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Barnham Broom

Norfolk, England

Our Top 5 Favourite Birding Sites in Norfolk

Posted by Luci Ackers on Feb 20, 2017
Birding Sites in Norfolk
Birding Sites in Norfolk

If you are a wildlife lover then Norfolk is the place for you. Located on the south-eastern hump of England's fabulous coastline, Norfolk is the ideal spot for migrating bird species on their flight to or from their winter feeding grounds. The county boasts some of the best birding sites around and here are five of the top ones. Try to make time to visit, if you're in the area!

1. Cley Marshes

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust's oldest nature reserve is located on the northern section of the Norfolk coast. With saline lagoons, marsh and reedbeds stretching outwards to the shingle beach, the reserve attracts a large amount of wintering and migrating wildfowl and waders, and even Bitterns have been spotted amongst the reeds. To the east are the salt marshes and scrubland of Salthouse and the reserve has the added bonus of a modern, eco-friendly visitor centre. There are good facilities, a cafe, shop, viewing areas, reserve cameras and an exhibition/interpretation area. The views from the huge front glass panel windows across the marshes are beautiful and completely uninterrupted.

2. Hickling

The Hickling Broad is the largest of all the Broads and a year-round haven for wildlife with its trails and hidden corners to explore. It sits further round the coast to the east and on the Upper Thurne river system, surrounded by reedbeds, with access from the south via the Weavers Way footpath. This area is great for butterflies, Chinese water deer and otters, along with the harriers, barn owls and bittern. The most popular inhabitant, though, is certainly the common crane – a difficult bird to spot in most other parts of the UK. This reserve offers electric boat tours for further exploration.

3. Welney

The Welney Wetland Centre lies slightly inland and though wardens here don't breed wildfowl, they do feed them in front of the main hide – which creates a rather amazing spectacle. The variety and number of wildfowl found here in winter is incredible and the canvasback duck is a definite highlight. The site has also been known to receive visits from the beautiful glossy ibis. Some of Welney's most popular inhabitants are the swans and you'll see the both whooper and mute swans flying in for the evening to roost. In the visitor centre you will find a café, gift shop and various exhibitions and information. Nature programs and pond dipping are both available and there are trails to follow too.

4. The Wash National Nature Reserve

The wash is essentially the bay between Norfolk and Lincolnshire, making it the largest reserve in England. It is largely comprised of marshland and mudflat and is protected for its importance as a breeding and feeding ground. Thanks to its sheltered position it receives many migrating species during autumn and winter, and many breeding birds during the spring and summer. To visit from Norfolk, you can walk to the coast from King's Lynn along the Peter Scott Walk, to the mouth of the River Nene. Here you'll find wide open landscapes for the birdlife and you'll be able to spot species such as brent geese, curlew, oystercatchers and harriers.

5. Sculthorpe Moor

This is a peaceful Nature Reserve, inland in the beautiful Wensum Valley rather than on the coast, and with a variety of wildlife living amongst the woodland and fen habitats. The Reserve is great for families, with boardwalks to guide you, nest boxes, bird feeders and viewing platforms. The Whitley Hide is elevated and provides excellent views. Year round you are likely to spot barn owls and tawny owls, kingfishers, woodpeckers and buzzards

Click the link below to find out how you can stay in Norfolk and discover these places for yourself. Alternatively, pop your details in at the bottom of the page to receive a free brochure.

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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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