Spring birding highlights in North Norfolk

Spring birding highlights in
North Norfolk

Norfolk is one of the UK’s most popular birding destinations all year round. But whether you’re an avid twitcher or an amateur enthusiast, our spring migration never fails to delight.

Here at the Lifeboat Inn and Restaurant, we’re perfectly placed for our guests to explore the wonderful birding sites of North Norfolk. From Norfolk regulars to spring migrants and the occasional rarities, spring birdwatching here is hard to beat.

Here’s our pick of spring birding highlights in North Norfolk.

RSPB Titchwell

Booming bitterns, sky-dancing marsh harriers, nesting avocets, swooping swifts and swallows, and migrating ruffs with their spectacular breeding plumage. Spring is one of the best times of year to visit Titchwell.

The first migrants appear in late March, and by April and May the marshes are brimming with waders, while along the woods keep your ears peeled for cuckoo and your eyes trained for passing hobbies and Montagu’s harriers. This is also a good time to see the noisy Cetti’s warbler as they search for a mate and defend their territory.

RSPB Titchwell RSPB Titchwell is 1.3 miles from The Lifeboat Inn

Holkham

There are two fantastic birding spots at Holkham. Woodland birds love the grounds of Holkham Hall. Regulars here are nuthatch, treecreeper, great spotted woodpecker and green woodpecker, while if you’re lucky you may find the elusive lesser spotted woodpecker or catch a glimpse of a tawny owl. Overhead, look out for common buzzards and red kites.

Meanwhile the sweeping beach and pinewoods provide a welcome sight for weary migrant passerines. Ring ouzel, redstart, and pied flycatchers have all been spied here, while the tiny firecrest love the pinewoods. In recent years, spoonbills have nested here too.

NWT Clay Marshes

A birding trip to Norfolk isn’t complete without a visit to Cley Marshes. It has a similar habitat to Titchwell but, if possible, even more waders. Resident bearded tits, marsh harriers, avocets and bitterns usually display well, and it’s a wonderful place to watch terns diving into the sea.

Don’t forget to stop off at the nearby coastal heaths where you can find turtle doves, Dartford warblers, cuckoos, and stonechats. Listen carefully for the scratchy call of whitethroats, the melodic bubbling of blackcaps, and beautiful song of nightingales.  Watch for the ghostly sight of a barn owl drifting across the landscape and, at night, listen for the distinctive whirring of nightjars.

Spring Dawn Chorus

Yes that’s right, you need to be up with the lark to enjoy this Norfolk speciality, but believe us it’s worth it! The early morning is still and peaceful, there’s dew on the ground, and as you wander around you start to hear the birds welcoming a new day. It starts slowly, one species at a time, and builds to a wonderful crescendo. If possible, witness a dawn chorus with a guide – most of the reserves run annual events – who’ll help you identify the different bird songs. After that, there’s only one way to round off your morning – with a hearty breakfast!

After a long day’s birding, there’s little better than a good meal washed down with cold Norfolk ale and followed by a comfy bed. Here at the Lifeboat Inn, we offer the perfect spot to discuss your day’s birding adventures and surprise sightings, and get your head down for a good night’s sleep.  

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