Norfolk is widely acknowledged as England’s foremost ‘birding county’, and late autumn/early winter is a particularly exciting time to visit. In November, Norfolk’s extensive wetlands are teeming with large flocks of migrant geese, huge numbers of duck and most of the country’s wild swans. On this short break we’ll spend time watching these as well as some of Britain’s largest concentrations of waders. Norfolk also has some of the country’s more unusual winter visitors such as Slavonian Grebe. We’ll spend an evening at Norfolk’s premier raptor spot in search of Sparrowhawk, Short-eared and Barn Owls among other species.
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Présente le mardi et vendredi toute la journée
Fri 13th Nov - Sun 15th Nov - 342€
- Accommodation: We stay in a comfortable guesthouse in Hunstanton, The Shellbrooke Inn. All rooms have private facilities.
- Food: Breakfast and evening meals included. Allow around ?10 per day for a pub lunch.
* These tours are operated by Naturetrek (ABTA Y6206) for which Nature et Terroir acts as agent.
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Toby has been an avid birder, inspired by his father, since childhood, and spent his early years on the Lincolnshire side of the Humber estuary enjoying the thousands of wading birds in Winter, ringing migrants at RAF Donna Nook in the Autumn and day trips to RSPB Blacktoft Sands and Tetney Marshes in the Spring and Summer. After spending nearly 5 years as Assistant Warden at RSPB Saltholme, he is now the Warden of the RSPB's Lincolnshire Wash Reserves of Freiston Shore and Frampton Marsh. Toby has travelled extensively and enjoyed birding in North and Central America, Africa, Europe, Australia and South East Asia. As fantastically fun as this was, he never found anything to recreate the thrill and excitement of an east coast Autumn, UK birding at its best!
Please note that the itinerary below offers our planned programme of excursions. However, adverse weather & other local considerations can necessitate some re-ordering of the programme during the course of the tour, though this will always be done to maximise best use of the time and weather conditions available.
Your tour leader, Toby Collett, will meet you at our hotel base in Hunstanton, the Le Strange Arms, in time for dinner. After settling in, Toby will give you a short introductory talk outlining the programme for the weekend ahead and some of the birds we will hope to see.
This morning we will make the 50 minute drive along the coast and the Norfolk Naturalists Trust Reserve at Cley. At this time of year the grazing meadows and saltmarshes between the villages of Wells-next-the-Sea and Cley-next-the-Sea hold huge numbers of wintering wildfowl, including thousands of Brent Geese, Wigeon and Pintail. This is also a good area for a range of waterbirds, including sea-duck, divers and grebes, as well as some scarce wintering passerines such as Shore Lark, Twite, Snow and Lapland Bunting.
After a pub lunch we will visit Holkham Park, an extensive area of parkland, ponds and woodland which surrounds the 18th Century Holkham Hall. As well as numerous Fallow and Red Deer, the park is a winter haunt of mixed finch flocks which usually include both Hawfinch and Brambling. We will then end the day back down on the coast to watch the spectacle of the Pink-footed Geese flying into their night-time roosts out in the saltmarshes. We will take the advice of our guide on exactly where to stand, but hope for a close flypast. Almost half of the world's population of Pinkfooted Geese winter along the north Norfolk coast and the sight - and sound - of thousands of 'Pink-feet' passing overhead should be a fitting finale to our day.
We will spend this morning exploring the RSPB reserve at Titchwell. The reedbeds, fresh and brackish water lagoons and saltmarsh hold large numbers of wintering waders and wildfowl. A walk from the reserve entrance out along the raised bank to the sea is sure to yield a wide variety of birds. Bearded Tits are frequently observed close to the path whilst on the freshwater scrape flocks of Golden Plover and Lapwing often congregate. These are joined by smaller numbers of Ruff and various other waders which sometimes include Spotted Redshank. From the beach we will look for wintering sea-duck and divers such as Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter and Red-throated Diver and have a second chance of running across a flock of Snow Bunting or perhaps a group of Shore Larks.
Our final port of call is the Ouse Washes and the reserve at Welney, owned by the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust. This expanse of flooded meadows in the old Fens has the largest single population of wintering swans in Britain, including up to 6,000 Whooper Swans and a few hundred Bewick’s.
The total wildfowl population wintering in this area can be over 40,000 birds. It is a wonderful locality to round off a winter's day in Norfolk, especially when the swans come in as darkness falls, providing a memorable floodlit spectacle.
At the end of the tour, those who have travelled by train can take their luggage with them on the minibus for the day and can be dropped off at Eley train station near Welney to make their way home.