Birdwatching in Norfolk


This is the latest DVD from Yorkshire-based Bird Images. Filmed entirely by Paul Doherty, this impressive two-hour production shows some of the birds you might expect to see on a typical day’s birding in Norfolk. Birdwatching in Norfolk contains a number of rarer vagrants, and the Cley White-crowned Sparrow and Winterton Pallid Harrier make some tantalising cameos.

With so many potential places and species to cover, the DVD is broken down into 12 monthly chapters, each focusing on key seasonal sites. It is also possible to go straight to any of the 164 featured species with the easy-to-use menu system.

The DVD begins with a January visit to Holkham and its flocks of geese, before showing Snow Buntings and Shore Larks on the beach. We are presented with crisp, close-up footage of the birds accompanied by an informative commentary (delivered by Doherty), which gives identification pointers and site information, as well as more general aspects of bird behaviour and biology. If you tire of the commentary, a useful feature accesses an alternative audio-only soundtrack, allowing you to enjoy the broadcast-quality pictures accompanied by impressive sound recordings.

February features the Horsey and Hickling area, opening with an atmospheric sequence depicting the mist-filled landscape and a solitary, silhouetted Common Crane. The attention paid to the accompanying site shots and general views is one of the highlights of the production: among all the birdlife it would be easy to forget the importance of the wider visual context, but here there are many atmospheric views of the Norfolk countryside.

One of the highlights of the DVD is August, with its stunning footage of Snettisham’s vast wader roost, culminating in a poignant image of a juvenile Knot unable to free its bill from the shell of a mollusc. September visits Cley, while October takes a more roving approach, visiting various sites along the coast. Finally we get the chance to relive the November 2007 wreck of Little Auks, before moving on to Welney and Buckenham and their wintering wildfowl.

Although not claiming to be an in-depth site guide, the DVD nevertheless gives the viewer an excellent feel for birding in Norfolk, whetting the appetite to get out into the field, as well as rekindling memories of many birds – my own favourites include the Bittern that took up its frog-menacing residence on Beeston Common in February 2008.

Birdwatching in Norfolk
is a beautifully filmed and edited DVD that will be enjoyed by visiting birders to Norfolk, as well as those lucky enough to reside in (as the commentary puts it) “the best birdwatching county in England”.
For a wide range of birding books and DVDs, some at excellent discount prices, please take a look at the Birdwatch Bookshop.

Tech spec

  • Birdwatching in Norfolk filmed and narrated by Paul Doherty (Bird Images Video Guides, Sherburn in Elmet, 2008).
  • Two-hour running time, 162 species.
  • £14.95.