The Brecks - 13 February 2017

Monday 13 February 2017.

After an early awakening at 04:30, we arrived at RSPB Lakenheath Fen just before 07:30. 7 Roe Deer were immediately on show from the entrance track, with another 3 frolicking in the woods near the start of the reserve trail.

We made our way to Joist Fen viewpoint in the hope of seeing some Cranes. A Great White Egret dropped in, and after a while 2 Crane put in an appearance, followed by another 3. They put on a superb aerial display when another 4 took to the air, with a total of 9 Cranes on show at the same time - spectacular!

Another Great White dropped in, shortly before the aforementioned bird took to the air again and headed across the river. A male Kingfisher also showed in the reedbed here, with a minimum of 5 Marsh Harriers quartering Joist Fen.

Kingfisher - phonescoped

Content with our views here, we headed west along the Little Ouse and after a relatively short walk caught up with 3 GWEs giving obscured views across the river, bringing the morning total to 4. Little else of note was discovered on the walk back to the car park, with 2 drake Pintail present on the flash across the Little Ouse. After 3 hours on site, we headed to the next destination of Santon Downham, where we had reasonable views of the target species for the site - Brambling, with Coal Tit and Nuthatch also present around the car park.

Brambling - Santon Downham

Eristalis tenax - Santon Downham

We arrived at the final destination of Lynford Arboretum at 2pm. A slow walk to the Hawfinch roost site produced a couple of Bullfinch and good numbers of Brambling and Siskin.


Bullfinch - phonescoped

Brambling - Lynford

Shortly after arrival Hawfinch started dropping in which was a great spectacle to watch, albeit at distance.


Hawfinch coming into roost

Hawfinch coming into roost

Hawfinch - phonescoped

Hawfinch - phonescoped

With small groups of between 1 and 7 Hawfinch steadily streaming in, this was a good opportunity to practice my in-flight photography ready for the spring and autumn vismig, with some poor record shots obtained! 1-2 Crossbill as well as quite a few Brambling also flew over, with circa 30ish Hawfinch in the roost by the time we departed this area at 15:50.

Hawfinch - a bit distant for the 150-500mm
Hawfinch - the more you look the more you see!
Brambling flyovers


Hawfinch conifers

There are certainly some impressive Hawfinch numbers at Lynford at the moment with peak counts of around 70 recently - are they continental birds or have they originated from elsewhere in Britain? Your guess is as good as mine. A quick look at Lynford gravel pits produced 2 Goosander (adult and 1w drake), a drake Goldeneye with a small group of Tufties and a single Kingfisher.

Drake Goosander

Drake Goosander

We left at dusk and began the journey home after a successful day, thanks Howard for arranging it.
The Brecks are a really nice area in general and I'm sure I'll be back soon...

Happy birding,