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Showing posts from February, 2022

Brecks guided walk, 17 February 2022

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Honeyguide’s first group in the Brecks followed last week’s recce visit and last night’s Storm Dudley. There were fallen branches in places, and twice very brief showers, but generally it was dry and bright, if a little windy sometimes.   We met at the Forestry Commission’s car park at Santon Downham – from which there were brief sightings of siskin and sparrowhawk – and we walked to and then by the river Little Ouse. It’s probably worth saying at the outset that were unsuccessful in finding lesser spotted woodpecker today; perhaps it was just a little too blustery. We started with a good view of a little grebe near some mallards on the river. Robins and great tits were singing and some in the group found a marsh tit. Galls on reed. An oddly shaped gall on the left (JM), which Tim Strudwick advises is made by the 'corkscrew gall mite' Steneotarsonemus phragmitidis . On the right is a more typical cigar gall (CD). Violet ground beetle wing case. Being a group of Honeyguiders,

Brecks recce, 11 February 2022

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A bright late winter’s day was ideal to check out some places in the Brecks for a future local Honeyguide event, and Rob Lucking, Julie and I met in the Forestry Commission’s car park at Santon Downham. That’s just into Suffolk, though as soon we’d crossed the bridge to walk alongside the river Little Ouse we were in Norfolk. We weren’t the only people out today: the steady trickly of birdwatchers were mostly here as this is one of the very few places to see lesser spotted woodpecker nowadays. The reason was immediately apparent: this is nothing like the typical conifer plantations of so much of the Brecks. Instead, this river valley has a mix of open areas and deciduous trees, mostly poplars, with very obviously a lot of standing dead timber, which ‘lesser spots’ like. Little Ouse at Santon Downham. Another general view by the Little Ouse at Santon Downham. In a tangle of branches in the Little Ouse a little grebe surfaced, then two, then three. They were surprisingly close, perhaps