine, Sparrowhawks, Kestrels, and double figures of Buzzards.


Hand held Phone shot through the scope

Before the guys left they had seen Brambling feeding in the set-aside a short distance away, but all I could manage were Chaffinch, Linnet, and Goldfinch. Another addition to the year list came in the form of a Woodlark. We heard it singing at regular intervals, then it flew into the top of the tree next to us and then landed in the field behind us.

Our last site of the day was Lynford, but again we failed to see any Hawfinch despite another couple of hours of searching.  However, the good news was that someone had started putting seed down again at the gate, and while watching four Yellowhammers a single Brambling dropped in to feed among them.

16th: We made a brief visit to Bramfield this afternoon and within a minute of being on-site managed to see a Hawfinch!

St Andrew's Church, Bramfield