Spring Tides & Barn Owls -Norfolk

Filed in Articles, Events, Workshops on Aug.28, 2017

There a few places in the UK where you can experience the sights and sounds of nature any better than the North Norfolk coast during the Spring Tides that start in earnest from this month onward. Heralding the onset of the Autumn and Winter months, with the seasons changing from the Spring/Summer into the Autumn and Winter.


During a Spring Tide most if not all of the estuary is consumed by the sea and submerged underwater (typically referred to as freshwater photography). Out on the mudflats you’ll see thousands of wading birds feeding at low tide, as the tide rises, the mudflats disappear underwater and the birds are suddenly forced to move closer into shore by the incoming sea. They then take off, and fly in vast flocks towards you on the beach that provides a safe refuge in which to rest until the falling tide allows them back onto the tidal flats.

I’ve just returned from this amazing place, where I had several clients all booked onto my “Springtides and Barn Owls” days during the week. While also spending some time photographing my own work on the days I wasn’t with clients. The weather was really kind for my clients, with beautiful sunrises and sunsets. With its moon-like landscape, vast open spaces, where thousands of birds fly past you, feet away, it’s just an amazing place to be during these Spring Tides that are now beginning to happen on this beautiful stretch of the North Norfolk coastline.

The sheer size of the flocks is unbelievable as you witness one of nature’s most amazing spectacles. Gathering in great , dense packs and lines, twisting and turning all in perfect, rhythmic sweeps and stalls, before pouring into the roost site like falling hailstones. They then settle back down into these pools sleeping and waiting until the tide retreats before heading back out to sea.  One of natures most amazing spectacles that if you are lucky enough to see the experience will stay with you forever.

During the coming months the whole area also becomes a heaven for thousands of wintering Geese that spend the Winter months here and they are all just starting to turn up too. Greylag, Brent, Canada and others seek safety offshore before venturing inland at dawn too feed before returning back to their overnight roast sites at dusk.

Also on these day we spend quite a bit of time looking for Barn Owls. I know and visit several sites in Norfolk and the adult owls were showing well.  When you are showing clients around a place you know so well it’s great when a chosen subject you’ve spoken about turns up and I am really glad to say the Barn Owls gave my clients the opportunity to witness them at work, quartering and hunting in pure silence.

Gliding effortless over the farmland, always scanning the ground below. Amazing birds that have captivated me from childhood with their sudden appearance, gaining eye contact with you for a split second then disappearing as quick as they arrived. They truly are the masters of this habitat, never failing to get your heart rate racing once they appear and go about the job they were so well equipped to do.

I’ve been running these days now for sometime, where we spend the morning watching this amazing spectacular in nature, then the rest of the day we photograph Barn owls, waders and the winter migrants that slowly arrive on mass throughout the next month or so.  I have a few places left in September on my Springtide and Barn owl days, with more dates added soon if you’d like to join me. If you want a more bespoke day in Norfolk then please see my one to ones days here.

Many thanks to all my clients that have joined me over the last week, really hope you’ve enjoyed your time in Norfolk and got some wonderful images, many thanks.


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