Re­stored fen – waders, wild­fowl and mi­grants

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - JOHN MILES

STIFFKEY SALTMARSHES WERE ac­quired by the Na­tional Trust in 1976 and form part of Blak­eney Na­tional Na­ture Re­serve. The area of­fers a vast open ex­panse of salt­marsh along with a won­der­ful walk along part of the Nor­folk coastal path, which stretches for 62 miles in to­tal. It is well known for its breed­ing birds, as well as a mix­ture of rare mi­grants be­ing so close to Blak­eney Point, an­other Na­tional Trust prop­erty. The car park of­fers views across the marsh and you may see Lit­tle Egrets all year round, Hen Har­rier in win­ter along with pos­si­ble Short-eared Owl and even a Rough-legged Buz­zard newly ar­rived over the North Sea. The Sy­camores along the front near the car park can give you Pied Fly­catcher and Red­start in both spring and au­tumn. A good east­erly wind in au­tumn may add Barred, Dusky, Pal­las’s, Yel­low-browed and Green­ish War­blers. The marsh has plenty of feed­ing waders, with Curlew Sandpiper and Lit­tle Stint most au­tumns. Look for Spot­ted Red­shank, Green­shank, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Oys­ter­catcher and Curlew mov­ing with the tide. The fen it­self has breed­ing Avo­cets and Lit­tle Ringed Plover while the num­ber of Spoon­bills has been as high as 27. Black Terns have graced the wa­ter along with Lit­tle Gulls while in win­ter dark-bel­lied Brent Geese have topped 2,500 along with Euro­pean White­fronts and even a Black Brant.

Curlew Sandpiper

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