Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Birding in Norfolk - Sculthorpe Reserve

Our second day up in Norfolk dawned with yet more rain forecast, so rather than get wet along the exposed coast, we decided we'd rather get wet inland instead! (-:  Our destination was the Hawk and Owl Trust reserve at Sculthorpe near Fakenham.
I'd not been to this reserve before and thought it was a great place. It had a good broadwalk and good spacious hides with close feeding stations. If the weather had been brighter, I'd have been able to get some great photos of feeding woodland birds.
All in all, the following shots were the best I could manage in the circumstances.  This female Brambling (at the top of the photo) was pretty shy, but spent a few seconds taking sunflower seeds from under the main feeder before disappearing. 
It's always nice to get to see Bullfinches. They're not so common as to be overlooked through being too familiar.  This male was feeding well.
Here he is on the feeder table with a pair of Chaffinches.  His 'bull neck' shows very well here.
Apologies for the rubbish photo, but I put it in because it shows some of the other birds visiting this busy feeder. Theres a female Chaffinch on the right and one flying in.  A Robin on the front, a Coal Tit front centre and the drabber female Bullfinch there at the back.
Here's a slightly better view of the female Bullfinch with a Robin about to crash land!
The pair eventually got together to feed. In the past, Bullfinches have been controlled, specially in areas where there are commercial fruit orchards as they have a tendancy to nibble fruit buds.  I'm not sure if this still goes on. Maybe someone can tell me?
Walking around the reserve, I came across some beautiful birch trunks. In the dull weather, they seemed to glow.
There were several types of fungi around the woodland.  I don't know their names, but they were very photogenic!
My favourite bird whilst walking around the reserve was this stunning male Golden Pheasant.  I wish he'd come out into the open so that his amazing plumage could be seen more.  Unfortunately he was hunkered down out of the rain, so I had to use manual focus to get a shot of him through the twigs. As far as I'm aware, this gorgeous pheasant is only breeding in Britain in a very few areas of Norfolk. Click to enlarge.
These last two photos were taken away from Sculthorpe reserve.  We just came across this lovely carpet of white Snowdrops and yellow Winter Aconite, so I nipped out of the car for a couple of quick snaps.
I'll definitely want to revisit Sculthorpe reserve when I'm next up in Norfolk again.


Eve said...

These pictures are all wonderful Jenny. I love that pheasant and I think the yellow and white flowers are just wonderful. I hope to see some like that here in the near future. It may have been dreary but you sure made it look like I wish I was there!!
I love your birds!

Chris said...

Hi Jenny,
A very nice post once again. I'd love to see so many bullfinch! concerning the Pheasant, I've seen it once in France, I was 10 years old and it was close to Toulouse. Of course, I was not a bird watcher as this age, but many of them came to see it as it has never been spotted in France before ;-)

Chris said...

Well I'm coming back to give you more info on the pheasant if you did not know. It has been imported from China and established some populations in your areas. It has occasionally been observed in France (2-10 sighting) but has never been observed to breed!

Rural Rambler said...

Great post Jen. The pheasant is a gorgeous bird. Wow, enlarged it is stunning. Sculthorpe Reserve made for a great birding day! Nice to see the little flowers trying to get their flower faces to the sun.

The Early Birder said...

Sorry to hear that the weather didn't conform during your recent Norfolk trip. The Golden Pheasant was a nice find...I have often searched at two other sites but without sucess. Next time I'll try Sculthorpe. FAB.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jen, nice fem Brambling haven't seen one for a long time. Great Bullfinch shots and lovely flowers and the silver birch has a lovely bark as well. Ref the Golden Pheasant apparently from what I read, they don't stray far from release sites and are listed as rare, found only in East Anglia, Hampshire and South Western Scotland.
PS: Great bunch of trustee Birders as well.{:)

I mustn't laugh, but the word verification was RAINE.

Mary said...

Ooooo...I love the Pheasant and the flowers in particular! I've never seen a pheasant, and they look pretty spectacular even in hiding. The other birds are great too and what a nice place to get to watch them. I'm betting you will go back here sometime :-)

Shelley said...

THat pheasant looked like a little jewel sitting there! Like those bullfinches too. YOur mushroom photos were also fabulous!

那ㄟ安呢 said...

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Quiet Paths said...

Lovely, all of these. I didn't mind the rain a bit. Ha. Sorry you got wet but the scenes looked inviting anyway. Love the little Snowdrops at the end. Perfect! Thank you for sharing a little glimpse of Norfolk.

Jenny said...

Hi there Evie. I wish you could've joined us! You know I dashed out of the car with the wrong camera for those flower photos, I had the Nikon in my lap (driving) with the 70-300 lens on, but even so, the photos still gave a feel for the lovely carpet of white and yellow.

Hi Chris, many thanks for the pheasant info. These ones at Sculthorpe have bred I believe. I need to go back sometime and get a photo of the whole bird! (-:

Hi Pix, not only was Sculthorpe a great reserve, it also did a pretty scrumptious mocha when we got back all damp and chilli to the shop!
A perfect place in my book! (-:

Hi Frank, have you tried Wolferton triangle? We were lucky enough to see 3 males there on this occasion, but I have to admit that sometimes I've not seen them at all there, so it's a bit hit and miss.

Hi Roy, I didn't know about Hampshire, I'll have to look into that, thanks! HAHA! Raine, how appropriate! (-:

Hi Mary, this Golden Pheasant is different to the ordinary pheasants bred for shooting, they're stonking looking birds. I really need to get a shot of a whole one. It would blow your socks off! (-:

Hi Shelley, yes, that Golden pheasant is very jewel like. I remember thinking that about your tanagers, Cardinals, Indigo Buntings and Warblers (-:

Hi Christine, I think we were having such a great time that we didn't mind the rain tooooooo much. A wee bit of sun would've been nice though! (-:

John said...

Hi Jenny,

Wow lovely photos, don't you just love Bramblings not seen any this Winter :( one bird I look forward to seeing. The Golden Pheasant is a stunner...did you visit the 'Golden Triangle' it is great for Golden Pheasants and Woodcocks that walk in the road at Dusk and just before dawn....