Spring birdwatching around the Norfolk coast is hard to beat! As the days lengthen and summer migrants arrive, an air of expectation begins as birds find their voice and settle to breed. Days may be filled with the lovely lilting song of Willow Warblers in fresh leaved birch and sallow woodland; Reed and Sedge Warblers chattering from the reedbeds; Ruff and Spotted Redshank in super summer plumage on the coastal marshes; Swifts, Swallows and Sand Martins skimming across the fields... It's a great time to be out and about in North Norfolk. And if you would also like a little help learning to pick out birds by song and call, or unravelling the mysteries of wader identification, then this relaxed, easy-paced break is perfect for you.
The RSPB's famous Titchwell reserve lies within a short drive of our hotel. Little Egret, Marsh Harrier, Avocet and Barn Owl are among resident species to look for, and in spring we can watch and listen for the elusive Bittern, too. On the coastal pools and beaches, large numbers of waders will be on the move - northbound in May - with the bonus that many will be in looking at their very best now, in full breeding dress. Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, Knot and Grey Plover can look particularly resplendent and we may well see the flamboyant Ruff and perhaps a Little Stint or Curlew Sandpiper or two. Scarcities too can, and indeed do, turn up and our last May group was treated to a tiny Temminck’s Stint and a trip of 21 Dotterel! Up to 30 species of wader are possible, while Little, Common and Sandwich Terns fish offshore.
In spring, Norfolk’s extensive woodlands burst back into life - and new arrivals of summer visitors ensure that each day’s birding is as exciting as it is different. On one morning, we offer the chance to go out early (optional!) to experience the best of spring bird song. During the first few hours of the day, the cool morning air is filled with the magic of bird song across a misty marsh, where our senses may be accosted by a secretive Cetti's Warbler, 'shouting at us' from a watery thicket, or soothed by the sound of a distant Cuckoo.
We’ll check favoured spots along the coast for newly arrived migrants such as Ring Ouzel and Firecrest, while inland we may be lucky to find scarce breeding species such as Woodlark and Red Kite. The latter is slowly establishing itself around the Norfolk coast and we could see one quartering the saltmarsh alongside the scarce but more numerous Marsh Harrier. Spring birding is always full of surprises, especially in Norfolk: the likes of Spoonbill, Black Tern and Hoopoe occur most years... and with them come the occasional rarities, too!
Our spring tour is 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 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... Treat yourself this spring to the very best of British birding!