Showcasing Norfolk’s wetlands
Our Wader Aviary was designed around the original stone walls of the estate’s old farm bullock pen, which now provides a protected microclimate, perfect for our waders and other species that are on show here. The combination of the pool, sandy beaches, cockleshell strands and Norfolk reed and grasses, offers visitors the opportunity to observe waders as they feed, rest and nest in a naturalistic environment.
Ours is a good example of a mixed aviary (various species living together). It provides an excellent opportunity to discover waders closeup and immerse yourself into their world – perfect for wildlife photographers. Avocets are exhibited in breeding flocks and can be observed foraging and nesting as they would in their natural environment. During May and June, you can also experience the fantastic spectacle of a ruff communal display (Lek).
There are over 200 wader species globally and 77 have been recorded in the UK and are usually found around wetland areas and coastlines. Sadly, waders face a number of challenges. In addition to coping with predation, they are impacted by hunting during migration, habitat loss, disturbance by human activity on breeding grounds, pollution and destruction of global wetlands resulting in a reduction of food supplies. Several projects are in place to address these issues and protect this special group of birds.
In addition to the waders, the Wader Aviary hosts a number of other bird species. Garganey and shoveler share the open water with our waders, Norfolk reed creates a habitat favoured by our small flock of bearded reedlings, whilst corncrakes prefer the patches of dense foliage at the back of the aviary and our turtle doves purr in the trees above.