With Winter slipping away I had a chance to grab a quick hour at the breckland birding hotspot that is Lynford Arboretum. In recent weeks one of the star birds the Hawfinch has been slipping away into the nearby conifer forests to think about setting up breeding territories but with up to twenty birds (perhaps some generous counting) recently it was still worth a look.
The day had started with torrential rain so a clear and fine afternoon was an unexpected bonus which I hoped would bring out the birds in force. Early calling birds included marsh tit, great tit, long-tailed tit, blue tit and wren with a fine high pitched whirl of goldcrest calling high above. Pushed for time I didn’t hunt out the other local speciality of firecrest but doubtless they were about. The first birds to show well were brambling and a small flock were feeding on the ground by some large feeders very colourful but to far away for all but the longest of lenses to capture.
I walked down to the little stone bridge by the Halls Lake next and picked off some more locals in the form of blackbird, dunnock, woodpigeon and plentiful Jackdaws which haunt the Hall all year round with their evocative calls. At the bridge there was still some traces of bird food left out by visitors which attracted in some chaffinches.
Soon after I had arrived I was joined by a couple who had brought numerous healthy treats for the local birds and as they scattered them about and filled up the feeders the place came alive with birds like a scene out of snow white. First to touch down were a pair of long tailed tits.
Next to appear:
Not all the birds hung around for a photo opportunity coal tits performed their standard hit and run and a male reed bunting did similar. Watching all of this and me was almost unnoticed and unphotographed a fine female crossbill which was watching from a low branch of an alder a long way from my usual view of these birds, high up in a conifer tree.
The nearby paddocks lured me away from my feeding friends and thanks to some fellow birders I got a quick view of a Hawfinch in the tops of their favourite Hornbeams. Whilst the views were a bit limited as the bird in question was either sleepy or sulking it was still a pleasure to see accompanied by more siskins and a redwing and a jay. I had unfortunately run out of time and only scratched the surface of what Lynford has to offer so walked back to the bridge to the sound of noisy canada geese and a calling little grebe with a quick photo opportunity of another local.
Locally in the last week the village has seen repeat visits from the almost famous Hethersett tree sparrow and some fly over cormorants a less than common sight. I leave the post with the now regular, and this week very seasonal but slightly unexpected video of some furry friends from my WEBS site at nearby Marlingford.