Trip reports

Spring Weekend to East Anglia Breckland Saturday 28th to Monday 30th of March 2015

Spring Weekend to East Anglia Breckland Saturday 28th to Monday 30th of March 2015
Barn Owl Stephen Chippendale

Friday, 3 April 2015

Day 1 started with the 2 minibuses collecting everyone and meeting up at West Bretton. Breakfast was eaten at the Little Chef at North Muskham and we then continued to RSPB Frampton Marsh here there were lots of Geese mostly Brent's, but some Grey Lag and Canada's were seen. There was also lots of waterfowl including Teal, Widgeon and Coots. Waders were also seen mostly Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit. There were not many small birds because of the wind, but Tree Sparrow and Goldfinch were seen on the feeders near the visitor centre. Few raptors other than Buzzards were seen all weekend, but a few managed to see Hen Harrier and Merlin on the Salt Marsh at Frampton and near the car park weasel was seen. After lunch in the car park we set off for Lakenheath in Suffolk. On arrival it was still very windy so small birds were again difficult, but Greenfinch and Reed bunting were seen on the feeders. Out on the reserve it was quiet, but most people heard Cetti's Warbler and saw Marsh Harrier and Whooper Swan, whilst only a few saw the Cranes. Stoat was seen by Brenda near the Visitor Centre. We then left for Swatham and Dinner.
Day 2 consisted of visits to 4 reserves where we hoped to see Breckland birds i.e. Stone Curlew, but as the weather was wet as well as windy the outlook was poor. First stop Lynford Arboretum for Hawfinch, but no luck we saw mostly Tits including Marsh Tit, some finches were seen mostly Chaffinches and Song Thrush and Chiff-Chaff were heard. So on to our next stop Mayday Farm were we had hoped to see Goshawk, but again the weather was against us and they were not seen, but Sparrow Hawk and Wood Lark were. We then went to Santon Downham for lunch in the car park, where the rain stopped; here we saw Long-tailed tits and finches including Greenfinch. After lunch we went for a pleasant walk by the Little Ouse were we had fantastic views of Kingfisher, Goldcrests and Grey Wagtails and Wren, Chiff Chaff and Mandarin Duck were also seen. We then travelled to our final reserve of Cavenham Heath. As we arrived the rain started again, but we decided to risk a walk up the track by the heath to try for Stone Curlew, but as we walked the weather got worse and worse in fact it got so bad we had to shelter behind some trees. I think the Hail and swirling wind we had there was the worst weather I have ever been out in. Eventually the rain eased and we made a quick dash back to the buses. As we had time to spare we decided to go back to Lynford again, but we were still unlucky, Yellow Hammer, Brambling and Siskin were seen. We then left for the hotel and dinner.
Day 3 was the journey home via the coast. The rain had now stopped, but it was still windy. 1st stop was Roydon Common where a Great Grey Shrike had over wintered, but there was no sign of it, but Several Kestrels, a Barn Owl and Wood Lark were seen. We then moved on to Flitcham Abbey Farm for Little Owl and Grey Partridge and this time we were luckier and Little Owl was seen, as were Egyptian Geese, Buzzard and Hares. We then moved on to Holkham, where some of the group got a close up view of Barn Owl, a Pink foot Goose and a Rough-legged Buzzard was also seen. Some people had lunch here whilst others had it at Titchwell which was to be our final stop of the day before heading off home. Titchwell is always a good site at any time or in any weather so we hopped for a good afternoon and we were not disappointed. There were lots of waterfowl with good views of Brent Geese, Shoveler and Red Crested Potchard. There were also lots of waders; Avocets and both Bar and Black tailed Godwits were present along with many other waders including Ruff. The beach was a little quiet because of the wind, but Red-breasted Merganser and Sanderling were seen. On the way back from the beach Linnets were seen and 2 mammals were also seen, Chinese Water Deer and Wood Mouse in the Car park. We then return to the buses for Dinner and home.
To sum up everyone enjoyed the weekend in spite of the weather and the Hotel was good. Most said it would be worth going again. What made it more interesting were the things seen whilst travelling both Hare and Rabbit and 3 Species of deer (Red, Roe and Muntjac?) Were seen along with birds like, Red Kite, Kestrel, Red-legged Partridge and many others which helped us see on the trip 105 species of birds and 9 species of mammals.