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Wader birds flock to Norfolk Wetlands

The first flocks of winter wader birds have landed at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Welney in Norfolk.

Hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits can now be seen across the Ouse Washes as they take refuge from colder climates.

They've flown more than one thousand miles from Iceland to escape winter there and have come to Norfolk where it is warmer.

The washes are an important site for these birds Credit: ITV News Anglia

"At the moment water levels on the Ouse Washes are absolutely perfect for all the wintering birds, but also for waders as well and they're all congregating on these small islands of land and they all stay as a flock, together in a tight bunch and this is what they do for protection and when they fly you see these murmurations of them all flying together which if you capture them in the light is an absolutely fantastic view."

– Leigh Marshall, Manager, WWT Welney
The Black-tailed Godwits resting Credit: ITV News Anglia

Murmurations of the Black-tailed Godwits can be seen across the Fenland landscape and as they move they shimmer in the sunlight.

A murmuration of Black-tailed Godwits Credit: ITV News Anglia

"Watching these birds as they take to the sky is amazing. They move just like starlings, grouping together to evade birds of prey. But when the sun is shining, the white wing bars on these particular birds catch the light and shimmer, making them look like shoals of fish. You don’t have to be an expert at bird watching to enjoy the sight of thousands of birds filling the view from the hide windows."

– Emma Brand, Marketing officer at WWT Welney
The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Welney Credit: ITV News Anglia

Food is in abundance here for these birds and because of the milder winter there is plenty to eat and it's easy to get hold of.

But if the weather turns cold quickly and they can't feed, then the birds will move on further west and towards coastal areas.

The Ouse Washes Credit: ITV News Anglia