September 21st-23rd 2022 Autumn Norfolk 3 day birding group tour

Tour with an emphasis on waders & shorebirds – thanks to Peter Hassett who joined the tour and took some great images! His website can be found at

Day One – 21st September 2022

I collected the group and we immediately headed towards Salthouse area, where the pools along the Iron road had been hosting a Grey Phalarope. We walked down the track to join several others, the Grey Phalarope was performing beautifully, not too faraway and we had great scope views as it pirouetted and picked insects from the waters surface! I got some nice video take a look here

© Peter Hassett Grey Phalarope, Iron Road, Salthouse

As we watched the Phalarope we also took in the surrounding birds, with Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Redshanks and a few Black-tailed Godwit. Also a few Pink-footed Geese were feeding and there was also a few small groups overhead, always great to see these returning.

Looking Eastwards, Paul picked up a raptor distantly that was darting fast towards us, it eventually stooped down and landed on the ground, a lovely juvenile Merlin, slightly obscured, but it eventually relocated to a fencepost where it gave great scope views!

Merlin, Cley Peter Hassett ©

We next headed to Cley Coastguards where we spent a short while looking at the sea, it was relatively quiet, but we there was lots of Red-throated Diver action with many flying past and quite a few sat on the sea. Also 1-2 Northern Gannet trickled past along with Great Cormorants, plus 1-2 Guillemot, quite a few mixed flocks of Wigeon & Teal plus a few distant Common Scoter.

© Peter Hassett Red-throated diver, Cley Coastguards

We then took a walk along the East bank, first up were some nice showy Bearded Tits! Plus 2 Kingfishers whizzed past us.

Really nice along The Serpentine with a good selection of waders, Redshank, 150 Black-tailed Godwit, 10 Ruff, a Little Ringed Plover, several Common Snipe also a real treat with 5 Little Stints.

© Peter Hassett Little Stint, Cley

A real nice find was this Jack Snipe that may have just arrived as we watched it plummet from the skies into the Serpentine, it took a while to appear but eventually gave great views.

Another short video here this one of the Jack Snipe

© Peter Hassett Jack Snipe Serpentine Cley

Up on Arnold’s Marsh there was lots more waders to work through with c80 Dunlin, more Black-tailed Godwit, a few Golden Plover, plus 2 Grey Plover, a nice flock of Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, a few Avocets & Curlew. I also found a Greenshank loafing in one of the back pools, plus a 1cy Mediterranean Gull flew past us.

© Peter Hassett Grey Plover, Arnolds Marsh, Cley

The saline lagoon held more birds and an eclipse ♂ Pintail was another edition to the list!We headed slowly back catching a Marsh Harrier, plus more views of the Bearded Tits. Back at the Visitor Centre we had lunch and then headed out to the main hides in the centre of the reserve. House martins & a few Swallows passed by as did flyover Red Kite & Marsh harrier.

From the Centre hides, there was yet more waders to work through, with lovely close views of Black-tailed Godwits, plus we found the 2 juvenile Curlew Sandpipers present that had been reported earlier.

There was hundreds of Wigeon, Teal and good numbers of Shoveler alongside Shelduck, Dunlin, Ruff, close Snipe. These were regularly sThough our attention was suddenly taken as a small raptor came cruising rapidly towards, full head on, it suddenly swept up in front of us grabbing a dragonfly into it’s clutches, a super adult Hobby!

A super first day!

Day Two – 22nd September 2022

We headed off to the Brecks today, and started off with a bonanza of Stone Curlew, approximately, an amazing post breeding flock of c85 Stone Curlew! Also a small group of Tree Sparrows here too.

© Peter Hassett Stone-curlew, the Brecks, Norfolk

We then headed to Lynford arboretum, where it was relatively quiet, but we got views of Nutchatch, Long-tailed Tit and Goldcrest, a few fly over Siskin and we heard Treecreeper. Though 3 Hobby were really nice as we watched them high up catching insects, followed by a ‘cronking’ flyover Raven. We next stopped off at a raptor watchpoint, lunched and scanned! We scored with Sparrowhawk, Red Kite, several Buzzards, a group of Mistle Thrush, a few Yellowhammer, Linnets, Goldfinches but no Goshawks today!

We then headed back up to the coast to firstly Wells, North Point & then Stiffkey Fen. A scan of North Point revealed several Spoonbills and we got nice views of them feeding. Plenty more Wigeon, Teal & Black-tailed Godwit also on the pools here, plus Marsh Harrier and 2 Red Kites.

© Peter Hassett Spoonbill , Stiffkey Fen, Norfolk

We then headed to Stiffkey Fen, this offered up a good number of roosting 19 Spoonbills, also 2 roosting Greenshank, and more Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Dunlin, Snipe, Wigeon, Teal and around c20 Pintail.

We then walked around to Blakeney channel, where there was lots of shorebirds on the low tide, highlight was a super flock of c170 Grey Plover, also a few Bar-tailed Godwit, c200 Oystercatcher & Turnstone. Out on the sea, there was 5 Great Crested Grebe, and Paul picked up an eclipse drake Eider, which was a nice surprise!

Day Three – 23rd September 2022

Today we spent the day at Titchwell, the work on the scrapes seems to have paid real dividends, as the main scrape was full of birds! As we headed out the first bird of note was a nice Great White Egret, feeding in one of the reedbed pools. Once at the main pool there was a plethora of wildfowl and waders, the shallowest pool near the path held the main birds of interest, there was about c60 Dunlin, amongst these were 2 Little Stint and 5 Curlew Sandpiper.

The supporting cast was superb, with c60 Ruff, c300 Golden Plover, c200 Black-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover, Snipe plus masses of Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler plus a few Pintail. Also a lovely Grey Wagtail feeding in the shallows, with Linnets coming to drink.

© Peter Hassett Golden Plover, Titchwell, Norfolk
© Peter Hassett Ruff, Titchwell, Norfolk

We then continued on to the shoreline where we scored with plenty more shorebirds, including Sanderling a new species for the trip. There was lots of Common Scoter but mainly distantly, as well as a Great Crested Grebe on the sea and a couple of distant Gannets.

We headed back for a lunch break, then took the path round to Patsy’s pool, where we were able to add both Pochard, Gadwall and Tufted Duck to the list, there was also nice views of Little Grebe and we stumbled along some Willow Emerald dragonflies on the way round.

We rounded the tour off back looking at the main scrape, just enjoying the lovely concentration of birds, and were able to watch one species of wader that had surprisingly eluded us, a juvenile Red Knot!

A great 3 days with 111 species and 23 species of Wader recorded.