Winter can be one of the best times to visit Norfolk, as the county comes alive with wildlife, especially the thousands of birds who visit every year during their migration. As a result, it’s one of the best places in the UK to witness wildlife. Here’s what you might be able to spot if you’re staying in one of our holiday cottages in Norfolk this year:
In December and January especially, grey seals surface to give birth to and look after their pups, who remain on the beaches for up to three weeks before taking to the waters for the first time. So many grey seals can be found here that Norfolk has nationally important numbers of this exciting marine mammal, which can be spotted both on the beach and in the water as they surface after diving for fish.
One of the greatest wildlife spectacles you can witness in the UK during winter is the arrival of huge skeins of pink-footed geese. Over a third of the world’s population spend the winter in Norfolk, and you can see them in flight at dusk and dawn, when they fly between inland farmland, where they feed during the day, and remote parts of the coast, where they roost by night. As well as the pink-footed geese, brent, greylag, Egyptian and Canada geese can also be spotted.
Bringing a touch of Arctic wildness to the shores of Norfolk every winter, snow buntings hail from further north in the Arctic than any other small perching birds, and are best spotted on coastal ridges. If you’re planning to spot them in flight, look out for a black and white bird with white patches and dark tips on their wings.
A whole host of mammals
With the trees bare of leaves and the fields ploughed, winter can be the best time of year to spot many mammal species, such as grey squirrels, woodmice and voles. Although hares are often hard to spot if they’re hiding away, you may be able to spot one on the move loping across open farmland.
Ducks are present at their highest numbers during the winter, and there is also a bigger range of species to discover at this time of year. The cold spells bring in species such as smew and goosander, as well as scoter and red-breasted mergansers around the coast. Winter is also the best time of year to see the ducks flaunt their brightest colours, from the golden eyes of the goldeneyes to the shining blues on the wings of the mallards.