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Seasonal highlights

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.


As wintering wigeons leave, the marshes become alive with breeding wading birds, including lapwings, redshanks, snipes, avocets and oystercatchers. Barn owls and yellow wagtails also breed here. Hunting marsh harriers can be seen, mobbed furiously by the lapwings.

LapwingMarsh harrier - maleRedshank - non-breeding plumageYellow wagtail
LapwingMarsh harrierRedshankYellow wagtail


Avocet and lapwing chicks can be seen feeding with their parents. Barn owls hunt in daylight to feed their growing young. Large numbers of Canada and greylag geese gather to moult. In late summer, a variety of wading birds on passage, stop to feed on the shallow pools.

AvocetBarn owlDunlin - breeding plumage (illustration)Lapwing
AvocetBarn owlDunlinLapwing


Wigeons, teals, shovelers and other ducks return in large numbers to the grazing marshes. Wintering lapwing and golden plover start to increase in numbers, attracting peregrines and marsh and hen harriers.

Golden plover - in breeding plumageHen harrier - maleShoveler - maleTeal - male
Golden ploverHen harrierShovelerTeal


Wintering birds reach a spectacular peak, with thousands of wigeons, lapwings and golden plovers, and hundreds of teals. Birds of prey, including marsh harriers and peregrine falcons, can cause large flocks of the wintering birds to suddenly rise in the air, creating an exciting commotion. At dusk, enjoy the spectacle of tens of thousands of rooks and jackdaws darkening the sky as they fly in to roost in adjacent woods. Buckenham marshes and adjacent Cantley marshes, are host to England's only regular flock of wintering taiga bean geese.

Bean goose - race rossicus 'tundra'JackdawPeregrine - adult Rook - adult
Bean gooseJackdawPeregrineRook

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Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 52.59726,1.47005
  • Postcode: NR13 4HW
  • Grid reference: TG351056
  • Nearest town: Norwich, Norfolk
  • County: Norfolk
  • Country: England

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