Norfolk Monthly Review


November is often one of the best months to see a good selection of divers and grebes and this year was no exception. Throughout the month good numbers of Taiga Bean Geese were present in the Yare Valley and 2 Black Brants had returned to Titchwell by 3rd. Small numbers of Velvet Scoters were scattered around the coast, including up to 50 in Holkham Bay. An unseasonal Dotterel was found with the Golden Plovers at Titchwell, but the best wader of the month was a Lesser Yellowlegs that remained at Cantley BF, the same site that also hosted a long-staying White-winged Black Tern. The county's seventh Hume's Warbler was identified at Sea Palling, but potentially the rarest bird was a Snow Bunting of the Siberian race vlasowae with the roving Titchwell flock.

Red-throated Diver

The highest site counts reported were 137 east in 2 hours at Sheringham on 17th, 255 at Sea Palling on 25th and 60 at Salthouse on 27th. Inland one was at Horsey Mere on 23rd. Reports of oiled birds included 4 on Kelling Water Meadows on 25th and 14 in Blakeney Harbour on 26th.

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Black-throated Diver

Singles at Sheringham on 9th, Happisburgh on 15th, Salthouse on 19th, Titchwell and Blakeney Point on 23rd, and Snettisham and Waxham on 24th.

Great Northern Diver

Apart from 3 on 4th and 2 on 7th at Sheringham, all records refer to singles at Snettisham (where three species of divers were reported on the pits on 24th), Holme, Titchwell, Holkham Bay, Cley, Eccles, Winterton and Great Yarmouth.

Red-necked Grebe

Only two reports – at Titchwell on 14th and Holkham Bay on 22nd.

Slavonian Grebe

Only recorded regularly at Titchwell with 2 on 16th. Elsewhere 2 at Walcott on 13th, Eccles on 16th and Brancaster on 23rd, with singles at Horsey on 20th and Holme on 24th.

Black-necked Grebe

Singles at Cley on 12th, Holkham Bay on 16th and Gorleston 17th.

Sooty Shearwater

One past Mundesley on 9th.


Singles at Mundesley on 8th, Holme on 9th and 28th, and an oiled bird in Wells Harbour on 29th.

Little Egret

The main roost moved between Titchwell (maximum of 22 on 9th) and Holkham FM (maximum of 61 on 15th). Higher numbers of birds feeding on the salt marshes were reported this month with up to 11 at Burnham Overy and Warham Greens/Stiffkey. Inland one at Hockwold Washes on 11th.

Whooper Swan

No reports of numbers at Welney, and highest counts of 25 flying over Cantley on 10th and 8 in off the sea at Horsey on 20th.

Bewick's Swan

No reports from Welney. The only double-figure counts concerned 11 west at Holme on 2nd and 16 in off the sea at Winterton on 4th and 16 at Horsey on 15th.

Taiga Bean Goose

Present on the Cantley Marshes throughout the month with a maximum of 131 on 22nd. Elsewhere 6, race unspecified, at Stalham on 12th.

Pink-footed Goose

The highest count reported was of 5000 at Snettisham on 3rd.

European White-fronted Goose

Numbers at Cantley slowly built up during the month reaching 42 by 29th, otherwise only other report involving double figures was of 10 at Holkham on 3rd.

Greenland White-fronted Goose

A party of 7 at Cley on 1st later flew west, one at Docking on 12th and 7 at Sedgeford on 23rd.

Ross's Goose

Singles at Fring on 2nd, Snettisham on 3rd/4th and Brancaster on 26th.

Barnacle Goose

Up to 50 feral birds at Buckenham Marshes. The only others reported were 2 at Home on 24th and 'several' at Brancaster on 26th.

Pale-bellied Brent Goose

4 at Titchwell on 9th and one at Burnham Overy on 24th.

Black Brant

2 at Titchwell from 3rd, presumably the same at Holme on 24th, and one at Hunstanton on 12th.

Ruddy Shelduck

4 at East Ruston on 18th.

Green-winged Teal

A drake at Titchwell on 10th.


A total of 47 past Great Yarmouth on 20th.


A good count of 166 at Breydon on 22nd.

Red-crested Pochard

A female remained at Whitlingham Lane CP from 5th to 29th.

Ferruginous Duck

A drake at Welney on 19th.


Singles at Snettisham on 4th and 23rd, Titchwell on 15th and 6 in Holkham Bay on 16th.


125 past Great Yarmouth on 20th was the largest number reported.

Long-tailed Duck

Up to 3 intermittently reported between Holme and Titchwell, singles at Horsey Gap on 20th-24th and in Blakeney Harbour on 26th-30th. Inland, one at Rockland Broad on 14th-19th.

Common Scoter

Maximum site counts of 1500 at Titchwell on 16th and 265 at Horsey Gap/Winterton on 11th.

Velvet Scoter

Present in Holkham Bay all month peaking around 50 on 15th/16th and 23rd and at Horsey Gap/Winterton where maximum of 15 on 20th and 25th. Elsewhere 3-4 off several north and east coast sites, and 8 at Sheringham.


Up to 2 'redheads' at Strumpshaw on 27th-30th.

Red-breasted Merganser

By the end of the month 40 at Hunstanton, 30 at Titchwell and 20 in Blakeney Harbour.


1-3 at Holme, Cley, Kelling and Cantley BF, with 5 at Breydon on 22nd.

Ruddy Duck

The female at Whitlingham Lane CP at the end of October was last reported on 5th.

Red Kite

One east at Sheringham on 4th.

Marsh Harrier

Up to 17 roosting at Stubb Mill.

Hen Harrier

Maximum of 5 at Burnham Norton on 3rd and at Warham Greens roost on 14th, and 4 at Stubb Mill roost on 15th. Singles in off the sea at Sheringham on 6th and Holme on 9th. Elsewhere 1-2 reported from scattered sites around the coast, as well as singles inland at Breydon, Cantley, Surlingham Broad and Haddiscoe.

Rough-legged Buzzard

Singles at Haddiscoe on 13th and Burnham Norton on 30th.


Singles continued to be recorded regularly around the coast from Titchwell to Winterton, with up to 3 at the Stubb Mill roost and 3 at Breydon on 19th.


Singles at Snettisham, Titchwell, Burnham Overy and Blakeney Point, and 2 at Warham Greens on 11th. Inland at Docking on 12th, up to 2 at Cantley BF, and singles at Buckenham Marshes and Breydon.

Water Rail

In Norwich, one was found on an internal roof in the city centre on 1st, a presumed migrant was at Blakeney Point on 9th and the highest count was of 8 at Strumpshaw on 29th.

Spotted Crake

A 'probable' was seen at Cley on 28th.


A maximum of 12 in the Waxham/Horsey area during the month.

Black-winged Stilt

The long-stayer remained at Titchwell all month.


A maximum of 180 at Breydon on 22nd.


One with Golden Plovers at Titchwell intermittently from 9th to 18th. The species has been recorded in Norfolk in every month of the year.

Little Stint

2 at Snettisham on 4th.

Curlew Sandpiper

One at Titchwell on 28th.

Purple Sandpiper

Up to 2 at Hunstanton/Heacham, up to 3 at Salthouse on 5th-12th, 5 at Eccles on 9th, up to 3 at Waxham and singles at Titchwell and Winterton.


Up to 25 at Titchwell and 9 at Cantley BF were the only ones reported.

Jack Snipe

Singles at Titchwell on three dates, Burnham Norton on 3rd, Cley on 15th and Winterton on 11th.

Black-tailed Godwit

Maximum of 1000 at Breydon on 22nd.

Spotted Redshank

Maximum of 7 at Titchwell on 30th, one at Cantley BF on 17th and 2 at Breydon on 18th.


3 at Heacham on 3rd.

Lesser Yellowlegs

A first-winter at Cantley BF on 8th-30th. Thirteen previous county records, including a juvenile at Cantley BF in October 2001 and another long-stayer at Welney from 12th September to 4th November 1998.

Green Sandpiper

Maximum of 10 at Cantley BF on 2nd.

Grey Phalarope

One at Salthouse on 8th.

Pomarine Skua

Single(s) at Sheringham and Mundesley on 9th.

Arctic Skua

3 past Mundesley on 9th, otherwise just three reports of singles.


Apart from 13 west at Holme and 3 past Sheringham on 9th, and 2 at Horsey Gap on 20th, only a few reports of single birds.

Mediterranean Gull

A maximum of 24, including 14 adults, at Great Yarmouth on 19th, one at Titchwell on 12th and 30th and one inland at Limpenhoe on 9th. A Mediterranean x Black-headedGull hybrid at Heacham on 3rd.

Little Gull

Following a spectacular passage along the north Norfolk coast on October 16th, watchers along the east coast recorded 405 flying south at Sea Palling on 25th. One was following the plough at Northrepps on 29th/30th.

Sabine's Gull

An adult west at Blakeney Point on 6th, a juvenile at Salthouse on 26th and an adult at Titchwell on 27th.

Yellow-legged Gull

Maximum of 3 at Burgh St Peter on 28th.

Caspian Gull

An adult at Burgh St Peter on 28th.


7 passed through Welney on 10th.

White-winged Black Tern

The bird present at Cantley BF from October 18th was last seen on 16th. An even later White-winged Black Tern was present at the same site on 19th-23rd November 1994.

Little Auk

Occasional birds reported around the coast from 4th, with 38 past Holkham Bay in one and a half hours on 23rd being the highest count.


One at Blakeney Point on 29th.

Turtle Dove

A very late, but not unprecedented, record of one at Great Yarmouth Cemetery on 3rd.

Long-eared Owl

One flew west at Beeston Bump on 15th and another or the same was seen later at Cley.

Short-eared Owl

Regular sightings of up to 5 between Burnham Overy and Holkham. Elsewhere 1-2 at Warham Greens, 2 at Stubb Mill on 9th and one at Blakeney Point on 29th.

Swift sp.

One over Great Yarmouth on 24th.

Shore Lark

At Holkham Gap the flock increased steadily in size during the month peaking at 70 on 28th. Elsewhere 3 at Holme on 2nd and 10th, maxima of 22 at Titchwell on 9th and 12 at Cley on 15th, and one at Great Yarmouth on 2nd.


Reported from four sites: at Wells on 5th, Beeston Bump on 9th and 12th, 2 at Cromer on 13th and one on 24th, and 2 at Holkham on 30th.

House Martin

Reports of singles in the Sheringham area between 8th and 20th may have referred to the same bird. Elsewhere singles at Holme on 21st, Cley on 23rd and Cockthorpe on 30th, with up to 3 at Cromer on 22nd-24th.

Tree Pipit

An exceptionally late bird at Stiffkey on 2nd. Only two previous November records, the latest at Cromer on 3rd November 1991.

Rock Pipit

Unusual inland records at Cantley BF with 6 on 8th and singles on 22nd and 29th, and one at Hockwold Washes on 11th.

Water Pipit

Maximum site counts of 5 at Cantley BF on 4th, 7 at Hockwold Washes on 11th and 5 at Buckenham Marshes on 27th.


Singles at Dereham on 5th, Langham on 13th, Holme on 19th and Strumpshaw on 23rd.

Black Redstart

A small influx at the start of the month resulted in 2 at Salthouse on 1st, up to 3 at Winterton on 1st-3rd, singles at Aylmerton and Great Yarmouth Cemetery on 3rd, and one at Swaffham and 4 at Waxham on 4th. Elsewhere singles at Holme on 10th and Hunstanton on 30th.


A very late report of one at Buckenham Marshes on 17th.


Maximum site counts included 5 at Gorleston and 4 at Buckenham Marshes on 17th, 3 at Breydon on 18th and 5 at Cley and 3 at Winterton on 25th, perhaps suggesting small influxes on those dates, also 3 inland at Hockwold Washes on 11th.

Ring Ouzel

One at Winterton on 11th.

Cetti's Warbler

Away from breeding areas, males at Titchwell on 25th and Cley on 27th/28th.

Reed Warbler

A late bird at Blakeney Point on 4th.

Garden Warbler

A late bird at Winterton on 1st.

Yellow-browed Warbler

Only one reported at Holme on 2nd-4th.

Hume's Warbler

One at Sea Palling on 11th constituted the seventh county record.


One of the eastern form tristis at Holkham on 16th.


A very impressive estimate of 350 at Holkham on 16th, not reflected by an influx elsewhere around the coast.


Singles at Horsey Gap on 1st, Great Yarmouth Cemetery on 17th, Holkham on 22nd and Brancaster on 25th.

Bearded Tit

Maximum count of 15 at Cantley BF on 16th.

Red-backed Shrike

The long-stayer remained near Horsey Mill until 3rd and another at Breydon on 19th. Only one later bird recorded in the county – at Hunstanton from 23rd November to 1st December 1986.

Hooded Crow

2 reported at Waxham on 1st may have been hybrids and one at Hunstanton on 13th was ringed on the right leg.


Numbers increased at Holkham Gap, reaching 150 by 19th. The only other site to record double figures was Breydon with a maximum of 42 also on 19th (but this wasn't a weekend!).


50 at Sandringham on 24th. The only other reports concerned 2 at Glandford on 7th and 6 at Buxton Heath on 23rd.

Lapland Bunting

1-2 reported from a scattering of sites around the north coast between Titchwell and Beeston Bump, also one at Heacham on 3rd and several sightings at Winterton.

Snow Bunting

By the end of the month flocks had increased to 80 at Holme, 100 at Titchwell (probably same birds) and 80 at Holkham Gap. Other maximum site counts included 38 at Blakeney Point on 23rd, 50 at Cley on 4th, 20 at Happisburgh on 17th and 37 at Sea Palling on 25th. Inland one at Cantley BF on 10th. A fascinating report of one at Titchwell on 21st showing the features of the race vlasowae, which breeds from NE European Russia eastwards through Arctic Siberia.

Written by: Moss Taylor