Kelling Heath

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Kelling heath
The Heath

The Heath

Kelling Heath is one of Norfolk's areas of outstanding and natural beauty.The 250 acres that makes up Kelling Heath is made up of beaches, salt and freshwater marshes, heaths, dunes, pinewoods, and woodlands.Nightjar is almost certain here at dusk, along with daylight species such as Woodlark (right) and in recent years Dartford Warbler (sunny , windless days) .This is one of the North Norfolk coast's best sites for nightjar.
A network of paths and bridleways including a national trail make the countryside easily accessible, particularly to people with disabilities.
Nightjars usually start their mysterious 'churring' sound around dusk (just before it tuns dark).Nightjars are rarely seen during daylight. They remain motionless on the ground, relying on their amazing camouflage - feather patterns that look like dead leaves and old tree bark - to avoid detection. But at night when they are 'churring', they usually perch on the branch of a prominent tree and can be picked out against the night sky. When flying, nightjar swoop and flap around their territories, often coming very close to any observers. Males have prominent white markings on the wings and tail, and females have brown markings that are much less prominent. These stand out even at night, so it is often possible to identify the bird's sex. People most often encounter the nightjar's distinctive sound. Males perform a prolonged churring call ('nightjar' means night-churr) that may go on for several minutes, varying in pitch and volume. Hear the call here. When the birds stop churring, they are often in flight and two other sounds are frequently heard. The first is a rather soft 'coohwick' given as a single note and thought to be a contact call. The second is a slapping or hand-clapping sound caused as the birds clap their wings in flight.
Park at the main car park on the Holt road and listen here , the track runs from here to the main coast (A149) road. During the day this is a lovely site,especially in Spring and summer alive to the sounds of skylark, yellowhammer, cuckoo and whitethroat.

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Where to watch Birds in East Anglia
East Anglia is one of the best birding regions in England. With its extensive areas of nationally scarce habitat such as the fens, reedbeds, undisturbed beaches and Breckland heath, it can be the only place to see several of England's most exciting birds. This is a guide to where to go in East Anglia to see many different species. It contains site accounts, plans, maps, lists of birds in the region and advice on planning birdwatching trips. This fourth edition is revised and updated.
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Where to watch Birds in East Anglia
Nightjars' A Guide to the Nightjars and Related Nightbirds

Nightjars' A Guide to the Nightjars and Related Nightbirds

Nigel Cleere, illustrated by Dave Nurney
"...this is not just another book about Nightjars, it's the book about Nightjars. "Western Birds
Sighting a nightjar or nighthawk in the gloaming is an experience much sought-after by every birder;but these relatively common,insectivorous and crepuscular birds are but representatives of an order that comprises 119 species in five families,and found on every continent except Antartica.The order embraces the Oilbird, the potoos, the frog-mouths and owlet-nightjars as well as the more familiar nightjars.Indeed, so familiar are two of the species in North America that their English names reflect their presence in the minds of common folk, whip-poor-will and Chuck-will's-widow.This meticulously researched book is the first to describe in detail every species of the nightjar order.
Hardback;240 x 170 mm.317 pp.36 colour plates,Maps.

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Recommended reading:The Birds of Norfolk
As a result of its unique position on the east coast, Norfolk is arguably the premier county for birds in Britain. Its diversity of habitats attracts and shelters a wide range of breeding species, and its coastline facing the North Sea ensures a wealth of migrant visitors. Norfolks probably also attracts more visiting birdwatchers than any other county.
This book, the most comprehensive work so far on the county's avifauna, brings the record up to date. It has been written by a team of almost forty experts from within the county, and includes many of the evocative and atmospheric passages from earlier works, as well as presenting all relevant records up to the end of 1998'.... The Birds of Norfolk 552 pp.
This landmark volume was first published in hardback in 1999, and reprinted with revisions in paperback in 2000. This is a hardback reprint of the paperback edition.

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Recommended reading:The Birds of Norfolk
Bird photographs from Kelling Heath
Bird video from Kelling Heath
Kelling Heath on Twitter
Kelling blogs and links
Kelling Local services
Suggested walks around Kelling Heath

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