The Norfolk Coast – A monthly wildlife guide by Oli Reville
The Norfolk coast is one of the best areas for wildlife in the whole of the United Kingdom. This monthly guide will outline the best places to visit and what wildlife you can expect to find there.
March is a month of contrast and in both seasons and wildlife it can be split very neatly into two parts.
The start of the month sees winter clinging on. Last year Norfolk was gripped by snow throughout March but 2014 has seen a generally dry and warm start to the month, after a long winter of storms and flooding left much of the coast severely affected. Obviously we cannot truly predict what will happen for the rest of the month but hopefully a further increase in temperature and calm, dry conditions.
For wildlife March is a season of emergence. We are starting to see the first butterflies of the year, mainly Peacocks, Red Admirals and Brimstones, which are emerging after their winter hibernation so you should see a few when the sun is shining. Bees and other insects are also appearing in greater numbers and are a welcome sight in spring.
March also sees the emergence of Britain’s only native venomous snake, The Adder. Heathland areas are great places to find this fascinating and beautiful reptile and March is arguably the best time of the year to see them as they seek sun soaked areas to bask following a winter of hibernation.
The beginning of March sees the woodlands and roadsides of Norfolk still full with the beautiful white Snowdrops but these soon make way for the bright and brilliant Daffodils which are very evident by the middle of the month. Trees are beginning to blossom too providing even more colour to the coast.
Finally birds, many of you may have noticed the disappearance of Norfolk’s fantastic wintering Pink-Footed Geese towards the end of February and into March as they move north to breed. With them go other migratory birds such as Thrushes, Snow Buntings and by the end of March we will lose the last of the Hen Harriers that have graced the marshes along the coast since the Autumn.
But these birds will be replaced with our spring migrants. Birds such as Sand Martins, Wheatears are already arriving back in Norfolk and by the end of the month we should see the first House Martins and Swallows arriving as we move into April.
So where can you expect to find these signs of spring along the north Norfolk coast? In the coming months I will highlight some of the best areas to visit during each month, what species you may find there and highlight the star species of the site with information and photographs of that species or group.
So next month look out for my April guide and (hopefully) the full arrival of Spring.