NWT Weeting Heath is the best site in the country to watch the rare and unusual stone curlew. The species requires open, stony ground with short vegetation to breed, making the close-cropped turf of Weeting an ideal site. This special Breckland habitat has to be specially managed to keep it so low – as well as sheep, NWT employs eager volunteers: rabbits.
The heath is also home to woodlarks, green woodpeckers, lapwings and mistle thrushes. Other birds possible from the hides include kestrel, little owl, sparrowhawk, common buzzard, marsh harrier and, in summer, hobby.
Woodland birds are common in the trees around the visitor centre and on the woodland walk, with crossbills, tree pipits and spotted flycatchers sometimes seen. Numerous rare plants and invertebrates are also found on Weeting Heath, which is one of the finest remaining Breckland grass heaths. Indeed, the 2011 Breckland Biodiversity Audit led by the University of East Anglia (covering the whole of the Brecks) showed that more than 28% of all the UK’s rare species occurred in an area of less than 1% of the UK.
Wings over the Brecks
This is a new project is being delivered as part of the Breaking New Ground Landscape Partnership Scheme by a partnership between Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the Forestry Commission, RSPB and the British Trust for Ornithology. It will project the secretive nesting behaviour of some of the most iconic and rare birds in the Brecks: woodlark, stone-curlew, nightjar, hobby and the fierce goshawk. These iconic birds of the Brecks are rare and elusive, famous for being hard to see. Read more and watch footage of the stone curlews here!