11th March 2015 – Basking in the Brecks


The last couple of days have seen glorious early spring weather – frosty nights, but clear and sunny mornings. Perfect for the Brecks. I have been down to Thetford Forest to check up on all the specialities and they have all been performing well.

The Hawfinches, always one of the highlights of the Brecks, continue to show well. March is typically a very good month to catch up with this often elusive species.

IMG_3033Hawfinch – catching the morning sun today

On warm, sunny mornings in early spring, Goshawks display over the forest. There seem to be quite a few young birds wandering around as well, which are always nice to see. Not only to look at themselves, but if they circle over an established territory they can usually be relied upon to stimulate some display activity from the resident adults as well.

P1120270Goshawk – a young (2nd cal year) bird

In the cleared areas within the forest, the Woodlarks are now in full song. A real sound of spring. Though they can be hard to spot on the ground once they land – they are extremely well camouflaged.

P1120281Woodlark – in full song at the moment

Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers are now drumming. This is possibly the hardest to find these days of the specialities to be seen in Thetford Forest, as the species has been in rapid decline. The video clip below was taken last year, but the same bird has been drumming in the last few days (just not when I had my camera ready!).

The Firecrests are also starting to sing. These are one of my personal favourites. I spent some time watching one flycatching in the trees in the sunshine yesterday. What a stunner.

The wintering Great Grey Shrike has been elusive at times, roaming over a large area of forest. However, with time, it is possible to find it, normally perched up on the top of a bush or tree. Hopefully, it will linger a little longer yet.

IMG_3025IMG_3010Great Grey Shrike – a lingering winter visitor

Other winter visitors are also still around – Bramblings and Redwings. And the breeding species are all singing – a wide variety of tits, etc.

P1120296Brambling – a female feeding in the leaf litter

It is a fantastic time to visit the Brecks, if you would like to join us. Brecks Tours will run through March and into early April.




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