Tour At A Glance





Single Room Supplement:


Tour Code:

Intermediate with around 6 miles walking per day in coastal terrain

Group Size:

Eight plus Leader

Olive-backed Pipit Eurasian Wryneck Red-necked Phalarope Radde's Warbler Pectoral Sandpiper Isabelline Shrike

Norfolk - Autumn Migration

Date: 26th September - 2nd October 2021 - FULL - Guaranteed Departure
Leaders: Gary Elton



Arrive at The Blue Boar Inn at 1800. You will be met by your guide for an introductory chat about the week ahead before dinner.

Our first day is spent exploring the RSPB reserve at Titchwell and its environs. Anything can turn up here, but we are especially hoping for shorebirds. Migration will be in full swing and we can expect species such as Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff and Pied Avocet to be present in good numbers. Smaller numbers of Spotted Redshank, Greenshank and even a Jack Snipe can also be expected while this is a prime time for vagrants such as Pectoral or White-rumped Sandpipers. On the beach, species such as Bar- tailed Godwit, Grey Plover and Sanderling should be present. Bearded Tit, Marsh Harrier and Water Rail are resident and a passing Peregrine is likely to cause panic over the marsh. Little Egret and Eurasian Spoonbill are both regulars here, sometimes being present in good numbers. On previous tours, we have encountered Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Icterine Warbler and Spotted Crake. Offshore, Terns will be passing and these in turn are likely to attract marauding skuas, searching for an easy meal. Arctic Skua is the most likely, but the three other species are also encountered, albeit in small numbers. The first returning wildfowl are present and these could include Brent Goose, Eider, Red-breasted Merganser and Common Scoter. Several species of warbler should be present in the bushes, as well as commoner woodland species. 

Our day begins, at the excellent, but rather understated area at Stiffkey. Brent Goose should be arriving in good numbers and several species of common shorebirds can be expected. The trees in and around the campsite are good for Pied Flycatcher, Firecrest and commoner warblers. Yellow-browed and Barred Warblers are annual here and the occasional Icterine Warbler turns up. The coastal path and its sueda bushes, often hold good numbers of migrants including finch flocks, pipits and more warblers and chats. Wryneck is a regular visitor here and on past visits we have encountered Little Bunting, Tawny Pipit, Red-backed Shrike and Blyth’s Reed Warbler. We will also visit Stiffkey Fen, an area of open water that often attracts large numbers of wildfowl and shorebirds such as Common Sandpiper, Greenshank and Common Snipe. The afternoon sees us heading for Wells Woods and/or Holkham Pines, where more migrants could include Yellow-browed, Icterine and Barred Warblers, while this is a great place to witness numbers of Redstart and Pied Flycatcher in fall conditions. Mediterranean Gull is sometimes noted in the flocks in the nearby fields. Many rare birds have been noted here including Radde’s and Dusky Warblers, Olive–backed Pipit, Rustic Bunting and Britain’s first Red-breasted Nuthatch. Although this particular feat is unlikely to be repeated, the area usually turns up something of interest and we have recorded Red-breasted Flycatcher and Yellow-browed Warbler on previous tours. We have also seen Great Grey Shrike on previous visits.

Today, we head along the coast to the splendid reserve at Cley. Anything can and often does turn up here. Resident species that we hope to encounter include Bearded Tit, Bittern and Barn Owl. Shorebirds should also be present in good numbers with species similar to Titchwell likely to be seen. Along the fields and ditches we can expect to see migrants such as Yellow Wagtail and Whinchat. Offshore, we can expect more Skuas, terns and seabirds, whilst a Little Gull might be present. If we are very lucky a passing Sabine’s Gull or Leach’s Petrel may put in an appearance, especially if winds turn to North-westerly. Should the wind be from a westerly direction, it would not be unrealistic to expect a transatlantic shorebird such as White-rumped or Pectoral Sandpiper to be present. Whatever happens, it is likely to be an interesting day. Whilst in the area, we also pay a visit to Kelling Water Meadow, which has held Citrine Wagtail on more than one occasion, Salthouse where we may encounter an early Lapland or Snow Bunting, as well as more shorebirds.

Today we remain flexible to allow for the presence of any rare birds along the north coast. Depending on the winds, we may sea watch from the shelters on Sheringham Promenade where in strong north-westerlies a variety of seabirds may pass including such sought after species as Long-tailed Skua as well as more regular Sooty Shearwater. Alternatively we may take a boat journey out to Blakeney Point to view the Common Seals. This site also has an enviable reputation for rare migrants amongst the small plantation and sueda bushes. We make the three mile journey back by foot, checking the bushes, shingle and offshore as many very rare birds have been recorded at this site. There is a cafe at the point for those in need of refreshment. A tiring walk but almost always worth it. On previous tours we have recorded Dotterel, Red-backed Shrike, and Red-breasted Flycatcher and enjoyed an enormous fall of European Robins, Common Redstarts, Lesser Whitethroats and Willow Warblers. At some point during the tour we will take out half a day to visit Breckland in order to look for pre-migration flocks of Stone Curlew. These are best observed during September and October, and we have often seen flocks of over fifty birds together - well worth seeing!
We head to the East Coast of Norfolk visiting various sites. At Sea Palling, we should encounter migrant warblers, chats and possibly Firecrest and winter thrushes with more of the same around Winterton Dunes. We drive the minor roads around Horsey Mill in search of the small resident population of Common Cranes, though these can sometimes be difficult to find. If we are doing well and time permits, we venture to Great Yarmouth Cemetery, which has an excellent record for turning up unusual migrants. Black Redstart, Firecrest, Yellow-browed and Pallas’s Warbler are reasonably regular and Red-flanked Bluetail has also been recorded. At Hickling Broad we visit the Rush Hills Scrape on the south side where a host of gulls, terns, shorebirds and wildfowl often congregate and several scarce or rare species have been recorded.
At the north-western tip of the North Norfolk Coast, Holme Dunes reserve lies perfectly placed to receive migrants that have drifted along having made landfall further east. The open scrubby habitat is good for chats, Wheatears and maybe an early Ring Ouzel, while the dense areas of scrub hold warblers and frequently a Red-Backed Shrike or Wryneck. Yellow-browed Warbler is annual in the pines, while the marshes host the first returning flocks of Pink-footed Geese and are often hunted by a passing Marsh Harrier, Merlin or Peregrine. Offshore, seabird passage can be good in onshore winds. We may combine our visit to Holme with the RSPB reserve at Snettisham should the correct tides coincide with our visit, and here we can expect a truly amazing number and variety of shorebirds roosting on the gravel pits after the high tide has forced them off the vast expanse of the Wash. The network of freshwater pools and reed beds at Burnham Norton will certainly attract our attention, with its recent run of rarities following the Stilt Sandpiper of 2005. Little Stint and Green Sandpiper are regular here, with Red-necked Phalarope recently recorded, and it gives further opportunities to look for mobile parties of Spoonbill or a passing raptor. The tour concludes around 1500 for the onward journey home.



Additional Information


The Blue Boar Inn and The Dower House B&B in Great Ryburgh with all rooms en suite.

Six nights en suite accommodation on a bed breakfast and evening meal basis, packed lunches, transport in Norfolk, all guides and reserve entrance fees.

Transport to/ from Norfolk, travel insurance, drinks and any items of a purely personal nature.

King’s Lynn


Tour Reports


1998  2000a  2000b   2006  2007  2008  2009  2010a  2010b  2010c  2011a  2011b  2012a  2012b  2013a


2013b   2013c   2014a    2014b    2015a   2015b    2016a    2016b    2017   2018   2019   2020




"Thank you for trip report Ashley and also thank you again for a most enjoyable week. Your expertise was evident and was the reason we saw so many species and in a variety of habitats. The accommodation and food were excellent and the overall atmosphere within the group was friendly and welcoming. All important when you are travelling alone. I will always remember the Firecrest, the Geese flying over and the Barred Warbler not to mention the views out over the marshes. "  H.S, Cheshire
“I really enjoyed my tour hugely. I look forward to another one in the future. All the sights were beautiful and full of birds” D.M. New York.

“Many Thanks for a super holiday.” B & F G, Leicestershire.
" We particularly enjoyed how well Ashley looked after everybody and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend Oriole Birding to others" M & LW Southampton

“Thank you for a wonderful weekend. The hotel was excellent and it was remarkable how many different species we saw. Thank you for everything and we hope to join you again.” T. R. Halifax.

“It was a lovely weekend and it did me a lot of good. Excellent food, hotel and company.” T. P. Halifax.

" Excellent birding, excellent company and excellent leader" A.M. Glamorgan
" I really enjoyed the good company of a fun group and Ashley's knowledgeable leadership. We saw 125 species despite the winds being wrong for migration!! The holiday was value for money and I would recommend Oriole Birding to others"  C S Berkshire
"Ashley is a fantastic leader and very knowledgeable. I am still enthusing about the trip long after returning home" P T Surrey


"The small number of participants, the fnatsic numbers and variety of birds, the casual paceand the sheer depth of knowledge of the leader all made the holiday the great success it was" D M Cornwall.


" We want to say thanks for a great two days in Norfolk.  We had a fantastic time in your beautiful home territory and are so glad we decided to book the tour even though the extra travel was after an all-night flight!  I told David that I actually enjoyed those 2 days more than our time in Africa " P & D W Florida


" A thorougly enjoyable and recommended six days. Ashley was a pleasure to be with - we have never met a leader with such skills before and the accommdation was first class. Great value for money" P & SJ Gloucestershire


" Ashley's knowledge of the birds and the area was brilliant and the service from booking through to the end of the trip was very professional " J & TM Wiltshire