< BACK TO HOMEPAGE < BACK TO VILLAGE GUIDE

A note about the photos below: We’re building up a collection of photos on this page of the wildlife in the parish. Currently some are stock photos, some are bad photos, and some don’t yet have a photo! Please contact us if you have any photos, even if you don’t know what the bird or animal is, or there is already a photo of it here. We’ll gladly put them on this page with the proper credit given.

A note about the list in general: it’s intended to contain everything that it’s possible to see in the parish, so if you see something that isn’t here, even just once, then please let us know via the contact form

Birds

Like many villages in South Norfolk, Alpington and Yelverton’s mix of quiet village life, numerous gardens, church yard, playing fields, and surrounding farmland, offer plenty of opportunities for birdwatching.

It’s probably fair to say that this is not the place to find anything rare (there are plenty of spectacular locations elsewhere in Norfolk to do that) but with the current trend towards “low carbon” birdwatching, we’d like you to know that there is plenty to see here on your doorstep!

Here is a list of birds that have been seen in and around the parish of Alpington and Yelverton since January 2020. Grab some binoculars and see if you can help us make the list longer!

Garden birds

Robin

Find them pretty much anywhere in the village.

A profile shot of a robin sitting on a bush looking right
A robin, taken on the loke to Garrick field

Wren

The UK’s most common bird, but shy, and often tricky to see and distinguish from other little brown birds.

A wren showing just its head from behind a branch showing its white eyebrow
A wren hiding in the central island of Yelverton pond

Blue Tit

See these anywhere in the village, especially on feeders.

A blue tit close up sitting on a bush looking left
A blue tit, on a rose bush on church meadow

House Sparrow

These will nest in gaps in your roof. But there are groups of them landing round the village all year round. You’re very likely to see/hear them in the big hedge going round the corner at the entrance to Cherrywood.

A male house sparrow sitting on a rose branch in the snow
A male house sparrow, photo taken on church meadow

Starling

Quite common around Alpington and Yelverton, you’ll find them in flocks usually, sitting at the tops of trees or in fields, for example the fields around the farm to the east of the village. You’ll sometimes get them in our gardens and on bird feeders. If you see some blackbird sized black birds flying around close together in our villages then they’ll likely be starlings.

Starling facing right
A starling perching on a feeder in Aplington
Starling facing backwards
The back of a starling

Great Tit

Common around the village, you can find them in hedges and trees, and visiting bird feeders.

A great tit perching on a thin branch showing black vertical breast band and black cap
A great tit on a tree in Yelverton churchyard

Blackbird

Very common round the village, you can see these pretty much anywhere, and hear many of them singing loudly in the morning and evening.

A male blackbird on the grass looking to the right
A male blackbird on the grass on church meadow

Song Thrush

The general consensus is that these used to be more common in the parish, but it is still possible to see them around. Probably most likely to be seen in spring as you can hear them more often. In spring if you walk in the evening around Garrick Field, the take the footpath west, then go either north or south, you should probably hear one at least. They are also common around Well Beck, right at the south of the parish.

A song thrush in evening light with beak open near the top of a tree showing black spots on chest
A song thrush high up in a tree singing. Picture taken on the north-south footpath which is northwest of Garrick Field

Coal Tit

We do get these on bird feeders in the village, at least near Garrick field. But they don’t seem common. You’ll probably see one a couple of times a month if you’re lucky, and they don’t hang around very long.

A coal tit facing right on a tree stump
Stock photo of a coal tit. Image credit.

Long-tailed Tit

These hang around in family groups, and you can often see them swarming a bird feeder or flying through wherever there’s a treeline or hedgerow. Try the trees around the children’s play area, or the hedges around Garrick Field or the church, or the road/path to Avenue Farm.

A long tailed tit sitting on a bush
A long tailed tit on a branch in an Alpington garden

Chaffinch

If you pay attention you can usually spot one of these on your walk, but they aren’t as numerous round the parish as other birds. Pretty tricky to tell it’s a chaffinch without binoculars, but if you’re close enough it is just about possible to make out the buff pink chest and head markings. If one flies past, you might notice the clear flashes of white in the wings which is quite distinctive. The real giveaway is their song which is quite consistent and relatively easy to recognise. They are supposed to visit bird feeders but we’ve not seen that happening often locally.

A chaffinch perched on a tree in the fog
A chaffinch on a small tree next to the village hall

Dunnock

Also sometimes called a hedge sparrow, very common here but tricky to tell at first glance from a house sparrow. These seem more often to be on the ground though, you’ll rarely see them on a bird feeder, they’ll be underneath getting the bits that have dropped, or scouting round the floor for insects.

A dunnock on the grass
A dunnock on the grass in Alpington
A dunnock foraging facing away
A dunnock foraging in an Alpington garden

Goldcrest

One of the smallest birds in the UK but they aren’t impossible to spot due to their lovely yellow crest. We’ve seen them in the hedges along Back Road and Dranes Lane, and also in the treeline down the path from the church to Garrick Field.

Yellowhammer

Ok so we’ve not seen these in the parish yet, but just over the southern border, the other side of Well Beck, so we think it still counts!

A yellowhammer on a branch showing its yellow head with black markings
A yellowhammer photographed in a hedge on the footpath heading south across Well Beck at the southern border of Alpington.

Nuthatch

These have been seen on bird tables in Yelverton west of the pond. As far as we know they do not venture any further south.

A nuthatch on a branch looking up
A stock photo of a nuthatch. Image credit

Goldfinch

Often seen in flocks on the trees round the edge of Garrick field and down the loke to the church, and also on church road close to the church. They are often quite noisy so you’ll know they are there. They should visit garden feeders, given the right seeds, but the goldfinches in our villages have always seemed a bit reluctant to do that.

Two goldfinches on a grass and slab path
Two goldfinches foraging near a path on church meadow

Greenfinch

These are more common than you might think, you can sometimes see groups of 4 or 5 flying round together but not often. If you see a male greenfinch in the sunlight they are unmistakable as no other bird is all green like that, with beak that size. Like the goldfinches, they should visit your bird feeder if it’s got the right seeds in, but ours don’t seem to do it very often. We got lucky with the photo for this one.

A greenfinch sitting on a bird feeder
A greenfinch on a bird feeder in Alpington

Wagtails and Pipits

White / Pied Wagtail

These turn up in Alpington and Yelverton all over the place, but not often and normally seen on their own. You might see one running down the road, on a rooftop, on farm buildings and sheds, or in fields, particularly to the east of the village past the farm buildings.

Side profile of a pied or white wagtail standing at the edge of a pond
A pied wagtail standing on the edge of Yelverton pond

Grey Wagtail

We’ve only seen one of these, hanging around the pond. Going for a bath in the pond itself and then flying just over the barrier at the rear bank, to forage in the puddle there. We’re very lucky to have seen one as there’s only 38,000 pairs in the UK, they are relatively rare, compared to 500,000 pairs of pied wagtails for example.

Grey wagtail facing right
Grey wagtail at the top of the bank at the back of Yelverton pond

More pictures on our post about the impact of the 2020 pond renovation.

Meadow Pipit

A quite non-descript small brown bird, we’ve seen a few at the end of summer, on the fence alongside the path leading west from Garrick Field’s kissing gate, and sometimes on the telegraph wires over those fields.

Pigeons and Doves

Woodpigeon

Very common in Alpington and Yelverton and very visible. Can be seen pretty much anywhere, including in flocks of 30 or more.

A woodpigeon close up feeding on the grass
A woodpigeon feeding on the ground in Alpington
A woodpigeon facing left taking off from a branch with wings raised up
A woodpigeon taking flight in Alpington

Pigeon / Rock Dove

Not common in the parish, currently they’ve only been seen occasionally on the big field next to the solar panels.

Stock photo of a Pigeon

Collared Dove

Can be seen anywhere in the villages or surrounding farmland.

Two collared doves perching on a wooden garden chair
Two collared doves on a garden chair

Birds of Prey

Buzzard

Buzzards are more common than you might think in the parish, you can often see them high up in the sky, look for a shallow “V” shape soaring without flapping its wings much.

A buzzard soaring
A buzzard over the farm buildings east of the villages
A buzzard soaring
A buzzard over the farm buildings east of the villages

Kestrel

Well known for hovering above the ground, looking down with its head perfectly still. There’s one often down the road to the farm from Back Lane. Another likely spot is down the footpath that starts next to the pub, and goes south towards church meadow lane. Look right after the first line of trees.

A close up of a kestrel perched on the top of a tree
A kestrel, photo taken on Dranes Lane

Red Kite

We occasionally see these but not as often as the other birds of prey. Recently one was seen over Back Lane and one was seen over Garrick field.

Ducks and Geese

Mallard

You can normally find a couple on the pond most of the time, however recently the Egyptian Geese seem to have made them move somewhere else.

a male and a female mallard on the island in Yelverton pond
Mallards on the island in Yelverton pond

Moorhen

A family was seen on the pond in 2020 and 2021, and there’s usually one visible most of the time. Look round the edges. They breed on the pond most years so look out for the chicks in spring!

An adult moorhen with 3 chicks at the water's edge foraging for food
A moorhen family of 6 chicks on Yelverton pond in 2021.
A moorhen nest on the water in a bunch of reeds
A moorhen nest on Yelverton pond

Egyptian Goose

Two were resident at Yelverton pond at the start of 2021, forcing out the mallards it seems. Also seen relatively regularly on the fields near the solar panels, east of Dranes Lane.

Egyptian goose swimming on pond
An Egyptian goose on Yelverton pond
Two adult Egyptian Geese with all seven of their chicks swimming on the water
Family of Egyptian Geese on Yelverton pond with seven chicks, photographed in spring 2021

More pictures on our post about the impact of the 2020 pond renovation.

Waders

Oystercatcher

Often seen in springtime in the fields near the solar panels and Avenue Farm. Amazing really, as they are coastal birds and we’re not exactly next to the beach. Apparently here they feed on worms rather than their usual seaside diet of muscles and cockles.

An oystercatcher standing in a field among old harvested stalks of corn
An oystercatcher photographed on the big field next to the solar panels

More pictures on our post about this sighting.

Game Birds

Pheasant

You can find these stalking around fields mostly, they’ll be easier to see the further away you go from the centre of the village as they are quite shy. Try the fields past the farm to the east, along the public footpath to the cattery. Also to the south around reeders lane, green lane, and dove lane.

A pheasant in the grass
A pheasant in the grassy field next to Back Lane and the road to the farm buildings

Red-legged Partridge

Surprisingly nicely-patterned birds when you see them up close. You can find them in groups of up to 5 or so, on farm fields anywhere round the village.

A red-legged partridge in a field to the west of the footpath which goes north-south, northwest of Garrick Field

Gulls

Black-headed Gull

Our smallest gull, and most numerous. In the spring and summer they get their black hood on their head, which they lose the rest of the year just leaving a dark smudge behind the ear.

Black-headed Gull on top of post
Black-headed gull on top of a telegraph post in Alpington

Lesser Black-backed Gull

The biggest gull that you’ll see in the village, and the only one with a slate-grey back.

Lesser black backed gull on top of a telegraph pole
Lesser black-backed gull on top of a telegraph post in Alpington

Herring Gull

Unlike the other gulls, these don’t seem to land in the village, we’ve only seen a few in the surrounding fields.

A herring gull on top of a telegraph post in Yelverton, in the field west of the water tower

Crows

Rook

One of our most visible birds, you are going to be hard pressed not to see or hear one of these wherever you are. Fundamentally it’s a bird of farmland and grassland where it can feed by probing into the soil with its large beak, so it’s not surprising that we’ve got loads. Huge flocks can descend on any of our fields and can be pretty noisy. There are a few trees that they seem to like, for example the tall tree in the churchyard, one of the larger trees on nichols road, or the large tree located NW of Garrick field. That last one almost always has a few rooks on it, and in spring it is always full of nests being tended to by the adult rooks.

A rook on a tree branch, showing its white beak and face
A rook at the rookery NW of Garrick field
A rookery at the top of a tree with about 10 rook nests
The rookery located NW of Garrick field, packed with nests every spring, photographed looking south from Framingham Earl Road.

Jackdaw

Extremely common in the village and in the surrounding farmland, where they are often seen with the rooks. They are noticeably smaller though, with a much smaller beak. In the right light they’ve got a grey ‘hood’, but they look all black most of the time. They nest in chimneys in our villages in spring.

A jackdaw perched on a tree branch
A jackdaw on a tree in the churchyard

Carrion Crow

Tricky to distinguish from the rooks and jackdaws at distance. Crows do feed on the ground in fields in the same way, and seem less common round here. If it’s not got a long white beak and face, and it’s big like a rook not smaller like a jackdaw, then it’s likely to be a crow.

A carrion crow in a bare muddy field
A carrion crow feeding in a field near Avenue Farm

Magpie

Quite common and instantly recognisable.

A magpie on a tree in the churchyard

Jay

Very shy bird, but possibly seen more in autumn, when they are more visible in general as they are hiding caches of nuts to get them through winter. They have been seen in a few places, including the field at the back of the pond, around Garrick Field, and in farmland to the west of the parish.

A jay facing left perched on a post, showing its blue wing feathers
A Jay photographed in a field just west of the Alpington border, towards Poringland.

Summer Visitors

Chiffchaff

Arriving in Springtime, these have been seen on Yelverton pond, heard in the hedges just behind Avenue Farm, and on the footpaths west of Garrick Field.

A chiffchaff hiding in loose twigs under a larger log, showing the yellowish chest and face
A chiffchaff at the edge of Yelverton pond

Blackcap

A blackcap has been seen and heard singing in the trees overlooking the village hall playground, and also in the trees along the footpath which goes southwest from the bend in Burgate Lane.

Whitethroat

When these arrive they can be found out of the village around farmland and hedges. We have seen one south of the village near the farmhouses on church meadow lane. Also further south over Well Beck towards Brooke.

A whitethroat showing its grey head and white throat
A whitethroat photographed south of Alpington, at the Church Meadow Lane end of the footpath which goes south from the pub.

House Martin

You can see these in summer flying overhead, for example above the houses on church road and church meadow. They nest under the eaves of our houses.

Stock photo of a house martin

Swallow

Same as the house martin, they fly around overhead in summer. They’ll line up on telegraph wires at the end of summer, especially around Cherrywood.

Stock photo of a couple of swallows

Swift

Seen flying over church meadow, church road, and cherrywood.

a flock of swifts flying
Stock photo of a group of swifts

Winter Visitors

Redwing

Can be seen in the fields around and past the farm to the east of the village, and also around the edges of the big field seen from back lane looking towards the church. They travel west at least as far as the church yard.

A redwing on a tree in the distance
A redwing in a tree next to the fields east of Avenue Farm
a perched redwing looking up to the right, showing the red underwing
Stock photo of a redwing. Image credit

Fieldfare

Fieldfares have been spotted in fields northwest of the pond, but not often. In April 2021 there was a flock of about 100 in the field across the A146 north of the solar panels.

Rarer Sightings

Green Woodpecker

These do not turn up often, they spend a lot of time on the ground so you might be lucky and flush one out of the grass. We were amazingly lucky to get the photo as you’d only expect to see one once or twice a year.

A green woodpecker perching on a branch, showing green back, and the red feathers on its head
A green woodpecker on a tree, along the row of trees which is the southern border of the pub’s garden.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Pretty tricky to spot, but has been seen on the trees down the loke beside the church, to Garrick field.

Little Owl

One sighting in the back corner of the horse paddock on Dranes Lane.

Cormorant

One sighting flying over the pond.

Grey Heron

One sighting flying over the church, one over Avenue Farm briefly landing in the pond behind the farm buildings.

Lapwing

A flock of 15 or so seen flying over the church.

Mammals

Its not just birds that can be seen in Alpington and Yelverton, a fair number of other animals can also be seen well, if you can sneak up on them.

Rabbit

You can spot these in pretty much any grassy field, and even around the edge of the pond.

A rabbit nicely camouflaged in a field among old stalks of corn
A rabbit, photo taken in the fields northeast of Avenue Farm

Hare

Seen around the footpath that goes alongside the west side of the solar panels, and in the fields south of Church Meadow Lane.

A hare running to the left showing its large ears
Hares photographed on the footpath next to the northwest corner of the Yelverton solar panels

Deer

We’ve spotted two types of deer in the fields around the parish, the chinese water deer and the reeves muntjac. They are both small, but the muntjac is the only deer to have furry stumps on its head, on which its small antlers grow. Chinese water deer don’t have antlers.

Chinese water deer looking at the camera with ears raised
A chinese water deer photographed on the footpath southeast of the solar panels, heading south

Stoat / Weasel

If you see one it is hard to tell confidently which one of the two it is, they look pretty similar. Whichever one it was, we saw it on the footpath which starts at the top of Dranes Lane heading east across the field, at the crossroads with the private path to the Avenue Farm buildings. It went down into the ditch.

Bat

In particular they’ve been seen flying around the pond at head height, very close by. Also around the churchyard and the loke to Garrick Field.

Grey Squirrel

These characters can often be seen scurrying across branches and up tree trunks.

Hedgehog

Most longer-term residents will have seen a hedgehog or two over the years, at night in their garden or out on an evening walk.

A close up photo of a hedgehog on a pathway
A hedgehog found walking down the footpath going south from St Mary’s Close, Alpington

Alpacas

Ok, so these aren’t wild! But still worth seeing. Find them on the field next to the village hall playing field.

Three alpacas in their field in Alpington

< BACK TO HOMEPAGE < BACK TO VILLAGE GUIDE