Wednesday, 15 March 2017
On Wednesday 15th March, an early start out at Santon Downham, from the bridge we walked a mile east along the river, hearing calling Yellowhammers, until we reached a fallen down tree where the footpath diverts, just before that I heard the faint tapping of a Woodpecker but couldn't see anything as we arrived here. About an hour and a half later we heard the kee-kee-kee call of a Lesser- spotted woodpecker but again couldn't locate it. We saw around a dozen Redwings here. We left at 10.50am had we stayed until 11am we would have bumped into Carl B, Ali, Maurice & Roy, who saw it at 11am. We reached the Goshawk site around 20 minutes later and there were already 3 cars here. Including the very sharp tour leader Marcus N, who picked up our target birds. Almost immediately we saw a fine immature Goshawk flying around and then brief views of an adult Goshawk.Later on the immature Goshawk flew right in front of the woods good views through the scope showing distinctive broad wings and a reasonably long tail with dark brown banding on a lighter grey tail. Carl B, Ali R, Roy H and Maurice B then turned up just before the Goshawks started to show really well. The upper parts were mottled brown above and dark bands on the flights feathers, a really smart bird. Later adult Goshawk the flew left looking almost Buzzard sized with great big fluffy cotton wool almost wrap around undertail coverts, grey upper parts dark hood around the eye and whitish underparts with shortish tail and a heavy hip. It later flew right. we also saw around a dozen Buzzards and a smaller Sparrowhawk. Whilst travelling a mile south of this site, I spotted a fine Red Kite flying over the field. We then went to another site for Great Grey Shrike where we bumped into Mick F, who'd just been watching it, it had just dropped down and out of sight by an island of bushes and a couple of small bare trees. In a fenced arable type field, I saw 2 Wood Larks fly in, really well marked birds looking almost 'Whinchat like' but they then run down a furrow away from us but were later seen feeding in the furrow half way down. Meanwhile Roy shouted and we saw the fine Great Grey Shrike perched on top of a very tall mature tree. Later it was seen down a ride of newly planted confers perched on the top of these too. We then searched for Tim's camera bag as he couldn't find it, apparently it had been mistakenly taken and with the power of twitter and Keith D's help from Great Yarmouth we were able to reconnect Tim with his camera and big relief all around. Next stop was Santon Downham, down the feeder tunnel, a Nuthatch kept coming to the peanuts from the right hand bird feeder and a female Brambling drank from the concrete water ground dispenser. The tour leader then picked up 2 male Hawfinches and two fine male were feeding on white blossom near a distant tree. Walking down to the bridge, a Crossbill came to drink by a watery area we overlooked albeit obscured totally by reeds. It flew off but then 2 Crossbill, and finally a further 5 Crossbill flew into a bare tree and later flew up to a tall tree where the 7 Crossbills including a male, immature male, female and at least 2 immature birds. By a very close bird feeder, male Reed Bunting and Great and Blue Tits seen feeding here. Back at the tunnel a fine male Brambling drank from the concrete trough and later perched in vegetation by the right feeders. Jenny informed me she had seen some frogspawn in the fish pond later today.