Where are the marsh harriers in Norfolk?

Answered by Michael Wilson

There are several fantastic sites in Norfolk where you can almost guarantee sightings of marsh harriers during the spring and summer months. These locations offer a variety of habitats and provide ideal conditions for these magnificent birds to thrive.

1. NWT Cley Marshes: Located on the North Norfolk coast, this nature reserve is renowned for its diverse birdlife. The reed beds and marshes at Cley offer perfect nesting and hunting grounds for marsh harriers. You can often spot them gliding effortlessly over the reeds, searching for prey. The reserve has well-maintained trails and hides, providing excellent viewing opportunities.

2. NWT Hickling Broad National Nature Reserve: This largest of the Norfolk Broads is home to a thriving population of marsh harriers. The reed beds and open water provide an ideal habitat for these birds to breed and hunt. Hickling Broad offers boat trips and guided walks, allowing you to get closer to these magnificent raptors and observe their behavior in their natural environment.

3. RSPB Strumpshaw Fen: Situated on the edge of the Broads, Strumpshaw Fen is another great place to spot marsh harriers. The reserve offers a mix of wetlands, woodlands, and reed beds, providing a diverse range of habitats for various bird species. Marsh harriers can often be seen soaring above the reed beds or hunting over the fen, making this reserve a must-visit for bird enthusiasts.

4. RSPB Titchwell Marsh: This coastal reserve is famous for its diverse birdlife, and marsh harriers are no exception. The reed beds and saltmarshes at Titchwell provide an ideal hunting ground for these birds. You can often see them flying low over the marshes, searching for prey. The reserve has well-positioned hides and a boardwalk that allows you to get closer to the action.

5. Hawk and Owl Trust’s Sculthorpe Moor: Located near Fakenham, Sculthorpe Moor is a fantastic reserve for spotting marsh harriers. The mix of wetlands, woodland, and meadows provides a suitable habitat for these birds. The reserve has a tower hide that offers panoramic views, allowing you to observe marsh harriers in their natural surroundings.

Personal Experience: I have had the pleasure of visiting these sites in Norfolk and have been fortunate enough to witness marsh harriers in action. It is truly awe-inspiring to see these birds soaring gracefully over the reed beds and hunting with precision. The reserves mentioned above not only provide excellent opportunities for marsh harrier sightings but also offer a chance to observe a wide range of bird species in their natural habitats.

If you are looking to spot marsh harriers in Norfolk, NWT Cley Marshes, NWT Hickling Broad NNR, RSPB Strumpshaw Fen, RSPB Titchwell Marsh, and the Hawk and Owl Trust’s Sculthorpe Moor reserve are all fantastic options. These sites offer diverse habitats and excellent viewing facilities, increasing your chances of observing these magnificent birds in action.