A Wonderful Birdwatching Trips Tour In Norfolk 27 September to 4 October

Burnham Overy Staithe seawall

The view from our wonderful house on the North Norfolk coast.

Each year we enjoy our Norfolk “House Parties” where we take over a wonderful house overlooking the marshes on the North Norfolk Coast several times at different seasons. The house is perfect for a Birdwatching Trips tour, all en-suite bedrooms, very spacious kitchen, lounge and a lovely garden, spectacular bird filled views and close to lots of wonderful birdwatching habitats. And close to wonderful places to enjoy great food, another feature of all our tours.

We enjoyed great views of Little Stints at RSPB Titchwell.

This latest tour began on the 27th September; we picked up Helen and Brian near Warrington, then our lovely American ladies, Betsy and Sue, in Kings Lynn and finally met Barry and Wendy at our first birding site, RSPB Titchwell. As always this wonderful held so many birds and we had a wonderful afternoon here. Just a few of the highlights included Little Stints, Little Ringed Plover, Hobby and wonderful views of Bearded Tits. We then settled into the house and enjoyed the wonderful views of the marshes before a superb dinner in the nearby pub just a few minutes-walks from the house.

Pink footed Geese sunrise Oct 2

Seeing thousands of Pink-footed Geese leave their roost against the rising sun, magical.

On the 28th we took a lovely walk along the seawall right outside our lovely house, the big skies and the masses of Pink-footed Geese lifting off from the marsh as the sun came up was just magical. Lots of great birds were enjoyed during the walk, a Green Sandpiper showed well on a small pool by the seawall, a Merlin tore across the saltmarsh, a gorgeous Kingfisher dazzled us, seven Cattle Egret were feeding amongst cows as they do, a huge Great White Egret stalked the ditches, along with masses of wildfowl and waders. We next visited Holkham woods, only a few minutes’ drive along the coast and enjoyed a lovely walk along the edge of the woodland and then back along the beach, surely one of Britain’s finest beaches. A new wetland area has been created near Wells-Next-The-Sea and we visited this area before heading back to base for G&T before another lovely meal.

Cley East Bank

The famous East Bank at Cley-Next-The-Sea the birthplace of modern birding.

On the 29th we began the day at a viewpoint overlooking Holkham Fresh Marsh where hundreds of Pink-footed Geese were feeding, we also saw the flock of Cattle Egrets and a Great White Egret again. Next we made a stop at Morston Quay where we enjoyed wonderful views of a Whimbrel and we watched a mix flock of Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins feeding over the seawall. Cley-Next-The-Sea was our next port of call and we visited the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve – the birth place of modern birding. We walked the famous East Bank down to the beach and scanned the water for more birds. Lunch was delicious at Glandford where we visited Cley Spy optics shop where both Barry and Sue purchased new binoculars. Holkham Park next and we walked down to the lake to enjoy lots of birds, including three Green Sandpipers and a very strange “swallow” that we eventually decided was most likely a Barn Swallow x House Martin hybrid, a very weird looking bird indeed. Other highlights on this day included Whinchats, Hobby, Spoonbill, Green Woodpecker and many more.

Thornham high tide

Thornham Harbour always so much to see here, a beautiful place.

On the 30th we walked the seawall from the house again enjoying the wonderful scenery and lots of birds as the tide flooded the marshes in front of us, a huge tide and wonderful to see the rapid change. After a great breakfast we moved west to one of our favourite birding locations – Thornham Harbour – where we enjoyed lots of birds and more beautiful scenery. A flock of Bearded Tits showed off for us here in the reeds by the parking area. A Northern Wheatear also posed in the sunshine and masses of waders and wildfowl were on the saltmarsh. Moving inland we searched for farmland species, increasingly hard to find sadly, but we did enjoy wonderful views of Yellowhammmers. A wonderful lunch at Thornham Deli and we then spent the afternoon at RSPB Titchwell. A day full of great birds including, Common Sandpiper, Arctic Tern and Yellow-legged Gull with over 90 species of birds enjoyed on this one day.

The 1st of October was a really wet day, with pretty much torrential rain all day, yuck. But we soldiered on, waterproofs are great things, and visited Kelling walking down the lane to the beach. Not surprisingly not that many birds about but a lovely Whooper Swan was on the pool behind the beach and gave great views, Sandwich Terns were offshore, Bearded Tits showed well in the reeds near the pond and we finally caught up with Blackcap and Greenfinch for the trip list. Lunch was at the great café in Kelling, always a warm welcome here and they didn’t mind us dripping all over the place! In the afternoon we visited the hides at Cley Norfolk Wildlife Trusts reserve where we could stay out of the rain and still enjoy birds. An adult Curlew Sandpiper was the highlight here. Back at the house we dried out and enjoyed pre-dinner drinks and chocolates just what was needed after a shockingly wet day.

Thankfully the 2nd was a lovely sunny day and we had an early start to visit The Wash, the huge estuary on the west coast of Norfolk. It was one of the highest tides of the year and this pushes huge numbers of waders onto the lagoons at RSPB Snettisham, an amazing sight! Perhaps some 100,000 birds were in view here, just mind-blowing and something everyone should see at least once. The majority of the birds were Knot forming huge flocks swirling through the air above the lagoons before cascading down to form a moving carpet of birds! It really is an amazing wildlife spectacle and one we were all thrilled to witness. Careful scanning picked out less common species of wader including Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and Purple Sandpiper all enjoyed. A super second breakfast went down very well after the wader spectacular! We spent the afternoon at Holme-Next-The-Sea in lovely autumn sunshine, and the views from the dunes right along the coast were breath-taking. Our visit here finished on a real high with stunning views of a hunting Barn Owl in broad daylight, just beautiful.

Another lovely morning on the 3rd and we walked out along the seawall and through the dunes to the beach from the house, always a fantastic way to start any day. We enjoyed some wonderful birds too, the flock of Cattle Egrets were again with the cattle, two Great White Egrets joined them, a Kingfisher posed for us, a beautiful Red-throated Diver came into the creeks on the rising tide and very unexpectedly here two Little Gulls wowed us with wonderful views in the sunshine. Our first Red-breasted Merganser of the trip did a fly around the marsh giving great looks. We then enjoyed a great brunch in nearby Burnham Deepdale, very welcome after our longer than usual walk. We then visited Holkham woods again where we tracked down two Yellow-browed Warblers, all the way from Siberia, though always fast moving! Redwing were arriving, flying over the trees and heading inland and two Brambling also flew south. Our last stop of the day was at the Wells-Next-The-Sea wetland where plenty to see and this place was a real hit with all our guests. We enjoyed another super dinner in the local pub which was voted restaurant of the week by the group.

Sadly our Norfolk House Party was coming to an end but still time for an early morning walk along the seawall for one last look at the beautiful marshes. We then packed up and headed for the Ouse Washes and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Reserve at Welney. As we neared the reserve we noticed “finches” feeding in a weedy area by the road. We stopped for a look and were surprised to see a huge flock of Reed Buntings and even better two Corn Buntings amongst them, a tough bird to find these days. At the reserve we watched Tree Sparrows amongst House Sparrows, one taken by a Sparrowhawk as we watched. A flock of Whooper Swans arrived from Iceland as we were in the main hide, fantastic to see them land, calling, and the drink and bath. Other highlights here included two Cattle Egrets, Great White Egret, Marsh Harriers, Ruff and lovely flocks of Lapwings and Golden Plover.

We had a lovely lunch in nearby Ely in the shadow of the beautiful cathedral and sadly said goodbye to Betsy and Sue who were going to explore Ely and Cambridge before returning to the USA. A wonderful tour with brilliant birds, lots of laughs and superb food! Come and join our tours soon we know you will love them. Please email us here for details of our Norfolk House Parties and all our tours....


We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds in wonderful places with you soon!

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