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Norfolk set to be showcased as Britain’s birdwatching capital

PUBLISHED: 08:23 30 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:25 30 November 2018

Announcing the new Norfolk Bird and Wildlife Fair, are from left, Sarah Bell from Wild Sounds and Books, Bill and Deb Jordan, owners of Pensthorpe Natural Park, and Tim Strivens, Cley Spy. Picture: STEVE ADAMS

Announcing the new Norfolk Bird and Wildlife Fair, are from left, Sarah Bell from Wild Sounds and Books, Bill and Deb Jordan, owners of Pensthorpe Natural Park, and Tim Strivens, Cley Spy. Picture: STEVE ADAMS

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Norfolk has long been home to an array of rare birds and wildlife.

But now a popular natural park in north Norfolk is aiming to showcase the county as the birdwatching capital of Britain with a brand new fair next year.

The Norfolk Bird and Wildlife Fair will be held at Pensthorpe Natural Park near Fakenham on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday 19 next year.

The event will feature guest speakers, demonstrations, walks and talks and book signings.

Bill Jordan, owner of Pensthorpe Natural Park, said: “Norfolk is, arguably, one of the greatest areas for birdwatching in the UK, and the north Norfolk coast the best in the country, so it seems fitting for an event celebrating birds and wildlife to be held within the county.

Bill Jordan bird-watching at Pensthorpe Natural Park. . Picture: STEVE ADAMSBill Jordan bird-watching at Pensthorpe Natural Park. . Picture: STEVE ADAMS

“Protecting and promoting wildlife has been in our DNA since Pensthorpe was founded as a wildfowl and wetlands park back in 1988 so, along with our partners Cley Spy and WILD Sounds and Books, we aim to celebrate what’s unique about the birding and nature offering in this special part of the world.”

The fair will be hosted by the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust (PCT), a charity dedicated to creating a centre of excellence in ecological restoration, promoting sustainable farming and researching, breeding and protecting threatened species.

April and May serve as the peak times for spring bird migration, meaning those wanting to attend can stay in the county right in the middle of the busy migratory period.

Tim Strivens, from Cley Spy, one of the sponsors of the Norfolk Bird and Wildlife Fair, said: “As a county, Norfolk is at the forefront of the UK birding scene.

Pensthorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham. Picture: Aerial View PhotographyPensthorpe Natural Park, near Fakenham. Picture: Aerial View Photography

“Aside from the unrivalled nature-spotting opportunities we are blessed with, there is a vibrant local community of passionate bird and wildlife enthusiasts, independent nature retailers and groups who are coming together to get behind this important event.”

Tickets for the event cost £8 per person with under threes and Pensthorpe annual members able to get in free.

Rare birds and where to find them

Norfolk’s unspoilt coastlines and plentiful rural landscapes make the county a prime spot for bird watching.

A Little Egret, one of the birds which can be seen at Pensthorpe. Picture: BRIAN SHREEVEA Little Egret, one of the birds which can be seen at Pensthorpe. Picture: BRIAN SHREEVE

Here are a few of the rarer species you may be lucky enough to spy in our skies.

-Goshawk: A high-speed hunter sometimes seen in the Brecks.

-Honey buzzard: This migrant bird can been over summer around Fakenham and Swanton Novers.

-Long tailed skua: A black headed sea bird best spotted around Sheringham, Cley or Holme in early autumn.

A cormorant, one of the birds which can be seen at Pensthorpe. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARYA cormorant, one of the birds which can be seen at Pensthorpe. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

-Marsh harrier: This increasingly common resident can be seen anywhere along the coast

-Red backed shrike: A scarce migrant bird which used to breed in the Brecks, and can still be seen in autumn along the coast.

-Shore lark: A declining wintering species best spied around Holkham Bay.

-Spoonbill: Once again breed in Norfolk after a long absence, and can be seen around Holkham and Cley.

Visit www.norfolkbirds.com for more.

Where little terns dare: Bird watching sites around Norfolk

Got an itch for ornithology? Norfolk has some brilliant spots for bird watching.

Here are just a few:

-Whittlingham Lane Country Park: A large spot with plenty of potential for birdwatching close to Norwich city centre.

-Cantley Marshes RSPB: Most famous for its winter flock of bean geese.

-Great Yarmouth beach: Has one of the largest little tern colonies in Britain.

-Welney: Wildfowl and Wetland Trust site in Norfolk’s south-west.

-Roydon Common NWT: Traditional raptor roost site.

-Burnham Overy marsh and dunes: An excellent migrant spot in spring and autumn.

-Sheringham: Arguably the best place to watch sea birds in Norfolk

-Felbrigg Hall National Trust: A good woodland site near Cromer

-Buxton Heath: A heathland reserve close to Norwich

Information from www.norfolkbirds.com, visit the site for more about the county’s birds.

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