A day in the Brecks (2nd) with Jason Nichols began at Santon Downham, where a walk along the river from the bridge found the going very difficult on a very slippery, angled muddy path.
Not a great deal was seen on the walk down to area of trees, frequented by Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers and the dull weather with light rain did nothing to help matters. However, as the weather-front gradually moved on a Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard and later seen as were several Siskins, Nuthatch, Song Thrush and a familiar (but not often heard) sound signalled the arrival of a pair of Mandarins flying over the river.
Signs of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers being present came with reports of one woodpecker being seen earlier and heard and eventually the sound of one drumming on several occasions. Unfortunately, this was the only evidence of the woodpecker’s presence, during the visit.
Walking back along the river to the bridge, a Bullfinch flew over calling, two Common Crossbills flew over the fields calling and at least 6 Siskins were feeding on catkins. A bird flying low over the river revealed an unexpected Water Rail, which on landing promptly disappeared and a Little Grebe was seen flying along the river.
Grey Wagtails had been reported by two different people as being seen near the bridge, but having not seen one there (for whatever reasons) for many years, it came as no surprise that the wagtails were notable by their absence on approaching the bride, which was the case (from both sides of the bridge) earlier on arrival! However, on looking along the river from the far side of the bridge a Grey Wagtail flew across and a short walk along the river found two wagtails present.
A Green Woodpecker calling made for a ‘trio’ of woodpeckers recorded for the area and at least two Song Thrushes were singing.
A Roe Deer was seen feeding in a field, en-route to Cockley Cley, where at least two Goshawks were seen along with a Sparrowhawk, 6 Common Buzzards in the air together and a Buff-tailed Bumblebee.
Nearby, 2 Mistle Thrushes were on the wires and Redwings were feeding on Ivy berries, a Brambling was seen and a Nuthatch was heard calling.
A look for a Great Grey Shrike at Grimes Graves was unsuccessful and the general area, as it is presently is ecologically poor. A Marsh Tit was of note here.