Sunday 31st March 2019

A beautiful bright day but decidedly nippy in the cold north-easterly breeze.

We kicked off with a pair of GREY WAGTAILS whilst tucking into a bacon roll and coffee, before heading to the northern edge of The Brecks.

We spent some time here noting a good number of RED KITES, COMMON BUZZARDS, EURASIAN SPARROWHAWKS and over 200 FIELDFARE but unfortunately no sign of any Northern Goshawks.

There was some compensation with a WOODLARK singing overhead which gave good views.

Our next port of call was Santon Downham and we spent time exploring the river where two more GREY WAGTAILS were noted and a singing COMMON FIRECREST remained hidden in dense cover. We found at least 150 LESSER REDPOLL plus a cracking MEALY REDPOLL perched right above us, whilst the air was alive with the sound of BRAMBLINGS ‘wheezing’. A pair of COMMON CROSSBILLS flew over calling.

Other species of note included EURASIAN NUTHATCH, COMMON KINGFISHER, EURASIAN SISKIN and a male BARN SWALLOW drifted northwards over the fields.

Lunch was enjoyed in the sunshine before we drove around to Weeting Heath NWT reserve. It took a few seconds to find the adult ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD, perched on a manure pile before flying off.

A real surprise here was a second year male NORTHERN GOSHAWK seen hunting EURASIAN CURLEWS, but the attack failed and it flew off northwards!

Luckily the ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD returned and we were treated to fantastic views as it hunted right in front of us. We then moved to the hides where a EUROPEAN STONE-CURLEW sat in full view. The feeders nearby held YELLOWHAMMER and EURASIAN NUTHATCH.

The day concluded at Lynford Arboretum where large numbers of BRAMBLING were seen plus around 10 YELLOWHAMMERS, REDWING, COMMON CHAFFINCH, EURASIAN TREECREEPER, COAL, MARSH & LONG-TAILED TITS at the feeders.

A male COMMON FIRECREST sang from close range and we watched it flitting around the scrub with at least another two birds singing in the Arboretum.

We wandered down to the paddocks and on the way had good scope views of a roosting TAWNY OWL high in a pine tree. A single GRASS SNAKE was seen swimming in the lake and a male COMMON CROSSBILL flew past.

Back at the feeders we could hear a calling HAWFINCH but unfortunately it didn’t show. Despite this, we had enjoyed a superb day and seen many quality birds.