Norfolk is a county located on the east coast of England in the area known as East Anglia. Lincolnshire borders it to the west, Cambridgeshire to the southwest and Suffolk to the south. The City Of Norwich has a population of almost 900,000, however, the county has an area of over 2,000 square miles making it mostly rural; in fact, over 40% of the population lives in just four towns. Over 20% of the population is employed in the agriculture and food industries.
Norfolk is a number one destination for any beginner or serious birdwatcher in the UK, especially the North Norfolk coast, with its huge array of renowned nature reserves and natural areas holding many of the United Kingdom’s scarcest birds as well as key spots for finding some of the country’s rarest and most sought after vagrants. Almost 450 species of birds have been observed in the county.
The North Norfolk coast is bordered to the northwest by a huge estuarine area known as the Wash. The Wash in Norfolk can be accessed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) reserve at Snettisham. Spectacular numbers of Red Knot can occur with over 150,000 creating amazing murmurations over the reserve as they try to find a place to rest, along with thousands of other shorebird species including Eurasian Oystercatcher and Bar-tailed Godwits.
Traveling North and East along the coast you arrive at many special reserves such as Holme National Nature Reserve and Titchwell RSPB. These hugely popular reserves are visited by many nature lovers annually. Most of these areas are made up of a mosaic of beaches, salt marsh, brackish lagoons, fresh-water lagoons, reed beds, and woodland. Providing a wide array of feeding opportunities for many species.
Just inland from Cley-next-to-Sea you can find Salthouse Heath with its breeding Barn Owls and European Nightjars. The delightful Hawk & Owl Trust nature reserve at Sculthorpe Moor has a great accessible trail through various habitats and birds such as Eurasian Bullfinch, Eurasian Greenfinch and Tawny Owl can be found easily.
Owen visited Norfolk in early October 2022.