I’ve recently been on a trip to Norfolk and I went with high expectations. Autumn and winter provide some pretty amazing spectacles there. I was hoping to see thousands of starlings performing a murmuration and vast flocks of migrating geese.
It wasn’t quite love at first sight with Norfolk for me. I like hills and trees, and well, at first glance there’s nothing there. It’s a sparsely populated vast flatness. But you can’t beat an empty beach whatever the time of year.
With an enthusiastic twitcher (mum) beside me I soon discovered the attraction as we arrived in Salthouse. The flat landscape means big skies and it’s bleakness is beautiful. The wind was invigorating and I loved the sense of space. The lack of people and the sheer quietness was eerie but far from being lifeless, the landscape is alive with birds.
Salthouse is just a stone’s throw from Cley Marshes and a ten minute walk to the sea. Here we saw lots of geese and at Cley we saw Snow Buntings, Marsh Harriers, a Hen harrier and lots of waders but I was really hoping for a Starling murmuration.
We did see smaller flocks of starlings coming down to roost in the reeds right beside us but no dramatic performance. I was told at RSPB Strumpshaw that they haven’t seen murmurations there either, due to the unseasonably warm weather. Smaller flocks join together to form super flocks in the winter with thousands of birds roosting together to keep warm.
If this winter does turn cold I’ll have an excuse to go back and try again with the starling search, but i wasn’t disappointed with birds like this Little Egret and scenery that has made me see Norfolk in a new light.