The Norfolk Coast – A monthly wildlife guide by Oli Reville

July is an interesting month. For many birds the Autumn migration has begun and this is very evident on the Norfolk coast at the moment.

Groups of Godwit and Curlew have begun moving along the coast in the evenings and Starlings are grouping together, boosted massively by the number of young birds. In similar fashion the young of many of our garden birds have fledged and are looking very well grown on.

Throughout July we will see the first young Terns, Swallows, House Martins and Swifts on the wing and filling the skies with their iconic shapes and noise. By the end of the month breeding will be practically completed and the number of summer migrants in Norfolk will be very evident, with birds such as Whitethroat having a superb year.

Being a summer month it is expected that July will be warm and sunny. With little in the way of rare birds moving into the UK many nature lovers take up spotting Butterflies, Dragonflies and Orchids.

Butterfly numbers grow during July with some very striking species appearing. Silver Washed Fritillary, White Admiral and Chalkhill Blue are three species that are readily available throughout July in Norfolk. For the first two try the woodland areas at Holt Country Park and Kelling Heath and for Chalkhill Blue the iron-age fort at Warham is worth a visit, also a good site for Wall Brown and migrant Painted Lady butterflies.

Dragonflies and Damselflies are also easy to find during July. The river Glaven is an excellent place to find the fabulous Banded Demoiselle and some migrant species such as Red-veined Darter can be seen in coastal areas like Kelling water meadows.

It is also worth visiting a few sites for orchids during July. Beeston Common, near Sheringham, is currently in excellent bloom with several species present. Warham camp is an excellent site for Pyramidal orchid and coastal sites near Blakeney and Kelling excellent for Bee Orchid. It is also worth checking out roadside areas near Wells and Cley which have been given roadside nature reserve status and are now covered in wild flowers, including orchids.

July is a great month for general wildlife watching and a relaxing period before the madness of Autumn bird migration kicks in. So enjoy the sun and the array of wildlife to be found on the Norfolk coast during the height of summer.

Oli Reville