Tour At A Glance





Single Room Supplement:


Tour Code:

Intermediate with optional evening excursion. Up to 5 miles walking per day

Group Size:

Eight plus leader

Curlew Sandpiper Marsh Harrier Corn Bunting Barn Owl Tree Pipit Temminck's Stint

Norfolk - The Complete Tour

Date: 20th - 26th May 2022 (SPACES)
Leaders: Ashley Saunders



Meet 18:00 at the Blue Boar Inn where your leader will be present to discuss the plans for the week ahead.

The Cley area always provides some great birding and rare birds are almost expected here at this time. Wader passage can be good and often includes beautiful Wood Sandpiper and furtive Temminck’s Stint. Ruff and Black-tailed Godwit are resplendent in summer plumage and a host of arctic bound waders on Arnold’s Marsh will also be looking smart in their summer finery. Little Terns are back and entertain us while we search the flocks for a Little Stint or Curlew Sandpiper, but we must also keep our eyes to the skies for passing raptors which can include Red Kite, Osprey or Montagu’s Harrier. Nearby Kelling and Salthouse are our favourite haunts and we may visit more than once to see what has dropped in. Garganey, Little Gull, Whimbrel and Greenshank can appear. A nearby heath land site now plays host to Norfolk’s only breeding Dartford Warblers, and we will endeavour to connect with these charismatic little birds as well as our first chance at Woodlark and Turtle Dove.

DAY THREE       
Down in the Brecks, we will enjoy a great mornings birding at Lakenheath RSPB reserve. Hobbies often hawk overhead and a cacophony of warbler song includes Cetti's, Reed, Sedge and Grasshopper. Cuckoo can be abundant here while the lagoon can produce Garganey, terns and numbers of Swifts and hirundines. Patient scanning of the reeds is likely to produce one or two sightings of Great Bitterns, many Marsh Harriers, Bearded Tits and perhaps Common Crane. Nearby on open sandy breck land we seek cryptic Stone Curlew, largely nocturnal in their activities this bug-eyed member of the African Thick-knee family can be a challenge to find as it sits motionless among the nettles and ragwort. Woodlark too like this open heath land, as well as the clear felled areas of pine forest where we may also encounter Eurasian Siskin and Common Crossbill. Firecrest should be singing from mixed evergreen understroey throughout the forest and the supporting cast includes Garden Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Marsh Tit and Grey Wagtail. In recent years we have often been able to connect with one or two pairs of Common Redstart in Breckland too, a rare breeding bird in the county.

Titchwell RSPB reserve comes into its own in mid May when all of the breeding species are settled down and a flush of migrants is still passing through. Bearded Tits and Pied Avocets are among the resident breeders while Great Bittern has bred in recent years and may be present. Little Gulls often pass through and three species of tern are likely on the scrapes, and of course May is a time when interesting waders can occur such as Wood or Curlew Sandpipers and Temminck’s Stint. Offshore, large flocks of Common Scoter may still contain one or two Velvet and summer plumaged Sanderling and Ruddy Turnstone are busy along the tide line. Up at Choseley barns, Corn Bunting may be found and we may encounter Little Owl here, though we also find this species easily in Great Ryburgh itself. Our evening excursion for European Nightjar takes us to west norfolk where we often enjoy good views of the birds as they churr from the overhead wires. Woodcock can be numerous at this time of year, often roding in groups of 2-3 birds above the pines at dusk. Tawny and Barn Owls are also possible on this visit.


As well as the well known reserves there are many smaller less known sites dotted along the Norfolk coast which are all worth exploring during spring migration. Black Tern are regular in mid may and Stiffkey Fen is a likely spot, and waders also feature here with Little-ringed Plover and sandpipers likely as well as annual Temminck’s Stint. At nearby Wells the excellent North Point pools are frequently visited by Wood Sandpiper and have hosted Temminck’s, Black-winged Stilt and Lesser Yellowlegs over recent springs. At Holkham the pines can produce migrants such as Pied or Spotted Flycatcher and out on the marsh herons are very much the order of the day. The thriving mixed colony here supports breeding Cormorants, Grey Herons and Little Egrets, but Spoonbills and Great White Egrets are now well established breeding birds and Cattle Egret bred for the first time in 2020. Raptors are a key feature of the week with Marsh Harriers a constant feature wherever we are birding, but also Red Kites too. Depending on the year, we may also have a chance to look for rare species such as Montagu's Harrier or Honey Buzzard if they become available. Grey Partridge, Tree Sparrow and Turtle Dove are other birds occasionally encountered in these farmland areas.  


Other sites we may visit include Holme Dunes if migrants are arriving as this migration watch point can turn up spring overshoots such as Hoopoe or Tawny Pipit, as well as a late Ring Ouzel. At nearby Snettisham, Grasshopper Warblers reel in the coastal scrub and Lesser Whitethroat rattle from the hawthorns—of course, the chance to find our own rarity is always at the back of our minds here! In some years we have visited Broad land at this time, where migration along the coastal dunes can produce parties of Yellow Wagtails, a spring male Redstart or, like in 2011, Red-footed Falcon. The Common Cranes are not easy to find at this time of year but we know their favourite haunts and may be lucky, while out on Hickling Broad perhaps a Black Tern may appear or perhaps the Bonaparte’s Gull and Caspian Tern of past years may repeat themselves. We will join a specially arranged boat trip with one of the NWT wardens to visit areas only accessible from the water, inlcuding the hide overlooking Rush Hills Scrape and the Tree Tower which affords magnificent views of the broads. If the season is early, two of Britains rarest insects, the Swallowtail and Norfolk Hawker, could be seen.

We will remain flexible on our last day to account for any species we may have missed, and the presence of any new migrant arrivals. Perhaps the marshes at Burnham Norton might tempt us, or maybe we’ll return to an area visited earlier in the week such as Kelling Water Meadows. This time of year is of course synonymous with rare birds and in previous May’s we have recorded Red-footed Falcon, Dotterel, White-winged Black and Whiskered Terns, Laughing Gull, Purple Heron, Night Heron, Caspian Tern, Alpine Swift, Red-rumped Swallow, Black Kite, Bonaparte’s Gull, Red-backed Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Stilt Sandpiper, Thrush Nightingale, Common Crane, Serin, Bee-eater, Black Stork, Subalpine Warbler and many many more! It is impossible to predict what will turn up but we can be sure to enjoy a great supporting cast as well! The tour concludes at 15:00 to allow for the onward journey home.


Additional Information


The Blue Boar Inn and The Dower House B&B in Great Ryburgh
Six nights en suite accommodation on a dinner bed & breakfast basis, packed lunches from day two, minibus transport, services of leader and reserve entrance fees.
Transport to/from Norfolk and any additional overnight stay that may be required, lunch on day one drinks and any items of a purely personal nature.

King’s Lynn


Tour Reports


2011  2012  2013  2014   2015  2016a   2016b   2018   2019   2021




"Thanks Neil, We had a great trip to Norfolk.  Ashley was an excellent tour leader, the pace of the trip was just right and we saw a great selection of species. After this, my first trip with your company,  we would be happy  to recommend Oriole Birding" S & G H Dublin
"Thank you for a very happy trip. We had superb views of the full range of species and in terms of numbers, I've never seen as many species on one tour. They were a lovely group of people and you were your usual self; kind, upbeat and skillful even in testing conditions.Thank you very much" MT Mirfield