Waxwing - an exciting late autumn arrival

Waxwing - an exciting late autumn arrival

The North Norfolk Year - Autumn

Autumn is a very special season. The nights start to draw in, temperatures drop and the world of birds becomes dominated by migration. Although much depends on the weather, autumn can see a great variety of birds, with drifted migrants often appearing from the continent.

In early autumn these include warblers, Redstarts, Whinchats and Pied Flycatchers, followed after mid-September by Robins, Goldcrests and often impressive arrivals of Starlings and ‘winter thrushes’. Wader passage continues too, often featuring Little Stints and Curlew Sandpipers, and by October large numbers of geese and ducks have returned for the winter.

Scarcer species to be sought in early autumn might include Wryneck, Red-backed Shrike, Barred Warbler or Icterine Warbler whilst late autumn may bring Waxwing, Rough-legged Buzzard, Great Grey Shrike, Black Redstart, Firecrest, Long and Short-eared Owls, Richard’s Pipit, Ring Ouzel, Lapland Bunting, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Yellow-browed Warbler or the exquisite Pallas’s Warbler (our logo!).

Warm ‘Indian Summer’ days in late autumn can be fantastic for watching late passerine migrants whilst in strong onshore winds it is time to enjoy not only the crashing surf and flying spray but also Fulmars, Gannets, Arctic Skuas and Kittiwakes along with, for the lucky, the occasional Pomarine Skua, Sooty Shearwater, Leach’s Petrel or Sabine’s Gull. In some years late autumn brings close inshore movements of delightful Little Auks. Even with the wind in the west it can be rewarding to search for American waders and ducks but with easterly winds this is the best season of all to look for rare birds, amongst the most regular being Greenish, Radde ’s and Dusky Warblers and Little Bunting.