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Norfolk Coast Autumn Migration

A 4-day, single-centre, small group birdwatching tour to Norfolk

Autumn on the beautiful North Norfolk coast - and migration is in full flow. Seabirds are passing offshore and numbers of ducks, geese and waders are building daily. With tens of thousands of shorebirds also on the move, plus exciting passerine arrivals to watch for, an October visit brings flocks of winter thrushes, finches and ‘crests - and Siberian Yellow-browed Warblers are often about, too. Join our expert guide for an all-inclusive long weekend break based at a comfortable seaside hotel in Old Hunstanton - within easy distance of all the top birding spots. And treat yourself to the best of British birding!

Tour Dates





David Walsh

Max Group Size: 8
Duration: 4 Days

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Cost: £585*

from Old Hunstanton (or Norwich)

Deposit: £150

Single Supp: £70*

* Prices Provisional (tba)

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Yellow browed Warbler Holland Arnoud van den Berg ca 2006

Yellow-browed Warbler is a scarce but annual visitor to the Norfolk coast in autumn - all the way from Siberia! © Arnoud van den Berg, Limosa

Little Egrets dancing across the saltings... the low grumbling of Brent Geese newly arrived from the Arctic... a ghostly Barn Owl hunting close by... Bearded Tits pinging in the reeds... the vivid flash of a Redstart's tail in the coastal pines... a tiny Yellow-browed Warbler flitting restlessly through the autumnal birch tops...

It’s easy to see why the North Norfolk coast has been such a mecca for generations of British birdwatchers! Now you can experience the magic yourself on an all-inclusive long weekend break with Limosa - easy-paced, small group tours that are designed to help you make the most of your birding.

With tens of thousands of wildfowl, waders and passerine migrants to watch for in autumn, an October visit brings falls of Skylarks, winter thrushes, finches and ‘crests. We'll check the coastal bushes for newly arrived migrants, scan for winter visitors passing along the shore and visit wader hotspots that can hold twenty or more species at this exciting time of year. We'll help you learn to identify Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers, Curlew and Curlew Sandpiper, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, Redshank and Spotted Redshank, Dunlin and Little Stint; watch Marsh Harriers sailing effortlessly over the coastal fields and marshes; and listen for the evocative music of Pink-footed Geese arriving overhead.

Each trip will have its own special moments. Our autumn birdwatching tours may witness exciting 'falls' of warblers, chats and winter visitors, seabirds including Gannets, gulls, terns and skuas will be passing offshore and more unusual species - such as Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Jack Snipe and Yellow-browed Warbler - are often about. Being Norfolk, there's every chance of coming across a real rarity, too: in recent years, surprises for our autumn groups have included Great and Cattle Egrets, Northern Harrier, Common Crane, American Golden Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper, Grey Phalarope, Wryneck and Steppe Grey Shrike!

Our autumn tours are based in comfort at one conveniently located hotel - the Le Strange Arms, beside the sea in Old Hunstanton - right on the bend of the North Norfolk coast and close to many of the region's top birding sites.

Whether you are new to birdwatching or more experienced, guide David Walsh 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 34 years now... Join us in autumn and treat yourself to the best of British birding!

sanderling suffolk Brian Small copy resized

Dark shoulder patches, pale-and-black checquered appearance betray the Sanderling in juvenile plumage © Brian Small, Limosa

Our birdwatching tours to the North Norfolk Coast commence with arrival at the hotel on the evening of Day 1, where we meet for a welcome drink and informal get-together in the bar around 7.00pm prior to enjoying dinner.

The next two days are spent in the field, with packed lunches and flasks of hot tea and coffee available on demand. We return to the hotel again each evening in time for a delicious dinner, followed by the day’s log call over coffee and the chance to relax and chat informally about the day’s events.

After enjoying a full morning of birdwatching and packed lunch in the field on Day 4, the break concludes back at the hotel at around 2.30pm that afternoon to allow good time for farewells and departure for home.

Destinations will be chosen from the following outline programme to ensure your visit is both worthwhile and rewarding. We leave the final choice of places to visit to the discretion of our expert guide, according to the weather, local conditions and what’s about at the time.


The RSPB’s flagship Titchwell reserve lies within a short drive of our hotel and a visit there should get our trip off to a flying start! Marsh Harrier, Water Rail, Avocet, Mediterranean Gull and Bearded Tit are among many exciting resident species to look for here in autumn. Persil-white Little Egrets are well established on the Norfolk scene - and easy to spot as they prance energetically along the tidal creeks.

Given the right winds in autumn, just about anything can - and does - turn up on the North Norfolk coast! Come October, the first big flocks of Pink-footed Geese will already be present and migrants dropping into coastal woods include Redwing, Fieldfare, Brambling and Siskin; Brent Geese graze the marshes and flocks of waders bustle along the tideline. Offshore, Red-throated Divers are generally about and we have good chances of seeing Gannet, auks, Kittiwake, Sandwich Tern, Arctic Skua and other seabirds passing along the coast.

Tides, timing, wind direction and weather on the day will all have a bearing on the number and location of the birds, of course. But we should find plenty of Oystercatchers, Curlews, Ringed and Grey Plovers, Bar-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Knot and Redshank along the shore, while the adjacent freshwater marshes add the prospect of Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank and Ruff.

Heading east along the coast, the sweeping saltmarshes at Holkham and Wells are backed by woodlands of birch and pine. They provide a welcome sight for weary passerine migrants and an autumn visit here could produce anything from Redstart and Pied Flycatcher to Ring Ouzel or Red-backed Shrike. This is an excellent time of year to come across windblown waifs such as Firecrest and Yellow-browed Warbler; the latter has become an increasingly regular feature of October tours in recent years.

Further east, we may visit the celebrated coastal marshes at Blakeney, Salthouse or Cley. If conditions are right, few sights are more stirring in autumn than watching fresh arrivals of winter thrushes, finches, larks, Starlings - and even the odd Short-eared Owl - coming in over the sea! Wildfowl can be numerous, with flocks of newly arrived Brent Geese, Teal and Wigeon streaming past just offshore.

As dusk descends over the coast, Barn Owls drift silently back and forth over the marshes, and Marsh Harriers quarter the reedbeds before finally dropping into roost. Red Kite, Peregrine and Common Buzzard have all been recorded with increasing frequency in recent years, too.

The North Norfolk coast has a long history of turning up rarities and chances of stumbling across something unexpected invariably add a little extra spice to our autumn birding. With 34 years of Norfolk birdwatching tours behind us, unexpected surprises for our autumn groups over the years have included everything from Citrine Wagtail and Red-breasted Goose to Radde’s Warbler and Red-breasted Nuthatch!

As with all our Norfolk breaks, we may vary the above itinerary to take best advantage of the weather and other local conditions, as well as what birds happen to be about at the time of your visit. And while our guides can't promise to find you a rarity on every trip, one thing’s for certain - whenever you come and whatever we choose to do, in Norfolk there will always be plenty to see!

brambling reydon 170217 copy

The attractive Brambling is one of many autumn migrants arriving on the Norfolk coast from Scandinavia in early October © Brian Small, Limosa

What To Expect

Autumn on the beautiful North Norfolk coast - and migration is in full flow. Seabirds are passing offshore and numbers of ducks, geese and waders are building daily. With tens of thousands of shorebirds also on the move, plus exciting passerine arrivals to watch for, an October visit brings flocks of winter thrushes, finches and ‘crests - and Siberian Yellow-browed Warblers are often about, too.

Join our expert guide for an all-inclusive long weekend break based at a comfortable seaside hotel in Old Hunstanton... within easy distance of all the top birding spots - and treat yourself to the best of British birding!

Led by Limosa’s friendly expert guides, these holidays are suitable for birdwatchers of all levels of ability, interest and experience. Our helpful guides will be on hand to help you with your bird identification skills, too. Just bring your bins and your enthusiasm for birds - we’ll do the rest!

The UK's climate is famous for its unpredictability, but extremes are rare. Expect a mix of sunshine and showers in autumn, with daytime temperatures in the range of 7-15C (45-59F). It can sometimes feel chilly at the coast, especially if there’s an onshore wind blowing - for migration, we hope for an easterly wind!

Norfolk is one of the driest parts of the UK, but some rainfall is of course possible at any season so come prepared with rainwear and lightweight layers of clothing, just in case - and join us for some of the very best birding in Britain!


90-120 species


3 nights accommodation at the comfortable Le Strange Arms Hotel, overlooking the sea in Old Hunstanton - and perfectly situated for easy exploration of the North Norfolk coast. All rooms are en suite.


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.

Breakfasts and dinners will be taken at the hotel. Participants regularly tell us that meals at the hotel are excellent. Lunches will be picnics taken in the field.


Easy walks (approx. 1-3 miles) at a gentle pace over good trails and mostly flat terrain. Sturdy waterproof walking shoes or boots recommended. Wellies will be useful in wet weather and can be handy first thing, when the grass can be damp with overnight dew.


Excursions will be by minibus

Participants arriving in Norfolk by car will be sent a map and joining instructions for the hotel. We meet for an informal get-together in the hotel bar at 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 first afternoon (most routes arrive into Norwich just ahead of this time). We are able to drop off there again by about 4.45pm on the last afternoon. 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 Old Hunstanton or vice versa (a distance of approx. 45 miles) or to the nearest station at Kings Lynn (approx. 17 miles).

Common Redstart 1st win m Romania Zoli Baczo Sep 2012

Migration can bring a host of special birds, like this tail-flirting first-winter male Common Redstart © Zoli Baczo, Limosa

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