Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
More discoveries. NEW: Zeiss Victory SF 32

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

A prelude to Minsmere part 1 (Norfolk)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Tuesday 8th April 2003, 20:34   #1
Reader
 
Reader's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Coventry
Posts: 6,309
A prelude to Minsmere part 1 (Norfolk)

I pulled away from Birmingham at 03:30 am and 150 miles, and 2 & half-hours later; I pulled into the Wayland Wood Car Park in Norfolk. My quarry, the Golden Pheasant that are resident there. I dipped out on them two weeks previously so I had arrived at the crack of dawn to hopefully track them down by their call, as they are usually vocal at that time of day.

There was a Ford Fiesta parked in the small car park with the driver’s window down and the engine was running. I paid no attention to it, thinking that the driver was probably following the call of nature somewhere in the wood. I sat in the car for a few minutes listening for any calls and still the car engine was running, but no sign of the driver. The wood was full of song. Chaffinch, Greenfinch Wren, Blackbird, Robin, Chiffchaff, Crows, Woodpigeon, Marsh, Great, Blue and Long tail Tits could be heard everywhere as well a couple of Nuthatch and a Green Woodpecker that was yaffling in the distance. Our usual Pheasants were screeching and fluttering their wings all over the wood. A Treecreeper flew across me and seemed to stick to the side of a tree trunk, before flying on further into the wood and out of sight.

Over the far side of the wood I heard a Golden Pheasant call so I was off. I decided not to take my camera, as any sightings of these birds are either a Linford Christie type sprint across a ride or a fleeting glimpse under tangled undergrowth. As I passed the other car I looked in and what I saw was a sight that shook me somewhat. It was a young couple that had fallen asleep obviously mid way through a love making session. This made for a funny story, at the Ship at Dunwich, when I recounted this moment to the other members present.

I had walked a couple of hundred yards when a Golden Pheasant called right by the side of me. First thoughts were to look into the undergrowth but I couldn’t see any movement. It called again and I looked up to see the bird perched about ten feet up on a tree and only about 15 feet away from me. It was posing for me and I hadn’t brought my camera. Jeez that would have been a good one for the gallery. I eased away gently, until it was out of sight, and then rushed back to the car for my camera but when I got back to where the Pheasant had been it had gone. At least I had gotten my first target bird.

My next two target birds could hopefully be located at Lynford Arboretum so that was my next port of call. As I passed Lynford Hall a lovely Muntjac strolled across the path of my car and into the wood to the left of me. I tried for a photo but it was much too dark in there and no images were captured.

I arrived at Lynford Arboretum car park where the trees seemed alive with Chaffinches, as they seemed to be everywhere. I realised that I ought to be looking for photo opportunities for the new competition so I looked skywards, to the top of the trees, but nothing was showing. Still, on a gorgeous sunny morning such as this day, surely opportunities would come my way. A couple of Jays were high up in the tree canopy making a real racket. They moved swiftly through the trees but their noise seemed to echo throughout the woods. A couple of Coal Tit could be seen in the car park and as I watched them I became aware of another bird further back in the trees. It came nearer to the front and it was a beautiful male Brambling, just coming into its summer plumage. The orange and black seemed to sparkle in the sunlight.

I walked back across the road; I had arrived on, and carried on towards the small lake and bridge. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was first bird seen, followed by a Song Thrush in full song. The thrush was situated right at the top of a tree so I had a chance to go for a comp photo but as usual it wouldn’t stay still. I tracked it up and down the branch as it moved, first one way then the other, firing one shot off after another. I managed a few average shots and I have put the best one of them in the gallery.

Moving swiftly on towards the bridge a movement caught my eye. I turned to look at the base of the tree where the Song Thrush had been and couldn’t believe my eyes. 4 Male Crossbills were doing a Treecreeper type walk up the side of the stump. I was so taken aback by this that I completely forgot all about my camera and just watched, enthralled by their antics. By the time I had my composure back it was too late as they had flown towards where my next port of call was. Still it was a nice way to get my 2nd target bird.

Reaching the bridge I noticed a couple of Wrens that were chattering away and displaying to each other. There was never a chance of taking a photo as they were constantly on the move, in and out of the reeds and undergrowth, and you never knew where they would turn up next. A few times they popped up only feet from me but soon dropped back into the depths of the reeds.

Moving on I came to the area well known for my third target bird, Hawfinch. Just past the bridge is a field, on your right, with a row of Hornbeams and it is here, either in the trees or the leaf litter, that you can usually find them. Another birder joined me and we both scanned seemingly every blade of grass, leaf and branches in the vain hope of seeing one of these beauties. All to no avail. A Kestrel swooped over us and as we watched him a flock of birds flew over our heads and into the trees in the middle of the field. They were Crossbills, mainly males, and we counted at least 13 of them. These Crossbills sometimes dropped into the perfect position for me, at the topmost part of the tree, but always moving on when I had aligned the camera on them. The other birder found it extremely funny as I missed chance after chance of getting just one photo of these lovely male Crossbills. After about 90 mins of searching it became a reality that perhaps the Hawfinch weren’t going to show so both of us decided to carry on to Mayday Farm for my next target bird, the Goshawk. On the way back we were treated to more shows by the Crossbills, as they seemed to be following us until they disappeared near to the disabled car park. Once again the Great spotted Woodpecker made an appearance but quickly disappeared from view.

On a day like today, Mayday Farm is a nice place to be. You walk between to rows of pines until you come to a clearing and here is where you find the Goshawk. I will put a more detailed description in the Norfolk County Index.

The other birder (Ivor was his name & hopefully he and his mate will join the forum) and I carried on, passed the bird hide on our left. Along the way we joined up with another birder (hopefully he will join as well). We arrived at the clearing, where, hopefully, the Goshawks would show. Here, on your right, is a small pool of water behind a small fence. It is hidden from view and is totally overgrown, but the birds it attracts are wonderful to watch. Bramblings, Siskins, Lesser Redpolls, Yellowhammer , Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Great & Blue Tit, Long Tail Tit all visited whilst we were there. I managed to get a couple of shots of a Yellowhammer, one of which is in the gallery. But where were the star birds?

We didn’t have to wait long. At about 10am the third birder, who had joined us, spotted them in the distance. Pretty soon we were watching a pair of displaying Goshawks and the size difference between the two sexes soon became evident as they came closer. Every now and again they would drift back into the distance only to reappear again close by. This went on for just over 15 minutes before they disappeared totally from view. That is the first time I have witnessed a pair of displaying Goshawks before. Hopefully it won’t be the last time.

That was it in Norfolk for me as I was now about to venture into the southern regions of Suffolk.
Norfolk, for me, was a brilliant few hours in gorgeous weather. Could I better it in the next few hours in Suffolk?

You will have to read Part 2 to find out where I went, and what I saw.
__________________
Latest British 1st: Blue-headed Eastern Yellow Wagtail: British List: 440. Latest World Lifer Blue-headed Eastern Yellow Wagtail World List: 1095
Reader is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 8th April 2003, 22:37   #2
Andrew
wibble wibble
 
Andrew's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Devon. UK.
Posts: 11,431
Get cracking with the next instalment boyo!!!

I liked this read and felt happy to "see" a Golden Pheasant but disappointed at the lack of the Hawfinch!
__________________
Are you listening to the voice that talks in your head while you read this?
Andrew is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 9th April 2003, 04:09   #3
IanF
Moderator
 
IanF's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Billingham, NE England
Posts: 55,866
Very nicely written JohnJ I thoroughly enjoyed the read
IanF is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Wednesday 9th April 2003, 04:31   #4
Screech
Registered User
 
Screech's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: USA-NEW JERSEY
Posts: 5,807
Very nice read John. Glad to see you had a great day. No picture's of the "couple". ;0)
__________________
Bob Eli

______________
Screech is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Wednesday 9th April 2003, 06:37   #5
Reader
 
Reader's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Coventry
Posts: 6,309
Hey Screech, do you want to get me locked up: LOL
__________________
Latest British 1st: Blue-headed Eastern Yellow Wagtail: British List: 440. Latest World Lifer Blue-headed Eastern Yellow Wagtail World List: 1095
Reader is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 9th April 2003, 15:06   #6
Jasonbirder
Jason-occasional-twitcher
 
Jasonbirder's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Nottinghamshire
Posts: 1,203
Great trip report John & an enjoyable read, you`re covering sites I know well, though I`ve always been strangely unsuccesful at Mayday Farm myself!
__________________
Jason Blackwell
Jasonbirder is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 9th April 2003, 18:26   #7
jtibbetts
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: kinver, west mids
Posts: 379
Great report John!

With regards to hawfinch, i had them in march in the Wyre Forest, just go along the disused railway track to Lodge Hill Farm and stand on the old railway bridge, and scan the old orchard on the opposite side of the track from the farm. Also got Peregrine and Raven here.
Hope this was of some use

Jared
jtibbetts is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 9th April 2003, 18:54   #8
Reader
 
Reader's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Coventry
Posts: 6,309
Jared

I got Hawfinch at the same spot last year. I have tried twice there this year but dipped out each time. That is the area I will be starting at for the bird race. By then the Pied Fly's, Tree Pipits, Redstarts, Garden Warbler, Wood Warbler, Cuckoo and the Resident Dipper are possibilities on the list.

The Wyre Forest, along that track, is one of my very favourite walks, and I have done it on many an occasion. I have done it 4 times already this year. I have even had Goshawk fairly near to that spot.
__________________
Latest British 1st: Blue-headed Eastern Yellow Wagtail: British List: 440. Latest World Lifer Blue-headed Eastern Yellow Wagtail World List: 1095
Reader is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 9th April 2003, 19:42   #9
T0ny
Okillre Member
 
T0ny's Avatar

 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Paston, Norfolk, UK
Posts: 1,091
Quote:
Originally posted by Screech
Very nice read John. Glad to see you had a great day. No pictures of the "couple". ;0)
Since you were after Pheasant it would have been sporting if you'd caught him on the rise ...

Tony
__________________
When in Danger or in Doubt -
Run in circles, scream and shout.
T0ny is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 10th April 2003, 05:37   #10
kingfisher
Scouser in exile
 
kingfisher's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Taunton, Somerset
Posts: 672
Great report John, very well written and a joy to read, looking forward to the second part
__________________






kingfisher is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

{googleads}

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.12392092 seconds with 23 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 12:31.