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Norfolk in december (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Hi, I'm hoping to stay for a few (probably 2) nights in Norfolk between xmas and new year. It'll be my first time birding in that area and probably my last chance to get there for a while so I'm hoping to pack as much as I can in to the quite short days.

Cley and Titchwell both seem like amazing places that i'll be definitely visiting and I have a birdguides subscription for unusual things that have turned up but I really want to get to see the things that just don't turn up near me in Wales as I really haven't got to the east coast very often.

Anyone have any advice on the following and am I missing out any species that are easier to find there than in the west of the country

Shore lark

Bean Geese
Grey Partridge
Snow bunting
Lapland Bunting
Whooper swans

Golden Pheasant


I'll probably be using airbnb and looking to do as much birding as the light allows does anyone have any suggestions of a good area to base myself in?

Also are there any good blogs for north norfolk sightings?
Hope someone can help.


Well-known member
Hi Owene, a good place for Shore Larks is Holkam gap, I've been successful the last two or three January's when I've been there. Holkam is good for geese also.

Holme is worth checking out.

James Emerson

Norwich Birder
Shore lark - Holkham Gap. Best earlier in the day as it gets busy and they can then be mobile.
Bean Geese - Tundra and Taiga are now classed as separate species. For Taiga you'll need to visit Buckenham/Cantley Marshes. Tundra often mix in with Pink-footed Goose flocks that feed on farmland in NW Norfolk.
Grey Partridge - fairly common in NW Norfolk. When visiting Titchwell try the minor road inland to Choseley Barns, if not then try driving around Brancaster, Burnham Overy areas and scannin fields regularly.
Snow bunting - Salthouse is traditionally a good area
Lapland Bunting - sometimes seen in clifftop fields near Weybourne, but keep an eye on BirdGuides
Whooper swans - you could either divert via Welney on your drive to or from Norfolk, or there is often a small mixed flock of wild swans near Ludham in east Norfolk.
Golden Pheasant - I think at least one with the dark-throat mutation lingers near Wolterton, otherwise a few present in the Suffolk brecks. If you are only there for two days this one is the trickiest to see.
Cranes - hte biggest concentration are in east Norfolk, either near the coast road at Horsey or go to the raptor roost at Stubb Mill where they are often seen flying in.

Also are there any good blogs for north norfolk sightings?
No. Most sightings are on Twitter these days, not much help for visitors, but some aggregation of social media is available here: http://www.surfbirds.com/ukbirdnews/norfolk.php


Well-known member
Taiga Bean Geese are definitely much harder now than a few years ago - I don't think it will be long before they're no longer a regular Norfolk wintering species. I'd check nearer the time as to whether any are being seen, as it may not be worth your limited time looking if the flock isn't present, or has been particularly mobile...

I'd second James's comments about Golden Pheasant, and wouldn't waste much/any time looking for them.

I'd try and stay up on the N Norfolk coast so you're near Holkham/Cley/Titchwell. It's then getting on towards an hour to get to Hickling and the Cranes given Norfolk traffic. Though if you want something cheap and convenient like a Travel Lodge then you're really looking at Norwich or Yarmouth. Yarmouth would at least be convenient and close to the Crane roost, so maybe do one night on the north coast and one there. You could then call in at Buckenham (if geese around) on your way home when you check out of Yarmouth and head back towards Wales. Yarmouth is an acquired taste though - the NN coast is definitely more picturesque and atmospheric!

(Yarmouth also brings Suffolk sites like Minsmere into play if anything good around there - that time of year I wouldn't bet against a Desert Wheatear or Dusky Warbler lingering somewhere...)


Well-known member
Thanks for the detailed info, I’ve booked an Airbnb in foulsham, not on the coast but half the price of the ones that were and hopefully close enough to give me quite full days and thankfully I’m only travelling too and from the in laws in the midlands rather than wales.

The pheasant looks like a long shot in the time frame and as pretty as they are is probably the one that interests me the least. Holkham looks like a definite as does titchwell andvdome scanning of the reports. Should be a nice post Xmas trip anyway


Old Berkshire Boy
Foulsham is an ideal location, only 10 minutes from me. Placed very conveniently so you can decide whether to head up to the North Norfolk coast and bird those sites along the A149 coast road or head East towards the Broads. Even though daylight hours reduce your birding day, allow enough time for travelling so you can be on site for when it gets light.


Old Berkshire Boy
One thing though that you'll have to consider is that nowadays the North Norfolk coast is much busier and the period between Xmas and New Year will see a lot of people out walking......Holkham Gap* being a favourite ( but best site for regular shorelarks ).
If you were doing the NN area you could do worse that say the following itinerary....for some of your target species.
Head for Holkham first thing and walk to the Gap for Shorelark, before all and sundry arrive. You've also the spectacle of 1000s of pinkfeet, short eared owls, harriers, wild duck. Then head West for Cholesey Barns area looking for Grey Partridge. Also good site for Rough Legged Buzzard.
Thornham Harbour is not far from here (Twite) and work back East, Titchwell then past Holkham heading towards Cley and Salthouse, both usually hold Snow Buntings along the shingle ridge.

(Wells next the Sea Harbour along the way for pit stop fish'n'chips.)

If time you may be able to visit near Weybourne cliffs or the lighthouse for Lapland Bunting.
Then head back inland and South for Foulsham.
Hope this helps.

ps. Nothing guaranteed of course.
* You won't hear a local accent here!

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Old Berkshire Boy
Sadly, not much use for winter birding C.G.

Broads and East Coast, must dos. Stubbs Mill evening roost and area ......for Common Cranes if not seen near Horsey Mill, wild swans and raptors coming in at last light.
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Carpe Carpum
Staff member
The book was pretty useful for someone new to the area Pat.:t: Not as good as the stuff here though:t:



Well-known member
I see that Pyrtle has mentioned Cholsley Barns, I`v been lucky with Corn Bunting there, although not the last two January`s. Second Thornham harbour for Twite.

I`m up this way and Gibraltar Point next week, looking forward to Gib point and hoping the Spotted Crake is still there.


Well-known member
Pyrtle thanks for the amazing info, looks like a great basis for my one full day. I'll hopefully have a lot of the surrounding two days as well to fit in anywhere i didn't see much of.

Rich I'll have a look at your info too, any thing on the sites is valuable really, I'm there from 27th to 29th so i'll try and pass along any info.

torview thank you, i wouldn't mind upgrading my views of twite but forgot to mention them so thanks, corn bunting i've seen a few times this year luckily.

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