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Dawn Chorus at Pensthorpe and Strumpshaw

Dawn Chorus at Pensthorpe
Sunday April 17 5.30am - 8.30am
For Pensthorpe tickets please click here

Dawn Chorus at RSPB Strumpshaw
Sunday May 8 6.15am - 9.00am
For RSPB Strumpshaw tickets please click here




Dawn Chorus at Pensthorpe and Strumpshaw

If you’ve not yet discovered the peace and beauty of hearing the birds wake and sing at first light during a Dawn Chorus Walk in the stunning Norfolk landscape, now is your chance.

There is nothing like hearing the birds gradually awake in various stages, being able to recognise the species through identifying their songs, and see them in their own habitat, as well as observing other wildlife and fauna that make these areas their homes.

Sunrise is also conducive to reflection and memory, perhaps of a loved one you have lost to cancer, or even for  helping to come  to terms with this illness personally.

Big C has paired up with Pensthorpe Natural Park in the tranquil Wensum Valley, near Fakenham and RSPB Strumpshaw Fen, between Norwich and Great Yarmouth, to give two different opportunities to offer this experience on Sunday April 17th and Sunday May 8th.

You’ll need to set your alarm to be up before the birds, but will be rewarded by a unique experience, no two sunrises or dawn choruses are the same, hot drinks enroute and at Strumpshaw a breakfast bag is included in the ticket price.



Picture above: Phil Barnes Photography

Ben Lewis is the warden at Strumpshaw Fen. He has been listening to birds and learning their songs with his dad since he was six years old. He explained the reserve is an area of special scientific interest (SSSI) and managed to encourage its potential for wildlife. The 2.4km non strenuous walk will cover four or five different habitats – wet woodland, meadows, riverbanks, reedbed and open water – offering a good opportunity to see and hear a wide range of bird and mammal species indigenous to those areas including marsh harriers, the booming Bittern, Cuckoos, Reed Buntings native species like the Thrush, as well as migrants from Africa – the Chiff-Chaff, Willow Warbler and Blackcap. Chinese Water Deer may be in the meadows and possibly otters around the riverbank. The woodland floor will hopefully be a sea of bluebells.

Ben will help you identify the birdsong, sometimes with the use of his ipad recordings so no need to worry if you do not know their distinctive calls and songs. Here is your chance to hear, identify and discover them.

“To see and listen to the dawn chorus is a good reason to get out of bed at this time of day. We will try and break the sounds down to identify what and who we can hear. It will change as we visit the various habitats, the weather will also have an impact,” he said.


Picture above: RSPB Strumpshaw

Over at Pensthorpe, the 700 acre site that was twice voted Norfolk’s Best Large Visitor Attraction, conservation of wildlife and wildlife habitats is the single most important focus of the work. With a diverse range of habitats, its Norfolk Natural Park is nationally recognised as a breeding site for many species and numerous types of bird. Sightings include 16 Whooper Swan, large flocks of Goldfinch and Siskin, Woodcock, the short-eared Owl, Marsh Harriers and Bitterns.

It is also home to the most important river in the East of England from the Test  to the Humber which is designated a Special Area of Conservation due to the presence of important and rare plant fish species. The walk will take you beside the chalk stream to see natural brown trout, water vole, otters and kingfishers along to the wader scrap where more surprises await. “You never know who is going to turn up on this large pool of water with views across to the wet meadows beyond,” said operations director Mark Noble. “There is little light pollution so we have stunning sunrises and it is a wonderful sight as the birds come to life, feeling the sun on their wings.” Waterfowl sightings have included Teal, Widgeon, Shelduck and Shoveler.

“Pensthorpe is a special place with a beautiful landscape and a very different feel and an opportunity for people to get away and have space and time,” said Mark.

Tickets cost £15 at Pensthorpe, to include a two hour warden tour and hot beverage, (breakfast is available from 8.30am at the café) and £20 at Strumpshaw which includes a two hour warden tour, breakfast bag with hot beverage




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