Norfolk monthly review


Although no major rarities were reported to BirdGuides in Norfolk during May, there was still plenty of interest around the county as the following list demonstrates. It should be remembered that these sightings have not yet been assessed by the county or national rarity records committees.

Black-necked Grebe

2 at Titchwell on 13th.

Night Heron

Singles at Titchwell on 20th-29th & Cley on 21st. A presumed escape from Great Witchingham Wildlife Park visited gardens in Hardingham for a couple of weeks in mid-month.

Little Egret

Up to 4 at Titchwell & Holkham, one at Cley & up to 5 at Berney Marsh.

Great White Egret

3 flew north at Hickling on 10th, one at Holkham Fresh Marsh on 13th-18th (on one date accompanied by 3 Spoonbills & 2 Little Egrets), one west at Salthouse on 15th & one in Wells harbour on 25th. With only a dozen or so previous Norfolk records, and no more than 2 birds together, this represents an unprecedented influx into the county.

Purple Heron

One at Holme on 22nd.

Black Stork

One frequented the Waveney valley south of Fakenham and was seen almost daily from the Great Ryburgh raptor watchpoint on 25th-30th. Only 18 previous county records, of which 8 were since 1900.

White Stork

Single(s) over Kings Lynn on 15th & at Heacham on 22nd, while the presumed escape remained at Acle all month.


Present in the county throughout the month with maximum counts of 4 at Holme, 3 at Titchwell, 4 at Holkham Fresh Marsh & 10 at Berney Marsh.

Bewick’s Swan

One at Buckenham Marshes on 15th.

Whooper Swan

One recorded intermittently in the Cley area throughout the month.

Pink-footed Goose

200 still at Holkham on 7th.

Ross’s Goose

2 adults, presumed escapes, at Cley on 4th.

Dark-bellied Brent Goose

190 remained at Thornham on 18th.

Pale-bellied Brent Goose

One at Titchwell on 5th.

Black Brant

Adult last reported at Titchwell on 13th.

Ruddy Shelduck

2 at Holme on 1st & Cley on 31st.


Maximum counts of 4 at Titchwell & 3 at Holkham Fresh Marsh.

Red-crested Pochard

Female at Hickling Broad on 13th.


40 off Titchwell on 18th.


One at Cley on 14th.

Honey Buzzard

Migrants over Salthouse Heath on 23rd & Holt on 25th, while up to 2 at the Swanton Novers & Great Ryburgh raptor watchpoints from 22nd.

Black Kite

Singles flying north over Guist on 20th & near Fakenham on 28th. There have been only 20 previous Norfolk records.

Red Kite

One south at Winterton on 25th & one over Salthouse on 31st.

Hen Harrier

Ringtails at Berney Marsh on 2nd & Choseley on 12th.

Montagu’s Harrier

Passage birds recorded at several sites from 1st to 22nd, including males at Holme on 1st & Sheringham on 11th.


Migrants at Holkham on3rd & Hopton on 25th.

Common Buzzard

Up to 4 at Swanton Novers raptor watchpoint.


Ten sightings of migrants from 4th to 28th, all but two along the north coast.

Red-footed Falcon.

An impressive influx between 14th and 27th, starting with an adult male at Berney Marsh on 14th followed by a male at Winterton & Hickling Broad on 19th (where it remained until 23rd), male at Salthouse Heath on 19th, female at Cley on 21st, singles at Upton Fen & Hindolveston on 23rd, female at Titchwell on 26th & at Langham on 27th. The unprecedented influx in 1992, involving more than 40 birds, also commenced on May 14th.


Late birds at Blakeney Point on 8th (2), Burnham Overy on 11th & Stiffkey Fen on 12th.


Up to 3 at Hickling Broad, Buckenham Marsh, Great Ryburgh raptor watchpoint & Lakenheath Fen, but these totals were eclipsed by an amazing count of 9 at Strumpshaw on 6th.


One calling at Choseley on 27th.

Spotted Crake

Calling birds noted at Strumpshaw & Welney.


Away from Broadland single(s) over several north coast locations on 12th & 16th, with one at Holkham Fresh Marsh on 18th-19th.

Black-winged Stilt

The long-stayer remained at Titchwell all month & a pair was at Lakenheath Fen on 8th & 11th, and at Fowl Mere on 12th, possibly the same two birds that were reported in Hampshire in late April. The most recent records involving two birds together concerned the pair that bred successfully at Holme in 1987 & 2 at Hickling Broad on 16th May 1992.

Kentish Plover

One at Cley on 15th.


2 flew west over Salthouse on 4th. A very poor spring for this species.

Pacific Golden Plover

One at Thornham on 17th. The sixth Norfolk record, but only the second in spring.

Little Stint

Up to 2 at Titchwell, 6 at Cley and one at Hickling Broad.

Temminck’s Stint

Spring passage from 6th with maximum site counts of 2 at Titchwell, 3 at Cley, 2 at Hickling Broad & 2 at Buckenham Marsh. Also singles at Burnham Norton, Holkham Fresh Marsh & Pentney GP, while 3 flew west at Blakeney Point on 21st. An average spring showing in Norfolk.

Curlew Sandpiper

Up to 3 at Cley and singles at Snettisham Coastal Park & Hickling Broad.


Maximum of 50 at Berney Marsh on 2nd.


Maximum counts on 2nd with 50 at Horsey & 30 at Berney Marsh.

Spotted Redshank

Maximum of 8 at Berney Marsh on 1st.


Maximum of 7 at Berney Marsh on 2nd.

Wood Sandpiper

Singles at a few scattered localities.

Common Sandpiper

Maximum of 13 at Lakenheath Fen on 17th.

Red-necked Phalarope

One at Stiffkey Fen on 22nd-25th.

Arctic Skua

One at Blakeney Point on 2nd.


One at Blakeney Point on 3rd.

Mediterranean Gull

Single first-summers at Titchwell, Stiffkey Fen, Cley & Wroxham Broad.

Little Gull

Maximum counts of 10 at Titchwell, 7 at Cley & 4 at Hickling Broad.

Glaucous Gull

An unseasonal report of a first-summer at Blakeney Point on 24th.

Gull-billed Tern

One reported at Cley on 22nd.

Caspian Tern

One in Broadland, mainly seen at Hickling, on 12th-15th. Hickling Broad has hosted many of Norfolk’s Caspian Terns.

Whiskered Tern

One resting on Winterton beach on 11th & at Lakenheath Fen on 16th. Assuming this was the same bird, it represents the 21st record for Norfolk.

Black Tern

Two small influxes on 7th-8th & 17th-18th, but no more than 3 birds at any one site.

Short-eared Owl

Single(s) between Holme & Kelling Water Meadows from 1st to 21st.

Northern Carmine Bee-eater

One at Mundesley on 24th. Despite being an escape and perching on television aerials, this bird attracted many admirers.


One flew west at Titchwell on 16th. The first Norfolk record since 1991.


Singles at Roughton on 11th & Winterton on 19th, with a late report of 2 at Horsy in mid-month.


Singles at Great Yarmouth Cemetery on 2nd & Holme on 9th.


Last birds (6) at Holkham on 1st.

Red-rumped Swallow

Singles at Waxham on 12th & Salthouse on 24th.

Red-throated Pipit

One flew west at Cley on 21st. A typical spring date for the county.

Grey-headed Wagtail

Singles at Holkam on 3rd & Cley on 18th.


A very late bird flew west over Holt on 6th. Occasional birds have been recorded before in May.


Singles at Thornham Point on 12th-13th & Winterton on 18th.

Black Redstart

Late migrant at Thornham Point on 12th.

Ring Ouzel

Last spring migrants at Winterton on 16th & Cley on 18th.

Icterine Warbler

One at Sea Palling on 7th.

Subalpine Warbler

Female at Winterton on 14th, and males at Cley on 19th & Blakeney Point on 21st. Over half of those recorded in Norfolk have been during the second half of May.

Wood Warbler

Migrants at Kelling on 2nd-4th, Lenwade on 6th, Wiveton on 7th, Blakeney Point on 7th & 11th, and Weybourne on 11th.

Siberian Chiffchaff

One at Blakeney Point on 3rd. Only one previous spring record of the tristis race in Norfolk and that was at Blakeney Point on 11th May 1993.


Last spring migrant at Sea Palling on 8th.

Pied Flycatcher

One at Winterton on 1st and singles at several sites along north coast between 6th & 21st.

Golden Oriole

Migrants at Holkham on 3rd & 18th, and Kelling Heath on 23rd, while 2 pairs were back at Lakenheath Fen by 22nd.


2 late migrants at Holme on 7th.

Common Rosefinch

A fine adult male singing at Weybourne on 30th-31st, may have been the one reported at nearby Kelling Water Meadows on 22nd, which equalled the previous earliest Norfolk record of another adult male that was ringed a couple of miles to the east at Sheringham Bird Observatory in 1995.

For more information on birding in Norfolk, see our new Norfolk page.
Written by: Moss Taylor