The county of Norfolk has some of the most diverse habitats in the UK. With coastal sand dunes and lagoons, coniferous and deciduous woodlands, freshmarsh, saltmarsh and heaths, these in turn attract many residents and wintering species which make a superb destination for a winter short break.
Tour Leader: Steve Grimwade
Maximum Group Size: 7
Travelling from Essex with possible pickups on route, we stop off in The Brecks which straddle the Norfolk/Suffolk border and if the weather is good, there is the possibility of seeing Northern Goshawks displaying over the vast pine forests. Red Kites, Common Buzzards and Eurasian Sparrowhawk are also present.
In the open areas of clear-fell we will seek out Woodlark and European Stonechat and in the winter of 2018/2019, a Great Grey Shrike wintered in a quiet corner of the forest. Moving on to several other sites in the area, we expect to find Common Firecrest, Common Crossbill, Brambling, Hawfinch, Eurasian Siskin and Lesser Redpoll with a chance of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.
We arrive at our base on the North Norfolk coast and settle in with a home-cooked meal.
Overnight: Old Hunstanton
Days 2 – 4
The next few days will be spent at various north and northeast coastal reserves such as Titchwell, Cley, Holkham and Hickling where we can expect to see many exciting species.
The reed-beds and marshes are home to Eurasian Bittern, Western Marsh Harrier, Water Rail, Bearded Reedling, Western Barn Owl plus sought-after goodies such as Water Pipit, Hen Harrier, Twite and Lapland Bunting. The sea and sandy beaches hold wintering Long-tailed Duck, Velvet Scoter, Common Scoter, Common Eider, Red-breasted Merganser and grebes such as Red-necked and Slavonian plus Red-throated and Great Northern Divers.
During winter months, the Holkham and Burnham Overy area is home to a small flock of Horned Lark and Snow Bunting which can found mixed in with Eurasian Skylark. The grazing marsh is home to thousands of Pink-footed Geese with a few European White-fronted Geese for good measure. Careful scrutiny of the goose flocks may reveal rarer species and past tours to this area have yielded Tundra Bean, Black Brant, Ross’s, Barnacle and Greenland White-fronted Geese. We also stand a good chance of locating Grey Partridge, Great Egret and maybe Eurasian Spoonbill or Rough-legged Buzzard.
At the end of the second day, we head to an area of saltmarsh where we hope to connect with Hen Harriers as they come in to roost.
We will visit the Norfolk Broads which is a great place to see a variety of winter wildlife with large flocks of geese, raptors and the elegant Common Crane. We will make a circuit of local roads looking for wintering Whooper and Tundra Swans before dropping in to witness the fabulous winter roost at Stubb Mill, Hickling Broad.
As afternoon progresses large numbers of Western Marsh Harriers glide over the reed-beds and we hope to see Merlin, Hen Harrier, Western Barn Owl, Short-eared Owl and Common Kestrel as well as Pink-footed Geese, Eurasian Woodcock, European Stonechat and Chinese Water Deer which will round off a great day.
The Norfolk coast is home to thousands of wildfowl and waders including Sanderling, Red Knot, Bar and Black-tailed Godwits, Pied Avocet, Ruddy Turnstone, European Golden and Grey Plovers, Purple Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank plus Eurasian Wigeon, Brent Geese, Eurasian Teal and lots more.
Our base in Norfolk is renowned for its excellent hospitality and good food and it is ideally situated for all the main birding sites.
Overnight: Old Hunstanton
Full board accommodation for 3 nights
All ground transport
Full guiding throughout
Drinks and items of a personal nature
Lunch on Day 1
Relaxed, one to two miles walking per day
Expect between 100 and 115 species
Tour Price: £690
Single Supplement: £90