RSPB
Skip navigation
Award
Print page

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.

Spring

This is one of the most exciting times of the year. The first spring migrants, such as swallows and sand martins, can be seen over the lagoons with wheatears along the beach. In April and May, the lagoons can be full of migrating waders, including ruffs, black tailed godwits, spotted redshanks and dunlins. Marsh harriers can be seen performing their 'sky dancing' display and the reedbeds are alive with singing reed and sedge warblers. If you are lucky, you may also hear the 'booming' of the bittern, which has recently returned to breed at Titchwell.

Bittern (illustration)Marsh harrier, male in flight (artwork)Reed warbler (illustration)Sedge warbler (illustration)
BitternMarsh harrierReed warblerSedge warbler

Summer

Mid-summer is the quietest time for birds but the best for some of the more elusive reserve species. It is possible to see the rare water vole on the pools around the meadow trail and, if the conditions are suitable, up to ten species of dragonfly and damselfly. By mid-July, the breeding marsh harriers will have flying young and up to 15 birds have been seen in a day. In these quiet months, the reserve staff carry out essential management work on the lagoons. While every effort is made to avoid disturbance, it may sometimes be encountered during a visit.

Avocet (illustration)Black-headed gull (illustration)Marsh harrier, male in flight (artwork)
AvocetBlack-headed gullMarsh harrier

Autumn

Autumn is the time for waders when, with luck, over 20 species could be seen around the reserve. Species such as curlew sandpiper, little stint and black-tailed godwit stop on the lagoons to feed on their return migration from their Arctic breeding grounds to their African wintering grounds. With the high spring tides, large numbers of waders can often be seen roosting on the lagoons. September is one of the best months to view bearded tits. The young gather in small flocks and can show very well feeding on seeds blown onto the mud near the Island Hide.

Bearded tit (illustration)Black-tailed godwits (illustration)Curlew sandpipers (illustration)Little stint (illustration)
Bearded titBlack-tailed godwitCurlew sandpiperLittle stint

Winter

Winter is the time for wildfowl at Titchwell. Large numbers of ducks and geese winter in North Norfolk and most of these species can be seen on the lagoons. The commonest species are teal, wigeon, mallard, gadwall and shoveler, with smaller numbers of pintails and goldeneyes. Offshore from the reserve, large 'rafts' of common scoters, long tailed ducks and eiders can be seen. In the evenings, thousands of pink-footed geese can be seen flying to their roost sites along the coast. Hen harriers, marsh harriers and occasionally barn owls can be seen over the reedbed at dusk. In the evenings, thousands of pink-footed geese may be seen flying to their roost sites along the coast.

Brent goose (illustration)Common scoter (illustration)Eider (illustration)Pink-footed goose (illustration)
Brent gooseCommon scoterEiderPink-footed goose

How you can help

We're setting up an emergency fund that we can use to get our reserves back into shape and repair the damage caused. Please help us rebuild from the worst storm in 60 years.

Donate now

Contact us

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 52.96298,0.60418
  • Postcode: PE31 8BB
  • Grid reference: TF750438
  • Nearest town: Hunstanton, Norfolk
  • County: Norfolk
  • Country: England

Get directions

Note: Some reserves are not served directly by public transport and, in these cases, a nearby destination (from which you may need to walk or take a taxi or ferry) may be offered.