Send us your wildlife records

Recording wildlife is an easy way to get involved in wildlife conservation. It is a way of helping us to monitor wildlife across the county to gain an understanding of an animal’s distribution. Your records can help us identify areas which are especially important for wildlife and identify species in decline or under threat.

Each season we ask you to help Norfolk's wildlife by sending us your records of three species. You don't have to be an expert – all you need to do is tell us when and where you encounter them. This could be through seeing or hearing the species! Use the form to record online, or phone or email us using the details below.

Our current total of wildlife records submitted for this survey are

Grey partridge



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Grey partridge
This September, October and November Norfolk Wildlife Trust is asking people to look out for three species associated with the wider countryside, in particular farmland. If you spot grey partridges, yellowhammers or linnets in Norfolk please share your sighting with us.

How to spot a grey partridge

Partridges are distinctive birds; plump, rounded, with short legs they spend much time on the ground and outside the breeding season are found in small groups known as coveys. The male grey partridge has an orangey head and throat, a mottled grey and brown back and wings and paler underparts with a distinctive nut-brown horseshoe mark on the belly. The female is similar but duller and lacks the orange on the head and the distinct belly patch.


In spring a distinctive ‘chirrick chirrick’ may draw your attention to the presence of a grey partridge. Grey partridges are only likely to be confused with two other species – the pheasant and the red-legged partridge. At most times of year the long tail of the pheasant prevents any confusion. Young pheasants lack the long tail but are sandy brown in colour. Red-legged partridges are similar in shape but have cream cheeks, a red bill, red legs, black barring on their sides and lack the horseshoe marking on the belly.


Partridges are said on average only to spend three minutes a day in flight! Flight is fast, low and direct – a covey whirring on rounded wings low over a hedgerow can be quite alarming if you are driving.



How to spot a yellowhammer

Both song and plumage are distinctive. The male’s bright, golden yellow head and breast together with his repetitive ‘little bit of bread and no cheese’ song, often sung from the highest branch of the hedgerow or from the top of a tree, is characteristic. The female is a duller streaky-brown on the breast and has a more sombre yellow head and breast than the male. In flight both male and female show a chestnut rump and white outer tail feathers.


How to spot a linnet

A common, small finch of heathland, scrub and farmland, the linnet feeds on seeds and is present in the UK all year-round. In winter, they may form large flocks with other seedeaters, roaming the countryside and feeding on stubbles, saltmarshes and wasteland.


Linnet males have brown backs, grey heads, and pink foreheads and chests. Females are paler, streaky and lack the pink patches.

Grey partridge
A distinctive plump bird with a mottled grey and brown back and short legs, the grey partridge ca...
This little golden yellow hedgerow bird has a distinctive song, and is likely to be seen around t...
The linnet, with its forked tail and distinctive twittering flight call, is most likely to be see...

Grey partridge:

The decline in the grey partridge since the 1940s, both nationally and in Norfolk, reflects changes to farming systems. The increase in pesticide and herbicide use means fewer insects for young partridges and a smaller seed source as food for the adults. Loss of hedges and areas of rough cover has reduced available nesting habitat.

The grey partridge is a red-listed species (one of the birds of highest conservation concern) because of a more than 80% decline since the 1970s.



Yellowhammers have declined by more than 50% nationally in the past 20 years with their populations described as ‘dropping like a stone’ during the 1990s (Mead 2000). This decline has been most severe in the west of England but even in Norfolk populations have crashed. The reasons for this rapid decline are not well understood. The removal of hedgerows and their over-zealous management destroy nest sites. The sowing of winter cereals and autumn ploughing of stubble mean a reduction in their winter food supply. Increased use of pesticides on crops in spring reduces the insect food required by nestlings. The efficiency of modern herbicides also means that even if stubbles are left they are ‘clean’ with few weeds present. Whatever the reasons, large flocks in winter are now a rarity and while yellowhammers are still found widely across Norfolk they are no longer common.


Linnet populations have declined nationally over recent years and although numbers now appear stable in Norfolk it is not now as common as it once was. This may be due to the increase in sowing winter crops rather than spring sown crops which reduces the amount of winter stubble fields and therefore the availability of their food source. Other factors could be the increased use of fertilisers and herbicides. Habitat destruction such as the grubbing up of heathland, the removal of hedgerows or severe hedgerow cutting restricts the available nesting habitat. The linnet is on the RSPB’s ‘red’ species list of conservation importance and is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Grey partridge

  • The young leave the nest on hatching and develop rapidly. They are able to fly by 15 days old though do not reach adult size until about 15 weeks.
  • In February pairs begin to form and males and females engage in courtship chases – running rapidly in circles looking almost like clock-work wind up toys!
  • Most pairs will lay 12-15 eggs by April, although clutches of over 20 eggs have been recorded.
  • Partridges are said on average to spend only three minutes a day in flight.
  • A group of partridges is called a covey.



  • Poet John Clare penned a poem about the yellowhammer:

Five eggs, pen scribbled o’er with ink their shells

Resembling writing scrolls which Fancy reads

As nature’s poesy and pastoral spells –

They are the yellowhammer’s and she dwells.

Most poet like, ‘mid brooks and flowery weeds.


  • Traditionally yellowhammers in Breckland were known as gulers – a name thought to be derived from Gulden, a gold coin of Germany and the Netherlands.
  • Another traditional names include scribbling lark derived from the irregular black lines which pattern its eggs.
  • During winter, yellowhammers may find it hard to find food in their open habitats because of snow cover, so they will move to more inhabited areas like farmyards and even rural gardens.
  • The birds largely forsake their immediate breeding habitat during autumn and winter, changing their diet to forage for seeds of wild flowers, cereals and grasses. They can form large flocks during this period to plunder a rich food source; historic gatherings of several hundred being quite widely encountered. Nowadays it is unusual to see such numbers, although in favoured spots in the north and west of the county sizeable flocks of over a hundred can sometimes be enjoyed.




  • They were once popular cage birds due to their melodious song.
  •  Linnets are named after their favourite food: seeds. Their common name comes from linseed, which is the seed of flax, while their scientific name, L. cannabina, refers to hemp.
  • During the winter months the UK linnet population is increased by passage migrants and winter visitors.
  • Another name for linnets is gorse hatcher, due to its preference on nesting in prickly gorse bushes.
  • During the Victorian period linnets were popular pets. Tennyson mentions “the linnet born within the cage” in part 27 of the poem In Memoriam A.H.H.
Have you seen any other wildlife recently? We would love to hear about it... Notify us now

How to take part in this wildlife survey...


The quickest way to take part is by clicking on the submit button below. You will then be asked: what you saw, when you saw it, where you saw it and who you are.

By phone

Phone Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife Information Service on 01603 598333. Don’t forget you will need to tell us: what you saw, when you saw it, where you saw it and who you are.

By e-mail

Send us an email to [email protected]. Don’t forget you will need to tell us: what you saw, when you saw it, where you saw it and who you are.

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