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Snettisham - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Sandpiper
Early morning roost, photographed from the Rotary Hide, Snettisham, Norfolk

England, Norfolk


This reserve, situated on the eastern shores of the Wash, forms part of the bird-rich North Norfolk coast, ornithologically one of mainland Britain's most interesting areas.

The shingle beach has flooded pits at the edge of a vast area of mudflats bordered by saltmarsh. This area can hold more than 100,000 waders and 10,000 waterfowl at peak times and large numbers are pushed onto the pits by the incoming tide.


Notable Species

In winter the most numerous waders are Oystercatcher, Grey Plover and Ringed Plover, Red Knot, Sanderling and Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank and Turnstone.

Waterfowl using the mudflats include thousands of Pink-footed Goose and Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Common Shelduck, Common Teal and Mallard in the thousands with smaller numbers of various other species occurring on the pits such as Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Common Goldeneye and Red-breasted Merganser.

In summer Common Tern breeds on islands in the pits as well as gulls and waders such as Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover and Common Redshank nest on the drier saltmarshes along with Eurasian Skylark and Reed Bunting.

Passage periods see large numbers of a variety of waterfowl, waders and passerines passing through. In strong onshore winds passage Northern Gannet, Kittiwake and skuas can often be seen over the sea.


Rarities sometimes occur and included a Terek Sandpiper in the summer of 2001 and Glossy Ibis in September 2002.


Birds you can see here include:

Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Northern Gannet, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Bewick's Swan, Whooper Swan, Pink-footed Goose, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Greater Scaup, Common Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Common Kestrel, Red-legged Partridge, Grey Partridge, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Pied Avocet, Ringed Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Little Tern, Stock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Short-eared Owl, Eurasian Skylark, Horned Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, White Wagtail, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Ring Ouzel, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Sedge Warbler, Common Reed Warbler, Eurasian Linnet, Twite, Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting

Other Wildlife

Yellow Horned Poppy and Sea Kale can be seen on the shingle beach as well as Shrubby Sea Blite, Sea Beet and Hoary Mullein, Glasswort, Cord-grass, Sea Aster and Sea Purslane grow on the saltmarshes.

Site Information

Access and Facilities

The reserve is reached by heading west from Snettisham village which lies on the A149 King's Lynn to Hunstanton road.

There is a car-park and several hides

Grid reference: TF650328

Contact Details

Tel: 01485 542689

External Links

Content and images originally posted by Steve


teamsaint's review

Watching the waders at high tide was absolutely amazing and when we were there it wasn't even the best tide for wader watching. we estimated 40,000 knot. Pros

  • spectaculer numbers of waders


  • birds are distant at low tide