KEN HILL WOOD

An over­looked gem with a well-known neigh­bour

Bird Watching (UK) - - World War I Centenary - JOHN MILES

When habi­tats are so close to­gether, you should give your­self time to cover all of them in one day. This wood seems to be ne­glected by bird­watch­ers, with many vis­it­ing Snet­tisham RSPB and Snet­tisham Coastal Park. Like many ar­eas, dog-walk­ing is a big thing here, but should be no prob­lem for the bird­watcher. In fact, for the young trees, dog walk­ing can keep the deer from us­ing the area too much. This site has been a great place to find Lesser Spot­ted Wood­pecker, so lis­ten out for calls and al­ways check tit flocks in win­ter, as this small wood­pecker can travel with the ‘gang’. Green Wood­peck­ers are very vo­cal, but the open ar­eas can be a place to get a view of this species, while Great Spot­ted Wood­peck­ers will roam the whole wood­land area. Wood Lark is go­ing to be found in open ar­eas, so lis­ten out for that song. Cross­bills are an­other bird to hear be­fore you see them. I was amazed by the sheer num­ber of holes in the quarry used by a num­ber of soli­tary bees and wasps. Here, birds like Spot­ted Fly­catcher will use this food source in sum­mer. The edges of the wood are ideal for check­ing for hunt­ing rap­tors like Hen Har­rier and Short-eared and Long-eared Owl in win­ter, and Buzzard and Red Kite in sum­mer. Win­ter also sees large num­bers of es­pe­cially Pink-footed Geese trav­el­ing back and for­ward to their roost on the Wash. Hav­ing the height makes the wood a great place to watch the skeins. In Beech mast years look out for Bram­bling. Some rar­i­ties have been found here like Yel­low-browed, Pal­las’s and Barred War­blers, Pied Fly­catcher and Red­start, Firecrest with lots of mi­grat­ing Gold­crests and even Red-breasted Fly­catcher.

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