The Whitlingham Bird Report 2017 can be viewed or downloaded here. For previous years (2012-2016) see the links on the Whitlingham Bird List page.

You may also be interested in Chris Durdin's Thorpe Marsh Wildlife Report for 2017, which is available

Advice for birders visiting Norfolk

Norfolk is one of the places that most birders will probably make a fleeting visit to at one point in their lives, and there are some species in particular that draw many requests for information.  This is in no way a complete guide, but I hope it will be helpful to visiting birders.  It should be noted that some sought-after species are sensitive to disturbance and sites are generally not made public.

I highly recommend the book "Best Birdwatching Sites In Norfolk" by Neil Glen if you intend to bird regularly in Norfolk.  The Birds of Norfolk website offers much more information than that displayed here, and is well worth a visit. Norfolk also has a number of bird and wildlife guides who may be able to arrange trips to see particular target species.

Key Species

Taiga Bean Goose - A flock of varying numbers winters at Cantley or Buckenham RSPB reserves, only between late Nov and Feb.

White-fronted Goose - Small flocks can be found from the far hide at Holkham Freshmarsh or Cantley/Buckenham (often with the Bean Geese). 

Egyptian Goose - It's easy to forgot these aren't common elsewhere!  Whitlingham CP, Holkham Park, any of the broads

Bittern - Spending the morning at Strumpshaw Fen should get you one, if not Titchwell.  They are easiest to see during cold spells.

Spoonbill - Despite the high profile breeding at Holkham, birds are seldom visible.  It is probably better to to visit Cley in July to see a flock.  The birds are often inactive during the day, so evenings represent a chance to see them feeding, but they can range widely along the coast.

Honey Buzzard - "Swanton Novers" raptor watchpoint, which is between Fulmodeston and Hindolveston.  In 2010 no breeding is thought to have taken place, although birds did appear later and showed on and off.  Details are usually put out through the normal bird news services.

Golden Pheasant - Wolferton Triangle.  These birds have dark-throats, if this offends you then there are a few more out there...somewhere.  Birds at Sculthorpe Moor were dumped overnight (they just turned up one day, tire tracks found, tamer than normal - pers comm) but offer a good chance to actually see one, and it is then up to the individual whether they "count".

Avocet - Common around the coast, Titchwell, Cley, Breydon etc.  There are often large gatherings at Breydon in late summer.

Stone Curlew - The NWT have a reserve for them at Weeting Heath.  The birds may spend large amounts of time out of sight, but it is asked that birders visit here rather than risk disturbing breeding birds at less accessable sites.

Mediterranean Gull - There is an easily observed colony on Great Yarmouth seafront, and singles at West Runton and Walcott seafronts.

Turtle Dove - Uncommon now.  Farmland in the west of the county offers your best bet.  There were some visible from the hide at Flitcham in 2010, and Holme-Thornham-Choseley is a good area to chcek the wires.

Shore Lark - Try Holkham Bay or Snettisham RSPB.  Birds will usually be reported to the bird services.

Cetti's Warbler - Fairly common now.  A visit to Cley, Titchwell or the Broads should allow you to hear one (the call is very distinctive) but you will need to locate a close one and wait patiently for a glimpse.

Golden Oriole - No Norfolk sites anymore, but just across the border is Lakenheath RSPB.  Go early and be patient.

Hawfinch - A regular flock can be found at Lynford Arboretum, favouring hornbeams in a paddock across the river from the main arboretum plantation.  You  need to visit before the leaves come out (i.e. Jan-March)

Snow Bunting - Cley/Salthouse area.  In some years photographers put out seed for the flock in Salthouse carpark, allowing extremely close views.


  1. Hi James 3 male gooseander on main broad the other day got some nice pics and especially of the female. Ow plus one goldeneye. Pics on my Flickr account.

    Cheers Chris

    1. Thanks Chris. Just to clarify, how many Goosander in total? We think the long-staying redhead bird is a 1st-winter male, so were there 3 in addition to that?
      Thanks, James.