Rough-legged Buzzard - an exciting winter visitor
The North Norfolk Year - Winter
North Norfolk in winter is famous for the country’s largest and most varied concentrations of geese, particularly Pink-footed and Dark-bellied Brent Geese, whilst wintering gulls (perhaps including a Glaucous or Caspian Gull), birds of prey (especially Hen Harrier, Merlin and Short-eared Owl), waders and ducks are also prominent along with increasing numbers of more ‘southern’ winterers such as Avocets and Little Egrets. Exciting winter passerines include Snow and Lapland Buntings, Twite, Shore Larks and Water Pipits, and Waxwings are often present too.
Winter is an excellent time to enjoy the area’s woodland and farmland species, including Egyptian Goose, Common Buzzard, Woodcock, Barn Owl, woodpeckers, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, and flocks of winter thrushes, tits and finches. Most years see long-staying rarities, typically a Black Brant or two, but other rarer geese are also annual, and the season may also produce a surprise such as a Great Grey Shrike, a Rough-legged Buzzard or an Arctic Redpoll. Although daylight hours are short, this is a magical time with the best bird spectacles of the whole year.