- We meet early this afternoon at our hotel. After check-in we visit nearby woods which are a fine site for woodland butterflies including silver-washed fritillary, purple and white-letter hairstreaks, white admiral and speckled wood.
- In the evening, weather permitting, we may walk from our hotel onto surrounding saltmarsh and grazing marsh where we are likely to see hunting marsh harriers and perhaps barn owls.
- Accommodation: Blakeney House, Blakeney, 3-nights on half board basis.
- We spend much of today exploring Holkham National Nature Reserve which has a fine mix of sand dune, grazing marsh, saltmarsh and woodland. In the dunes we look for grayling, wall brown, Essex skipper, brown argus, common blue and dark green fritillary butterflies, among other species.
- A short distance inland at one of Norfolk’s best-preserved chalk grassland sites we may be lucky to witness the emergence of chalkhill blues. This is also an excellent site for Orthoptera including field, meadow and stripe-winged grasshoppers and Roesel’s bush-cricket.
- Time and weather permitting we may visit a coastal bird reserve where at this time of year there may be young avocet, little ringed plover, lapwing, redshank, shelduck and gadwall. Marsh harriers, buzzards, kestrels, red kites and perhaps even hobbies are sure to be visible over us for much of the day.
- Today we focus on the many fine sites for insects and other wildlife around Holt. At Holt Country Park we are likely to see white admiral and silver-washed fritillary and may even see the scarce greenish valezina form of the latter. On adjacent Holt Lowes we look for bog bush-cricket and keeled skimmer at one of their only Norfolk sites.
- Very nearby at Kelling Heath we may be lucky enough to find the last of the year’s silver-studded blues, among other species, while at Kelling Triangle we again look for white-letter and purple hairstreaks, white admiral and silver-washed fritillary.
- We may also visit Beeston Common, which is a wonderful site for wild flowers and insects. In addition to holding another of Norfolk’s very few populations of bog bush-cricket, it supports many dragonflies including emperor, brown hawker and common emerald damselfly. In recent years it has become known as one of only two sites in Norfolk where the gorgeous purple emperor is sometimes seen.
- This morning we either visit a local site for any species we may have missed or we simply walk out from our hotel onto the beautiful and wildlife-rich coastal marshes which surround it. Our tour ends at 12:30.
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- Guided activities
- Breakfasts and dinners
We stay at Blakeney House, a charming boutique bed and breakfast and restaurant with a perfect location in the centre of the lovely Norfolk coast village of Blakeney. The hotel has private parking and is only a short walk from Blakeney Quay and from wildlife-rich saltmarsh and grazing marsh.
Breakfasts and dinners are taken at our hotel and are included. In order to give greater flexibility and maximise time in the field, lunches will be taken in local pubs or cafes and are not included in the cost of the tour.
High summer is generally considered the worst time of year for birdwatching, almost anywhere in the UK. However, for visitors to North Norfolk from elsewhere in the country there is always much to see. Along the coast Sandwich, common and little terns are feeding chicks now, while on scrapes avocets and little ringed plovers are raising theirs. Overhead there are marsh harriers and perhaps hobbies. Norfolk also has breeding spoonbills and great egrets which are commonly seen along the coast in high summer.
- Sandwich tern
- Marsh harrier
High summer is among the finest times to visit Norfolk in search of insects. Dragonfly species seen now include brown, southern and migrant hawkers, keeled skimmer, small red-eyed damselfly and common emerald damselfly. Norfolk’s summer butterflies include purple and white-letter hairstreaks, white admiral, silver-washed and dark green fritillaries. This is the very best time of year for grasshoppers and bush-crickets, with six species of the former readily found and specialities such as bog bush-cricket also possible.
- Bog bush-cricket
- Silver-washed fritillary
- White-letter hairstreak
- Keeled skimmer
Most of the plants for which Norfolk is famous have flowered by July. We will nonetheless see a number of plants in flower on the heath, chalk grassland, fen and sand dunes sites that we visit. In particular Norfolk’s coastal saltmarshes look spectacular in high summer as common sea lavender and sea aster come into flower, accompanied in places by scarcer species such as rock and matted sea lavenders, sea milkwort and sea heath.
Norfolk is both rich in wildlife and very beautiful. Our tour takes us to a wide range of habitats along the North Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Photographic opportunities on this trip are good to excellent, especially dragonflies and butterflies, and the famously beautiful scenery of the North Norfolk Coast.
Walks on this tour are typically short and easy. It may, however, be wet and muddy underfoot in some locations.
Ground transportation will be by minibus, driven by the leader.
Low altitude throughout. In the words of Noel Coward, ‘very flat, Norfolk.’
Summer can be fickle anywhere in the UK, but this is typically a warm and pleasant time of year in Norfolk.