01692 580623/4

Norfolk Broads Spring & Summer Wildlife

A 4-day birdwatching tour to the Norfolk Broads

Protected from the sea by a barrier of low dunes that provide a welcome landfall for migrant birds, the Norfolk Broads are at their loveliest in spring and summer - and home to rare breeding birds such as Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Crane and Bearded Tit. In May, the birds will be singing, waders will be moving north, Hobbies hunt for hirundines and the first Swallowtail butterflies should be emerging; in July, waders will be returning south again, Nightjars are churring, Swallowtails are still on the wing and the first Purple Hairstreaks should be out. Both trips are based in comfort at award winning farm barn accommodation close to the east Norfolk coast - and within easy access of the best wildlife spots.

Tour Dates

2018

Space
1
Guaranteed Departure

2019

Available
Available

Leaders
Gary Elton

Max Group Size: 8
Duration: 4 Days

Ask About Tour

Cost: £595

from Hickling (or Norwich)

Deposit: £150

Single Supp: £65

Book This Tour

Ask About Tour


If you have any questions about our tours or require further information, we are always happy to hear from you.
Feel free to contact us by email, fax or telephone to discuss any aspect of our tours. We look forward to hearing from you!

 
SEND US YOUR COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS:
  • Click here to read our Privacy Policy

  • * REQUIRED

SWALLOWTAIL Upton Norfolk (3) KEVIN ELSBY

Swallowtails - Britain's largest and most spectacular butterfly, as well as one of its rarest and most localised - should be emerging in late May and are still on the wing in early July © Dr Kevin Elsby, wildlifeontheweb.co.uk

Encompassing an area of some 300 sq. km, the Norfolk Broads are the UK’s largest protected wetland and a National Park in all but name. Despite their natural appearance the Broads themselves are actually man-made, evolving over centuries from medieval peat diggings that subsequently flooded to form shallow lakes. Today this vast patchwork of rivers, meres, marshes, reed beds, meadows and wooded fens is outstanding for wildlife of all kinds - and a haven for many of Britain’s rarest wetland animals and plants.

Lying close to Norfolk's tranquil east coast, the immense watery wilderness of Hickling, Horsey and Martham Broads is a ‘must’ to visit during the spring and summer months. Marsh Harriers are plentiful in the marshes and seldom out of sight for long; Bearded Reedlings ‘ping’ in the reedbeds; and Cetti’s Warblers shout at passing birdwatchers from watery thickets. Barn Owls are perhaps nowhere more numerous in the UK than here, Bitterns boom - and there is even a small but increasing population of Common Cranes to watch for!

The scrub-covered dunes that protect the low-lying coast are well worth investigating, too. Nightjar, Hobby and Stonechat breed here and this underwatched stretch of Norfolk's coastline is always worth checking for migrant birds. While not far to the south, the tidal waters of Breydon Water are an important rest and refuelling stop for resident, wintering and passage waders.

Much of Broadland lies well off the beaten birding track and we may find ourselves exploring one or two less well-known spots - perhaps including the valley of the River Ant, where quiet boardwalks weave through swampy alder carr and tucked away footpaths offer a chance to peek over hidden marshes and lakes. Bitterns should be 'booming' in May and busy feeding young in July, Little Egrets have a habit of popping up just about everywhere and the scarce Mediterranean Gull favours one or two spots along the coast. Mammals to watch out for include Otter, Muntjac and Chinese Water Deer.         

A particular highlight of both our spring and summer tours to the Broads is a visit to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Hickling Broad. Marsh Harriers and Common Cranes are regularly seen - and few sights or sounds are more thrilling than watching these enormous grey birds flying low over the marshes, bugling as they go! We'll also enjoy a delightful boat trip onto Hickling Broad, giving access to hides that are otherwise impossible to reach and overlooking pools that are attractive to waders and waterfowl on spring and autumn passage.

On our late May tour, the first Swallowtails - Britain's largest and most spectacular butterfly, as well as one of its rarest and most localised - should be emerging and we'll watch for them flying strongly over the fresh green reedbeds. With Cuckoos calling, there'll also be plenty of bird song to enjoy in the marshes. We'll help you to distinguish between the similar songs of Reed and Sedge Warblers, Blackcap and Garden Warbler, and have good chances of seeing and hearing the skulking Grasshopper Warbler, too.

Our early July tour can be a terrific time to see Bitterns, now busy ferrying food to young in the reedbeds. We'll look for Little Terns at the coast and passage waders already making their way back south at this time include Black-tailed Godwit, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank and Spotted Redshank. Perhaps surprisingly, not all bird song is over - Nightjars and Grasshopper Warblers sing well into July and fine summer evenings offer chances to see and hear both. First brood Swallowtails, Dark Green Fritillaries and the scarce Norfolk Hawker dragonfly should all be about, and the first Purple Hairstreaks should also be emerging in the oak woodland.

Both tours are based at award-winning converted farm barn accommodation near Hickling, where a warm welcome and delicious home-cooked farmhouse breakfast and dinners are assured - and all within a few minutes drive of key birding spots on both the east Norfolk coast and Broads.

Whether you are new to birdwatching or more experienced, guide Gary Elton will be on hand to take you to the best spots and ensure you have as much fun as possible whilst enjoying seeing lots of great birds and wildlife. Limosa has been operating birding tours in Norfolk for more than 30 years now... Take your pick of May or July let us show you the beauty, bounty and birdlife of the Norfolk Broads!

Bearded Tit m crop Norfolk 0315 Robin Chittenden.co.uk

Most likely to be seen skimming low across the reedtops, the male Bearded Reedling is surely one of Britain's handsomest birds © robinchittenden.co.uk

Our spring and summer birdwatching tours to the Norfolk Broads commence with arrival at Dairy Barns Hickling on the Monday evening, where we meet at around 7.00pm for an informal get-together prior to enjoying dinner. Tuesday and Wednesday provide two full days in the field, with packed lunches and flasks of tea and coffee available on demand. We return to the hotel each evening in time for dinner. After spending the best part of our final day (Thursday) in the field, the break concludes back at Dairy Barns around 2.30pm for farewells and departure for home.

Hickling is perfectly placed for getting about the Broads, lying within just a couple of minutes drive of the coast and major wetland sites such as Hickling and Horsey, and with easy access to the Yare Valley and Breydon Water to the south. A maze of minor roads gives access to some of the Broads’ quieter backwaters and during our stay we may explore one or two tucked away spots that, even today, remain largely undiscovered by visiting birders.

As with all our Norfolk breaks, we may vary the following itinerary to take best advantage of the weather, local conditions and what birds and other wildlife are about at the time of your visit.

Limosa has been operating birding tours in Norfolk for more than 30 years and while we can't promise you a 'rarity' on every trip - Spoonbill, Black-winged Stilt and Savi's Warbler were surprises on our May 2017 tour - one thing’s for certain: whenever you come and whatever we do, in Norfolk there will always be excitement and plenty to see!

Day 1
ARRIVAL AT HICKLING

Our birdwatching holidays in the Norfolk Broads begin with an evening rendezvous at our converted farm barn accommodation near the village of Hickling, close to Norfolk's east coast. We gather for an informal get-together at 7.00pm, followed by dinner. Night Hickling

Days 2 – 3
EAST NORFOLK BROADS & COAST

Occupying a vast swathe of land sandwiched between Norwich and Norfolk’s low-lying east coast, the Broads comprise Britain’s largest and most important protected wetland area. Its landscape of windmills, winding rivers, wetlands and waving reeds, mixed with wet woodlands, grazing marshes and arable fields is unique. The whole creates a mosaic of wonderful habitats that are exceptionally rich in wildlife, with everything from Cranes and Cetti’s Warblers to Swallowtails and Chinese Water Deer.

To make best use of our time, our spring and summer tours focus on the area of Broadland that lies to the northeast of Norwich, along the valleys of the rivers Bure, Thurne and Ant, and south to Breydon Water on the River Yare, which exits into the sea at Great Yarmouth. There's no shortage of places to explore! Within this immense, low-lying basin are to be found some of the UK’s rarest breeding birds: Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Avocet, Bearded Tit and the vociferous but ‘oh-so-difficult-to-see’ Cetti’s Warbler are resident and Barn Owls are perhaps more numerous here than anywhere else in the UK. Norfolk's small but slowly expanding population of Common Cranes has its main home here, too - although for all their size, the great grey birds can often prove elusive!

Great Crested Grebe, Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall and Garganey are among many species of waterfowl to nest locally. In May, we should hear the Cuckoo calling, the reedbeds are alive with the songs of Reed and Sedge Warblers, and there are Whitethroats and Lesser Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Garden Warblers, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs to listen for, too. While a late May visit is best for bird song, Grasshopper and Cetti's Warblers are among a surprising number of species that continue singing well into July.

Both May and July are good times to see the energetic Hobby hawking over the marshes, chasing down the abundance of Swifts, Swallows, martins and dragonflies on which it preys. And both periods can be excellent for passage waders - heading north to their breeding grounds in May and returning south again to their winter quarters in July - pausing to rest and refuel on their long migrations. If we are lucky to catch a rising tide at Breydon Water, we'll find that shorebirds are forced off the mudflats to roost within comfortable range. The beaches nearby usually hold one or two Mediterranean Gulls.

Britain's largest and most spectacular butterfly, the Swallowtail, emerges in late May and we'll watch for them flying strongly over the reeds. This first brood remains on the wing in Norfolk until mid-July, so we should see them then, too (if the weather is fine, of course). Our July tour also adds the prospect of the localised Dark Green Fritillary at the coast, and the season's first Purple Hairstreaks should also be emerging now - we'll look down on them from a sturdy viewing platform in the tree tops beside Hickling Broad. The tower is easily ascended via a steel staircase and (even if the butterflies don't oblige) it's well worth climbing for the bird's eye views across the marshes from the top are unrivalled.

Both trips can be good for dragonflies, but if it's the scarce Norfolk Hawker you're after, July is perhaps the more reliable month to come. With its clear wings, green eyes and yellow triangle on the body helping to separate it from the more common Brown Hawker, East Anglia is the only part of the UK where this localised speciality occurs.

As dusk falls over Hickling and Horsey Mere, Chinese Water Deer emerge from their daytime hideaways to graze in the fields and Barn Owls drift silently back and forth across the marshes.

While there's plenty to occupy us within the Broads, the east Norfolk coast also lies within a few minutes drive of where we stay. The scrub-covered dunes that protect its low-lying shores from Waxham south to Winterton are attractive to migrants and have a long history of turning up rare and unusual birds. Stonechats and Meadow Pipits nest in the dunes, and we'll pay an evening visit here to look and listen for Nightjars, which also breed. Sandwich, Common and Little Terns fish along the shore, where passing seabirds might include Gannet. Nights Hickling

Day 4
HICKLING BROAD BOAT TRIP *1

A special highlight of both our May and July tours will be a morning boat trip today on to Hickling Broad, largest of Norfolk's broads, to visit the hides overlooking Swim Coots and Rush Hills scrape. Hemmed by reeds, these large shallow lagoons are attractive to passage waders in May and July. Avocets, Lapwings and Common Terns nest, one or two Garganey are often about and passage waders regularly include Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Whimbrel and Little Stint. Scarcities such as Spoonbill and Little Gull also drop in from time to time - and a couple of our groups have been lucky to see Otter here!

After enjoying a final picnic lunch at Hickling, our break concludes with a return to nearby Dairy Barns at around 2.30pm this afternoon, for farewells and journeys home.

*1  Please note the boat trip is subject to weather and availability, and may be rescheduled to run on a different day of our tour.

Bittern, Norfolk © Robin Chittenden/www.robinchittenden.co.uk 0310

May is an ideal time to listen for the Bittern's unmistakable booming call - and in July adults should be busy ferrying food to young in the reedbeds! © robinchittenden.co.uk

What To Expect

Led by Limosa’s friendly expert guides, our Norfolk holidays are ideal for birdwatchers of all levels of ability, interest and experience. Just bring your bins and enthusiasm for birds - we’ll do the rest!

The UK climate is famous for its unpredictability. In Norfolk, temperatures in May average 8-16C (46-61F); July is warmer 11-20C (52-64F). It can feel cooler near the coast when an onshore breeze is blowing. Norfolk is one of the driest parts of the UK, but some rainfall is of course possible at any season so do bring rainwear just in case.

Birds

90-110 species

Mammals

We usually see 5-10 species

Butterflies

Britain's largest and most spectacular butterfly, the Swallowtail, emerges in late May and we'll watch for them flying strongly over the reeds. This first brood remains on the wing in Norfolk until mid-July, so we should see them then, too (if the weather is fine, of course).

Our July tour also adds the prospect of the localised Dark Green Fritillary at the coast, and the season's first Purple Hairstreaks should also be emerging now - we'll look down on them from a sturdy viewing platform in the tree tops beside Hickling Broad.

DRAGONFLIES
Both trips can be good for dragonflies, though if it's the scarce green-eyed Norfolk Hawker you're after, July is perhaps the more reliable month to come.

Accommodation

3 nights accommodation in Norfolk at the award-winning converted Dairy Barns, on a working farm betwixt the sleepy village of Hickling and the east Norfolk coast close by. Beautifully converted to provide warm and comfortable accommodation, and with good old-fashioned farmhouse breakfasts and evening meals to look forward to. All rooms en suite.

Meals

All main meals are included in the price, commencing with dinner on arrival at the hotel on the evening of Day 1 and concluding with a packed lunch on Day 4. Excellent farmhouse breakfasts and dinners; lunches will be picnics to make the most of our time in the field.

Walking

Easy. Short walks (1-4 miles) at a gentle pace over mostly flat terrain. Sturdy trainers will suffice if the weather is dry; if not, wear comfortable waterproof walking shoes or boots. Wellies are recommended in wet weather, and can be handy first thing when the long grass along paths can be wet with dew first thing.

Travel

Excursions are by minibus.

Participants arriving in Norfolk by car will be sent a map and joining instructions to find Dairy Barns, Hickling. We meet for an informal get-together at around 7.00pm on the first evening.

For those without their own transport, we pick up at Norwich railway station at approx 4.45-5.00pm on the Monday afternoon (most routes arrive into Norwich just ahead of this time), and are able to drop off there again by about 4.00pm on the Thursday evening. There is no extra cost for pick-up and drop-off as outlined above.

Please note: if you intend to travel by rail and wish to spend an extra night or two at the hotel before or after the tour, we are unable to offer return transport to/from the station. Instead, it will be necessary for you to arrange a taxi from Norwich to Hickling or vice versa (a distance of approx. 20 miles) or to the nearest branch line at Wroxham (approx. 12 miles).

Boat Trips

Our tour price includes the cost of reserve entry fee and a 2-3 hour boat trip at Hickling Broad NWT Reserve, visiting private hides with an experienced naturalist boatman.

Sedge Warbler singing Norfolk Dr Kevin Elsby wildlifeontheweb.co.uk May 2011

Sedge Warblers perform their song flights over the reedbeds throughout the spring and early summer © Dr Kevin Elsby, wildlifeontheweb.co.uk

query
RESULTSET
query
  AUTHOR TESTINTRO TITLE
CACHED false
EXECUTIONTIME 0
SQL SELECT Testimonial.TestIntro, Testimonial.Author, Testimonial.Title FROM Testimonial Left JOIN TestimonialTour ON Testimonial.TestID = TestimonialTour.TestID Where DeletedAt is NULL AND TestimonialTour.TourID = ? Order By TestimonialTour.ID, Testimonial.createdAt
SQLPARAMETERS
array
1 686
Request Tour Information Pack
×

SECURED BY

Privacy Policy

This website is owned and operated by Limosa Holidays ("Limosa Holidays", "our", "we" or "us"). Limosa Holidays is the controller of all personal information collected on this website. Limosa Holidays believe strongly in protecting the privacy of all website users ("you", "yours") and this notice sets out how we use your personal data. By registering on this site, you consent to the collection, use and transfer of your personal information under the terms of this privacy policy.

What data ("personal information") do we gather from you?

We gather personal information such as first and last names, telephone number and email addresses that you provide voluntarily when you fill in appropriate sections of our website. For example when you complete our contact us section, you provide us with personal information which we hold and use for the purposes set out in the next section.

Use of your personal information

Our main aim in gathering your personal information is to provide you with a customised service. If you fill your details in our contact us section we use your personal information in order that we can contact you and respond to any questions and needs that you may have. We use your personal information so that we can carry out your requests. We may also use aggregate personal information and statistics for the purposes of monitoring website usage in order to help us develop the website and our services and may provide such aggregate personal information to third parties. These statistics will not include any data that can be used to identify any individual. If, at some time in the future, we wish to use your personal data in ways other than those set out in this privacy notice, then we will notify you about this and seek your permission to do so.

Sharing of personal information

We may share personal information within the Limosa Holidays family ("Limosa Holidays Family"); by this expression, we mean the Limosa Holidays group and each and any of its associates. The Limosa Holidays Family will process your personal information in accordance with this privacy policy and all privacy and communications legislation. Those selected companies are those that provide technical assistance and support and perform other functions to support our marketing activities. All selected companies may have access to personal information if needed to perform such functions, but will only be permitted by us to use such personal information for the purpose of performing that function (which may include one to which you have expressly given your consent) and not for any other purpose.

We do not currently envisage our wishing to transfer personal information about you outside of the European Economic Area, but in the unlikely event we should wish to do so in future, we will only do so to the extent that it is permitted under all privacy and communications legislation applicable within England and Ireland. Of course if we need your specific and express consent to do this, we will obtain it before transferring any personal information. In all cases, any use of your personal information by the Limosa Holidays Family which has been instigated by us (as opposed, for example, to a promotional partner), will comply with this privacy policy.

Occasionally, with your permission and depending on the purpose for and context in which you gave that permission, we will send to you by e-mail or SMS text message marketing information and news. This may include our sending to you marketing information for the products or services of a promotional partner on that partner's behalf. However, in every case, if you do not elect to receive such communications or if you elect to discontinue receiving them, then we will not send or will cease sending them to you. Also, we reserve the right to use or disclose any personal information as needed to satisfy any law, regulation or legal request, to protect the integrity of the site, to fulfil your requests, or to cooperate in any law enforcement or regulatory investigation. Save for this, we do not sell, transfer or disclose personal information we have collected from you in connection with our web site activities, to third parties outside the Limosa Holidays Family.

Please note that if we are, in turn, a promotional partner of an unrelated company (for example where we are not asking you to submit any personal information to us but are simply providing personal information on our site) and a link exists to that other company's web site where one must visit to take part in that company's promotion, offer or other activity, then the privacy policy of that other company will apply instead of ours.

Whilst we make every effort only to tie-in with reputable companies which have a similar high regard for your privacy, you should make sure you are aware of what their privacy policies say, as we are not responsible for the policies and practices of other companies, including those of other members of the Limosa Holidays Family. If, in the future, a third party acquires Limosa Holidays or substantially all of its assets (whether by merger, acquisition, reorganisation or otherwise) customer data, including personal information, may well be one of the transferred assets.

Cookies

A cookie is an alphanumeric identifier which asks permission to be placed on your hard drive through your web browser when you visit our Site. Once you agree (or your browser agrees automatically if you have set it up in that way) it enables our own system to recognise you when you visit our Site to track the pages you looked at while visiting our Site and therefore to improve our Site and tailor the service to you. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences. For example, when you visit an electronic store such as ours a cookie makes it easier to shop by allowing you to place things into a shopping basket; the basket itself is not a cookie; the cookie is placed on your hard drive and keeps track of your basket versus others in use at the same time. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system. Denial of a traffic log cookie may prevent you from using the Site. Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better Site by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you other than the data you choose to share with us. This practice is strictly enforced. We know that people have concerns about cookies but we believe that the benefit that you and we gain from their proper use is worthwhile.

You may set up your web browser (Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator) to notify you of cookie placement requests or decline cookies completely (although you acknowledge that declining them may prevent you from being able to use the Site properly or at all). You can delete the files that contain cookies - those files are stored as part of your Internet browser. To remove cookies from your web browser or to obtain further details on cookies including information on persistent and session cookies please go to www.allaboutcookies.org/manage-cookies/.

This website uses Google Analytics which adds it's own cookies and is vital for our marketing and the continual improvement of the website. As such please read the Google Analytics privacy policy [www.google.com/analytics/learn/privacy.html].

Protection of your personal information and retention

The internet is not a secure medium and Limosa Holidays cannot absolutely guarantee the security of your personal information provided over the internet. However we have put in place various security measures as set out below. The Limosa Holidays website and associated databases are protected by certified firewalls in order to protect your personal information from access by unauthorised persons and against unlawful processing. The website uses the latest technology with full backups. We also keep your personal information confidential. All outgoing and incoming email is scanned for viruses.

We also keep your personal information confidential. We will retain your personal information for a reasonable period or as long as the law requires.

Accessing and updating

You are entitled to see the personal information held about you and you may ask us to make any necessary changes to ensure that it is accurate and kept up to date. If you wish to do this, please contact us by using the methods listed below. We are entitled by law to charge a fee of £10 to meet our costs in providing you with details of the personal information we hold about you.

If at any time, you would like to correct the personal information we have about you or if you would like to change your preferences for contacts from us or other members of the Limosa Holidays Family, you can let us know by contacting us by using the methods listed below.

Changes to our privacy policy

From time to time, it may be necessary for us to change this privacy policy, so we suggest that you check here periodically.

Links

This website contains links to other websites. Please note that we are not responsible for the privacy policies of such other websites and we advise you to read the privacy policies of each website you visit which collects personal data.

Questions or complaints: contact us

We reiterate that by submitting your personal information to us you consent to the use of that personal information as set out in this privacy policy. If you have any questions, concerns, comments or complaints about this privacy policy and/or our collection or use of personal information, or if you wish us to stop processing your personal information for any particular purpose or purposes, then please contact us on [email protected] or telephone us on +44 (0)1692 580 623.

×
Cookies on the Limosa Holidays Website

Our website uses cookies so that you can book tours with us and we can provide you with a better service. If you're happy with this, please continue to use the site as normal. Find out how the Limosa website uses cookies.

Accept Cookies