Friday, 20 February 2015

Hockham area- Breckland Swamp

A thoroughly enjoyable morning exploring the Hockham area with birding gent Paul Newport, who kindly offered to show me around his patch. Do check out his blog: Paul has birded the area for sometime, and knows every nook, cranny and corner much like I know Surlingham. We enjoyed a great variety of birds from start to finish, and I was especially pleased to see my first Siskins and Lesser Redpoll of the year. Cranberry Rough held both of these species, and what a gem of a site this is. Not far from here we also heard Woodlark, again my first of the year and always an evocative sound.

Hockham Fen is vast, much bigger than I was expecting and an unlikely sight after row upon row of pine and conifer. Here, wildfowl included Shovelor, Teal, Mallard, Coot, Greylag and Wigeon. A male Sparrowhawk was a nice sight as he cruised over the fen, and up to 4 Grey Heron sat perched high in a group of Alders. A lone Snipe got up and disappeared high over the fen.

Walking back through the forest, Treecreeper, Nuthatch and typical woodland birds were abundant. After discussing the celebritization of birding, Planet Rock and other important things (!) I left Paul who had been an excellent host and great company, heading solo to Thompson Water. I walked a stretch of the Peddar's Way, adding Yellowhammer to my species list for the day. I then made a stop at Thompson Common and walked a short section of the Pingo Trail; untapped potential here and a return visit a must. I was a little disappointed not to catch a glimpse of Goshawk at another location, but getting out and exploring new locations and meeting new people is what it is all about. My Brecks horizons have widened.

 Hockham Fen looking like an Eastern European bog
 Hockham Forest


  1. Jim, I thoroughly enjoyed this, our first meeting together in the field. Your post here is superb and I thank you for your very kind comments, the accompanying photographs are excellent. I was seriously impressed by your vast knowldge of birds and their calls, and it is refreshing to see that given your commitment to our passion, that the future of birding is certainly in safe hands.

  2. Too kind Paul. I learnt a lot yesterday. I look forward to the next time!