Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Three Target Species in The Brecks - HAT-TRICK!!!!

27th April 2015

Well today was to be a day in The Brecks with three target species to find, see and photograph - Tree Pipit, Wood Lark and Firecrest. Based on some insider information we headed off for an area of clear-fell between Santon Downham and Grimes Graves. Having had breakfast and a cup of tea we set off down the track and soon arrived at the large area of clear-fell which looked absolutely superb.

It had probably only been cleared a year or so ago as the newly-planted saplings were still only a foot high and in no way distracted from the landscape. You could quite imagine a Wood Lark sitting on a dead stump every 50 yards down the linear piles of roots. Instead, despite it being a relatively calm day it was eerily quiet.

We walked carefully between the log piles expecting at every step to flush a Wood Lark or hear a Tree Pipit singing but nothing. It wasn't until we got to the tree line at the far end I could hear a Tree Pipit singing, albeit a little half-heartedly. When I had photographed Tree Pipits a couple of years ago near Mundford I was surprised how approachable they were. But not this one. Perhaps only just arrived and not particularly territorial, but the best I could get was a photo of it singing from the cover of a Silver Birch. Nevertheless, one down and two to go.

We walked further on to Grimes Graves and found some of the commoner inhabitants in the form of a Blackcap, Sky Lark and a Willow Warbler. Sky Lark?............so where are the Wood Larks?

It was on our way back to the car that I eventually heard the song of a Wood Lark. I had expected it to be in song flight over the clear-fell, but it was in fact singing from the top of a tree. I suppose that, as Wood Larks are early breeders, they are probably feeding young by now so all display activity has stopped. However, despite the bird being quite high in the tree, I did manage to grab a couple of shots. Two down and one to go!!

For the final target species, Firecrest, we headed to Lynford Arboretum. After a spot of lunch we set off in the direction of the lake and could hear a number of Goldcrests in the trees. Goldcrests have absolutely no fear of humans and should they choose to they will come within yards, and if they don't choose to they won't. So, basically just a matter of waiting and hoping for some luck. This seemed to pay off as we eventually got a number of shots of this small gathering.

Then, moving up towards the centre of the arboretum I could hear all I wanted to hear, the song of a Firecrest. It took some while for them to show themselves in the open, in decent light and looking at the camera, but eventually they did.

So what a fantastic day. THREE targets. THREE targets achieved.........A HAT-TRICK!!!!    I've had worst days.

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