Stunning bee-eaters draw over 5,000 bird watchers to north Norfolk coast

Visitors have come from near and far to see the bee-eaters at Trimingham. 

Visitors have come from near and far to see the bee-eaters at Trimingham. - Credit: Archant / Mike Edgecombe

People will soon be able to watch a bee-eater colony on the north Norfolk coast from wherever they are in the world. 

The RSPB plans to run a livestream of the site the colourful birds are nesting at a quarry at Trimingham, near Cromer, by the middle of next week. 

Bee-eaters in the trees at Trimingham, near Cromer in north Norfolk.

Bee-eaters in the trees at Trimingham, near Cromer in north Norfolk. - Credit: Mike Edgecombe

The colony of seven bee-eaters has caused a sensation since they were first spotted at the site over the Platinum Jubilee weekend. 

Jenny Shelton, the RSPB's investigations liaison officer, said she was delighted that more people would be able to use the livestream to observe the colony, which consists of two nesting couples and three 'helper birds'.

She said: "[The livestream] should be really exciting. People have ben really happy [to see the colony] and it has brought a bit of colour to people's lives."

Bird watchers at the quarry in Trimingham where the bee-eater birds are now nesting.

Bird watchers at the quarry in Trimingham where the bee-eater birds are now nesting. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Ms Shelton said the livestream would likely be broadcast via YouTube daily from 7am to 7pm.

The RSPB said more than 5,000 people had travelled from across Norfolk and around the country to see the birds since news of their arrival went public on June 16.

Working with volunteers from the North East Norfolk Bird Club, the RSPB set up a viewing platform next to the quarry off Gimingham Road, where visitors can park for £5 and observe the birds from a safe distance. Proceeds are split between the farmer who owns the site and monitoring costs.

A bee-eater bird spreads its rainbow wings at Trimingham, near Cromer in north Norfolk. 

A bee-eater bird spreads its rainbow wings at Trimingham, near Cromer in north Norfolk. - Credit: John Ford

Ms Shelton said: "We have wardens there pretty much 24/7 talking to people, answering questions, helping them get the best views."

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Hopes are growing that the birds are breeding, which would be a rare occurrence in the UK and a first for Norfolk.  

Bee-eaters are usually only seen in southern Europe and northern Africa.

The quarry in Trimingham where the bee-eater birds are now nesting.

The quarry in Trimingham where the bee-eater birds are now nesting. - Credit: Denise Bradley

The birds are a rare sight this far north, although there have been some sightings in the area before, including at Great Yarmouth last year

But Mark Thomas from the RSPB said behind the spectacle was a concern their appearance here was due to the warming climate.

Mr Thomas said: "Pushed northwards by climate change, these exotic birds will likely become established summer visitors in the future, having been an early and unmissable sign in the past two decades that the nature and climate emergency has reached our shores.”