The Norfolk Coast – A monthly wildlife guide by Oli Reville

I write this from a mountainside in Georgia so I am a bit unaware of what the weather is doing back home. Whatever is happening September is a very good month for wildlife lovers, especially for birds.

The start of September can produce excellent “falls” of migrating birds such as Wryneck and Redstart but also rarities such as Icterine Warbler and Western Bonelli’s Warbler. All these birds are attempting to make their way south to Africa for the winter and with the right winds they can easily end up off course and find their way to Norfolk.

It is worth visiting the vast amount of sites the Norfolk coast has to offer birdwatchers. Some of the best falls of migrant birds can be seen at Burnham Overy, Stiffkey, Morston, Blakeney Point and Salthouse. It is possible however to find migrant species along the whole coast of Norfolk, especially after north-easterly winds.

It is also a good time to keep an eye on the sea as in the right conditions passing rare seabirds such as Cory’s and Sooty Shearwater may be seen off the coast of Norfolk, all be it infrequently.

Wading birds begin to build up, with the flocks of Knot at Snettisham and Titchwell a particular highlight. Hundreds of thousands of waders gather in The Wash during this period and their ability to fill the sky with a whirling motion is a sight to behold.

Later in the month the declining weather will bring the first of the wintering birds to the area, although most of these arrive from October onwards. Fieldfares, Redwings, Redpolls and other small finches can be seen in small numbers at the end of September. You may also notice more birds returning to your garden as we reach Autumn.

Warm, dry days in September may still yield good numbers of butterflies and dragonflies along the coast but their numbers are beginning to decline by this point and by the end of the month are seldom seen.

September is a fantastic month in Norfolk for birds. While we may lose most of the activity found from other wildlife groups the birds more than make up for it as peak migration arrives.

Oli Reville