Whirling Waders at RSPB Snettisham

RSPB Snettisham, a murmaration of starlings reflected in crystal clear water of the bird sanctuary

If you’ve been reading these blogs, you’ll know that I planned to visit Sandringham House this year (something that I’ve never done, even though I’ve lived in Hunstanton for nearly twenty years and visited the Sandringham Estate probably around 500 times). You’ll be pleased to know that I succeeded in my quest and will blog about that sometime soon (people will be thinking ‘oh no, not another Sandringham blog’, as I’ve already blogged about Sandringham twice this year – it’s just such an amazing place with so much going on).

Anyway, there are three other things that I really wanted to do this year; visit RSPB Titchwell and Snettisham and walk the Norfolk Coastal Path. You’ll be pleased to know that I have been to Titchwell more than once and really loved it, even my two monsters (now 7 and 8) enjoyed it!
I have plans to walk from Hunstanton to Burnham Market along the coastal path tomorrow (wish me luck with that as I’ve not walked more than a mile since before the school holidays).

I am so pleased to say that I visited RSPB Snettisham on a perfect summers evening and saw the amazing wader spectacular. It was Friday 30th August to be exact.

You can just image how my kids reacted to being told we’re going bird watching! First it was 20 questions, where are we going, how long will it take to get there, what time will we get home?? Then I had every excuse under the sun from, ‘I’ve got a tummy ache’ to ‘I can’t walk’ and ‘who wants to go and look at birds for 3 hours?’.
When we eventually got in the car (only just on time) I managed to get us lost on the single road down to the beach.
We needed to arrive at the car park at 6.20pm so that we could be in the right place at the right time. Baring in mind that high tide was at 7.35pm I was slightly worried that we were in for a ten-mile trek. Luckily, we were meeting a good friend of mine who happens to be site manager at Snettisham so we were in good hands (it’s safe to say we never would have made it to the mudflats at the right time without her).

We were pleasantly surprised to find that the walk took about 30 minutes and to be honest we could have walked for miles in this beautiful area. The sun was setting over the sea, the water was gently lapping up onto the beach, it was warm and peaceful (apart from the 5 kids, who were having the most amazing time, despite the fact they were ‘bird watching’).
When we arrived at the best spot there were a handful of people there with telescopes and binoculars and a few more arrived after us but it was certainly not what I expected in terms of how few people had turned out to see such an amazing sight.

We waited for about half an hour watching the birds (mostly knot I believe) taking flight only to settle again further along the mudflats when finally, the tide cut them off and they flew overhead to settle on the lagoon behind. As the birds flew over the children thought it was raining as a swooshing noise is created. The kids ran back and forth from the beach to the hide where they could watch the birds landing on islands in the lagoon. It was amazing to see them literally sandwiched onto these little islands.

By 8.30 the kids didn’t want to leave, they were so happy running around, eating wild blackberries and having fun. As we headed back to the cars it became darker and darker and the night became even more exciting as bats began to swoop down, dive bombing us and making us squeal.

It was a fantastic night that I would recommend to people of all ages even if you’re not a bird watcher. There is even disabled access.

Another highlight of the birding calendar takes place at Snettisham between November and January every year. I’m not sure if I’ll be up early enough to catch the pink footed geese flying inland to feed off the remains of the sugar beet harvest this year but I’m certainly going to try!

For more information and to find out the best times to visit click on the link below:


Fancy coming to stay…….

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